Who decides who lives or dies?

While Mr Douglas Chua Hock Lye's intention is to relieve the critically ill of their physical suffering and mental anguish, the important question arises as to who would be the one to end their suffering ("Sometimes, the humane thing is to let go"; Thursday).

Do we need to involve medical doctors in making the decision on who the seriously ill patients are, who will exit from this world?

What about patients who are in a semi-comatose or comatose state?

Do such individuals also have the right to die if assisted suicide and euthanasia are legalised in Singapore?

In April 2009, lawyer Suzanne Chin suffered a heart attack in Hong Kong and was hospitalised in a coma and declared brain dead ("'I have been blessed with a second chance'"; March 24, 2013).

The medical team told her husband she had suffered brain stem death, and he had to prepare himself to "let her go".

In their opinion, there was no chance of recovery. But on the third day, Ms Chin revived.

In reality, no one, not even medical doctors, can decide on behalf of another who has the right to live or to die.

It would be best to allow nature to take its course.

Only the body of the dying individual would know the time to "switch off" and exit this world peacefully.

Proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide should be more discerning and not turn the practice of medicine into "killing fields" for the seriously sick.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)