A letter in today’s Times. Other countries have debated and passed the necessary legislation but the UK still holds back.
The Vancouver Sun: BC takes lead in medically assisted dying with dedicated care … Today
States in the USA are debating assisted dying: After ‘intense debate,’ Hawaii lawmakers defer suicide bill (28th March 2017)
A DIGNIFIED DEATH
Sir, Throughout my professional life, I have concurred with the majority of physicians who, like Baroness Finlay, oppose a change in the law to enable euthanasia (letters, Apr 4, 5 and 7).
That view changed last month with the death of my school friend via physician-assisted suicide in Belgium. She had been ill with a rare tumour syndrome for many years, yet it was only last autumn that her condition was deemed palliative.
I had been of the view that most requests for assisted dying were due to a failure of good-quality palliative care. I was wrong — her palliative care was exemplary. However, in her last week she requested euthanasia.
On the one hand, I cannot put into words the stress of knowing my friend was dying at 1.30pm that Thursday. Equally I cannot put into words the relief that my friend was now at peace. I know that she was pleased to know my view had changed.
It is now clear to me that it is inevitable that UK law will change to enable a minority of people (at most 1 per cent of all deaths) to have a dignified death.
It is also true that the law must protect abuses.
Dr David Nicholl FRCP