Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill Written Evidence

65.Multiple submissons—Example 4 (MIB 110)

As asked

  The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child has asked for a Response to the Governments proposed draft mental Incapacity Bill.

  The basic facts against as I see it, are:

    (1)  Feeding by Tube has been re-defined as Medical Treatment, but this basic humane action is not a medical decision. Denying food can be terminating life even if the illness is not terminal.

    (2)  Advance decision taking is not seen as only for the terminally ill but for just on the grounds of mental incapacity. Advance refusal of treatment is incompatible with the Human Rights Act.

    (3)  Power of Attorney makes the decision of Euthanasia by neglect legally binding although this would be a subjective and not a medical decision.

    (4)  ln Living Wills, legislation should exclude termination of life.

    (5)  Doctors or Care staff should not be fined or punished for attempting to give food. or drink to their charges. This degrades the moral character of both the doctor and the patient. It would pervert the purpose of medicine which is to save life.

    (6)  Any law which legalises euthanasia by neglect would send a signal to society that the lives of the mentally incapacitated are not worth living. Is the Ethos and Ethics of our society, the survival of the fittest?

  To take life is a perversion of medicine. First do no harm.

  I would like these considerations to be considered and the bill to be amended bearing these in mind.

August 2003

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