‘All good doctors do it anyway’ . . .

LETTER

King George V had been a heavy smoker and had developed emphysema and chronic bronchitis, either of which results in a protracted and unpleasant death. Accordingly on January 20, 1936, King George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson of Penn, injected a powerful mixture of morphine and cocaine into the royal jugular vein, bringing the life of the King to an end. Present at this regicide was Queen Mary and the soon-to-be King Edward VIII.

We know this is true because of Lord Dawson’s diaries, which were made public in 1986. He had written:

“At about 11 o’clock it was evident that the last stage might endure for many hours, unknown to the patient but little comporting with the dignity and serenity which he so richly merited and which demanded a brief final scene. Hours of waiting just for the mechanical end when all that is really life has departed only exhausts the onlookers and keeps them so strained that they cannot avail themselves of the solace of thought, communion or prayer. I therefore decided to determine the end and injected (myself) morphia gr.3/4 and shortly afterwards cocaine gr. 1 into the distended jugular vein.”

Legally, of course, this would have been murder but, as Lord Dawson told the House of Lords in a debate on voluntary euthanasia in 1936, there was no need for formal legislation because all good doctors do it anyway.

My personal belief is that Lord Dawson did what any good doctor would have done out of what some would say was Christian humanity. But that said, many of us are bound to wonder if, in the event of one of the present Royal Family being faced with an inevitable, lingering and painful death, he or she might be treated with the same humanity as their illustrious ancestor.

The court and the upper classes may be able to command such mercy, but we hoi polloi are left to struggle on without benefit of that kindness.

Martin Hanson, Nelson

King George V had been a heavy smoker and had developed emphysema and chronic bronchitis, either of which results in a protracted and unpleasant death. Accordingly on January 20, 1936, King George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson of Penn, injected a powerful mixture of morphine and cocaine into the royal jugular vein, bringing the life of the King to an end. Present at this regicide was Queen Mary and the soon-to-be King Edward VIII.

We know this is true because of Lord Dawson’s diaries, which were made public in 1986. He had written:

“At about 11 o’clock it was evident that the last stage might endure for many hours, unknown to the patient but little comporting with the dignity and serenity which he so richly merited and which demanded a brief final scene. Hours of waiting just for the mechanical end when all that is really life has departed only exhausts the onlookers and keeps them so strained that they cannot avail themselves of the solace of thought, communion or prayer. I therefore decided to determine the end and injected (myself) morphia gr.3/4 and shortly afterwards cocaine gr. 1 into the distended jugular vein.”

Legally, of course, this would have been murder but, as Lord Dawson told the House of Lords in a debate on voluntary euthanasia in 1936, there was no need for formal legislation because all good doctors do it anyway.

My personal belief is that Lord Dawson did what any good doctor would have done out of what some would say was Christian humanity. But that said, many of us are bound to wonder if, in the event of one of the present Royal Family being faced with an inevitable, lingering and painful death, he or she might be treated with the same humanity as their illustrious ancestor.

The court and the upper classes may be able to command such mercy, but we hoi polloi are left to struggle on without benefit of that kindness.

Martin Hanson, Nelson

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lloyd gretton - 10 days ago
The story I have heard is that the King was murdered/euthanised so his impending death would appear in the next morning's newspapers.