A difficult question because, as pointed out by Professor Daniel Alam, the micro-vascular surgeon in charge of the first face transplant performed in the United States, at the Cleveland Clinic (Ohio), "the central part of the face is also the key to our physical identity".
In Great Britain, Dr. Zoe Fritz, Senior Hospital Consultant, has relaunched the euthanasia debate in relation to people in a deep, permanent coma or in a chronic vegetative state and who have no hope of recovery. She wants doctors to be given permission to remove the organs of such patients for the purpose of transplantation.
Current legislation allows doctors to stop feeding and artificially hydrating these patients but Dr. Fritz wants "courts to authorise the administration of medication to enable the patients to pass away quickly in order to preserve their organs and save other lives".
Although euthanasia supporters have focused their action on suffering and misery as a person's life draws to a close, Dr. Fritz believes that "it would be in the patients’ best interest to actively end their lives with medication to stop their hearts in an attempt to reduce potential suffering and preserve their vital organs". She emphasised the point that when food and artificial hydration are no longer administered to a patient in a chronic vegetative state, thereby leading to his/her death, the organs dry out and can no longer be donated. Furthermore, Dr. Fritz is asking for courts to consider a patient's request to die and donate his/her organs rather than to authorise the withdrawal of food and hydration.
Her intervention comes at a time when pro-euthanasia campaigners have just suffered a setback. Ministers have voted almost 3:1 against assisted suicide. Today, anyone deemed culpable of helping a person to commit suicide faces up to 14 years in prison.
Lord Cardlile de Berriew, former Government advisor on terrorism issues and an opposer of euthanasia stated that, "her recommendations, even if implemented, could simply but dramatically increase the pressure on the vulnerable or on the families of vulnerable people to give their consent to something that could not be justified".
MailOnLine (Steve Doughty) 06/09/2016