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High Court Grants Assisted Suicide Review

April 28, 2015

Disability rights campaigners who say assisted suicide policy in England and Wales is too “liberal” have won permission to bring a legal challenge.

Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders last year clarified assisted suicide guidelines, making prosecutions of health professionals less likely.

At London’s High Court, Nikki and Merv Kenward argued she had “changed” policy, making it more “liberal”.

Judges permitted a judicial review of Ms Saunders’ decision.

In England and Wales, the Suicide Act 1961 makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt. But the Director of public prosecutions (DPP) has discretion over any prosecution according to the published policy.

Mr and Mrs Kenward argued that the significance and legality of the clarifications should be properly assessed.

John McGuinness QC had argued on behalf of the DPP that there was no legal basis for the challenge.

But Lord Justice Bean, sitting with Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said permission was justified by the “importance” of the subject.

‘The norm’

Speaking outside court, Mrs Kenward, from Aston on Clun in Shropshire, welcomed the decision.

“I am delighted and shocked – I didn’t think it was going to happen,” she said.

Mrs Kenward, a former theatre manager who is confined by illness to a wheelchair, and her husband campaign against euthanasia and assisted suicide through the Distant Voices campaign group.

In 1990 at the age of 37, Mrs Kenward was stuck down by Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare and serious condition of the peripheral nervous system.

She was initially fully paralysed for more than five months and has been in a wheelchair since.

Mr and Mrs Kenward want the references making prosecution of healthcare professionals in assisted suicide cases “less likely” removed from the DPP’s policy.

“If it is not removed, and this becomes the law it will change how we view death,” Mrs Kenward added.

“It will create a new mean whereby euthanasia is an accepted form of behaviour. It will start to become the norm and it will be considered a kindness for you not to be there.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 29, 2015 2:38 am

    Assisted suicide, euthanasia and the DNR aka Liverpool Care Pathway are all the same thing.

    The state can never be trusted with such law.

    The incitement to hatred of the old and disabled and chronic sick is at a fever pitch today.

    Much like Germany back in the 1930s.

    A DNR on your medical records direct medical staff to starve and thirst you to death, even if you are not terminal and able to walk the wards.

    There is no law that compels medical staff to inform the patient nor their next of kin that this DNR direction is your medical treatment notes in a hospital.

    You have no law to demand treatment, and treatment in hospitals includes being fed and kept hydrated by water or tea.

    Patient law is weak in the UK or non-existent.

    Starving to death can take a week or a month. Being left without water can kill you in 3 days or several weeks. It is a horrific way to die.

    Watch your loved one in hospital.

    If you touch their arm and their skin stays rucked up like a 3D fingerprint, then they are severely dehydrated and not being giving enough fluids.

    Demand to see medical notes and look for DNR, DNAR, DNE, and such DNI.

    These can be in hospitals, in your GPs, and in old people’s homes.

    …It is thought that a staggering 80 per cent of those who die in hospital are the subject of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders.

    Scotland already has such a policy, meaning doctors must consult patients and, if they have not done so, should resuscitate if a patient collapses. Doctors in England and Wales, however, are merely issued guidelines encouraging them to address the issue of resuscitation.

    Mr Goss thinks that the medical profession remains opposed to the introduction of a national policy because it would ‘transfer power from the medic to the patient’ by allowing the patient to have a say about their treatment and their right to life.

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


    NHS millions for controversial care pathway
    The majority of NHS hospitals in England are being given financial rewards for placing terminally-ill patients on a controversial “pathway” to death, it can be disclosed.

    Almost two thirds of NHS trusts using the Liverpool Care Pathway have received payouts totalling millions of pounds for hitting targets related to its use, research for The Daily Telegraph shows.

    The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal the full scale of financial inducements for the first time.

    They suggest that about 85 per cent of trusts have now adopted the regime, which can involve the removal of hydration and nutrition from dying patients.

    Believe you me, watching your father die of thirst unknown to you, then told he was on a DNR over his corpse in the middle of the night, is something you never recover from, as it is a murder trauma bereavement.

    En route to my father’s remains in hospital, a patient implored me, not the nurse, for a drink of water. Only for the nurse to callously and sneeringly wave her away.

    That is the DNR.

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