Assisted suicide

Assisted suicide raises considerable dilemmas, but pretending the issue doesn’t need addressing is futile.

I have reservations about the issue here in the UK, simply because I would expect there to be considerable abuse.

Unfortunately this country has become one in which large sections of Society believe they have an entitlement to everything and in a particular an entitlement to their parents money.

We also have a Government which shows scant regard for the old and infirm, seeking to create a Society in which Pensioners are viewed as scroungers and resourcehoggers. As evidenced by Gordon Brown and the 50p pension increase and the continued pumping of propaganda about how there are too many old people in Society relative to those of working age, with no coherent strategy, other than it would be far better for Society if the elderly slipped this mortal coil.

Religious moral views from the established church and catholic church, should hold no sway in the debate. These are the groups who view paedophilia as a slightaberration by a few of their priests, when evidence indicates this to be extremely common. Their views on suicide are as relevant as their views on sexuality.

The argument that medical staff would be put in to an complex situation, is one with which I do have sympathy. Undoubtedly there are many who would not wish to be involved in the stark choice of administering or providing drugs to kill someone. However, I would balance this with conflicting evidence. People are now dying in the UK because staff shortages, finances and time will not permit operations, or medication to be prescribed, leaving patients to die. Morphine is regularly prescribed as a painkiller for people in severe pain withincurable conditions. The morphine administered, as required, which is effectively administering a drug to assist with death. Life support machines are switched off, effectively ending a life. I can see no reason why medical staff are not able to opt-out of assisted suicide procedures.

To argue that this is counter to medical training is to obfuscate the truth. Every day Veterinary staff make these decisions.

Undoubtedly there should be safety valves and I would like to see a system in place, in which people desiring assisted suicide are permitted to do so under supervision, not to keep the State happy, but to ensure the State and family are not pressurising someone in to a decision they do not wish to make.

In much the same way that people sign up for organ donation, people should sign up for assisted suicide. This signature, not to be ongoing authorisation, but a confirmation that an individual would be prepared to consider assisted suicide at some point in their life. This would need to be registered at least a year prior to an intervention. The purpose of this registration, would be to ensure people were not being coerced at the last moment into making a decision.

Before the suicide, the individual would need to be in a medical ward, or hospice, where they can talk through their condition, the procedure and the options prior to undertaking the procedure, for a period of two weeks, prior to finally agreeing the procedure. All visits with the patient during this two week period to be accompanied visits, thereby minimising the risks of pressure being put on individuals. Representatives of the State, including Social workers, Mental health professionals and Police Officers being barred from visiting the individual during this two week period.

The state to have no rights or say in assisted suicide. ie. making decisions for those deemed mentally incapable, or otherwise incapacitated.

At the end of the two week period the individual to then make a decision and open visits to be resumed. If the individual decides they wish to continue with the procedure, that procedure to be administered with four weeks of that decision, at the time of the patients choosing. If the procedure is not administered with in that four weeks, then the individual to be taken out of the process for a period of six months before starting again with a two week assessment period.

These time frames are not intended to make assisted suicide a difficult procedure, but a way to protect the vulnerable from exploitation, which is my greatest concern.

I do not see any reason the procedure should preclude anyone from undertaking the procedure, on the proviso that they have registered at least twelve months prior to seeking medical assistance in their death.

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