The doctor may say that 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 you is still 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. The doctor’s defense must be that they were treating the patient’s pain (as opposed to causing death). This is why a pain-relieving drug like morphine must be used.
A doctor could not, for example, administer a large dose of a barbiturate. While a barbiturate might provide the most peaceful and quickest death, barbiturates are not pain-relieving drugs. A claim that a barbiturate was being used to treat pain makes no sense.
For a person to die of a medically-administered morphine overdose, the process must be slow to protect the doctor. Indeed, slow euthanasia can often take days or even weeks. Often the patient is given a sedative that keeps them asleep through the whole process; midazolam is the drug of choice.
Coupled with morphine, this morphine - midazolam mix (known as ‘Double M’ therapy) places the patient in an induced coma for the time needed to sufficiently raise the morphine level. Double M therapy allows the patient to sleep through their own death and gives rise to the other name for the process - ‘terminal sedation’.