Assisted dying

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What should one do when faced with a horrific death? Mr Paul Brownsey suggests (Letters, 28 February) that one should either commit suicide before this takes place, as Guy Fawkes seemingly did, and assisted suicide should therefore be accepted or one should be forced to face the suffering which is, according to Mr Brownsey, inhumane.

This apparently means that assisted suicide must be the right choice in such a situation.

However, such reasoning implies that the concept of suffering is the principal factor in considering the value, worth and meaning of a life.

But this would also mean that no one, in society, is equal in value, worth and meaning since we all suffer in different ways and to different extents.

Moreover, if such inequality was accepted, what would the consequences be for modern 
society?

It should also be pointed out that no one should ever have to face such suffering at the end of their lives if they receive appropriate care since palliative services in Scotland are some of the best in the world.

(Dr) Calum MacKellar

Director of Research

Scottish Council on Human Bioethics

Edinburgh

I would have thought Nicola Sturgeon, as a former cabinet minister for health and wellbeing, would be aware of the concept of “patient-centred care” where practitioners view and respect a patient’s experience of illness from the patient’s own perspective. Instead, she insists on viewing assisted suicide from Nicola Sturgeon’s perspective only.

Patients suffering from a terminal illness should be provided with excellent palliative care but if they decide they still do not wish to continue the pain and discomfort they should be allowed to die with dignity and respect. It should be the terminal patient’s decision, not a politician’s or a doctor’s or nurse’s.

Whose life is it anyway?

Neil Sinclair

Clarence Street

Edinburgh

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