Terminally-ill people must have right to hasten end of their life
GEORGE Martin is an 86-year old-man from Nottinghamshire. He was recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and requires 24-hour care.
Mr Martin made the decision a while ago that he wants to die – he feels that he has lived a good life and that it is time for him to go. However, the Suicide Act, passed in 1961, makes this impossible – anyone who assisted Mr Martin in his suicide would be breaking the law and would face punishment.
Two weeks ago, Mr Martin made the decision to stop eating, as he feels that the only way the law will allow him to die is by starvation.
This law has been re-assessed frequently as more and more people call for it to be changed, however there are fears that if the law, which has been changed in the US, was changed here there would be more than 1,000 deaths by euthanasia per year.
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Is there really anything wrong with that? Personally, I see no problem in allowing people to die as long as there are strict guidelines – of course, the change of law should never be abused, for example, to allow someone who is healthy but does not feel as though their life is worth living, to die.
If the guidelines stated that only terminally-ill patients could receive euthanasia, I see no issue.
A further guideline should perhaps consider time – if a person is not in pain and has been diagnosed with perhaps more than a year of life remaining, they should not receive euthanasia, as surely there is still some hope that they will find happiness.
If a person has been given more than a year to live, but is in great pain, is there any point in prolonging their life?
If people are being reduced to starving themselves in order to end their suffering, then something needs to be done. If someone's quality of life is so bad that they feel there is no point in continuing, knowing that they will die sooner rather than later, they should be able to make that decision.
Everyone should have control of their own fate and, as long as a person is old enough, they should be allowed to choose when they die if they are terminally ill – perhaps regardless of family wishes?
A family may be selfish in wanting to hold on to someone they love, even if that person is in pain. As long as guidelines are carefully adhered to, and doctor's recommendations given, I think this law should be changed.