4 November 2021
from Anthony Silver
In your correspondent’s excellent article “Trusting the Police” he makes a very strong point in relation to the proposals for assisted suicide.
I am rather tired of the opponents of assisted suicide whose reasoning is that it will be abused etc. Anybody who has loved a pet and had to make that awful decision on assisting its End Of Life (EOL) knows that the sole concern is to try to make the timing right: too soon and there is some quality time lost, too late and the suffering is too much. Nevertheless no matter how good the timing you cannot help but blame yourself. In 2017 and 2018 I lost two beloved dogs, one to old age/stroke the other to stomach cancer and in each case I had to make that terrible decision. I can console myself that we got the timing about right, the end was dignified and extremely loving as both dogs were in my arms sitting on the grass with their family when they received their injection, and they were gone in the blink of an eye; nevertheless I am still wracked with guilt.
In 2019 I lost my Father. Although thoroughly compos mentis, he had lost his will to live and was ready to die; furthermore he became incapable of taking any nutrition. He was in the Hospital for 7 days before he died, for the first 3 x days the Consultant thought there was a chance he could pull through, and, while she did, she and her colleagues fought tooth and nail to try to get him to recover. Frankly he had had enough and he begged the Consultant, the doctors, nurses, and the EOL consultants to put him out of his misery.
They couldn’t. Instead they had to let him starve to death, and even in his weakened state it took him 4 days. Do not think that this is a rare occurrence; a friend of mine lost his Father in similar circumstances except that as he was far more healthy it took him longer to starve to death. If you don’t believe me ask someone who really knows.
So the alternative to a sensible, dignified and loving EOL is watching someone you love starve to death, or in the case of some forms of cancer the pain and agony which has to be endured before release finally happens.
Why do we as a culture allow this to happen? Because some politicians (yes the Archbishop of Canterbury is a politician) look into their own hearts and conclude that avarice rather than compassion might guide their actions. Of course there will be abuse, but only a complete idiot would use the actions of Wayne Couzens as a justification to abolish the authority of the Police? As Robert Kilconner says you need to keep your eye on it and tighten up procedures to ensure it doesn’t happen.