End-of-life issues and palliative care

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Background

Recent years have seen regular media coverage of individuals who have sought assistance to end their lives. At the centre of these discussions are questions about the value of human life, and the value of autonomy. The secular debate has focused on the right of the individual to choose how they die; this does not lead everyone to support assisted suicide. In fact, medical professionals and disability groups have been strong campaigners against changes to the law because of their concern for the vulnerable and for the effect on the people who would assist in the deaths of others. Religious opponents of assisted suicide have raised varied concerns including the sanctity of life and the need to put the wellbeing of society as a whole above that of the individual. The argument has been that allowing assisted suicide changes for the worse how we, as a society, see the frail and the ill.

Integral to this debate has been the place of palliative care in managing

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