Thursday 02 October 2014


Fear of abuse

Any law permitting voluntary euthanasia would be liable to abuse because either:

  1. Relatives or others could collude with the doctor to murder the patient for financial gain or to be rid of a nuisance, or
  2. Patients could be, or could feel, pressured to ask for euthanasia when they really wish to go on living.

Answer 1: The possibility of collusion to murder a frail, elderly and perhaps fatally ill patient (or even to falsify the diagnosis) already exists. It would not be increased when voluntary euthanasia is legalised because of the requirement for a second independent medical opinion and a detailed report.

Answer 2: Legalised voluntary euthanasia would not be euthanasia on demand, but based on very careful medical assessment. Doctors would have to be satisfied that the patient's condition was, for the patient, intolerable. They would also be required to assess whether a patient's request was free as well as enduring. The open discussion among those concerned (significant others and health care workers) that would be part of this process would provide sound protection.

Further Points: