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'Audit steroid scripts in children'

From Dr David Garwood

Hornsea, East Yorkshire

I take issue with several points from Dr Fisher's Soapbox article ('Let's be honest on assisted dying', 5 November).

The 'sanctity of life' ­ preserving life at all costs ­ has never actually been a foundation stone.

The doctrine of double effect, performing an act with the aim of palliation even though death may occur sooner, has been an accepted part of Christian and other faiths for centuries, and part of British law since 1957.

Medical ethics is founded on autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice,

and not the sanctity of life.

Alluding to the pervasive fear of the fascist doctor hardly helps the debate; it was the abandonment of medical ethics to power and national pride that undermined the German medics of the 1930s and 1940s.

Doctors in the NHS are used to working under pressure. To suggest doctors should not deal with the sharp end of death and dying is ludicrous.

Taking a 'decisive and principled' opposition to a change in the law is all very well, but the real world has multiple shades of grey. The current law is unethical, unjust, and it needs to change.

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