Average life expectancy has risen greatly in prosperous countries. As long as we are healthy this is a wonderful blessing. But medical advances, which have helped to keep us healthy, can be used near the end of life to extend our dying. Our consent is needed before we are given medical treatment but most people automatically accept what the doctor offers. They may then spend months or even years with such poor quality of life that they long for death.
Wherever surveys have been done the majority think that doctors should be allowed to help an incurably ill patient to die, at that patient's considered request. In nearly all countries a doctor who does so may be accused of murder.
Worldwide groups of people concerned about this state of affairs have formed Right-to-Die Societies. Many are called Voluntary Euthanasia Societies. Some prefer to think of the help to a good death that they aim for as a form of assisted suicide.
In the Netherlands cooperation between the medical profession and the courts has reached the stage where doctors are not prosecuted for administering the drugs (if necessary) provided they follow very strict Guidelines.
Doctors in the Netherlands only treat their own patients. If you live elsewhere and would like such an option at the end of YOUR life the legal situation will have to be changed in your country. You may want to help this process. The first step is to contact your local Right-to-Die Society (see overleaf). If there isn't one, contact the one that seems to you to be nearest, geographically or by language. Or contact: The WFRDS Secretary: Mr Malcolm Hurwitt, 61 Minterne Avenue, Norwood Green, Southall, Middx UB2 4HP, United Kingdom.
The World Federation meets bi-ennially, one of the member Societies acting as the host. It also promotes cooperation between organisations working for the individual's right to self-determination in dying and encourages the formation of new Societies world wide.
1. Tokyo 1976
2. San Francisco 1978
3. Oxford* 1980
4. Melbourne 1982
5. Nice 1984
6. Bombay 1986
7. San Francisco 1988
8. Maastricht 1990
9. Kyoto 1992
10. Bath 1994
11. Melbourne 1996
*Official formation of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies
Everyone hopes to have a satisfying life and at the end of it a peaceful death. The WFRDS is steadily improving YOUR chance of dying without unduly prolonged suffering.