Mercy Killing - Malice of intent
The articles in the present BMJ promoting the killing of patients (under all its methods) confounds the issue and confuses people. There is a real difference between palliative care - which is motivated to make a person's last days as comfortable and bearable as possible - and mercy killing - which is motivated to actively and consciously terminate a life. Both sets of proponents could be classed as caring people who want what they see as best for their patients. A palliative care doctor may hasten death by administering opiates to relieve pain but the intent is not to kill but to comfort. A similar scenario may (and does) play out with a euthanasia doctor but the intent here may also be to reduce suffering but with the intention to kill. The palliative care doctor does not have malice of intent.
It seems that the crucial issue is around quality control (are some lives more sacred than others and who can decide when a life "is not worth living?"). The elderly, frail, disabled and vulnerable are at high risk from such evaluations and the most valuable foundation of human society is violated - the right to have one's freedom and life protected and respected.
Competing interests: No competing interests