UK experts: Assisted suicide legally possible

January 5, 2012

An independent panel of experts in the U.K. says there is a strong case for changing British law to help terminally ill people die.

In a report Thursday, the Commission for Assisted Dying described the legal status of assisted suicide in Britain as "inadequate and incoherent." It is illegal to help a terminally commit suicide, but prosecutions are rare. In 2009, the government's top prosecutor said most people who help terminally ill friends and family members die were unlikely to be charged.

The Commission said it would be possible to legally allow assisted suicide for terminally ill people under strict criteria: those who were at least 18 years old and who were making a voluntary choice free from or .

The experts called for additional safeguards should be legalized, including requiring patients to be seen by at least two doctors. The system would not let doctors administer a lethal dose but would give such medication to the patient to take when he or she chooses after the other criteria has been met.

"The Commission is not recommending that any form of euthanasia should be permitted," the report said.

Critics, however, say the commission was biased, and the British Medical Association refused to participate in the report. The commission is supported by Dignity in Dying and other advocates who favor changing the law.

One anti-abortion group labeled the report "a renewed attack" on disabled and elderly people.

"This is part of a thoroughly nasty strategy to convince the public that many want to die," Paul Tully of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said in a statement.

Explore further: Should we prepare for the end? New report calls for decriminalization of assisted dying in Canada

More information: Commission for Assisted Dying report: http://www.commissiononassisteddying.co.uk/

shares

Related Stories

Should we prepare for the end? New report calls for decriminalization of assisted dying in Canada

November 15, 2011
A report commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, and published today in the journal Bioethics, claims that assisted suicide should be legally permitted for competent individuals who make a free and informed decision, ...

Assisted suicide _ Canada revisits an old debate

December 5, 2011
(AP) -- Confined to a wheelchair, in constant pain and unable to bathe without help, a 63-year-old grandmother has forced the issue of assisted suicide into Canadian courts for the third time in two decades.

Attitudes toward end-of-life care: A survey of cancer patients and others in Korea

May 30, 2011
Attitudes toward end-of-life care for cancer patients vary, but most patients, family members, oncologists and members of the public are receptive to withdrawing futile life-sustaining treatments in people who are dying, ...

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.