2 (MIB 411)
I have grave concerns regarding the Draft Mental
Incapacity Bill, which is currently being debated by Parliament.
Whilst it is always sensible to make every effort
to plan ahead, especially for a time when our health or faculties
may begin to fail, we should be able to do so without fear that
someone else may deem it preferable to have our life terminated.
I am particularly concerned that this Bill would
enable people who want to "plan ahead for possible incapacity"
to give a carer, relative or friend the authority (a "Lasting
Power of Attorney") to deal with decision making on their
behalf on financial, welfare and healthcare matters. There have
been cases in the past when such a trust on matters of finance
have been violated for financial gain. Such a violation is serious,
but in matters of life and death this would be even more serious.
Accepting that an individual may order the termination
of another's life because they can truthfully or even falsely
claim to have heard them express a wish to be dead is horrendous.
Most people will at some time or other experience occasions when
life appears to be a burden. Thankfully most people live through
such experiences and find that life really is worthwhile after
all. Even patients with a terminal illness can, with the aid of
modern drugs, be assisted to live the final part of their life
as comfortably as possible and with dignity. The withdrawal of
food and fluids is to deprive them of their right to do so. To
expect doctors, nurses, relatives or carers to assist in the termination
of a life is to deprive them of the right to obey their conscience.
Because a person may appear to us to be mentally
incapacitated does not mean that they are incapable of enjoying
life in their own way.
As a civilised nation our aim should be to make
adequate provision for the care of our less fortunate incapacitated
None of us knows what fate may have in store
for us. But we should all be able to feel reassured that no matter
what happens to us we will be allowed to live out our lives with
dignity, surrounded by love and provided with every medical means
to ensure us comfort and ease, without the fear that our life
will be forcibly taken from us.