Refusing Medication

Everyone who is mentally competent has a right to refuse medical treatment if they wish. When offered treatment it is up to the individual to decide, in consultation with their doctor, if the treatment is primarily to relieve unpleasant symptoms and increase quality of life, or primarily to prolong life with a quality they find unacceptable.

For someone who is suffering from incurable health conditions and who feels that their life is complete, careful consideration should be given before accepting preventative medication such as flu jabs, or antibiotics for pneumonia. (Pneumonia is sometimes called the “the old man’s friend”.)


  • Refusing medication is legal.
  • It may shorten life for those that want this.

Disadvantages and Limitations:

  • It may result in unpleasant symptoms which have to be endured.
  • It is not always possible to separate the “life extending” and “quality of life improving” aspects of proposed medication.