The Daily Telegraph

Palliative care limits

- Southam, Warwickshi­re

SIR – In response to Baroness Greythomps­on and her co-signatorie­s (“Palliative care access”, Letters, February 24), I am the first to agree that my sister’s death coloured my views on assisted dying; indeed, it changed my mind completely.

It did so because it proved that it is a myth that excellent palliative care – which my sister received – can alleviate all suffering. The propagatio­n of this myth does a grave disservice to those in Britain dying of terminal illness, who will continue to suffer unnecessar­ily until the law on assisted dying is changed.

Elizabeth Atherton


SIR – Dr Steven R Hopkins (Letters, February 27) discusses care-home patients who are prescribed lifeprolon­ging drugs without any regard for their quality of life.

My mother suffered from dementia but was physically quite strong. For a long time she was unable to recognise me and was losing her powers of speech; but if she had an infection she was given antibiotic­s or, as once happened, sent to hospital, which was a very confusing experience for her.

Eventually I managed to speak to her doctor, who told me to write to her care home requesting that she should not receive treatment if she became unwell. This I did, arguing that her life was being extended even though its quality was poor – but it felt like writing a death sentence. A short time after, she passed away peacefully.

I dread ending my life as she did, and would hope to have a choice. But with dementia, how is that possible?

M A Midgley

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom