TEN CATEGORIES OF WRONGFUL DEATHS

A careful examination of the evidence from those jurisdictions that have laws permitting either assisted suicide or euthanasia shows that at least ten categories of people would be at risk of wrongful deaths.

Some proponents of legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia admit that it is the case that wrongful deaths will occur. 

Henry Marsh, a noted British neurosurgeon and champion of assisted suicide, famously said,

“Even if a few grannies are bullied into committing suicide, isn’t that a price worth paying so that all these other people can die with dignity?”

This is the question that anyone considering this issue needs to ask. 

The proper test for a law permitting assisted suicide or euthanasia is the one that is usually applied to any proposal to reintroduce capital punishment: 

“Can we craft a law that will ensure there will not be even one wrongful death?”

Both simple logic and the available evidence show that this is not possible.


10 Categories of Wrongful Deaths:

1. A Wrong Diagnosis

If a person dies by assisted suicide or euthanasia following a mistaken diagnosis that the person has a terminal illness then that is a wrongful death – with no remedy.   It was only after the family of retired Italian magistrate Pietro D’Amico, ...

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2. A Wrong Prognosis Part 1

If a person dies by assisted suicide or euthanasia after being told in error that they have less than six months to live when they may have many years of life ahead of them then that is a wrongful death – with no remedy. A survey of the medical li...

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2. A Wrong Prognosis Part 2

Evidence from the states of Oregon and Washington, where assisted suicide is legal, demonstrates conclusively that physicians make significant errors in determining a prognosis of less than six months to live in the context of a request to access ...

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3. Unaware of Available Treatment

People are being killed or helped to commit suicide who could have benefited from treatment

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4. Access to Palliative Care

“Endorsing such a Bill may let health services off the hook from providing the best and widest pain management services." Australian Pain Management Association

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5. Denied Funding for Medical Treatment

People who are denied funding for medical treatment by medical insurers or the public health system but are offered funding for assisted suicide or euthanasia, as has happened in Oregon, California and Canada are at risk of wrongful deaths either ...

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6. Mentally Ill At Risk

Are the mentally ill at risk of wrongful death? People with a mental illness are at risk of wrongful death under any law authorising assisted suicide or euthanasia. In the Netherlands and Belgium mental illness is seen as a condition for which eu...

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7. Better Off Dead

Are the disabled at risk of wrongful death from an assisted suicide law? In the Netherlands and Belgium disability – both physical and intellectual – is accepted as a reason to euthanase a person In Oregon the five main reasons given for requesti...

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8. Bullying or Coercion

Can we rule out coercion if we legalise assisted suicide? Assisted suicide and euthanasia laws usually require that a request be voluntary and free of coercion. To be truly voluntary a request would need to be not just free of overt coercion but ...

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9. Social Contagion of Suicide

Does legalising assisted suicide affect the suicide rate?  Legalising assisted suicide for some Australians undermines the commitment to suicide prevention for all Australians Legalising assisted suicide has been shown to lead to an increase in t...

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10. Killed Without Request

Those who are killed without any request by doctors who have grown used to the practice of ending their patients’ lives are clearly wrongful deaths. In some cases a doctor has performed euthanasia even where a person resisted. The Netherlands In 2...

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