You’re in a doctor’s office being told that your life partner, the person you love more than life itself has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. There are no drug trials to participate in and no hope for salvation, just a slow and painful death which is going to slowly take away your loved one which will not only impact their mental and physical well being, but yours, your children’s and your friends’: the only way to bring peace to all concerned is for the patient, who has been assessed as mentally stable, has considered all outcomes and has chosen,that this is the right choice for them and their family, is to choose how and when they die in dignity.
Recently, my great-grandmother who I knew very well during my child hood finally passed away from dementia. I say finally because since her diagnoses she had been getting worse and worse, forgetting those around her and eventually, she had no clue what was happening. She would not have been allowed to have assisted dying as she was not mentally stable. Luckily, dementia medication has improved since her diagnosis and I hope no one will have to watch their loved ones disappear as fast as we did.
But what if there is no medication or there is but it can’t treat how far along someone is? What if that person is not as blessed as Grandma and does know exactly what is going on? It is estimated that 7% of suicides in this country are committed by those with terminal illnesses. Surely they deserve to die in peace and with the dignity they deserve? Surely someone has the right to say ‘I have X amount of time left to live and it’s going to be painful. I am not going to be able to go out and spend time with people and exploring the world because I’m going to be too weak, bed ridden and dossed up to the eyeballs to make me live just a little bit longer. I want to die now whilst I still have my mental health’.
Why should something as natural, certain and human be reserved for those who can pay to travel to Switzerland for assisted dying?
Assisted dying is not assisted suicide. The patient who wishes to die in dignity and pain free will be assessed by doctors, helped by doctors. They will not have been forced into it. No one is suggesting that every terminal patient has to have assisted dying. They will have made the choice which is right for them and their loved ones. They will die peacefully and with dignity, just as everyone else can. There will be legal safeguards in place to insure this is the right option for that individual case. There are incredible stories of terminally ill patients making the best of their lives and not letting death defeat them: but what if that is not your situation?
Peoples of the UK: our government, which we elected into power to represent our views, will be debating this complex issue on the 11th September 2015. Please show your support by writing to your MP. Around 82% of us agree with assisted dying for terminally ill people (which is a significant proportion in comparison to what the government got voted in with 36.9%). Notifying your MP will force them to do their job and represent your view.
For more information on what assisted dying is and for more fancy statistics, please visit Dignity in Dying.