A British father of 3 who was suffering from incurable spine cancer which would eventually have rendered him paralysed, recently traveled to Dignitas in Zurich to kill himself by lethal injection, saying he was forced to die ‘too early’ because assisted suicide is illegal in Britain.
One way to give dying people choice and control at the end of life, while also protecting vulnerable people, is through an assisted dying law with upfront safeguards.
Lord Falconer, the Shadow Lord Chancellor, has now said that he will reintroduce his Bill which he believes has built in necessary protection to stop people jumping the gun to ensure that no one gets persuaded into dying against their will.
Yet some experts in palliative care firmly believe that the introduction of legally assisted suicide / euthanasia gives out a message that the terminally ill, disabled and vulnerable people are surplus to requirements and should end their lives so as not to be a financial or emotional burden to their families.
Meantime, those suffering from incurable and often painful terminal illness already have the right to refuse treatment and / or intervention which would prolong their life, but now want the decision extended so that they may choose the time and manner of their death.
Should such people be forced to suffer against their wishes or have to travel to a grim foreign clinic to exercise their right to choose death rather than a prolonged period of discomfort, humiliation and suffering before the end?
A human being must surely have the right to say: ‘Enough is enough - no more.’