Year: 2023 Source: Crisis. (1998). 19(1), 6-7. DOI: SIEC No: 20231756

King George V provides an example of a direct medical killing worthy of consideration within the context of the euthanasia debate. Polemicists in the euthanasia debate, and those who argue to and fro over end-of-life morality questions, may find much to support their divergent viewpoints in this example. Who should be part of medical decision-making that turns on the ending of human life? If society is prepared to hand over such powers to any profession, including the medical one, a safer procedure would be to appoint an officer of the court who would take instructions from the patient prior to death. This would, at least partially, assuage doubts and fears as to how euthanasia is practiced. Such an independent law officer would have the responsibility of explaining to the patient and, if necessary, to the court, the options and consequences to the patient as well as ensuring his own competence in the legal sense. The imposition of “safeguards,” however, does not address the fundamental ethical issue of the morality of ending a patient’s life even at his own explicit and persistent request. It is salutatory to realize that, at life’s end, even a King may not be safe.