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As it is at the end so it is at the beginning : legal challenges and new horizons for medicalised death and dying.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2010
JournalMedical Law Review
Journal number4
Volume18
Number of pages5
Pages437-441
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

2010 has been an eventful year in the life of the debate about assisted dying. In February, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) issued guidelines outlining the public policy factors that should be considered when determining whether to prosecute a person for assisting the suicide of another. In the same month, the Suicide Act 1961 was amended by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which reframed the offences relating to helping another person to end their life. Now, rather than ‘aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring the suicide of another', a defendant will be liable if she intentionally ‘does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person’. Soon after the General Medical Council (GMC) published new guidance on medical decision-making at the end of life, Treatment and Care Towards the End of Life. Applicable explicitly within the existing legal framework, these guidelines locate the patient at the centre of end-of-life decision-making and operate according to presumptions in favour of prolonging life and that each individual patient has the capacity to decide for herself. At the back end of the year, virtually as this editorial was going to press, a new ‘pressure' group was launched. Healthcare Professionals for Change supports the wider campaign aims of Dignity in Dying that favour greater patient choice at the end of life based on the conviction that people ought not have to suffer against their wishes and should therefore, within appropriate safeguards, be able to choose an assisted death. And throughout the year, news reports featuring assisted dying cases and debates have appeared regularly in the media. Against this backdrop of regulatory change, opinion shift, and intense media coverage, this special issue of the Medical Law Review presents several papers that explore …

Bibliographic note

This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in the Medical Law Review following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Ost, S. The demedicalisation of assisted dying : is a less medicalised model the way forward. Medical Law Review. 2010 18 : 4 437-441 is available online at: http://medlaw.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/4/437