Thoughts on assisted suicide?

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) recently carried out a survey on assisted suicide. It was only open to their members, quite rightly as it will inform the policy of the RCN, but this restriction will result in a flaw in their research.

It is right that we have this debate – but it will only be worthwhile if we involve much broader opinion. There have been legal arguments in court about what will happen to people who assist suicide abroad. Is it right that terminally ill people have to travel abroad to get relief from a life that is painful and miserable?

Gordon Brown has come out against assisted suicide, but is it right that MP’s legislate for their own private convictions or should they only be allowed to represent the wishes of their constituents?

I have long held the belief that I should have the right to die with dignity and free from pain. No one has ever objected to people making the choice to end the lives of much loved pets but to help a person that we love to end their lives is illegal.

The most used argument against relies heavily on the premise that the right to die could be abused. Relatives may pressure people to die in order to inherit, or people may feel guilty for being a burden. I believe that effective regulation would prevent this.

If I were to get a diagnosis of dementia I would worry more about the pain inflicted on my wife (who would have to witness my suffering) than I would worry about dying myself. Furthermore the cost of nursing care, with no hope of recovery, would seriously impact on her quality of life.

These are my personal views and do not reflect any Institutional views and I very much look forward to hearing from you your opinions.



Photos fromFlickr creative commons (Click images) 

‘One day later’ : by Bolshakov

‘Solo la muerte puede salvarte de este mundo : Rodrigo Basaure

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on assisted suicide?

  1. Simon

    I read your post with a great deal of interest. I work for Dignity in Dying, who campaign for a change in the law. However, this change is restricted to terminally ill, mentally competent adults.

    Many people who have early onset dementia and people whose loved ones have dementia question why we only want to see a change in the law for mentally competent (and terminally ill) adults. The reason being, not withstanding our sympathy for people who find themselves in this position, assisted dying should only be a choice for the person who wishes to die, not somebody else. That said, I appreciate, for many this distinction is unhelpful – but I believe society has to balance individual choice with the wider protection of potentially vulnerable people.

    I agree with your demand for a much wider debate. If people feel strongly about this I would ask that they sign the following petition on the No. 10 website:

    With best wishes

    James (Harris)
    Dignity in Dying

  2. I have a sister who is terminally ill in a home, I see the stress is causes thier loved one and the undignified way to see your once intelligents loved ones deteriate.
    I do not want my children to see me like this and forever remain in thier memory as a wretched creature.

    The cost to the national health must be tremendous and would be better spent looking after the people who have a chance to recover.

    I visit my sister twice a week therefore the scenes are constantly in my mind.
    animals get better treatment than this. You should be allowed to make a living will and your wishes to me carried out.

Comments are closed.