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Bill would allow terminally ill to die with dignity

Published 17/09/2015

The rejection of the Assisted Dying Bill is depressing. As onlookers, albeit intimately involved whether as family members, GPs or hospice staff, we shall never be able to accurately measure the suffering of others. Our assessments will be subjective.

Many was the patient whose suffering towards the end of life (pain and anxiety, in particular) demanded treatment, such as heroin, but in adequate doses that one also realised it would hasten death - the so-called "double effect".

This was discussed openly with the patient and the family and on the basis of that discussion it was agreed that the alleviation of suffering, physical and mental, was of prime importance and that death would be the ultimate relief.

Of course, there have to be safeguards to ensure that the right to die is not abused (and these have been well included in the Assisted Dying Bill).

But, ultimately, what right have we, who will never fully comprehend and feel the suffering of others, to deny people who are terminally ill the relief of that suffering by allowing them to die in peace and with dignity?


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