Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Readers Respond

What readers thought about The BMJ’s articles on assisted dying

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 09 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1558
  1. Birte Twisselmann, editorials and obituaries editor
  1. The BMJ
  1. btwisselmann{at}

The strongest argument against assisted dying, among more than 90 responses from readers to our recent cluster of articles (, was that under no circumstances should doctors intentionally kill patients. Eunice Minford, consultant surgeon in Northern Ireland, quoted Elizabeth Butler-Sloss: “The law . . . rests on the principle that we do not involve ourselves in deliberately bringing about the deaths of others. Once we start making exceptions based on arbitrary criteria such as terminal illness, the frontier becomes just a line in the sand, easily crossed and hard to defend.”1

Assisted suicide might also be open to abuse, some readers thought. Barry Cullen, retired GP from Fareham, Hampshire, asked, “Would there be the same level of support for physician assisted suicide if it were introduced as a cheaper alternative to palliative care in an NHS already starved of resources?”2 …

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