Despite being cleared of murdering three patients five years ago, Dr Howard Martin has told the Daily Telegraph he twice 'helped people die' without their permission and administered excessive morphine doses to a total of eighteen dying patients, supposedly out of 'Christian compassion'.
He was rightly struck off on Friday by the General Medical Council for violating the rights of the terminally ill and, in the light of this fresh evidence, the police have a public responsibility now to reopen their investigation. The reason why is made clear in the Cambridge Paper that we will be publishing later this month, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide by Professor John Wyatt, Professor of Ethics & Perinatology at UCL:
'For more than 2,000 years the medical profession has attempted to maintain the distinction between killing and curing, framing itself publicly as a profession dedicated solely to the preservation of human life 'under all circumstances'. It is part of the special calling, the medical vocation which doctors perceive in their protection of life. Hence doctors have refused to participate in judicial execution, in killing on the battlefield, in the torture of prisoners, and the use of drugs to control political dissidents.
'So there is a special irony about the proposal that only qualified doctors should be allowed to engage in mercy killing. For those with a sense of medical history it would be preferable to develop a caste of professional euthanasiasts, rather than place mercy killing within the context of traditional medical practice and therapy. Once the 'right to die' is established by law, doctors will have a professional and legal responsibility to discuss, offer and participate to some degree in organisation and coordination of medical killing. In the process their distinctive commitment to the protection of life is violated and, for many, personal integrity breached. It is surely better for society as a whole if the special role of doctors is preserved and protected. To do so supports professional trust, enabling us to feel safe when we are in a doctor's hands, and enshrines a commitment to social equality by undergirding the availability and protection of medical care irrespective of who the patient is or what they have done.'
Let us know what you think in the comments below and watch out for the paper in the coming week or so.