Palliative care experts warn of ‘deeply flawed’ assisted suicide Bill

Consultants in palliative medicine have expressed concern about the assisted suicide bill before the Oireachtas.

Dr Sarah McLean of St Vincent’s Private Hospital and Blackrock Clinic says the Bill is “deeply flawed” and lacks adequate safeguards. Without these protections, society’s most vulnerable risk being pressurised into seeking assisted suicide, she says.

The Bill’s definition of what constitutes a terminal illness is too broad, adds Dr McLean, a member of the Irish Palliative Medicine Consultants’ Association (IPMCA). “There’s no proper oversight or scrutiny.”

IPMCA chair Dr Feargal Twomey, a consultant in palliative medicine at Milford Hospice in Limerick, says “every clause” in the proposed legislation has “significant weaknesses” and that the Bill “is poorly constructed and leaves the population open to significant risk”.

“The Bill, as it stands, is very open to significant misuse and abuse and encompasses any person in Ireland who has any chronic condition,” says Dr Twomey, who is also the Royal College of Physicians Ireland (RCPI) spokesperson on physician-assisted dying and euthanasia.