I have written several times about my apprehension with regard to the growing pressure in this country to ease the rules on assisted suicide. (See earlier posts by clicking on “The Slippery Slope” in the Tag Cloud).
Much is made of the Dutch experience, where Euthanasia has been legal since 2002. There are obviously occasions where this way of ending a life may be appropriate, and the Dutch have “safeguarded” this by ensuring that two doctors are required to authorise a lethal injection.
Now comes a worrying next step. Mobile Euthanasia teams who will visit you at home. It could seem like a compassionate service since most people would prefer to die at home. The Dutch Medical Association backs the idea because it acknowledges that “some lonely people could qualify if they have unbearable and lasting suffering”.
Each step along this path can be justified by reasonable argument, but where will it end.
Who is the doctor that will ride on this grim reaper hand cart ?
How long will it be before the service is provided by the local Funeral Directors assisted by an NVQ trained locum doctor ?
They could be preceded by ambulance chasing solicitors who could execute your last will and testament before you are executed on a no death – no fee basis.
I know there is virtue in assisted suicide with all the right counselling and support, and with certain regulation and safeguards. But regulation has not served the living elderly well in our hospitals, where you would think people would be more than adequately protected.
Frail and lonely older people in their own homes would be much more vulnerable to outside pressures. Relatives wishing to be relieved of caring duties, or with their eyes on the prize of a legacy; busy doctors who don’t have time to counsel, or just the elderly themselves believing they are becoming too much of a burden.