Intended for healthcare professionals


Assisted dying and the RCP poll: what do The BMJ’s readers think?

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 20 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l787

Read our collection of articles on assisted dying

  1. Richard Hurley, features and debates editor
  1. The BMJ
  1. rhurley{at}

Recent articles on assisted dying, and the current poll by the Royal College of Physicians, closing 1 March, have generated much interest on, finds Richard Hurley

A few weeks ago the Canadian palliative care doctor Sandy Buchman documented how he personally decided to provide euthanasia to his patients,1 provoking a slew of responses on

Among several critical reactions was one from Williard Johnston, a family physician and assistant professor in Vancouver, who worried about “already intense social pressure” to widen the eligibility criteria for the Canadian regime “to include euthanasia of children, healthy disabled, cognitively impaired [through advance directives], and mentally ill [people].”2

The Canadian Medical Association’s stance of neutrality was the topic of a commentary by its vice president Jeff Blackmer.3 But Johnston had a warning cry for other countries: “Few Canadian doctors foresaw that ‘going neutral’ would guarantee the …

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