Letter: Safeguards in euthanasia

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The Independent Online
I FULLY understand Michael Platt's concern that legislation for voluntary euthanasia may mean a patient asking for release "in a moment of extreme pain or deep depression" (Letters, 28 January). This is why it is vital to include in safeguards a period of reflection by the patient so that the request is fully considered and stable. Such safeguards have been included in legislation introduced in Oregon and the Northern Territories of Australia. Provision has also been made for a psychiatric assessment should clinical depression be suspected.

However, patients are the final arbiters about the quality of their lives and they should have autonomy even at the very end.

John Oliver

The Voluntary Euthanasia Society, London W8

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