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Why should doctors override patients’ wishes on assisted dying?

13 July 2013

12:54 PM

13 July 2013

12:54 PM

I chaired the Steering Committee of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying (HPAD). This group was co-founded by an immensely brave and visionary general practitioner, Ann McPherson, when she was seriously ill with pancreatic cancer.

She was outraged that the so-called representative bodies of the medical profession such as the BMA and the Royal College of Physicians overrode both public opinion (80 per cent in favour, 75 per cent of those with religious beliefs) and the views of 30-40 per cent of their members, by opposing legalisation of physician-assisted dying for terminally ill people with unendurable symptoms.

Anyone who believes that good palliative care renders such a law unnecessary should read the account of Ann’s death (written by her daughter Tess, herself a hospital consultant). It makes harrowing reading.

GoveThis is an extract from Raymond Tallis’ diary in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.

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