Prime Minister John Key has backed away from his comments about euthanasia, saying his language on the sensitive issue was “a bit sloppy”.
Key last week said “there is a lot of euthanasia that effectively happens in our hospitals”.
The comment angered doctors who said euthanasia was never practised as it was the deliberate ending of life, and was illegal and unethical.
The suggestion could seriously damage the trust people had in hospital care of the terminally ill, doctors said.
Capital & Coast District Health Board head of palliative care Jonathan Adler said switching off a life support machine and allowing someone to die of natural causes was not euthanasia.