Intended for healthcare professionals


Commentary: Palliative care and assisted dying are not mutually exclusive

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 07 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k544
  1. Bobbie Farsides, professor of clinical and biomedical ethics, University of Sussex, UK
  1. B.Farsides{at}

Two decades ago, I argued that it was logically consistent to be a good palliative care doctor and to think that for some patients the best option would be a managed death.1

In working with practitioners, policy makers, and fellow academics committed to improving the care of dying patients, my observation was that orthodox top-down pronouncements on the idea of assisted dying were the norm, often with no dissent, challenge, or even examination.

I made no claims about whether it was time for change. Instead I wanted to challenge the silence around a question that health professionals were to a large degree avoiding.

This article led me to the eye of a storm I couldn’t have anticipated, with influential people calling for my …

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