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Dignity in Dying

39 REPLIES 39
Liverbird
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I was not going tt post on this thread again as i felt i annoyed everyone earlier in the thread. By not saying i could join in with the campaign.
Just wanted to ask is it assited dying to have a morphine syringe drive then diamorph? Don't most hospices and even hosp use them as a matter of routine? Thats what i would want. My mum had that and it was such a peaceful end.

Kate so lovely of you to read the bible to that lady, i want someone to sing religious songs to me.(preferably Katherine jenkins, maybe a bit expensive though)

Rx

karen
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Tend to sit on the fence with this one,....so to speak.
I have no strong religious beliefs....as far as religion goes I'm not sure what I believe...if anything.
I've watched my nan die from cancer, I've watched my mother-in-law die from cancer and a stroke, i've watched a close friend die from breast cancer..3 very brave people.....but also there were the agonies the families went through, one member of the family disagreeing with another over their loved ones treatments and what they thought their loved one would want during their last days.
I believe if a living will is written this pressure is taken off the family....they may not be happy with the contents of the living will...but I would hope because it outlined their loved ones last wishes they would respect them.
I intend to write a living will......I know our families want us to stay with them as much as we want to stay with them....but if this is not possible...I think we should be allowed to make that one final decision.
None of us can know how we'd feel if we'd reached that point......but I for one would like the choice..so please count me in any campaign too.

karen

dippykate
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Having been a nurse and seen how long it takes some people to die after they lose consciousness and having been in the hospice and the cancer ward where older women were dying next to me, I still believe is assisted dying.
It scares me so much that I may be unconscious for a couple of days before I finally die and that my family will watch this I am in favour of assisted dying. I've talked this over with the hospice, my onc team and my family and they all agree but the law is not on my side to achieve this. I just have to hope something happens very quickly so that I can say goodbye to my family and friends if they want to and then die. My little one's fear - aged 8 - is that I will die when he is not with me but I don't think he really understands what he is saying.
All I can do is make my imtentions clear and hope the doctors use 'the secondary effect' to my advantage.
I never know how much the unconscious person hears but have often found that people seem to die the minute they have been left alone as if they are just waiting for that moment to be alone in their final moments.
Last week, in hospital, the lady who'd been in the hospice with me for 2 weeks was dying and she was getting quite distressed in the middle of the night. We had talked about Bible readings in the hospice and she had told me her favourite piece so I sat and read that to her which calmed her down till morning and then i went home and just hoped her final moments would come very quickly as she and her family were so distressed by how long it was taking her to die. They and myself felt there should have been some way to put her out of her misery and I know from our conversations that was what she wanted as well but it just wasn't happening.
It is the only part of dying that scares me as it seems a twilight world to be in so count me in any campaign.
Kate

Lanterna
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Hear, hear, Irene.

Sadly organised religion, as Jane points out, will do anything in its power to prevent any of us having an active say in the manner of our passing. This is an unfortunate fact, and a political battle to be fought and won.

I did, however, permit myself a wry smile listening to the R4 coverage of the Anglican communion self-destructing over its hatred of gays and women. With all the troubles in the world, you'd think that surely a church which proclaims a doctrine of love and compassion could find something a little more appropriate to concentrate on.

I'll stick to cheerful atheism, and will support the campaign for the right to an "easeful death". Unless I fall off the motorbike first...

L.

IreneM
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Having watched my darling dad die miserably of lung cancer with bone secondaries which eventually made moving him impossible = no more visits to the loo = loss of self respect = hell for a very proud man. I wish he had had the choice to die when he decided, in his own home, with his children around him. Not in a hospital bed with bed sores, a nappy and entering in and out of a drug induced stupor, waking only to realise he was still here and still suffering. It was at this point that I stopped believing in God.

Hope the campaign goes from strength to strength.

Irene

lyndu
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I think it's difficult to get a balanced view from posts, as often the supporters of freedom of choice in dying are more vocal - or possibly less inhibited - in expressing their opinion. At least that's the impression I get.

Personally, I'm a pro-choice, like many of us who have posted, and have been for a long time. My opinion's only been strengthened by a recent short stay in hospital after I broke both arms and could do absolutely nothing for myself. Having to be fed spoon by spoon, and ask someone to wipe my behind is not anything I want to live with.
My partner and I have discussed at some length what's an acceptable quality of life, fully aware that it could probably change hugely if, for instance, I had full mental faculties and no pain, but still required someone else to carry out all my personal care on a permanent basis. I can't accept, though I can understand, the reasoning behind the ruling that if you're fit enough to get to Switzerland to die, you can - but that's quite probably earlier than you would choose to go if you were allowed to ask for help to get there.

A book that I found interesting was by a medic who worked in a hospital in Holland where assisted dying was available - it's called "Dancing with Mister D" by Bert Keiser and talks openly about his approach to patients who had asked for his help in ending their lives.

Lyn

ForumMember
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I am in total support of any individual being able to decide for themselves if they wish to die with dignity. throughout all the ins and outs, the debate, the arguments for and against albeit valid for both sides of the argument. one thing is strikingly clear to me and should not be in my opinion brushed aside and dismissed. .....FREEDOM OF CHOICE..... we are human beings with our own individual voice. i fully believe that it is a persons right to decide this for their own "self".

Challsi
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

This is something I have thought long and hard about for many years, well before I was dx.

I have always believed in the choice of the individual when it comes to death and have never understood why we, as an intelligent animal species, think it so necessary to try and find a way to outwit death no matter what it costs in terms of quality of life.

I would always support the individuals right to choose a dignified death if they wish and dread the thought of a long, drawn out, painful and dependant death as I often think it can cause more damage to the ones who are left behind than a quick release - just my own opinion.

I am not religious as I consider religion to be a man made state, although I do have beliefs and respect the beliefs of others.

However what I do find shameful is that in the instances where a person has been willing to travel to Switzerland with a loved one in order to assist them in their death, not only have they had to deal with their own grief at losing that loved one but the fact that they should then be subjected to the possibility of criminal prosecution and endlless questioning has confirmed my view that a change in the law is required.

snowwhite
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Seabird, I often think things may be more straightforward if one doesn't have a belief in God. Trying to secondguess God is a futile endeavour, which is part of what I was trying to say I think. I certainly don't think we need worry that what we do may be the wrong thing, because I have no doubt that it will be, whatever it is, because we are all said to be sinners - which, as I understand it, only means we are less than perfect, and we don't know everything, and that applies to all our decisions, not just life and death ones. That is, if God exists. If there is no God, then you are probably right - we do not need to worry about whether we are doing the right or wrong thing by trying not to die or trying to die sooner. What I was suggesting, paradoxically, is that even if one does believe in God, and even if there is a God, we still can't know his view on it, so we still just make our own decisions in the same way. And I feel sure he will not be excessively perturbed by one person's trying to surrender to his will by not intervening, and another person's trying to end their own and their family's suffering by intervening. I feel sure, if there is a God, that he loves both of those people just as much. It may be that we talk about ending it when it's all too bad, but when the time comes, God or fate will take that decision out of our hands.

I agree fully about the difficulties of implicating others in our dying, and of framing a law that would allow all and only the right cases of hastening death, and about the hospice movement. I am worried that although it has been said to be legally permissible to alleviate pain with morphine that will hasten death, not everyone who needs to know that seems to know that. I am also worried that I have heard that some people's pain resists all efforts to relieve it.

Marilynleah
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Hi All

We've been away for the weekend and I've just logged on and had a read.

I support Jane's views.

There's more to life than being 'alive'. I do not want to be helpless, incoherrent and in pain when my time to 'go' arrives. Lots of you know that I have an oddball way of looking at things and have declined some treatments because of side effects making life intolerable.

To me there are ways of living which , to me, are worse than dying - my Dad has his first stroke when I was 9 my sister 6 and my brother 4, he made a full recovery and did so frome the next one when I was 17. When I was 21 he had a third and he spent from 1972 to 1976 unable to walk, feed himself, speak or even push himself up when he slipped down in his chair. My Mum had a heart attack from the effort of being his 'carer', and he spent his las 2 years of life in hospital. Don't get me wrong, I loved him and hoped with all my heart(as we all did) that somehow he would recover. I do not want to be in a postition to need care like that. Once I get to that stage I want to go quickly as I will not be alive but only breathing.

I hope that I never need to think about this and that I die like my Father-in-law did, with a book on my knee and a mug of tea on the hearth. More upsetting for those left, but better for him. My family have had a warning about me, cancer is a wake up call to all of us, and we are making the most of our lives.

I'm lucky not to have secondaries, but who knows what the future holds. I know what I don't want it to hold.

Marilyn x

ForumMember
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

...so very complex, isn't it. I must say, reading your posting Snowwhite, makes my own situation feel so much more straightforward.
I (and this is just a very personal "where I am at") don't believe in God. This does at least remove the aspects of sin and punishment and of a higher authority having a master plan for my life that I might or might not want to go along with, or "arrangements" being made for my demise! There are huge ethical and practical issues that surround assisted dying and I remain undecided on what benefits or harm would come with a change in the law. I am a huge believer in the hospice movement, and that no one should have to suffer unbearably when they are dying, even if intervention shortens their life. Everyone has their own view and it is so important that this is known to those who love them, and those who care for them. Look forward to reading lots more comments on this.

snowwhite
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Wish God would tell me what he wants me to do. He doesn't. Not obviously. In the meantime, I appear to be making my own decisions. Don't know what God thinks of my past decisions because he doesn't tell me. Not a lot, I imagine. Oh well, did my best. We rate ourselves very highly but I gather God does not think highly of most of what we do. That is why, as I understand it, he has made certain arrangements for us. We may think we are doing the right thing by leaving our dying to God. But why then do we not leave our living to God also? Why when we have a fatal illness do we intervene? Does it not mean that God wills that we die? At what point is it right that we allow God to take over from us in the decision-making? Would it be wrong to choose not to have any treatment? Why is it acceptable to treat the cancer, because we are afraid of dying, but when the dying bit comes, we must not use the drugs we have?

lizziecee
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Hi - not sure if I should be included in this debate, as my husband and I have had a very difficult weekend when he is threatening suicide as his Neurologist said there is nothing he can do about his walking difficulty and he will end up in a wheelchair. He is a very intelligent electronics engineer and cannot bear to be dependant on anyone, but has always been there for me, with 38 yrs of Crohn's and 5 yrs of breast cancer. Currently got huge problems with Crohn's and looking at life threatening surgery for strictures..... what am I going to say to him, at 80 yrs old? Should I have the surgery, or live in pain and die from the strictures bursting?

Some 10 yrs ago, I sat beside my late twin brother's bedside, at home, holding his hand when he was terminal with an inoperable brain tumour. His second wife just got on with her career, travelling abroad, and as I was young retired, took over the care giving. Some days, all I could do was mash up some ice cream and spoon it to him through cracked lips. It was heartbreaking.

My brother's GP came in twice a day to see how he was, I administered the morphine on the schedule the GP gave me, and eventually the GP gave him an overdose and he passed peacefully away, at home, and in his own bed, beside me, where he wanted to be. Nobody suggested a hospice or inpatient treatment.

I have no religious beliefs and indeed subscribe to the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest. When I do depart this mortal coil, I hope I can go the same way as my brother, at peace, in no pain, and surrounded by a loved one. I don't think we need to go to Switzerland, and my brother certainly couldn't have made the physical trip, but each to their own beliefs.

Very difficult subject that I am glad Jane raised.

Liz.

Kay123
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Didn't think I was alone in the way I try and live each day, Belinda, but still good to be agreed with!

Just wanted also to say, Thistle, that I agree with Margaret in that it is a shame if you feel you had to think hard before posting - though I do know what you mean. There have been many threads on here where I too have been reluctant to post because I thought it was all getting very heated and I didn't feel I needed the angst of it all. I totally respect your views and that you feel you don't "have the right to decide myself to end my life at a certain time". I suppose again this will be one of the differences between the two "camps" in that I do feel I have that right but when the time comes, I may not have the ability to end my life in the peaceful (or "open") way I would chose. And I would never want to add to the distress of my family in involving them in something that was not above board.

I also agree with you JoJo that it must be extremely difficult and upsetting for many of the doctors - I work for the NHS and know that the vast majority do truly care.

K

belinda
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Hi Kay, well said, that's just how I try and live day to day too. Not battling, not brave either. Belinda..x

naunamh
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Thistle
It is a shame that you had to think before posting your opinions on this topic. Not least because your opinion is of course as valid as the next persons. To read different points of view is good, and makes food for thought.
The difference I think between posts that are acceptable as anothers point of view and those that can become heated , is that any acceptable post uses the words 'me' and 'I', not easily tolerated are those that use the word 'you'. This no matter what the topic.
Margaret

thistle
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I thought long and hard about responding to the questions posed by these posts as everyone is entitled to voice their opinion and sometimes certain subjects can become quite heated and personal.

I believe that God made us and that only he can decide the time of our death.

I would not like to put the awful responsibility of deciding when the time has come for my death on to anyone, doctors, relatives or friends. I also do not think that I have the right to decide myself to end my life at a certain time.

We can all only hope one day through research and advances in treatment (and not only in cancer treatments) that in the future no one, whatever their thoughts or opinions have to make such a decision.

Thistle

JoJo11
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

This is such an important topic that I hope everyone will post their views. I think its valuable to hear the many different sides of the discussion. For my own part I would welcome the introduction of assisted dying. Just having that possibilty would bring great relief to many people, and those who do not wish to use it do not need to. I personally fear the process of dying in pain and with the loss of dignity which is so often the case more than the actual death.

I also feel that the law as it stands is very hard for doctors who deal with terminal patients. I know a lot of you on here don't think much of doctors; I read it in your posts, but not all are heartless, and it can be truely distressing to be begged for help that they cannot, in law , give.

Jojo

Kay123
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

As others have said, I think this is all about being allowed to have a choice. The choice to die at a time that is right for both ourselves and our families. I don't know when that time would be for me but I do know that when that time comes, I probably would not be fit to travel to Switzerland - plus I (having thought about this extensively since being diagnosed with secondaries) by preference would choose to die at home surrounded by my family. I am no longer afraid of dying but I am afraid of dying in pain and the distress that that would cause not just me but the whole family. If an assisted death at the right time ensured a peaceful and planned for death, I would definite opt for that. And it would ease my concerns now to know that I had that option available to me if I chose to take it.

Can I also comment on what you said Liverbird about people on the secondaries forum battling to stay here as long as possible? I wouldn't want to speak for others on the secondaries forum but speaking personally I don't relate this statement to myself at all. I know there is very little (if anything) I can do about the way my disease progresses (other than take the various treatments) and I don't see myself at all as battling the cancer or battling to stay alive. I have a very "what will be, will be" view. What I do "battle" to do though is try to ensure the cancer doesn't take over my life more than it has to and that I continue to live a happy and fulfilling life - but I know that I need to add to that "for as long as possible". Despite my treatments and illness, I feel I am doing that for the majority of my time although often it is a struggle. I think that is very different from what you have said, Liverbird. Plus maybe when I am unable to do that and my quality of life is very poor, that will be when I would choose to die.

As I said at the beginning though this is all about choice and my choice will be different from other people's. Do the other people though who don't want that option, have the right to deny it to me though?

Kay

JaneRA
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Many thanks to everyone...I hope this debate can continue and that people who fele strongly about it will do their own little bit of campaiging as and when the time arises. I don't expect a change in the law in the UK in my lifetime..unfortunately the power of orgnaised religion is too entrenched in the state to allow a liberalisation of th law yet....but who knows we can chip away.

Snowhite..I think you are right that there has been no prosecution of anyone who has accompanied a relative to Switzerland but some have been questioned for many hours and there are certainly cases of people assisting suicicde within the UK who have been prosecuted. I think Debbie Purdy's campaign for clarity about the posituion of those who do travel overseas is a really important contibution towards opening up the law.

But being sure of one's right to be accompanied to Switzerland is not far enough in itself. Indeed Switzerland is too far. One probalem as I see it is that many (as I do) would feel that probably if they were well enough to travel to Switzerland it would not yet be the right time to die. But leave it, and you get too ill to travel anywhere.

Anyone wanting to make a Living Will...forms are avaialble from Dignity in Dying which take account of recent legislative changes.

A couple of people have mentioned doctors upping the dose of morphine towards the end of life and this practice..sometimes called 'double effect' is legal. Basically a doctor can adminsister pain killer with the primary intention of alleviating suffering even if they know that as secondary effect would likely be death. However, because the law is so unclear around end of life decions many doctors are uncomfortable about the uneasy position taking such individual decisions puts them in.

Ruth: I think anyone with a terminal illness faces enormous struggles and questioing about treatments, about living with their illness and about how they want to die. I would hope that one characteristic of a civilised modern society would be that a framework of law exists to enable each individual to make the choices which feel right for them. Dying is not a competition in suffering. Living is not simply about not dying (thank you Roberta for that one) You ask at what exact time I would ask to die. I don't know. I haven't got there yet and hope not to for a long time. I don't know how my disease will progress, which organs will be affected, what my symptoms will be, how much these can be managed tolerably in a way which is manageable for me. I might well choose to die earlier in the disease process than others would do in their own situations. Just knowing that I could have this choice within carefully prescribed limits would enormously relieve my emotional distress.

Cherub...I read about Margo MacDonald in the Dignity in Dying newsletter and I am so glad she is speaking out on this issue.Good on her.

Longden: thanks for your support.

I don't have any religious belief and I do confess to smiling at god's incompetence in making cancer drugs, but being incompetent at everything else no surprise there...

Jane

horace
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Here is my story.I joined the Voluntary Euthanasia Society many years ago and lodged a 'Living Will' with my GP.When I was dx with this filthy thing I reminded my daughter of this and she was distraught and begged me to tell the doctor I wanted to retract it.Because I was causing so much pain I did this and she came with me to the doctor.I support anyone's right to make this decision but for me I felt it would be the last thing I could do for the family if they knew I had stayed as long as possible.I have given my daughter a witnessed letter saying that if I am suffering and there is a way to ease my passing then that is what I want,it is up to her to use it.It would be a very brave person who could accompany a loved one to Switzerland and return alone and a very unusual person who could ask it of someone they love.We ought to have the choice here I think.The poem Jane quotes talks about,'where youth grows pale and spectre thin and dies'.Keats wasnt talking about suicide but his despair at the premature death of his younger brother and his certainty that TB would claim him too [as it did when he was only 25].I'm not sure what I'm saying really except that I think we should have the right to choose but should take responsibility for the effects of our choices on those who have to live with them.Vx

belinda
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

But Ruth you can do both..you can continue all available treatments to stay alive while your quality of life is good and some of us with secondaries will want to continue treatment when our quality of life is not good at all. I've been living well with mets since 2003 and I'm hoping this will continue for a long while. I love my family, I love life and I'm pain free but I also agree with Jane when my situation changes I do not want a prolonged and painful death. I was with my Mum when she died, April this year, I have no religious beliefs, faith, whatsover but was comforted to some degree that most of the time my Mum was dying she was relatively peaceful and it was a quick death.

longden
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I know Rx,Life is more interesting if we disagree nicely,Im glad you see it that way,guess im just feeling a bit protective of Jane,which she would no doubt scold me for but still,like you said thank God(yes i do believe in God,in a non religious way but in a personal spiritual way if that makes sense,sorry rambling now)....we can all agree to disagree ,take care and best wishes.....Doolally.

aroma
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

i hope that when my time comes ,i can go with dignity ,and free from pain ,as some of you know .i lost my sister and a brother in law on the same day in march this year ..one died at home with his family and my dear sister in a hospice ,both went peacefully ,with help from morphine drives ,i know they bump up the dosage near the end ,its never nice to watch someone you love die is it ,my own poor mothe rwho died when i was very young died in agony ,drugs have come a long way since then .i really think its an indevidual choice as how to die ,i myself want to go without suffering if possible ,bad enough to be in pain everyday now .it all boils down to choice . makes you think though dosnt it ,given the choice i know what id do .lynn x

Liverbird
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I am sorry longden if i upset you but what i am asking is when do you decide to ask to die?
I did know when i posted what i did that it would upset some people regarding God as some are non believing.
I thought very very deeply about what i wrote and its something i come too from vast experience of being with dying patients and family and friends. It was not meant to upset anyone AT ALL. Sometimes i feel people don't like the mention of faith God or an after life on here but we are all entitled to our views and that for me is a big part of my life and my belief on an after life.

God gives men the capbilites to advance in science etc there is no need to be sarcastic L.

Again we are all entitled to our point of view and apologies if it isnt the same as everyone elses but i have to be true to myself.

Life is more interesting if we disagree 'nicely'

Rx

Lanterna
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I'm still reeling from the revelation that God makes drugs. Personally I'd always thought it was companies like Roche and Burroughs Wellcome who rake in the profits.

Good luck JaneRA, I fully support the aims of Dignity in Dying, and if you need petitions signed etc then get in touch.

L x

longden
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Dear Rx, no one has just said,......I agree with Jane......people have given reasons and comments for their particular stance and I am sure people have posted with a great deal of thought and deeply too,to suggest that people havent is I feel is a little condescending.As regards one particular point you made
quote......Does she see it as being wrong of the people on the secondary forum battling to stay here as long as possible?
.......I am sure Jane will answer for herself,but Jane posted about her own personal thoughts and feelings ,and of her way of looking to the time ahead and how she would wish to deal with her own personal situation and hasn't suggested that this be a way for anyone else just as an option for herself ,I dont think for one moment anyone would comment on anyones decision facing their death unless brought up here as a question,for they are all individual and seen with the respect and admiration they each merit I found this statement somewhat alarming.Sorry Rx ,It has taken a lot for me to say this ,but I just had to express my feelings on those particular points you made,Doolallyxx

ForumMember
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Vertangie I agree, that is the point that I was trying to get across. Yes we are more than animals, we are human beings with feelings, thoughts etc. and we should have as MUCH freedom of choice, if not more, as we have for our pets, not what we have now which is less.

It is a choice, so why is it wrong to watch an animal suffer so is put to sleep to ends its torment, but its totally ACCEPTABLE to watch a human being suffer against there wishes, its inhumane.

vertangie
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I am 100% in support of freedom of choice of the individual, very very strongly and as such have felt that we all should have a right to choose how and when we end our lives. We can for our pets and it's disturbing to me that we can't offer the same compasion to our loved ones.

I do appreciate that the idea is offensive to some people's ethical, moral and religious points of view and as such some do feel the right to deny that freedom to others and everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion but one persons opinion should not be able to dictate something as huge as quality of life for another person against their wishes, eg my religious beliefs should not be able to dictate that another dies in suffering.

Sorry if this is strongly put but we are much more than jut animals and we deserve at *least* as much freedom of choice for ourselves as we have four our pets etc.

naunamh
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Liverbird, how do you come to terms with God deciding that children are left without mummy and the heartache of those He chooses must leave them. If He is responsible for making the drugs why doesn't He make them a bit better? In fact why doesn't He shortcut drugs and just make sure that we don't get cancer?

Liverbird
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

This is some subject, which a lot has been written and discussed about for many years. I think a lot of people have made a comparison to the abortion issue and how that in many peoples eyes has been abused. Will this be abused if legalised?

Jules are we animals? I dont think we are, we can speak we can have an opinion and be heard and consulted as to what we want.
I believe God made us and he ultimately decides when we leave this earth but i wouldnt say No to a few drugs to help me on my way. He has made the drugs so i have no problem in that.

My mum had secondaries at Dx but lived for 6 yrs. When she was told there was no more treatment she was relieved. I am thankful for the hospice she died in as i know if she had been in the teaching hosp they would have tried to keep her alive as they had done for the month before, diamorph assisted in her death.
My other friend died last year, i strongly believe taxotere killed her quickly as she should never have had it she was too weak with extensive liver spread.. She said to me when i got her admitted to hosp, 'wouldnt you think they could give me something to finish me off'
Having been a nurse and unfortunately in my life had the experience of being with family and friends nearing death i do not feel that the medics can force us to have treatment and we do receive assistance in dying. I would not want though to be able to ask for an injection to end it all.

Can I ask Jane, at what exact time is she going to ask to die? Does she see it as being wrong of the people on the secondary forum battling to stay here as long as possible?.

I am very confused over this issue.
I have known people at Dx with secondaries to refuse treatment and probably die a lot quicker than they would have done. Haven't we all got a choice?

I know i am missing the main point in this and thats an injection to make us die but my question is AT WHAT TIME?

Some on here have just said 'I agree with jane' which is fine but have they read and thought deeply about this, its a mega mega issue.

I am just glad i have a faith and believe in eternity and can let God be in control and hope he gives me the strangth and courage when i need it as i aint one bit brave.

Nice we can share here and thanks Jane for bringing this up, sometimes we avoid death and how we will deal with it.

Rx

ForumMember
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I am in total agreement with you Jane. What has always made me cross is if an animal is in pain, the vet will put him to sleep to end his misery and suffering, but human beings are expected to soldier on till the end, no matter how distressing the end is.

Good luck with your campaign.

Jules x

snowwhite
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Hi Jane, all - so glad you raised this. It must, absolutely must, be discussed. Our own deaths have not been prevented, merely postponed. But it is a thorny issue.

Some thoughts: I don't think there has been an actual prosecution of anyone who has accompanied a loved one to Switz; I believe (can't cite cases - research needed) that there have been charges brought against individuals helping people to die here, but I also vaguely think that they got off in the sense of not going to prison; however no-one should have to fear prosecution for an act of compassion.

I believe doctors have been prosecuted for assisting death - doctors are in a particularly difficult position; after Annie Lindsell brought attention to her plight in 1997 (motor neurone disease) there was a ruling, supposedly, that it was legal for doctors to use enough morphine to make the person comfortable even if it hastened death; however, I am not certain how clear that message is because for all I know there have been subsequent cases of the same kind, where you would suppose they didn’t need to be if this ruling had force. Perhaps there are difficulties establishing exactly what occurred in particular cases.

Hence I think, I fear, doctors are nervous about end of life, and that makes me fear that people may have to suffer because doctors are afraid of the law. I fear that raising the profile of these issues may have made matters worse for us in this regard - where once they may have been able quietly to help us die, now they fear that they will be charged, and prosecuted. Different cases have had different outcomes, as well, I think. So the situation absolutely must now be clarified.

Another thing that worries me is that, since doctors have the wherewithal to help themselves and their families, they are all right jack, so to speak; so they feel secure in the knowledge that they themselves will not suffer. So they forget that the vast majority of us are not in that fortunate position. I have thought of getting hold of some heroin when the time comes - know nothing about these things, but how hard can it be? - problem is, I do not wish to break the law, nor to encourage dealers - bet that bit will be censored.

I got a Living Will from Dignity in Dying - essentially declining treatment other than palliative when I reach that stage of moribundity such that what I call a tolerable life is over and I could head towards my grave if they leave me alone but would have to hang on if they use technology. I had difficulty getting friends to sign as witnesses because they morally judged me - they had the impression that I might be preparing to desert my children when, as I see it, I was trying to spare my family the agony of my excessively and artificially prolonged dying, and of having to carry a passenger when I am past my ‘best before’ date, which I would like to choose. My doctor accepted the will reluctantly, but brushed it off with unconvincing reassurances about my ending and what can be done - it is said, and I do not have personal experience of this, that the best palliative care is not adequate for some people who still live in agony before death delivers them. The rules have changed since I did this, and I haven’t got round to checking out if mine still stands or if I should change it.

My big reservation is that I do not want another person to be involved in my death - although I heard on the radio an account of a mother who sat beside her son who took a large dose of illegal heroin to end his life (can’t remember what he had but it was terminal and horrid) and I would have done that. She also said how peacefully he died. Bet that will be censored too. Wonder if there is a forum on which we can discuss this - maybe Dignity in Dying have one.

doylej
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Well done Jane for bringing up this subject - not something everyone wants to talk about, but talk about it we must. I never discussed the subject of dying until my dx with BC which brought the subject head on. Family wanted to shy away from the subject whenever I mentioned it - I really wanted to talk about it and get it out in the open and didn't find their attitude very helpful. What is the point of shoving it under the carpet - surely life/death go hand in hand. After all, it will happen to each of us at some point surely as night follows day. Although I am a Roman Catholic, I totally support the argument for euthenasia - it should be the person's choice whether they want to go down this route and if they feel it will leave them with the dignity they want in death, then surely they should be allowed to have their last wish.

GrannyScouse
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Long before my dx in 05 I had researched the Euthenasia Society. I fully support any endeavours to encourage euthenasia. Many the time it's been said that animals wouldn't be kept alive to suffer what humans have to suffer. All in the name of, what, God?? Don't make me laugh.

Jane, and anyone else who wants to pursue Dignity in Dying, just carry right on and I'm behind you 100%. I'm a follower, not a leader, but if there's anything I can do to help, just let me know.

Good luck to us all.
xx

jacqc
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

We artificially prolong life by treating illnes and the symptoms of illness, so therefore, we should be allowed to artificially end life when symptoms become uncontrollable.

Good luck in your campaign, people power is underestimated.

J.

cottoneyedjo
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

I agree - I don't fear death (tho I am not looking forward to it) - just pain and helplessness.

I read somewhere recently that there is going to be more effort to send dying patients home - would be good if enough assistance I suppose?

My Dad died at home from cancer - he & my Mum were GPs and I have long susspected that they had enough morphine stashed to 'help' him. I am sure other GPs 'help' patients in this way unofficially but a Holland type solution seems logical to me. I'm afraid I dislike all Religions and see them as divisive in most instances even anachronistic - but I consider myself moral and Humanitarian and support the idea of Dygnity in Dying.

Jo

cherub
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

We have an MSP up here in the Scottish Parliament, Margo MacDonald; she is a very formidable and strong woman. She started campaigning for a change in the law because she has Parkinson's Disease and she feels that if she goes on to develop the worst form she should be allowed to die with dignity. She did a documentary on BBC Scotland last week about this issue. Margo is also a tireless supporter of better BC services and she supports the Scottish Breast Cancer Campaign which I joined recently and hope to get a bit more involved with when I get more time.

I watched my father die from dementia - during the last 7 days of his life he refused all food and drink and there is no doubt he wanted to go. The last year of his life was a living hell and during the last 2 days he was fitting twice an hour due to electrical impulses to the brain. My late mum believed in euthanasia over 30 years ago because she believed people should no have to die in fear and great pain. I am sure there are many others who feel like you Jane and I am not at all offended by you discussing it because the only thing certain in our lives is death.

longden
Member

Re: Dignity in Dying

Jane,all that matters is you and what you want,you will not be letting the side down,for how can anyone begin to imagine each individuals situation and feelings regarding facing a terminal prognosis.I so wish things were different for you,your final words by John Keats I confess brought a tear to my eye as the reality of your situation hit home,thinking of you and wish you well in your campaign Doolally....x

JaneRA
Member

Dignity in Dying

I recently rejoined this charirty which campaigns for a change in UK law to allow assisted dying. I was prompted by wanting to support Debbie Purdy who has progressive MS. She is challenging the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue a statement about his policy towards people who accompany a loved one overseas to die. At present the only countries in the world to allow assited dying/assisted suicide are Belgium, Holland, Switzerland and the US state of Oregan. In Europe Holland and Belgium do not allow foreign nationals to use this law and so terminally ill UK citizens who wish to die at a time of their choosing have to travel to Switzerland and then anyone who accompanies them faces the risk of questioing and possible prosecution when they return to the UK. Purdy seeks a clarification in the law.

I have also recently read a really good book by Mary Warnock and Elizabeth MacDonald called Easeful Death and its provides a compelling argument for a change in the law here.

I have supported a change in the law for many years. Now my cancer is terminal I feel even more strongly. I dread, not dying, but dying after a long drawn out final illness and want the right to be helped to end my life at a time of my choosing. I find this subject strangely missing from discussion about living with advanced breast cancer...feel hesitant about raising it..as though somehow 'letting the side down.'

I know some people have strong religious and moral objections on this issue..indeed it is the intervention of the Church of England in the Lords which stopped recent attempts to change the law. There is now sufficient evidence from the expeience of Oregan(10 years) that liberal legislation on assisted dying does not lead to a 'sliippery slope' and one of the benefits of a change in the law is actually improvements in palliative care.

I wonder if there are other people with breast cancer who feel equally strongly. I'd like to do some serious campaigning with Dignity in Dying, and at a personal level, nothing would lessen my distress more about the thought of what is to come than the knowledge that I could choose to die in dignity at time of my choosing...which could be earlier than a 'natural' death. I know that the exisiting law may enable pain controlwhich will make my last days 'comfortable' and 'peaceful' but what about those of us who don't want the last weeks or the last few months thanks? I know the disability movement in general is heavily split on this issue and I suspect the cancer community is too.

I recently heard the beautiful story of friend of a friend in Holland with advanced cancer who had a big party the night before she used the law to die. What a way to go.

And finally in the words of John Keats:

Ode to a Nightingale

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain.

Jane