In slow euthanasia, the doctor also chooses the place of death. It is unusual for slow euthanasia to take place in a patient’s home. Usually it occurs in an institution, commonly a hospital or hospice.
In an institution, a team will be involved in providing care. There may be several doctors participating in the relentless increase of the morphine. This further blurs the link between cause and effect which makes the process even safer for the medical staff involved. While slow euthanasia could take place at the patient’s home, in practice this presents logistical difficulties. The doctor would need to make many visits, perhaps several a day, to facilitate the slow increase in the drugs.
Full nursing care would also be required. An unconscious patient needs to be moved regularly and watched constantly to ensure the flow of drugs is not interrupted. This is often an extremely difficult time for those close to the patient as they find themselves participating in this deliberate, slow death watch.
For these reasons, few people opt for slow euthanasia as their preferred choice for a peaceful, dignified death. More commonly, slow euthanasia is an option of last resort, when few alternatives exist. In such dire circumstances, if a doctor does offer to help (usually through a nod, a wink and an understanding), patients will grab the chance, reasoning correctly that this is better than nothing.
Those close to the patient often see slow euthanasia as an example of a doctor helping someone to die. This leads to the commonly-expressed view that there is no need for euthanasia legislation. People say ‘I can’t see what all the fuss is about with assisted suicide – it goes on all the time – doctors are always helping people to die.’