Day 6: UK Assisted Dying Debates Go On. And On. Again.

Top doctor says people who are dying need equivalent of midwives to help ease, and possibly end suffering and pain
Denis Campbell, The Guardian (July 1, 2014)

 

My work as a palliative care nurse inspired me to write The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying – I welcome Prof John Ashton’s call for end-of-life midwives
Bronnie Ware, The Guardian (July 3, 2014)

 

Terry Pratchett, Discworld author, diagnosed in 2007 with Alzheimer’s, has announced that ‘the Embuggerance is finally catching up with me’
Alison Flood, The Guardian (July 2, 2014)

Throughout this past week a series of news articles appeared in The Guardian newspaper about end-of-life decision making and assisted dying in the UK.

One of the very first posts that I ever wrote for the Death Reference Desk was on assisted dying in the UK. Over the past five-years, I’ve written countless variations on that same post. Again and again.

During the coming 31 Days of Death, I’ll spend time focusing on some of the specific reasons for the UK debate.

This week saw the coming together of different but related events. Professor John Ashton, who is president of the Faculty of Public Health in the UK stated that individual’s should be helped to die if and when they’ve decided a terminal condition is no longer worth fighting. This led Bonnie Ware, a Palliative Care Nurse, to say that she agreed and that more people should pay attention to the growing Death Midwife movement.

The entire week was capped off by author Terry Pratchett saying that he couldn’t attend an event in his honour because his Alzheimer’s Disease was finally stopping him. Pratchett personally entered the UK’s assisted dying debate in 2010 when he called for the creation of a tribunal to review a person’s request to end their life.

More on this in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I recommend checking out The Guardian’s assisted dying page, the Death + The Law page here on the Death Reference Desk, and our Bioethics tag.

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