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Friday 13 December 2019, Rob Lyons

Assisted Dying: a doctor’s poisoned chalice?

Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas festival 2019.

A recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival on Saturday 2 November 2019.

Thanks to Living and Dying Well for their partnership on this debate.

The question of whether assisted suicide (often known as assisted dying) is morally defensible, or should be legally permitted, is a familiar issue of medical ethics. Polls suggest that most people in Britain support a change in the law to allow it. By contrast, the British medical establishment has a longstanding record of opposition to legalisation – though there are suggestions that this may be changing. Should the law look leniently on relatives who help a patient to die? What if the patient would suffer more harm by staying alive? Indeed, should the idea of ‘harm’ be redefined and, if so, how? What would be the role of doctors, and ‘conscientious objection’, were the law to change?

SPEAKERS

DR JACKY DAVIS
consultant radiologist, Whittington Hospital; member, BMA Council, chair, Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying; board member, Dignity in Dying

DR CAROL DAVIS
palliative medicine consultant and clinical lead for end of life care, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust; board member, Living and Dying Well

JOHN HARRIS
professor emeritus, University of Manchester; author, How to be Good; former member, United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission

DR KEVIN YUILL
associate professor of history, University of Sunderland; author, Assisted Suicide: the liberal, humanist case against legalization and The Second Amendment and Gun Control: freedom, fear, and the American constitution

CHAIR: DR PIERS BENN
visiting lecturer and adjunct professor; author, Freedom of Speech and the Flight from Reason

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Battle of Ideas Festival 2019

9:30am, Saturday 2 November 2019, Barbican, Silk Street, London

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