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Extend the use of common sense in law re: assisted suicide to include euthanasia

Comment 22nd July 2010

There exists an underworld of victims of crime and accidents that are being kept alive in the UK despite being 'clinically brain dead'/'in a vegatative state'. In SOME cases, not all, they are kept alive despite overwhelming evidence that relatives and medical professionals feel this is not the best choice for the patient, that the patient has no quality of life; and, in a lot of cases, is causing the patient pain that is immeasureable because of their condition. These are the kind of issues considered by authorities in Switzerland regarding euthanasia. The UK has started to use common sense in assisted suicide cases – this has not been extended to euthanasia. There are a range of individuals and groups in the UK who have tried to have a voice, are experts on the subject, and vie with the Media to get the facts printed. A debate in the public arena would help improve awareness about disabiity caused by brain damage as well as inform a move towards putting euthanasia back on the table for consideration by politiicians.

Why does this matter?

The law needs to protect vulnerable individuals – this doesn't necessarily equate to preserving life. There is an inconsistency with the way we treat vulnerable human and vulnerable animals with traumatic brain damage. This group of individuals – while thankfully small – is unable to voice concern. Considering deploying common sense with regards to euthanasia gives the UK the opportunity to:

  • potentially give someone in pain respite
  • give carers a choice about how they treat loved ones/patients who have lost the ability to 'voice an opinion'. Currently the only options available are to withhold food/fluids
  • treats humans as equals to other animals
  • opens a sensible debate that is not media-led
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