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Top Doctor calls for assisted suicide test

A leading neurosurgeon has suggested the UK should, “carry out the experiment” of assisted dying to see if it will be abused.
Dr Henry Marsh told a debate that the way to allay concerns about the risks of assisted dying was by making it legal and “carrying out an experiment”. Speaking at an Intelligence Squared event he said, “Where assisted dying is legal, it seems that abuse is pretty unlikely and unusual, “I feel very strongly that the only way to answer these questions is by legalising it in this country and then carrying out an experiment.”

Dr Marsh further argued that, “all medical progress is based on experimentation” and said it was “very unlikely” that the legalisation of assisted dying would lead to great abuse. He asked the debate: “How can we assess the risks without legalising it, carefully collecting the data, reviewing what happens and then adjusting the safeguards accordingly?”
Dr Marsh announced in April this year that he had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, and appealed for a change to the law.
His comments came after the Assisted Dying Bill passed unopposed to committee stage in the House of Lords, however, because of parliamentary time constraints and opposition from ministers the Private Members’ Bill, tabled by Baroness Meacher, is not expected to become law. 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is thought to be opposed to a change in the law, and apparently came to his decision after reviewing detailed arguments setting out the pros and cons earlier this year. Health Secretary Sajid Javid is also understood to be against the move. 
Under the Suicide Act 1961, it is illegal to assist the death of another person. The Meacher reforms would allow terminally ill and mentally competent adults who are in the final six months of their lives to die at a time and place of their choosing. All requests would be subject to approval from two independent doctors and a High Court judge. Should the patients' request be allowed that person would be granted a prescription for medication they would take themselves.
The British Medical Association dropped its opposition to assisted dying and adopted a neutral stance on the issue earlier this year.


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