International

Doctors group in Scotland refuses to participate in assisted suicide if legalized

Scotland

A group of more than 30 junior doctors in Scotland has signed a letter affirming their opposition to a push by MSP Liam McArthur to legalize assisted suicide in the country. In their letter, the doctors urge Parliament to vote against assisted suicide and say that they will refuse to participate if it is allowed.

According to Christian Today, the letter was co-authored by Christopher Marshall, a palliative care doctor, and Ed Tulloch, a trainee general practitioner (GP). They pointed out that many people choose to die by assisted suicide because they are lonely or fear they are a burden on others — not because they are in such unbearable pain that they can’t go on.

We acknowledge that patients who are dying may have many fears and worries surrounding pain, loneliness, and even to the process of dying itself. All this can strain relationships . . . In Oregon, USA, where assisted suicide is legal, 59 percent of people opting for assisted suicide in 2019 mentioned the fear of being a burden on family, friends, or caregivers as a factor in their decision.

As Live Action News has previously reported, multiple reports support the claims that Marshall and Tulloch are making. One study out of Ireland found that 72% of people who wished to die changed their minds after a period of time. The study found that depression and loneliness in the participants were key components of their initial desire to die, but when these were alleviated, those people had a greater will to live.

READ: Scotland proposal hails cost benefits of assisted suicide while allowing Zoom consultations

Marshall and Tulloch also pointed out that assisted suicide laws are an incredible burden on the elderly and vulnerable, and many of whom start to feel like it is their duty to choose death. “Legalising assisted suicide will undoubtedly place untold pressure on people who are vulnerable, disabled, or elderly to end their lives prematurely. Some may even feel it is their ‘duty to die,’” they wrote. “These are the people we have gone to such lengths to protect and support during the pandemic.”

Additionally, Marshall called for more to be done to increase palliative care for people who are suffering. “Palliative care can do wonders in terms of pain relief,” he said. “We need to focus on that idea of a good death, taking a holistic approach, rather than having the easy way out of ending life.”

The doctors are not the first group of people who have publicly spoken out against the proposed legislation. In December, Scotland’s Catholic bishops also opposed the legalization of assisted suicide, saying, “Assisted suicide attacks human dignity and is based on the mistaken belief that individuals can lose their value and worth. The state should support the provision of care, not the deliberate killing, of those at the end of life.”

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