Paul Brownsey asks for an explanation of the moral difference between withdrawing treatment and actively killing someone, or helping someone to take their own life, when it is done with their consent (Letters, November 19).

The explanation is very simple: in one case you are letting nature take its course while in the other you are deliberately bringing about the death of a person by non-natural means.

In the first case the withdrawal of treatment is not aimed at the death of the patient, it is done to avoid disproportionate suffering.

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In the second case the only aim is to end the life of the person.

Michael Ryan,

17 Campsie Drive,