Baroness Warnock took part in a debate in Belfast, Ireland on January 5, 2008.
According to a Belfast news report, the Baroness said that doctors who will not kill their patients are “genuinely wicked.”
Baroness Warnock, who last year caused worldwide controversy when she said that some dementia patients had a “duty” to seek death, said last night: “I think that people should be able to beseech their doctors, nurses to end their life when it is no longer worth living (in the patient’s eyes].”
Speaking of terminally ill patients who, while in good health, have made a written request to be killed when they reach a certain point in their illness, she said: “There are doctors, we know, who don’t pay any attention (to those wishes to die].
“But that seems to me a genuinely wicked thing to do – to disregard what somebody had quite explicitly said, that he wants to die – not to be resuscitated in certain circumstances and in certain circumstances to be helped to commit suicide.
“I believe that if someone is diagnosed as having the beginnings of Alzheimer’s or dementia, at that stage it is a positive duty that doctors should talk to them about what will happen when the moment comes where they reach steep decline.”
Speaking of the impact that medicine-prolonged life has had, she said: “The consequence (of living longer] is financial, but much more importantly, I think of the number of people who end their life demented, unable to recognise family, unable do anything for themselves.
“They can be kept alive and are kept alive, but the question has to be: What is the point of the life at the last stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia?”
The point of any life is one of those big questions, isn’t it?