69.Memorandum from the Islamic Medical
Association UK (MIB 469)
I am writing to you to express my deep concern
and objection to the new Mental Incapacity Bill in context of
the potential of withdrawal of food, fluids and necessary treatment
to terminally ill/mentally incapacitated patients.
Islam like other monotheistic faiths upholds
the sanctity and sacredness of life, so much so that an analogy
of any individual terminating an individual's life is given in
the Quran (chapter 5: verse 32); it is likened to the "slaying
of the whole of mankind and on the contrary anyone saving a life,
it is as if he has saved the life of all of mankind".
We have a responsibility and a duty to protect
the most vulnerable in society as healthcare professionals and
to place a clear and defining line between treating and harming
our patients. One area where this can truly be exemplified is
in the last hours, days or months of any terminally ill/mentally-incapacitated
individual. Why deny their basic human rights; to the simplicities
in life such as food and drink, when they are at their most vulnerable,
possibly unaware or unconscious.
Many individuals cite "to die with dignity"
is a basic human right and I would agree, to die with dignity
means as medical healthcare professionals to provide necessary
nutrients, fluids, medicines, analgesia and counselling/company
to make an individual comfortable during their remaining years.
The introduction of any legislation allowing
the withdrawal of food/fluid from any patient or to neglect life
saving treatment is euthanasia by omission and a crime against
the sanctity of life. The potential for abuse of this type of
legislation by all members of society for personal, social or
political gain is too of grave concern. This has only been recently
emphasisedby the "Shipman" enquiry where advantage
of the more vulnerable groups of society lead sadly to numerous
deaths over five decades.
Hence, I urge you on behalf of the members of
the Islamic Medical Association (IIMA) to reject the introduction
of the Mental Incapacity Bill and return basic human rights to
all in society at a time where each and every one of us will be
at our most vulnerable.