Intended for healthcare professionals


“Right to die”: Legal view of right to life and death could threaten philosophy of palliative care

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 09 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1388
  1. John C Chambers, medical director (
  1. Katharine House Hospice, Adderbury, Oxfordshire OX17 3NL

EDITOR—Grayling claims that the “right to life” means quite a rich life; withholding treatment with death as the result and giving treatment that causes death are indistinguishable; and death is the ultimate analgesic.1 Grayling also implies that the double effect is widely abused.

The EC Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms protects against intentional deprivation of life.2 Quality of life is not mentioned, and terminating …

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