Log In
Saturday 22nd October 2016

Euthanasia and assisted suicide

17th April 2009

Paquita de Zulueta, honorary senior clinical lecturer, Imperial College, London, offers a view on assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.


Assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are rarely out of the news as more people opt to end their lives with the help of Dignitas in Switzerland.

Patients, politicians, philosophers and journalists are expressing views with a growing demand for the law to be relaxed to allow people their right to die, or at least not be at risk of prosecution if they assist.

Views are often polarised. While the majority of the British public seem to want voluntary euthanasia available, doctors have indicated they are against it.

At present, in British law, there exists an “inalienable right” to deny others invasion of one's bodily integrity.

Those in the ‘pro’ lobby say that autonomy is seen as supreme in dictating the terms by which doctors should treat their patients, even if this includes giving them lethal medication.

Secondly, they argue that to deny people the "right to die" is cruel and inhumane.

The other side of the argument is primarily based on the premise that humans are independent social beings, sensitive to the needs of others.

Doctors generally feel that trust and the therapeutic relationship would be eroded if they were perceived as ‘empowered to kill’ their patients in certain circumstances.

Having listened to the arguments for many years, I favour the route that most doctors opt for and the one that honours the meaning of the word euthanasia – "helping individuals to achieve a peaceful and gentle death without recourse to lethal medication."


Share this page


There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Article Information

Title: Euthanasia and assisted suicide
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11036
Date Added: 17th Apr 2009



Recent Related Articles

Zika mosquito eggs found in UK

September heatwave to hit the UK

Poverty costing UK £78bn a year

UK's first double hand transplant a success


Add to scrapbook
Show Comments
Add comment
Find all related articles


Mayden - Innovative cloud-based applications for healthcare
© Mayden Foundation 2016