Jeffrey Spector. He has reignited the ongoing debate on euthanasia and assisted dying in the UK. Reading the Telegraph article it is clear that he took his decision after long and careful thought. He had taken much time and effort to educate himself about his condition. He chose to insist on his autonomy and to take control of his life and death.
According to the Telegraph on line poll 86% of respondents believe we should all have that choice. Inevitably there are those who disagree. The BMA, succinctly described recently by Dr Rant as "as much use as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest", are firmly opposed to the concept of assisted dying. The GMC are a little less dogmatic, stating only "our guidance in Good Medical Practice is clear that doctors must adhere to the law" The implication being that if the law changed they might go along with it.
But there are those so opposed they would deny patients their autonomy for the sake of their own philosophy, even claiming that those who wish to end their lives do not know their own mind. Dr Peter Saunders, who was not in any way involved with Mr Spector's care has been quoted as saying "“This tragic case illustrates the dangers of legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia in Britain.
“The vast majority of people with cancer or quadriplegia (which was a
risk but not a present reality for this man) actually do not wish to
kill themselves but rather want support and care to go on living as
comfortably as possible for as long as possible”.
What an extraordinarily arrogant and paternalistic statement. And, I believe, untrue. Dr Saunders also employs the classical "bait & switch" ploy, equating voluntary assisted dying with involuntary euthanasia, which he claims would be an inevitable development if the law was changed. Indeed on this website in his first paragraph opposing assisted dying he pulls a Godwin.
Dr Saunders is an evangelical christian, as is clear on the website. This fact, for me, raises a question. Why is it that those most opposed to assisted dying are those who believe most strongly in a better afterlife?