Letter : Daughter killed by paracetamol

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Sir: Unfortunately, Sir David Carter does not have the answer to deliberate self-poisoning. It is widely recognised that removing the method simply has at best only a transient effect on the number of people attempting suicide. They will simply turn to something else.

Fortunately, over 30 million people each year in the UK use paracetamol safely and properly, with only a tiny minority using it for overdose, and even then over 99 per cent recover completely. With many other medicines fatal in overdose, death ensues far more rapidly than with paracetamol.

Sir David Carter, as a liver surgeon, comes into contact with the small number of people who do suffer liver failure and perhaps his response is natural, but while his suggestions would have the effect of removing those patients from his liver unit, they would simply overdose on something else and it is highly likely they would end up in the morgue instead.

Dr GEOFFREY BRANDON

Paracetamol Information Centre

London SE1

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