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Views And Reviews

Why I’ve changed my views on assisted dying

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 03 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3566

Re: Why I’ve changed my views on assisted dying

Dr. David Nicholl's views on assisted dying and his change of opinion about euthanasia is as relevant as that of most of his opposing colleagues (1). It is significant that palliative care doctors, who treat terminally ill patients, are against euthanasia (2)
Why do we need a law of euthanasia? Fabienne Vanheuverbeke committed suicide with the help of a doctor (1) but she could have done so without his help and without having to involve the medical profession.
To introduce assisted suicide, it would be better to contract trained executioners, without involving doctors. Our profession is not meant to kill but to help die. We doctors value human life with functional limitations, and we do know that loss of functional autonomy does not lead to loss of dignity (3).

(1). David Nicholl. Why I’ve changed my views on assisted dying? BMJ 2017;358:j3566
(2). Bridge D. Palliative care, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. MJA Insights 2017: 10 / 20 March 2017. Accesed in
(3). Krahn GL. Reflections on the debate on disability and aid in dying. Disabil Health J. 2010 Jan;3(1):51-5.

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 August 2017
Monedero Pablo
Intensive care anaesthetist
Clínica Universidad de Navarra
Pio XII, 36. 31008 Pamplona (SPAIN)