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Aged ill person
in bed
(Dieter_G, Pixabay)

Hand with drugs
Images, Pixabay)

(Lolame, Pixabay)

Aged ill person
in bed
(Dieter_G, Pixabay)

Winged Angels
(kellepics, Pixabay)

Aged ill person in bedAssisted Dying

This article argues for legalising Assisted Dying for terminally ill humans.
It is suggested you read it alongside this simple PDF by Dignity in Dying.


Assisted Dying
is a voluntary death using drugs supplied by a doctor.
It is not suicide, as this does not accurately reflect the process.
Dying people who want to control the manner and timing of their death are not suicidal.
Few countries have legalised it.
Hand with drugs graphic

Assisted dying is self-administered using doctor-supplied drugs

Euthanasia is a type of assisted dying where the death drug is administered by a doctor. It can be at the patient's request (e.g. because the patient can no longer move).
Even fewer countries have legalised this (e.g. Canada, Belgium, Netherlands).
However, many countries allow it under certain exceptional circumstances, for example when the person has been in a coma for many weeks; this can be called 'pulling the plug'.

Euthanasia - candles, syringe, mask on table
Euthanasia usually involves a lethal intravenous injection

If you have an animal that is terminally ill and in terrible pain or indignity, it is so normal to have that animal 'put to sleep' (painlessly killed).
This euthanasia is seen as humane and an act of compassion.

So why does the system (political, legal, medical) struggle so vehemently against this kind of possibility with terminally ill humans?
Especially when the human involved wants this option?
Especially when the human can personally administer the death drug?
Especially when the public hugely
(84%) support it?
Especially when the disabled (86%) support it?

The Case for Change

Dignity in Dying (accessed 31 May 2020) is a UK organisation that campaigns to legalise assisted dying. Its research shows that 84% of the public support the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill adults. Its campaign:-

  • Choice - over where we die, who is present and our treatment options.
  • Access - to expert information on our options, good quality end-of-life care.
  • Control - over how we die, our symptoms, pain relief and planning our own death.
Dignity in Dying believes that assisted dying for terminally ill adults with mental capacity should be legal in the UK. It supports a law which would give people who have six months or less to live the option to control the timing and manner of their death.
The law they want:

  • is for terminally ill, mentally competent adults
  • requires the dying person to end their own life by taking life-ending medication and does not permit another person to do it for them
  • has a waiting period to give dying people time to reflect on their decision
  • requires assessment by two doctors and oversight by a high-court judge
  • allows doctors to conscientiously object from being involved in the process
This is based on the Death with Dignity Act in Oregon, which has worked safely for over 20 years and has been adopted by many other American states such as California and Washington, as well as the Australian state of Victoria.

I think it is important to realise that 35% of patients who formally request assisted dying in Oregon do not take the life-ending medication. It is there as an option if their suffering becomes unbearable. This brings peace of mind, a 'good death' for them and those close. It gives them autonomy and frees them up to live a fuller life now.

It is also vital to be aware that undignified and painful death can happen despite the best palliative care. There are various uncontrollable and severe physical symptoms beyond pain which cause suffering and indignity, as well as the psychological suffering caused by loss of autonomy.

Aged ill person in bed
"Please let me die" [in German]

When assisted dying is legalised and added as another option in end-of-life care, palliative care flourishes. They complement one another improving transparency and honesty in all conversations.

Resources & Sources

By Country
Two giant winged angels above clouds

Also see:-

Assisted Dying Quotes

Success for Society - Death

Death & Immortality

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Page last updated: 7 April 2024.