Will Britain legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide? This question seems to be doing the rounds in the island nation's medical circles after results of an online survey revealed that one in three Brit doctors believes that the law of not allowing terminally ill to end their lives should be changed.
The study, carried out by Doctors.net.uk, an online discussion forum and professional network for medics, which represents 95 percent of doctors in the UK, has found 35 percent in favor of assisted suicide compared to 60 percent against the controversial move.
AdvertisementThe remainder said they were unsure.
The results of the survey suggest increasing support among doctors in favor of assisted suicide, a move many would inevitably become involved in if it were to be legalized, compared to just two years ago when the British Medical Association voted overwhelmingly against it.
Dr Tim Ringrose of Doctors.net.uk said the results of the poll suggested many doctors felt there was a need to change the law.
"This is an interesting result because although the majority of doctors do not think the law should change, those who do form a significant minority," the Scotsman quoted him, as saying.
"A lot of doctors, particularly GPs, feel they are in a catch-22 situation because if euthanasia were legalized they would be accused of influencing patients to do it.
"However some see the demand from patients to be given this choice," he added.
However, despite the apparent increased support for new legislation some doctors have expressed anxiety about the prospect of shouldering the ethical burden of assisting suicides.
Campaigners welcomed the poll results but critics warned that doctors should not assist patients to die prematurely, no matter how ill they are.