Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Assisted dying debate

Missed opportunity to advance debate on assisted dying

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 05 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4221
  1. Jan L Bernheim, professor emeritus of medicine1
  1. 1Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  1. jan.bernheim{at}

In his review of Terry Pratchett’s documentary on assisted dying O’Neill focused on caregivers’ feelings.1 From experience, I can confirm that caregivers and loved ones often try to dissuade patients from euthanasia. However, I submit that caregivers’ feelings are a secondary concern because patients’ feelings should count for more than caregivers’. As for families, evidence from the Netherlands is reassuring: on average, bereavements …

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