‘Assisted dying will save the NHS money and provide organs, say academics’.

An ethicist and health economist have published a paper highlighting the cost effectiveness of ‘assisted dying’

A highly controversial paper was published in the Journal of Clinical Ethics earlier this month, which pointed out that the legalisation of ‘assisted dying’ would be an effective cost-saving measure.

Ethicist David Shaw and health economist Alec Morton, state that their arguments are not intended “to provide a rationale for legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia in and of themselves” but they “should not be neglected when considering the ethics of assisted dying.”

Morton and Shaw argue that assisted dying is a means of avoiding suffering; saving resources which could be allocated to patients who wish to live and also, “organ donation may be an additional potential source of quality-adjusted life years in this context.”

The full text of the paper can be purchased here.

Although the authors comments have been criticised by commentators from all sides of the ‘assisted dying’ debate, it is easy to see how quickly this disturbing logic might become common place once a society decides to introduce a licensing system, whereby ‘assisted dying’ is permitted. The evidence from both Washington State and Oregon illuminates how applicants for assisted suicide are often motivated by fear of being a burden.

Given the current national crisis which the UK faces and the worries about NHS resources, these sorts of perceptions of the seriously sick seem particularly significant and strike a warning bell for legislators here in the UK.