Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Had a lecture of pallitative care and euthanasia today, wasn't a lecture in the traditional sense - more a couple of videos to try and get us thinking about the issue.

With regards to voluntary euthanasia I am in favour. Everyone accepts that we have a right to life, therefore we all have a right to die when we choose to. One of the physicians duty is to take into account patients wishes and there right to decide on a particular treatment/course of action.

From this I think it is logical to accept voluntary euthanasia is fully justified and morally ok, unfortunately the law in this country seems to need to catch up with what is right.


  1. Oh! Fuddled Medic, it is never that cut and dried!

    Many moons ago, I used to work in a rehab hostel for those that had been discharged into the community after the advent of the closing of psychiatric hospitals.

    Some would deliberatly self-harm. I understood the reasons for this. It was a method of controlling emotional pain and also provided a personal (control) of their own situation.

    Some would actively attempt suicide as they were released into a frightening world that was beyond their comprehension. I would always advise that if they felt this way, they would follow a path that enabled them to change their mind.

    One thirty or so year old man who I truly admired and respected, bridge jumped. I often think of him and wonder (dispairingly) if he changed his mind after the event. But there was no going back. The deed was done.

    I have never experienced exquisite emotional or physical pain and as such, my opinions are based on innocence/ignorance. Pallliative care v euthanasia - I cannot give a judgement.

    For those with a terminal illness; I cannot imagine the emotional involvement. But I strongly feel, that if we 'turn off the button' on demand, we began to lack humanity. We have begun to subscribe to death on demand. We are not given the opportunity to change our minds tomorrow after dragging ourselves from the depths of dispair.

    There again, a family member was denied diamorphine in a terminal illness (until the very last day) in the Shipman era. My thoughts were at that time were "Would we let a dog die like this?"

    Rethink this Fuddled Medic. 'Tis never so simple!

  2. I think generally the government should back off and let individuals do what they like as long as it doesn't harm others.

    If I ever do become a doctor, I don't think I could ever carry out euthanasia, or an abortion or anything like that, but I still think it should be available for those who want it.

  3. Hello, thanks very much for your comments. Grump Biomed you raise a very good point, being in favour of something does not necessarily mean you could carry it out.

    Nikita - you are right, things are never that simple. With regards to patients being in charge of taking decisions we assume that they have the mental capaicty to do so - but this is not necessarily the case. On reflection i wish I had put in an example, but your comment does that for me.

    Principles and Practice are very different things!