Mind-bending trial for terminally ill
DYING patients will be treated with psychedelic synthetic magic mushrooms under a medical trial aiming to ease the paralysing anxiety felt by palliative care patients.
The mind-bending drugs are hoped to give terminally ill patients a new perspective on their lives, guided by psychiatrists to remove the fear and depression which can often take over their final months.
The controversial trial from St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne has taken more than a year to gain approval by ethics committees as well as federal and state authorities, but will see the first of 30 patients treated from April.
St Vincent’s clinical psychologist Dr Margaret Ross said the study would see patients given a single dose of psilocybin, which is so powerful it can unlock a section of patient’s brains to give them an altered outlook on their situation approaching death, lasting for six months or more.
Up to three in 10 palliative care patients can experience extreme distress in their final months.