Stop see­ing death as fail­ure

Harefield Gazette - - YOUR SAY -

I AGREE with Janet Mor­ri­son’s let­ter “Talk­ing openly about death” (Gazette, Au­gust 29) in which she calls for more open­ness on the sub­ject. She wrote that many adult chil­dren don’t like their par­ents to talk about death, even though older peo­ple of­ten want to dis­cuss their fi­nal wishes.

I think that ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients who re­quest it should be al­lowed to have a doc­tor-as­sisted death, as long as safe­guards are in place. It seems un­ac­cept­able to ar­ti­fi­cially keep a dy­ing pa­tient alive against their will. 27 se­nior doc­tors in Bri­tain, in­clud­ing 11 present and former pres­i­dents of Royal med­i­cal col­leges, have called for this as­sisted dy­ing.

Doc­tors in­ter­vene in all stages of life – per­form­ing heart trans­plants and IVF – so why can’t they use their skills to bring about a peace­ful death at the end of life if re­quested.

Pal­lia­tive care is said by ex­perts to need an over­haul as some pa­tients still die in great pain. Around 82% of the UK pop­u­la­tion are said to support as­sisted dy­ing. Of course, no one should have an as­sisted death if they don’t want it.

Most of us have seen pets pain­lessly and peace­fully put to sleep when they are suf­fer­ing. In­creas­ing numbers of coun­tries now al­low doc­tor-as­sisted dy­ing, in­clud­ing six US states and the state of Vic­to­ria in Aus­tralia.

Many peo­ple don’t want ‘life at any price’ and would en­joy their lives more if they didn’t have the fear that they may one day suf­fer a long, painful and undig­ni­fied death.

We must stop see­ing death as al­ways be­ing a fail­ure and lis­ten to the pa­tient’s wishes. Politi­cians, le­gal ex­perts and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als speak on this – but no one seems to ask the pa­tient! Name and ad­dress sup­plied

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