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Assisted dying legislation risks most ancient of instincts – Stuart Weir

Why are human beings important? This fundamental question demands an answer for every area of life, but none more so than in healthcare. When it comes to administering care to others, there must be a deeper, underlying principle. We cannot escape inquiring about the nature of human beings.

British healthcare borrows the ethos of the ancient Hippocratic oath and requires trainees at the beginning of their careers to live by it: “I will not give a drug that is deadly”. Ending the life of other human beings is the ultimate red line. Why? Because humans are significant beings by default. This is a clear sign that the ancients esteemed humans highly. Alarmingly, this most ancient of instincts in medicine is at risk today with the prospect of new ‘assisted dying’ legislation.

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