Letter: An age-old burden 'baby-boomers' should be prepared to carry

Sir: Angela Lambert, in her vision of a national network of euthanasia committees to sanction the killing of the frail and dependent elderly ('Killing them with kindness', 8 September), gives us a chilling example of how today's generation of 'baby- boomers' come to terms with old age.

None of the cases she cites would qualify for a 'merciful release', even on her terms; they are suffering because neither their families nor the state are prepared to invest the time and money required to make them comfortable.

I do not question her concerns about the quality of life of desperately ill old people. What alarms me is that behind these noble sentiments lies a wish to remove them because they are a burden to others.

It is precisely because the high ideals of mercy killing can so easily be contaminated with such base, self-interested motives that euthanasia must remain unlawful.

Yours sincerely,


Professor of Psychiatry for

the Elderly

University of Leicester