Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Assisted dying – the debate: Videtur… sed contra

  • Philip Graham and Julian C. Hughes
Summary

Should the law be changed to allow health professionals to assist mentally competent, terminally ill people to end their own lives? In this article Philip Graham (P.G.) puts the arguments in favour of such a change in the law and Julian Hughes (J.H.) opposes these arguments. J.H. then sets out why he believes such a law should not be passed and P.G., in turn, sets out counterarguments. Before concluding comments, both P.G. and J.H. independently make brief closing statements supporting their own positions.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  1. Understand the differences between various types of ‘assisted dying’.
  2. Appreciate some of the ethical arguments in favour of and against changes in the law on assisted dying in the UK.
  3. Understand some of the empirical data involved in arguments about assisted dying.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Assisted dying – the debate: Videtur… sed contra
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Assisted dying – the debate: Videtur… sed contra
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Assisted dying – the debate: Videtur… sed contra
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor Julian C. Hughes, Ash Court, North Tyneside General Hospital, Rake Lane, North Shields, Tyne and Wear NE29 8NH, UK. Email: julian.hughes@ncl.ac.uk
Footnotes
Hide All
a.

Videtur… sed contra translates roughly as, ‘It seems … but alternatively’, and was a formula used for the presentation of arguments in philosophy in the Middle Ages.

Legislative and judicial aspects of this subject will be considered in Welsh SF (2014) Crossing the Rubicon? Legal developments in assisted suicide. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 20, in press. Ed.

Declaration of Interest

P.G. has no interestto declare, apart from the fact that he is 81 years old and, unless legislation along the lines he advocates here is passed fairly soon, he will not live to benefit from its provisions. J.H. gives financial support to the organisation Care Not Killing.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Broeckaert, B, Claessens, P, Schotsmans, P et al (2011) What's in a name? Palliative sedation in Belgium. Reply to Chambaere et al. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 41 (6): e2e5.
Clery, E, McLean, S, Phillips, M (2007) Quickening death: the euthanasia debate. In British Social Attitudes: The 23rd Report – Perspectives on a Changing Society (eds Park, A, Curtice, J, Thomson, K et al): 3554. Sage.
Commission on Assisted Dying (2011) Report of the Commission on Assisted Dying. Demos.
de Diesbach, E, de Loze, M, Brochier, C et al (2012) Euthanasia in Belgium: 10 Years On (Dossier of the European Institute of Bioethics). European Institute of Bioethics.
Director of Public Prosecutions (2010) Policy for Prosecutors in Respect of Cases of Encouraging or Assisting Suicide. Crown Prosecution Service.
Effting, M (2011) Voor het eerst in Nederland euthanasie op zwaar dementerende patiënte [For the first time in the Netherlands euthanasia of severely demented patient]. Volkskrant, 9 Nov.
Emmett, C, Poole, M, Bond, J et al (2013) Homeward bound or bound for a home? Assessing the capacity of dementia patients to make decisions about hospital discharge: comparing practice with legal standards. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 36: 7382.
Finnis, J (1983) Fundamentals of Ethics. Clarendon Press.
Finnis, J (2005) Assisted Dying for the Terminally III Bill [HL]: Vol II: Evidence. TSO (The Stationery Office).
Ganzini, L, Dobscha, S, Heintz, R et al (2003) Oregon physicians' perceptions of patients who request assisted suicide and their families. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 6: 381–90.
Ganzini, L, Goy, ER, Dobscha, SK (2008) Prevalence of depression and anxiety in patients requesting physicians' aid in dying: cross sectional survey. BMJ, 337: a1682.
Graham, P (2011) Assisted suicide: two sides to the debate. British Journal of Psychiatry, 198: 492–3.
Greener, H, Poole, M, Emmett, C et al (2012) Value judgements and conceptual tensions: decision-making in relation to hospital discharge for people with dementia. Clinical Ethics, 7: 166–74.
Hotopf, M, Lee, W, Price, A (2011a) Assisted suicide: why psychiatrists should engage in the debate. British Journal of Psychiatry, 198: 83–4.
Hotopf, M, Price, A, Lee, W (2011b) Assisted suicide: two sides to the debate. Authors' reply British Journal of Psychiatry, 198: 493.
House of Lords (2013) Assisted Dying Bill [HL Bill 24, 55/3]. TSO (The Stationery Office.
Joffe, J (2004) Assisted Dying for the Terminally III Bill [HL]: Vol II: Evidence. TSO (The Stationery Office).
Jones, DA (2011) Is there a logical slippery slope from voluntary to nonvoluntary euthanasia? Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 21: 379404.
Keown, J (2002) Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation. Cambridge University Press.
Kmietovicz, Z (2002) R.E.S.P.E.C.T – why doctors are still getting enough of it. BMJ, 324: 11–4.
McAndrew, S (2010) Religious faith and contemporary attitudes. In British Social Attitudes: 2009–2010. The 26th Report (eds Park, A, Curtice, J, Thomson, K et al): 87113. Sage.
McCormack, R, Clifford, M, Conroy, M (2012) Attitudes of UK doctors towards euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: a systematic literature review. Palliative Medicine, 26: 2333.
Office for National Statistics (2012a) Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales. ONS.
Office for National Statistics (2012b) National Bereavement Survey (VOICES), 2011. ONS.
Onwuteaka-Philipsen, BD, Brinkman-Stoppelenburg, A, Penning, C et al (2012) Trends in end-of-life practices before and after the enactment of the euthanasia law in the Netherlands from 1990 to 2010: a repeated cross-sectional survey. Lancet, 380: 908–15.
Oregon Health Authority (2013) Oregon's Death with Dignity Act – 2013. Oregon Health Authority (http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Documents/year16.pdf). Accessed 24 Apr 2014.
Park, A, Clery, E (2008) Assisted Dying and Decision Making at the End of Life. National Centre for Social Research (http://www.natcen.ac.uk/media/3046/assisteddying-and-decision-making.pdf). Accessed 24 Apr 2014.
Re T (adult: refusal of medical treatment) [1992] 4 All ER 649.
Royal College of Psychiatrists (2014) Miscellaneous College Policies: Assisted dying. Royal College of Psychiatrists (http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/policyandparliamentary/miscellaneouscollegepolicies/assisteddying.aspx). Accessed 24 Apr 2014.
Seale, C (2009a) End-of-life decisions in the UK involving medical practitioners. Palliative Medicine, 23: 198204.
Seale, C (2009b) Legalisation of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide: survey of doctors' attitudes. Palliative Medicine, 23: 205–12.
van Delden, JJM (2004) The unfeasibility of requests for euthanasia in advance directives. Journal of Medical Ethics, 30: 447–52.
Walton, J (1994) Medical Ethics: Select Committee Report. Hansard House of Lords Debate. 9 May 1994; Vol. 554, cc1344412.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 1355-5146
  • EISSN: 1472-1481
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 11 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 74 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 15th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Assisted dying – the debate: Videtur… sed contra

  • Philip Graham and Julian C. Hughes
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *