Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Laura Perrins: Our trust in doctors depends on their commitment to saving not ending life


No one has the right to turn our doctors into killers.

How many people who support assisted suicide have read the euphemistically named Assisted Dying Bill? Are they aware of how intimately involved doctors will become in the mechanics of assisted suicide. If not, they should take the time to do so.

This Bill will permit doctors to carry out the following acts involved in the final act of suicide.

The attending doctor of a person who has made a valid declaration may prescribe a lethal dose of drugs (called medicine in the Bill, but it is nothing of the sort) for a person to enable that person to end their own life.

But the Bill goes much further than permitting doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for a dying person (although this is bad enough). The doctor gets very, very, close to the act of administering the fatal drugs even though the Bill tries its hardest to sever him from the final act.

A doctor can, prepare that lethal dose of drugs for self-administration by that person to end his life.

A doctor can prepare a medical device which will enable that person to self-administer the medicine.

A doctor can assist that person to ingest or otherwise self-administer the medicine but (we are told) the decision to self-administer the medicine and the final act of doing so must be taken by the person for whom the lethal cocktail of drugs has been prescribed.

What this means in reality is that a doctor can set up a system so that all a patient has to do is push a button to administer a lethal dose of drugs to kill themselves.

So all that stands between our doctors becoming not just killing assistants but outright murderers is a button. Is this what we want?

Our trust in doctors stems from their total commitment to saving lives, not ending them.

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