|DEFENDING VULNERABLE PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO LIVE|
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Letter to the Daily Telegraph
Tuesday 9th July 2013
Dr Chai Patel, chairman of care home chain HC One, maintains that 'living wills' "should be expanded to give the dying a 'how, where and when' choice on their demise" ('Give the sick a say on how they die', Telegraph, July 9, 2013).
This sounds positive, until we remember that 'living wills' are all about individuals giving advance notice that they do not wish to be treated in the event of sickness. As such, we would be simply expanding a negative - does Dr Patel envisage patients signing legally binding documents stating that they want a lethal injection instead of being starved and dehydrated to death?
The reality of sickness and disability is that it is easier to give up and allow yourself to be killed than to make someone care for you. One would have thought that someone who is in the business of caring, like Dr Patel, would be aware of this sad fact. A 'living will' may sound like a sensible precaution when we are in good health, but in sickness it may become a death warrant.