The ‘good death’ – not something for doctors to prescribe.

Assisted suicide is a symptom of a deeper malaise and a distraction

In a thoughtful and thought-provoking article in The Guardian Dr Seamus O’Mahony questions whether we should be looking to doctors to give us a ‘good death’.  If we do so, he writes, we fail to get to the roots of the ‘problem’ (as it is perceived) with dying.  He poses the uncomfortable question whether “after decades of our culture being dominated by individualism and consumerism, our respect for other people has diminished”.  Calls for legalisation of assisted suicide are, he writes, “a symptom of a deeper malaise” – the obsession with personal autonomy and control – and are a distraction from the real issues.  We have, he says, “thrust onto doctors and hospitals the messy, intractable and insoluble aspects of life, principally old age and death”. “Medicine, and our culture, would be healthier and happier”, he writes, “if we stopped expecting it to solve our existential problems”.