Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 73(2) May 2023

Television Review

Prue and Danny's Death Road Trip
(16/2/23, Channel 4)

Reviewed by Pravin Thevasathan

Prue pictureThis was fully worth the watch. Prue is in favour of assisted suicide. He son Danny, a conservative MP, is against. Prue is partly in favour because she feels that people with terminal illness are "a burden" on others. Danny interviews a medical expert who believes that not enough research has been done on the drugs used to bring about death. Assisted suicide is like death by drowning, he says. Prue and Danny visit Vancouver in Canada where 7.5% of all deaths are by assisted suicide and euthanasia. In Canada, over 90% of people opt for euthanasia rather than assisted suicide because doctor knows best. 

Prue interviews Dr Stefanie Green who has carried out 300 euthanasia terminations. According to the Daily Mail (8 January, 2023) she has helped kill a man who was incapable of choosing assisted suicide. It would appear that there are no real safeguards in Canada. You can choose euthanasia for reasons of poverty, poor housing and lack of access to basic medical care. Danny interviews an anti-euthanasia campaigner who tells of a patient who was offered euthanasia because he was thought to be terminally ill. The autopsy showed this was not the case. Prue looks very uncomfortable after hearing this. 

A man is interviewed who wants euthanasia as he has chronic mental illness and PTSD. He finds life intolerable. As Prue wisely notes: " All these words are so subjective. Intolerable for you may not mean intolerable for me." Prue and Danny agree that in Canada if a patient is suicidal, there is a danger that the assisted suicide squad will be called and not psychiatric services.

After their road trip, Danny remains firmly opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Prue wants the option of an assisted suicide for herself if she has a terminal illness and she only has months to live. But the Canada experience has left her shaken. She does not want the UK to follow a Canadian law on assisted suicide.