Legalising assisted dying puts vulnerable patients at risk and doctors must speak up.

A Personal View BMJ 13 July 2013 Volume 347

If proposed legislation on assisted dying involves doctors, then we must make our reservations known, says Bill Noble

The US state of Oregon is the new model; but why should we take a moral lead on personal rights from a country without gun control, unwilling to ensure adequate healthcare for all its citizens?

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OPINION by Bill Noble

Back in 2013, rather than responding to previous BMJ articles on the subject, I wrote this to introduce some new and more strident arguments against the growing campaign to introduce an “assisted dying” bill.

It generated a rash of rapid responses by members of HPAD. I remain unsure whether the tone of the article advanced our cause, but from the responses, it certainly attracted interest and some vociferous language in return. I finished with the following paragraph:

“Yet the wish to have the blessing of a trusted doctor seems powerful within the movement to promote assisted dying. They want and need our approval. But any society that chooses legalised assisted suicide should at least own up to the process being a social and legal intervention rather than a medical one. If society is seeking the blessing of the medical profession for a system of assisted dying, we should be clear and open about our views both individually and collectively, no matter how diverse or inconvenient for the legislators”