Sound principles

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Dr Alan Rodger (Letters, 9 January) is quite right that “the terminally ill can be cared for with dignity and solace and comfort”. And so they should be. But sometimes this does not happen, or occasionally it is just impossible to relieve patient distress.

Just a few patients with a terminal or life-shortening condition and who are suffering intolerably – perhaps 100 a year if Scotland turns out to be like Oregon with similar legislation – may need the option for an assisted death at a time, and in a place, and with whom they choose.

This is exactly what Margo MacDonald’s bill is seeking to achieve, with the appropriate safeguards against abuse.

Given that in survey after 
survey more than two thirds of the public support changing the law, one would hope our representatives in the Holyrood parliament will vote accordingly.

With good will, there is still plenty of time for the bill to be amended in the light of comments that are emerging from the Justice Committee, but the principles are surely sound.

(Prof) Charles
Warlow

Chair, Doctors for 
Assisted Suicide

South Gray Street

Edinburgh