Much has been written about relaxing the law on euthanasia since the publication of Lord Falconer’s report proposing a change of the law on assisted suicide.
The report advocates allowing assisted suicide of terminally ill people, obviously with their considered consent and with certain safeguards – two doctors, a diagnosis of terminal illness within one year, the patient having the mental capacity to make the decision, a two-week cooling off period. These are stringent limits if they are applied. The argument in the case of relieving suffering and enabling someone to have a pain-free end to their life, is a strong and reasonable one.
My blogs on this subject have been rather more sceptical because I am fearful of the pressure there will be over time to loosen the safeguards. (See the TAG CLOUD and click on “The Slippery Slope”).
For the moment, let’s be open-minded and in a tongue and cheek way, let’s imagine we wanted to hasten the passing of a lot of old people.
The benefits would be:-
- A great many older people would be able to avoid a long drawn out, undignified and sometimes painful death. 🙂
- Many elderly carers would be relieved from putting themselves under great strain, often at risk to their own health. 🙂
- Families would be able to receive legacies rather than having their inheritance disappear in care costs. :-!
- The taxman would benefit from higher levels of revenue in Inheritance Tax. 😦
- Bed-blocking in the NHS would significantly reduce, especially if more people could be conveniently diagnosed with terminal illness at an early stage. 😦 😦
- Social Services costs would reduce dramatically as currently most of their money is spent on chronically ill elderly people. 😦
- Loneliness, isolation and depression amongst elderly people could be reduced if older people were shown an alternative to them being such a burden on society. 😦 😦 😦
If we are looking to save a lot of money, then a more “positive” approach to assisted suicide has many things to recommend it. It will, of course, all add to the pressure on older people to succumb to the “right decision”. Subliminal coercion is a pernicious disease. Nobody really has to make a decision, it just happens.
Which is precisely why we should not get on “The Slippery Slope” in the first place.