Quality of care

With regard to W Graham Watson’s letter (22 July), I find it demeaning that some in our society can decide another person’s life is worthless and can therefore justify killing them.

While both sides of the euthanasia debate would never wish “to let some poor soul linger on in pain and misery” all humans have worth and dignity no matter their condition.

Killing them is not a dignified and merciful solution and we must never go down that road. Even those behind the legalisation of euthanasia in the Netherlands have warned the UK not to go there.

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Instead we must focus on a person’s quality of death. Ordinary care of a dying person should never be discontinued; this is a true sign of mercy, compassion and love of neighbour.

Meanwhile, it can be legitimate and in keeping with human dignity to use painkillers, even at the risk of shortening the patient’s life.

The crucial thing is that the use of such medications must not aim at bringing about death, either as an end in itself or as a means of ending pain.

Martin Conroy


East Lothian