Guernsey Press

Modern medicine for many extends suffering

WHY are we having the conversion about euthanasia? The universe plays a devilish trick on us. We are born helpless. As children and teenagers we quickly grow and strengthen. Through life’s journey in our 20s and 30s we even think we are invincible. By our 40s and 50s we are shocked to discover we are not invincible. As we reach our 60s, tiredness, pain and disease is always around and as we contend daily with the law of diminishing returns. As illnesses and episodes of pain collect in our 70s we understand what might be described as our own advancing decrepitude. By our 80s and 90s we will be wearing nappies again and we struggle hourly against helplessness. The universe has sent us full circle. Most of us at this point will accept that we have lived out our useful lives. And as part of a natural process we will be ready to take our leave. But modern medicine intercedes.


I work for the NHS. The NHS has a mission and is amazing at keeping people alive regardless. If an 85 year old blind patient with dementia and one functioning limb has a catastrophic stroke we keep them alive. We keep people alive regardless of whether they will be completely helpless for the rest of their lives. We keep people alive regardless of the effect on their sanity in being helpless. We keep people alive regardless of their own loss of dignity. We keep people alive regardless of their wish to accept the natural process. We keep helpless individuals alive claiming that they will be fully looked after. It is the intention but it is less than the reality. Modern medicine is in some way too successful. 90% of human suffering is caused by man himself. Modern medicine for many extends suffering.

That’s why we need a conversation about euthanasia.

Andrew Le Page