A weekly programme which focuses on people and the situations which shape their lives.
Reporters Jeremy James, Jeanne La Chard, Denis Tuohy, Desmond Wilcox and Harold Williamson
We can keep people alive these days longer than ever before. Advances in medicine enable us to prolong the existence of old people for years, even those who are infirm, incontinent and incapacitated. New techniques enable doctors to hold on to badly injured patients where previously death would have been a certainty.
But how many times should doctors cure - only to prolong a dwindling existence? And should it be doctors who have to decide? There are those who demand what is known as voluntary euthanasia, claim the right to decide when they, or their loved ones, shall die. Some doctors agree with them. Most doctors will admit that huge doses of pain-killing drugs, used in cases of terminal disease, can have the effect of 'shortening life.' But is that just another phrase for 'killing the patient'? Do any of us have the right to decide when it is time to die?