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Another way of understanding the process of slow euthanasia is to consider the link between cause and effect. The time taken for the morphine to end life muddies the water and blurs the connection between the cause (the commencement of morphine) and the effect (the patient’s death). By blurring this link, a doctor can help a patient die and escape the legal consequences.
Problems with Slow Euthanasia
Slow euthanasia has a number of features that limit its appeal to a patient. Firstly, it is the doctor who is in control. While a patient might ask for this form of help, it will be the doctor who decides if and when it will be provided. Just because you - the patient - feel that now is the right time to begin the process, there is no guarantee that the doctor will agree.
They may feel you should wait; wait until you become sicker, perhaps until your haemoglobin drops a few points, or your respiratory function tests deteriorate further. The sicker you are, the safer it is for the doctor to go down this path. If the doctor disagrees with you and thinks the ‘best time’ to help should be several weeks away, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Another drawback of slow euthanasia is the restriction on the range of drugs that a doctor might use to help a person die. If the doctor’s defence is to be that it was the treatment of the patient’s pain that caused the death, then a pain-relieving drug like morphine must be used.