?ro-life groups appalled at confessions
BY PIERS MCGRANDLE
CI-IE PROSPECT of mercy .illing becoming widely ,ccepted in the medical >rofession grew this week, ifter two doctors claimed that hey had helped over 200 iatients to die.
One doctor — Newcastle,ased Dr David Moor, said hat he had given injections o around 150 people over 30 ears. The other doctor — the hairman of Voluntary uthanasia, Dr Michael Irwin admitted that he had helped nore than 50 people to die. The claims, made in a :unday newspaper, have re.ewed continuing controversy ver euthanasia in this couny. Both doctors say that they ould be happy to defend eir actions in a British court. Dr David Moor admitted at only last week he had ven two patients diamortine overdoses last week "to Tease them from their pain, ,ony and suffering".
"In almost 30 years I have obably helped four or five ople every year to die. I have ) problem with it morally or ethically and quite frankly I couldn't give a damn what the law says."
Response from medical and ethical groups was swift. A BMA spokesman said: "Any doctor who does deliberately takes the life of people must face their court, and their peers at the General Medical Council".
Christian groups acted with anger to the statements. Charlie Colchester, executive director of Care — Christian Action Research and Education said: "We are appalled at these doctors' apparent disregard for human life and the law. We are asking the relevant authorities to investigate how it is possible that 200 lives can knowingly be taken, some as recently as last week, when both the BMA and the Government have ruled overwhelmingly against legalised euthansia".
Pro-life group SPUC said: "Doctors, politicians and patients should not be confused by talk of 'grey areas'."
John Oliver, General Secretary of the 20,000-strong Voluntary Euthansia Society, told the Herald: "Legally. we are in a very grey area. Doctors are allowed to adminster drugs in quantities to relieve suffering — which hasn't been defined — as long as the intention is not to cause death or kill the patient: Death is often a side-effect". The most liberal laws are in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is illegal but decriminalised. As long as they follow the guidelines set down by court they are not prosecuted.
Meanwhile an influential group of doctors and lawyers opposed to the practice of euthanasia, Respect UK, said that the revelation by two doctors that they brought about patients' deaths must not be allowed to undermine the current law which protects patients.
Dr Philip Howard, who represents the group, said: "This appears to be an attempt to challenge the homicide law at a moment when the pro-euthanasia lobby is reeling from several major setbacks.
"This year we have seen the decisive striking down of the Northern Territory's euthanasia law, and the significant rejection by the US Supreme Court of assisted suicide as a fundamental right."
Meanwhile, Northumbria police have said that they were investigating Dr Moor's claims.
Sussex police have said that they were not investigating Dr Irwin but were discussing the matter with the Crown Prosecution Service.
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