Dr Richard Lamerton, chairman of the nondenominational Human Rights Society, said this week that two confessions of administering euthanasia reported on the same day were an unlikely coincidence.
He was commenting on the admission of a Birmingham child psychiatrist and a woman on a phone-in programme on Birmingham Radici last week that they had caused two deaths. The psychiatrist, in a letter to the Press, said he and a colleague had 40 years ago administered a fatal dose to a baby born with spina bifida. The woman had administered an overdose to her 80-year-old father, who was dying of cancer and had said that he wanted to die.
Dr Lamerton said: "It is possibly my fault. I challenged the Voluntary Euthanasia Society to produce evidence that euthanasia was practised." After the euthanasia reports, which are being investigated by the police, the British Medical Association repeated its policy that "the practice of euthanasia under any circumstances should be condemned."
Dr Lamerton said: "There is not a major change of opinion in the medical profession, more a change from having no opinion to one that euthanasia would be a good idea." He said that there was a growing campaign for euthanasia, which had several supporters working in the media.
Speakers opposed to euthanasia on a Jimmy Young show in June had been told they would he taking part in a mature adult debate, he said. Instead they found a specially selected audience of 50 who voted to a man for euthanasia. Jimmy Young, the compere, looked surprised at this, but Dr Lamerton said his surprise could not have been genuine as ,a vote had already been taken before the show began.
Dr Ronald Gibson, who took part in the show and argued against euthanasia, has written a letter of complaint to Lord Aylestone, chairman of the Independent Television Authority at the biased way the
programme was handled but has not yet received an answer, Dr Lamerton said Voluntary Euthanasia Society speakers also took part and he believed the society could have influenced the programme, during which the audience shouted abuse at the anti-euthanasia speakers.