Indeed, there is evidence that major depressive disorders afflict between 25% and 77% of patients with terminal illness [It could be argued that a doctor’s fundamental duty is to alleviate forms of suffering in the best interests of the patient.The avoidance of physical pain, as an obvious manifestation of suffering, might explain why assisted dying would be both necessary and within the duties of a doctor to provide.The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge held the 2013 Varsity Medical Debate on the motion “This House Would Legalise Assisted Dying”.
Assisted dying could only be considered under circumstances in which a patient of legal age is diagnosed with a progressive disease that is irreversible by treatment and is “reasonably expected to die within six months” .
Registered medical practitioners would make such decisions for patients with terminal illnesses.
Overly pessimistic forecasts occur in 17.3% of prognoses; hence we must decide whether the one in six patients making a decision based on an inaccurate prognosis is too high a cost to justify the use of this system.
Patients requesting an assisted death often cite future expectations of dependency, loss of dignity, or pain .
The strictness of such criteria has parallels to a similar double-physician requirement when procuring a legal abortion under the 1967 Abortion Act.
The stated aims of the provision in both cases are as follows: first, to check the accuracy of the prognosis upon which the decision was being made; second, to ensure that the situation meets the required criteria; and third, to check that such a decision was taken by the patient after full consideration of all available options .We will explore how assisted dying can affect both the patient and doctor; the nature of consent and limits of autonomy; the effects on society; the viability of a proposed model; and, perhaps most importantly, the potential need for the practice within our current medico-legal framework.].Although healthcare systems have sought to adapt to such changes, aiming to prevent and treat such disease wherever possible, debate has arisen regarding those patients in the latter stages of chronic, incurable, terminal conditions .Addressing the technicalities of ‘assisted dying’ requires distinction between ‘physician-assisted suicide’ (offering patients medical actions or cessation of actions by which they can end their own life) and ‘euthanasia’ (whereby the medical practitioner actively induces death).In light of the strong hostility of the medical profession towards active euthanasia, this proposed model, as with previous attempts to legalise assisted dying, permitted only the former .If the hypothetical point at which the progression of their illness means they would consider life to be not worth living is not, as informed, mere weeks away but in fact many more months, then this information would have resulted in a different decision outcome and potentiated unnecessary loss of life.Whilst the presence of a second doctor would be expected to mitigate such forecasting errors, the anchoring bias of the initial prediction may be enough to similarly reduce the accuracy of the second estimate.This entails that a protocol already exists for patients searching for an escape from chronic pain.Furthermore, numerous retrospective studies have revealed very little correlation between opioid dose and mean survival times: one study of over 700 opioid-treated patients found that the variation in survival time from high-dose opioid treatment is less than 10% .By having a second independent doctor, the legislation ensures that all three checks are met without prejudice or mistake.Problematic for any protocol for assisted dying is the fact that estimates of life expectancy in terminal prognoses are erroneous in 80.3% of cases .