Health: Patients May Be Given Right to Die
Abrams, Fran, The Independent (London, England)
Terminally ill patients could be given the legal right to leave "living wills" asking for the right to die with dignity, the Lord Chancellor said last night.
Lord Irvine of Lairg said that while euthanasia would remain illegal, the Government was consulting on the legal status of living wills. This could allow people to say in advance how they want to be treated if they become incapacitated.
The consultation follows the death last week of Annie Lindsell, a sufferer from motor neurone disease who went to the High Court to ask for a doctor's assistance in dying. The court ruled that her GP could legally administer palliative drugs which could have the effect of shortening her life. Another high profile case was that of the Hillsborough victim Tony Bland, whose family went to court for the right to allow him to die. Lord Irvine said those suffering from a mental incapacity might also be helped by the move to clarify the law. "Medical advances mean that people are living longer, and more people are still alive while being unable to take key decisions about their future welfare. …