May 26, 2011

Doctors need assisted suicide guidelines


by Jan Harris

UK police have called for medical professionals to be given clearer guidelines on the procedures they should follow when patients decide to travel oversees to commit suicide.

Daniel James, 23, travelled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland on 9th September 2008 for an assisted suicide.

Despite knowing of his intentions two weeks before he died, Mr James’ GP failed to inform the police until the day of travel.

The GP, who has not been named, delayed reporting the case because of patient confidentiality issues.

Detective Inspector Adrian Todd, of West Mercia Police, called for a review of the way assisted suicide cases are handled.

Switzerland’s Evangelical Peoples’ Party and the Federal Democratic Union recently proposed that assisted suicide and “suicide tourism” should be banned.

However 80% of voters in Zurich, where Dignitas is based, voted against banning assisted suicide while 78% voted against preventing foreigners from travelling to the city for help to end their lives.

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