Essay: Care of the dying – palliative care and legal frameworks

It’s a strange paradox that here in the 21st century, the expertise of pain specialists and the power of new pharmacological and other approaches to symptom control have never been greater. This is particularly true in the UK which is internationally recognised as a world leader in pain control and palliative care. Yet despite these remarkable advances the pressure to legalise medical killing in the UK and elsewhere has never been so urgent. This strongly suggests that the drive to change the law is not so much based on enlightenment and compassion for those who suffer (whatever the public rhetoric), as much as on the drive for autonomy, individualism and “lifestyle choice”…

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