Double Oscar Winner Sir Michael Caine, one of Britain’s most respected actors, has added his voice to the call for legal reform to allow voluntary euthanasia.
“My father had cancer of the liver and I was in such anguish over the pain he was in, that I said to this doctor, I said ‘Isn’t there anything else you could, just give him an overdose and end this’, because I wanted him to go and he said ‘Oh no, no, no, we couldn’t do that,'” he told Classic FM.
“Then, as I was leaving, he said ‘Come back at midnight.’ I came back at midnight and my father died at five past 12. So he’d done it,”
Caine has been formally knighted at Buckingham Palace under his real name of Maurice Micklewhite.
Studies such as the one conducted for Glasgow University in their project, Sometimes a Small Victory suggest that patients, given the right safeguards, overwhelmingly prefer the idea of a doctor performing the final act, whereas a large percentage of doctors would prefer that the patients do it themselves. Not surprisingly, doctors and medical students have a higher rate of suicide than the general population, having both access to drugs and suitable knowledge. For several decades now, studies have consistently shown that physicians have higher rates of suicide than the general population — 40 percent higher for male doctors and a staggering 130 percent higher for female doctors.
Some medics in Britain have recently formed their own group to call for voluntary euthanasia reform, bucking the views of the British Medical Association that claims to ‘speak for doctors.’
Micheal Caine on IMDb
Michael Caine, BBC coverage
Risk of Doctor Suicide (New York Times)
Sometimes a Small Victory
Doctors and nurses launch campaign for right to help terminally ill to end their lives
Updates material, 12 Oct:
Former GP calls for the right to die (Oxford Times)
Dr Ann McPherson: In her own words (Pulse)
Caine sets record straight at Literature Festival (Is he backtracking? You decide.)