The professor believes that doctors should be able to ends lives swiftly and humanely, and stated so in an article that was published today in the Royal Society of Medicine's Ethics periodical that better regulation would improve the deaths of patients who have no say in the decision to have their lives ended.
The professor in his article writes that when doctors withdraw life-sustaining treatment like feeding tubes from severely incompetent patients, it should morally be recognised for what it is - euthanasia, where death is foreseen with certainty. He feels that these cases should be allowed instead of allowing patients to die a potentially 'slow, painful and incomprehensible deaths'. Professor Doyal also contends that regulation should be introduced that could lessen the numbers potentially suffering painful deaths.
He asked as to why the lives of uncomprehending patients should be endlessly prolonged if doctors had already judged them to be no longer worth living. He explained that it is ironic that much of the debate about euthanasia has been so focussed on competent patients and not on those so totally gone. He explained that withdrawing feeding tubes, ventilators or antibiotics from incompetent patients might result in a slow, painful, and incomprehensible death that could be avoided through the legalisation of non-voluntary active euthanasia.
The House of Lords, only last month after a day of extensive debate blocked a bill that would have legalised euthanasia in the UK. The Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill bill, which would allow competent patients the right to end their own life, is to be re-introduced in about five months time.