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I realise that I\’m weird about this


Miss Wooltorton, 26, who was suffering depression over her inability to have a child, drank poison at home and called an ambulance. However, she remained conscious and handed doctors a letter saying she wanted medical staff only to make her comfortable and not to try to save her life.

Doctors said her wishes were “abundantly clear” and although it was a “horrible thing” there had been no alternative but to let her die.

They feared they would be charged with assault if they treated her because they believed she understood what she was doing and was mentally capable of refusing treatment.

It is thought to be the first time someone has used a living will to commit suicide. The documents are more commonly associated with patients who are terminally ill and want to refuse treatment.

Yes, I know, I\’m very out of step here with the modern world. However, by my definition, anyone who is sufficiently depressed to attempt suicide is not sufficiently compos mentis for their decisions about treatment to be taken seriously.

And, of course, it shows what is likely to happen when all this assisted suicide and even euthanasia (if that latter ever becomes law in the UK, which sadly I\’m pretty sure it will) starts to happen. It won\’t just be old grannies shuffled into the hereafter a few days of intolerable pain before their time. It\’ll be, as here, those suffering from (treatable?) mental illnesses, not just untreatable physical.

16 thoughts on “I realise that I\’m weird about this”

  1. .

    I read about a woman who lost her children, any parent would understand that getting over it is not even something you would want to do. What impressed me was that she went on getting up , going to bed for a few months and then one day walked into the traffic on the motorway

    To me that is entirely rational and I suspect your remorselessly cheerful nature has lead you astray here .. I agree though, if you want to die you will be dead and there is no point whatsoever in changing law which carries some sinister implications .If she really meant it its only a delay with eternity at stake .

  2. Depressed people are normally more rational than Happy types.

    Just like a business that continues to make losses goes bankrupt, a life that is continuously miserable generally does the same.

    Depressed people don’t kill themselves as often as they could mostly because they can’t summon the energy to do it, and the lack of “mojo” is the real mental health problem.

  3. The actions of Miss Wooltorton were deplorable. She had the right to commit suicide but to impose on the medical staff was cruel.

  4. I am with you on this, Tim. Suicide may occasionally be rational, but far more rarely so than those who advocate euthanasia and assisted suicide suggest. The will to live is strong and the loss of it is rarely sane.

    I fear that most who die prematurely when the law is changed will be reluctant, ranging from those whose murderers use euthanasia as a defence to those who feel guilty about putting their loved ones to any trouble.

  5. This Catch 22 was the basis of the stonkingly good play ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?’

    Not an easy one to rationalise, whatever one’s instincts, and law has to be based on ratiocination. Doesn’t it?.

  6. She probably is in sane mind to make that judgment,the doctors response is stranger, their oath says

    “I will apply dietic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.”

    It seems to me moral relativism is now a virus that has hit the medical profession.

    surly a doctor can judge and act not to let someone harm themselves regardless of the patients will?

  7. Blimey, never mind sense in the ‘Guardian; here’s’ sense from a libertarian about the legitimacy of interfering with the supposed rights of people who try to harm themselves. I don’t suppose you’ll be extending the argument to drugs, Tim.

  8. The Hippocratic oath has been broken. Extrapolating Sean’s point, if Doctors can no longer be trusted, then they no longer merit the social status or remuneration which they currently claim.

  9. “I don’t suppose you’ll be extending the argument to drugs, Tim.”

    Only if he believes that all drug takes are nuts. Which they aren’t.

  10. Only if he believes that all drug takes are nuts. Which they aren’t.

    Sorry. Poor use of modern English. I shall translate into Newspeak:

    “Only if he believes that people inappropriately addicted to unacceptable substances are also vulnerable people with mental illness issues. Which they aren’t.”

  11. But Kay Tie, you say above that suicide can be a perfectly rational act. So you also argue that not all suicides are nuts. I think you’re another one who needs to look up ‘consistency’ in the dictionary.

  12. I agree that not all suicides are nuts. Some lives are just desperately unhappy.

    But she sent for an ambulance. NHS staff should not be placed in a position where they are forced to collude in a suicide out of fear of legal action.

    Sending for an ambulance yourself, should be sufficient indication of intent. A would-be suicide can get buyer’s remorse. It has happened before.

  13. “I think you’re another one who needs to look up ‘consistency’ in the dictionary.”

    I have no idea what your point is. Perhaps you could expand?

  14. “If suicide is a rational act, so then is murder. Hmm…don’t think that one will wash…”

    Murder can be a rational act, just as suicide can. So?

  15. Tim,

    The nature of my own illness means that, like many other people, I live in mortal fear of the passing of an ‘assisted suicide law’. Its track would pass through the predictable arc of assisted suicide to expected suicide to medical murder faster than you can say ‘Diazepam’. There was never going to be social abortion, remember; now there seems to be little else. We’ve also had suicide in the family.

    While the balance of probabilities seems to suggest that Miss Wooltorton was an exhibitionist and hysteric of the type who, when not trying to kill herself, would spend her days singing ‘I Will Survive’, she has done us the signal service of pointing out that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is one long botch from start to finish. The no doubt crumpled and barely legible piece of paper she thrust in front of attending medics was not a living will, but a suicide note. This botched law would not seem to give attending medics the latitude to be able to over-ride a hysteric’s histrionics. Talk of breach of the Hippocratic Oath is redundant in this case I’m afraid; and having drunk poison nine times in the previous years, she should have been in a padded room to begin with.


    If suicide is a rational act, so then is murder. Hmm…don’t think that one will wash…

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