Intended for healthcare professionals

Re: Why I decided to provide assisted dying: it is truly patient centred care

I am deeply troubled that the BMJ should print a 3 page essay on a one sided opinion on Assisted dying and once again allows advertising from a pro Assisted Dying lobby group with full endorsement in it from senior BMA figures and yet claims to be representing the membership of British doctors. The BMA has not agreed to support this motion and should it ever do so I will leave immediately.

I believe in the sanctity of life. I have an aged relative and many similar patients who are blind, almost deaf and suffer from medical ailments, not wishing to burden their family as they can no longer be useful. They would fit the criteria for Assisted Dying with intolerable suffering but far from a lethal injection they need to be told of their intrinsic worth as a human being and assured of people who care to travel this journey with them. Palliative Care may not be good enough in many ways but we fail our patients most of all when we give up trying to alleviate suffering and Assisted Dying is the most feeble and pathetic of excuses for this.

I hear the argument of personal autonomy. Which of us chooses our cancer, our dementia, our degenerative diseases? Nor do we choose the time of our death but this one alone will surely come.

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 February 2019
Charlotte Y Spencer
Respiratory Consultant