Prosecution for assisting death is less likely if patients are not known to doctors

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 20 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6326
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1The BMJ

Doctors who help severely disabled or terminally ill people to end their lives are less likely to be prosecuted, under amended guidance issued by the director of public prosecutions (DPP), as long as the person who is helped to die is not the doctor’s own patient.

The change in the guidelines1 means that a doctor not currently caring for the patient but brought in to assist will be no more likely than a friend or family member to be prosecuted for aiding a suicide. Under the previous guidance, the fact that the helper was a health professional was a factor in favour of prosecution.

The DPP, …

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