” A Step Too Far? “

Assisted suicide has been a recurring subject in GrumbleSmiles ever since I wrote about it in my very first blog.   (See “LUCY DIED TODAY” by clicking in the ARCHIVE – MARCH 2010).

I have no doubt there is sincerity on both sides of the cases for and against.   I also imagine there is great personal tragedy behind many of the individual stories brought forward to support the argument for legalising assisted suicide.   They could have no better advocate than Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor.   He has a barrister’s certainty about the righteousness of his case and the political guile to manoeuvre his way through parliamentary legislation.

A few years ago he set up an “independent” group of people to review the issue.    Now he assures us that “the public” have lost confidence in the present law.    His next step is to pilot a bill through the House of Lords to legalise assisted suicide for terminally ill patients with less than a year to live.   However, in an interview with The Times, he talks about people who are terminally ill with “only just months or weeks to live”.

His subtle change of words betrays the manipulation behind his argument.   It is the beginnings of a step too far.   A diagnosis of terminal illness with 3 weeks to live is a lot more certain than a one year prediction.   The safeguard of having two doctors to certify the diagnosis is equally open to manipulation.   Dr Harold Shipman showed us the possibilities.

Doubtless over the years to come the current legal position will be softened further in favour of assisting the terminally ill to die.

This may be a right thing to do, but add in the “burden” elderly people are putting on the NHS and the next step will be for a lawyer to widen the definition of terminal illness to include dementia.

Then you are truly on the slippery slope with no turning back.    We may even be there already.    It would not be the first time the law has to catch up with reality, but it is a frightening prospect.

This entry was posted in Assisted Suicide, ELDERLY UK POLICY, HEALTH and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to ” A Step Too Far? “

  1. As one may point out a very difficult, and ethical problem. Society and the hippocratic oath, are delicate flowers and should not be abused or plucked at random to solve, or find a solution in such cases. The reality is even starker, ones loved ones, partner, husband, spouse, mother, father, or child who finds themselves facing the prognosis that life has to end, must come to terms firstly with thier loved ones. For the elderly one may have an assset other than love which may be coverteretted, and hence we have the ‘Gorgon’s head of snakes’ and the green eyed monster. There is no easy solution at all, and we all must meet our maker naked and with the acts of evil, kindness and revenge, as we had lived our lives. In this instance are we fit to judge others? I believe it is right we have rules of a society, and dignity in living. There may be the aurgument for stepping outside societial rules, and we appear before 11 just people, and face the consequences of our actions. Until faced with such a choice or decision, I have no idea how I will act, but I trust I may have the strength of charater to act in a compassionate way, with reverence, and belief in the end that My actions are accepted by my loved ones and that the 11 ‘Just people agree, also. The societial law may need a profound change, but I trust the hippocratic oath and compassion will not be thrown out with the bathwater, when considering such a complex and emotional subject, legally.

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