CNK has responded to the case of a 30 year old woman with Eisenmenger's syndrome who is seeking a legal help to allow doctors to sedate her with morphine until she is unconscious, and then withhold food and fluids in order that she will die.

Kelly Taylor, from Bristol, who has been given less than a year to live, wants doctors to increase her medication to induce a coma-like state, and then to allow her to die from dehydration.

Peter Saunders, Campaign Director for the Care Not Killing Alliance, which represents 43 organisations promoting palliative care and opposing euthanasia said, 'It is a widely propagated myth that morphine given in doses that kill pain will also shorten life. This is virtually never the case. It is not necessary to kill the patient, or render them unconscious, in order to kill the pain; and with the best palliative care requests for euthanasia are very rare indeed.

There will always be hard cases like this, which advocates of 'assisted dying' will use to seek to a change in the law; but the key question is whether the law should be changed on the pretext of helping a very small number of people, when such a move would result in placing a much larger group of vulnerable people - those who are elderly, disabled or depressed - under pressure to request early death.

If these lawyers were successful, it would create a loophole whereby doctors could sedate people until they were unconscious, and then dehydrate them to death. The potential for abuse of such a provision would be monumental and the High Court should strongly reject it.

This is a very sad case, but what is needed is not a change in the law to allow such lethal injections, but rather access to the best possible palliative care to all who need it. To this end we are strongly supporting Baroness Finlay's Palliative Care Bill, which is due for debate in the House of Lords on 23 February.'

The House of Lords very wisely rejected any change in the law to allow 'assisted dying' by a huge majority after an extensive debate in May 2006, and the BMA, Royal Colleges and Disabled Rights groups remain opposed to any change in the law for very good reason.'

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