Letter: A doctor's duty and a patient's right to die

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Sir: Your point on the case of Dr Cox (leading article, 21 December) that many terminally ill patients reach a stage where well-informed consent to euthanasia is impossible is well taken. But it provides an argument not against legalising euthanasia, but in favour of legislation permitting patients whose decision-making faculties are unimpaired to take control of their own deaths, perhaps in the form of 'living wills'.

Such legislation would also make less likely the sentencing of those doctors who, like Nigel Cox, do - in the face of our present law - what is in the circumstances the only decent thing to do.

Yours faithfully,


Fellow in Philosophy

St Anne's College


22 September