Euthanasia implies some lives have no worth, expert says

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Euroanaesthesia 2017 congress hosts physician-assisted suicide debate.

Legalising physician-assisted suicide would mean that society accepts that some individuals have lives that no longer have any inherent worth and meaning.

That’s according to Dr Calum MacKellar, the Director of Research of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, who joined Dr Nathalie Dieudonné-Rahm, senior consultant in anaesthesiology and palliative care at the Bellerive Hospital, University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland, to debate the subject of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) at Euroanaesthesia 2017 on Sunday.

“If the measure of a life is only related to happiness and pleasure, then everyone would have a life with a different value and worth,” Dr MacKellar said.

Dr Dieudonné-Rahm said, however, that there were a number of strong arguments for PAS included autonomy, justice, compassion, honesty, individual liberty and transparency. “Persons who have died by PAS have argued unremitting suffering, no prospect of recovery, isolation or fearing about being a burden to their family, but had no intention to harm society or relatives,” she added.

She acknowledged however that more regulations are needed in this area. “Frameworks and regulations are needed to help curb pressure on vulnerable people and healthcare professionals and to avoid the risk of a ‘slippery slope’ or other kinds of suicides,” Dr Dieudonné-Rahm said.

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