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Naive to believe that legalising assisted dying is right option when we can still provide right care

letter of the day: euthanasia debate

I'm afraid Carrie Hynds (Write Back, November 17) is very naive in thinking that legalising medically assisted dying will ensure proper safeguards are put in place.

And she is equally naive in saying that only a small percentage would take up this option, in the light of the experience of other countries.

In the Netherlands and Belgium, rates are spiralling each year and safeguards are disappearing one by one, so that now children, depressed people, even those with OCD (none of whom are terminally ill) can be euthanised.

Worse still, doctors can now get away with doing it before even telling the family, which happened this week in the Netherlands. Involuntary euthanasia is also hugely increasing.

In another recent case, a lady had to be held down by relatives so the doctor could give the fatal injection. And in some US states, there are reports that insurance companies refuse cancer patients treatment, but offer them suicide pills. And, of course, legalising this would forever change the medical profession's ethos from doing no harm to engaging in the very opposite, which is why many doctors are alarmed.

In the past, laws were enacted "for the common good" - ie for the good of the greatest majority, knowing that it was impossible to legislate for every eventuality. Nowadays, with our more and more autonomous society, it seems laws can be changed at the request of whichever group shouts loudest, with dangerous and unforeseen consequences.

I have every sympathy with the lady whose story sparked off this debate again, as my own mother died with motor neurone disease. But changing this law would open up so many negative possibilities, I could not support it.

Far better to support hospice and palliative care services, as they are the ones who best give pain relief and support to those in greatest need.


Tandragee, Co Armagh

Belfast Telegraph

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