Let doctors use drugs to help terminally ill patients die.
Prof John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health Liverpool, calls for a change in the law so that doctors caring for people who are dying can end their sufferingBy Keith Perry:Edited by:- S.W.T.Read
A leader of Britain’s medical profession has said doctors should be able to help terminally ill patients end their lives days or weeks before they die.
Prof John Ashton, President of the Faculty of Public Health, called for a change in the law so that doctors caring for people who are dying can end their suffering by giving a lethal dose of drugs to those who want it without the risk of prosecution.
The professional equivalent of midwives should be provided for terminally ill patients to help ease the pain and suffering and if necessary shorten the end of their lives, Prof Ashton said.
He is the most senior doctor yet to publicly back patients' right to die.
On assisted dying, he said: "All over the country people are spending their last days and weeks in major discomfort and pain because their medical carers are not willing to accept that it's the end of the line and to give them the necessary sedation to just speed things up a bit."
Just as midwives help babies come into the world, some terminally ill patients in pain may seek the help of a health professional to end their life. "We have midwives; we need an equivalent of a midwife at the end of life," he said.
A radical idea,no, commonsense, compassionate and logical, yes.