Sir, - The Reuters article on euthanasia in Holland (The Irish Times, November 29th) gave quite a one-sided view of the arguments in this discussion.
The essence of the proposal is not the "allowance of mercy killings". It is the strict regulation of the procedure doctors and patients should follow if someone puts in a request for euthanasia. Such a system might turn out to be a much better alternative than the criminal laws most other countries use to "regulate" euthanasia.
Everywhere in the world there are patients who suffer from incurable diseases. Many of them are grateful for the medical techniques that can prolong their lives. But those medical techniques cannot cure them and in some cases the quality of their lives will gravely deteriorate. This does not happen only in Holland. Everywhere in the world doctors are faced with the same dilemmas. And in many places these dilemmas are being dealt with in secret, simply because there is a criminal law that might inflict punishment.
I'm sure there are many cases of euthanasia each year in Ireland, as well as Holland, but in Holland the new regulation hopefully will allow the government to better ensure a humane end of life for those people who have requested euthanasia. In Ireland, nobody knows about it because nobody will admit to it so it happens without any check on the quality and rightness of the procedure. - Yours, etc.,
David Kuijper, Accra, Ghana.