From name and address supplied but withheld:

Thank you to Jim Gibbons who so sensitively asked the question, Is it time to allow assisted dying? (CP, Weekender 21-09-18).

When a lingering and increasingly debilitating and painful death through bowel cancer turns out to be a relative blessing as it cuts short the agonising mental torture of dementia, something has to be wrong.

Collectively, we call ourselves ‘humanity’, but at times, even the best possible treatment for humans would be classified as ‘cruelty’ if it were inflicted on animals. It’s hard to find the humanity here!

My father, and his father before him, both suffered the cruelty of dementia, and I appreciate that deciding what is in an individual’s ‘best interests’ is tortuously difficult when they struggle to know things for themselves, never mind express it to others, but surely it is not beyond us to be more humane to those whose only prospect is continuing and deepening infirmity, despair and hopelessness?

Why is such a premium placed on the quantity of human life, when its quality is so utterly heart-wrenchingly impoverished?

It may be arguable the better course would be to find cures for dementia and other similarly debilitating diseases.

But must we give a life sentence to all those who suffer to a greater degree than we can begin to comprehend, until these cures are developed?