Letter: Death wishes

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Sir: It mystifies me that so much can be written about the problems of euthanasia with no mention of Advance Directives.

Doctors undoubtedly have a problem but surely this can be reduced if patients have arranged clear and precise details of their wishes. What possible right could medical people have to ignore this directive on the grounds of their own moral or religious conviction?

My father, at 83, was reduced by a stroke from a vital, intelligent man to a bedridden misery. Communication was not easy but there was no doubt he wanted to die. It was three years before he did so. He was utterly degraded.

For myself, approaching 70, with no relatives this side of the world and no desire to prolong my life in pain and disablement, what can I do? I carry an Advance Directive, copies of which are with a solicitor and my doctor, but what happens if I end up in hospital unconscious?

The medical scene is ultimately going to have to adjust to the idea that if they ignore an Advance Directive they may leave themselves open to legal sanctions.


St Andrews,