Stop seeing death as failure
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