Letter: Anyone can choose to die. The question is: with how much dignity?

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The Independent Online
The lessons of the latest developments in voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are not as suggested by Ann Treneman ("21st-century way of death?", 29 September). Death with dignity (like birth with dignity) can be a reality rather than a slogan if the demand for it is supplied in a dignified way. At the moment, dignity is threatened not so much by the medical people involved as vested political and religious interests, cheered on by the media.

The right to die (like the right to live) can be a genuine choice if it is made available, with proper safeguards, to those who want it. The claim that it is doctors rather than patients who make the choice could be applied to all kinds of medical treatment. Ann Treneman may not like the way the choice is made; that is her business. The patients of Philip Nitschke and Jack Kevorkian make their choice; that is their business.

An increasing number of people want such a choice. Like Bob Dent, I face a lingering, painful death; if I choose an earlier and easier one, and ask for medical help in doing so, that is my business. Ann Treneman wants the issues discussed; rational and realistic discussion is not helped by distortion and sensation.

Nicolas Walter

London N1

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