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Subject Doctors broke law to help 3,000 die
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Original Message Key points

Report reveals as many as one in three patients had deaths accelerated

All deaths assisted by medical staff are illegal under British law

The British Medical Association disputes the figures

Key quote

"The illegal decisions are extremely rare compared with other countries. Three thousand sounds like a lot, but it's not. The rate in the UK is significantly lower than in other countries where this survey has been conducted" - Professor Clive Seale, author of report into assisted deaths

Story in full

DOCTORS broke the law to help nearly 3,000 patients die
in a single year, according to new research which has
reignited the debate on euthanasia.

The independent report, based on interviews with hundreds
of GPs and specialists, also revealed that an estimated one in three people who died in 2004 - 192,000 - had their deaths accelerated by doctors who administered pain relief.

The British Medical Association (BMA) disputed the figures last night, saying it believed there were only a handful of euthanasia cases involving British doctors.

But euthanasia campaigners seized on the report, saying it proved the need for legislation to bring the practice into the open where it could be properly regulated.

The study, by Professor Clive Seale, of Brunel University, was based on an anonymous survey of 857 GPs and hospital specialists. The results suggest 0.16 per cent of the 585,000 deaths in 2004 - or 936 - would be described by doctors as voluntary euthanasia, where medics had agreed to a patient's request for drugs to end their life.

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