I don't think it can be done for children as such (or for people who are not capable of making their own decisions for various reasons) . When I worked in the family courts we often got hospital social workers applying for life-saving surgery or medication to be given where parental consent was not obtainable for various reasons (for instance on religious grounds
) and the case was always decided on medical and ethical grounds as a one off and, where possible, the opinion of the patient was generally sought regardless of age or mental capability. More rarely the positions were reversed and the patient or parents and/or representatives were asking for treatment that was being denied to them by hospital authorities and the exact same criteria were applied on a case by case basis. This is sadly not an uncommon legal route to achieve a procedure to perhaps save life or to withold action/treatment and perhaps end it. It is also, very sadly, invariably extremely distressing to all parties involved in having to go to law, not to mention costly to the NHS, because the law is currently out of step with what constitutes unlawful death.
Those kinds of cases would never go away I expect. Again the answer stands - this is not something that is being sought as a standard solution that is to be applied across the board, but to de-criminalise what is actually being specifically asked for by people who are ready to die and their families who know this is inevitable, however regrettable, to end pain and suffering. It's already happening more or less legitimately, on a daily basis, in every cancer ward, in every hospital and care home in the UK, as standard practice when the patient's body is comatose and closing down, in the morphine that is given in greater and greater doses until life is extinct, as general procedure. That is a fact and it happens. If a legally responsible person can acknowledge their own mortality and wants to have the option to go on their own terms, in their own time then why shouldn't they have that right.
For those who are too young or cannot make their own decisions the case is different but there are measures already in place that can deal with the decision and, where possible, the patient's opinion will count for something. I'm pretty sure there was a 14 year old a few years ago whose parents went to law to stop her cancer treatment and they won the case - the hospital had taken legal advice and were told to officially oppose the application in view her age but in practice did not resist the girls wishes in court and the court found in her favour. But the law is different for every case and the route Terry's supporting could actually help to alleviate the heartache and the terrible emotional (and financial) costs of people fighting for a just cause to live or