Saturday 1 August 2009

Powerful letters on assisted suicide appear in today's Telegraph

A pithy letter from Alison Davis (pictured) who has "many disabling conditions" is the first of three powerful letters in the Telegraph today on the implications of Thursday's Law Lords' judgment in favour of assisted suicide in the case of Debbie Purdy. Alison Davis writes:

" ... I once wanted to die and at that time doctors thought I did not have long to live. It took 10 years for me to change my mind. If the Purdy judgment had been in place then, I would have chosen the Dignitas route. No one would have known that the doctors were wrong in thinking my life expectancy short. I would have missed the best years of my life."
A long-serving healthcare manager from London writes: " ... Policies and procedures will be drawn up to 'structure' the decision to say goodbye to granny, and 'pathways' will be designed to provide a 'template' for the gruesome mechanics of her killing ... "

And the Revd Dr Lida Ellsworth, a hospital chaplain from Derbyshire writes, referring to the Royal College of Nursing's new "neutral"on assisted suicide: "To allow a situation in which people are implicitly encouraged to end their own lives prematurely is both cruel to them and corrupting to us."

Last Thursday all five law Lords agreed to Ms Purdy's demand that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should publish a policy setting out the factors that will be taken into account when deciding whether to prosecute people for assisting suicide. SPUC intervened in the case and we intend to make a representation to the DPP on this policy. SPUC will also be lending support to conscientious doctors and nurses who oppose assisted suicide.

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