Brief answers to five objections

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We cannot always be sure that the patient wants to die

There are no absolute certainties in medical practice but this does not eliminate the need, at times, for doctors to make life and death decisions. Faced with a request for euthanasia, the doctor would follow prescribed guidelines which would include being satisfied that the strength and persistence of the request left no reasonable doubt as to the patient’s firm and rational intention.

We cannot always be sure that there is no possibility of cure or return to an acceptable quality of life

Cures take years to discover, test and become generally available. The doctor would discuss the prognosis so that the patient could make an informed decision as to whether a cure or remission was worth waiting for.

Palliative care is now so effective that no-one need ever ask for euthanasia

There are acknowledged limits to palliative care. There are still cases in which pain cannot be satisfa

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