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Let patients choose on assisted dying

Terminally ill patients have the right to choice at the end of their lives.

It seems contrary to the ethos of medicine that a doctor would have the right to inflict their views and beliefs on a patient.

Yes, of course, as doctors we offer advice to our patients, but let us not oppose the patient's right to choose.

Palliative care is about caring for the dying patient and their family and friends.

In the state of Oregon in the US where assisted dying is legal, almost all patients have come through palliative care. This has improved care and reduced the number of patients who have requested lethal medication.

In those countries in Europe that have legalised assisted dying, the debate has been strenuous but not acrimonious. It is the palliative care physicians who promote assisted dying as one of the options available to the terminally ill patient.

There is no evidence that these physicians are any less caring than doctors here in the UK. There is also no evidence to support the argument that assisted dying is the beginning of a slippery slope.

Professor Isky Gordon, Great Ormond Street Hospital

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