Results of the Assisted Suicide Survey

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For those new to this blog; every 2 weeks we run a survey on a controversial issue raised on these pages.
The following is the headline results of the last survey in relation to the controversial issue of assisted suicide. If you are interested I suggest you read some of the previous postings on this issue and complete our online end-of-life survey.  



“Re the results: I am shocked, but not surprised. Are you?”

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

8 comments

  • Do you mean you are shocked that so many people said 'yes', or were you expecting more/less? People may be thinking of the many different ailments they may wish to escape when they are nearing the end of their lives – not necessarily 'just' MS.

    From your observation, I can't work out what you were expecting the results to be.

  • The results show that we must legislate to introduce assisted dying in Britain and that doctors should discuss it as an option for patients suffering from incurable diseases such as MS. People with MS should know that where science fails them there is another path whereby they can end their suffering in a humane and painless manner. Progressive MS is a lifetime away from being cured; the right to die is a reality and one that makes sense for MS sufferers who can't take the suffering anymore.

  • We wouldn't need to discuss this issue if there were treatments avialble to stop progresin or will be available in the next 3-5 years. The suicidal thinking comes with the knowing that it is going to get worse. Seeing Debbie Purdy on TV informed my judgment that I will never get to that stage. However, I suspect that if there was a treatment to halt disability that the result of the poll would look quite different i.e. patients would learn to live with their disability (as long as it was stable). Until something can be done toi stop patientient climbing up the EDSS scale (and losing their job, dignity etc etc), then I can't see the situation i.e. patients committing suicide / wanting to commit suicide.

  • Re "Do you mean you are shocked that so many people said 'yes',…"

    Yes, I am shocked to see that such a high proportion of people support the legalisation of assisted suicide in Britain. I for one don't support it; it is difficult to reconcile it with what I do every day at work. That is, I spend my time trying improve MS'ers lives. I can understand the need for it when you have an incurable disease. One thing I am sure about that if it is ever legalised a separate specialty will need to be established to deal with this issue. You can't have the same people who treat MS'ers with the aim of improving their lives making end-of-life decisions.

  • Agree with "patients would learn to live with their disability (as long as it was stable)"
    The problem is progression

  • If doctors were to accept suicide it would be HORRIBLE for patients. A visit to the neuro should leave the patient feeling happier and energised. With a disease like MS the doctor's personality matters.

  • With an ever aging population and increases in long-term illnesses, assisted dying will eventually be legislated in Britain – in England especially. MS kills. It's a slow horrible death. It hits you while you're young. The medical profession is pretty hopeless when it comes to managing the disease, therefore the humane thing to do is to put the patient out of their misery. By not having assisted dying you are merely delaying the inevitable. I think that doctors not wanting assisted dying in Britain has more to do with a consultant's ego than the patient's welfare.

By Prof G

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