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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Debbie Purdy: I suck the marrow out of life, I'm not ready to die

Damian Whitworth

From: The Times March 19, 2010

In a wallet on her kitchen table Debbie Purdy keeps the two pieces of plastic that will enable her to make her final journey. The Visa credit cards — one for her and one for her husband, Omar Puente — have a limit of £7,500. She has not spent a penny because she wants to keep them clear to pay for her death.

“We don’t carry them with us because it’s only for use . . .” She stops short of referring specifically to the trip that she plans to make to the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland. “We haven’t really talked about the cards but we both have copies because I am worried that he will need it to get home and stuff like that.”
We would not be having this conversation if Ms Purdy, who has multiple sclerosis, had not won a landmark legal victory last year forcing the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to clarify the law on assisted suicide. “I would probably have been dead for six months at this point. It’s terrifying. I love being alive.”  .......read more....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A.C. Grayling on Diane Pretty's right to die

Well known for his impressive mane, Professor A.C. (Anthony Clifford) Grayling is a prominent English philosopher, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St. Anne's College, Oxford. He is a prolific author, publishing, last year alone, three or four books, amongst them the encyclopaedic book, Ideas that Matter: A Personal Guide to the 21st Century, which gives succinct, elegant, and thoughtful essays on many things of contemporary interest and concern, including assistance in dying (see under 'euthanasia'). He was closely involved with the legal team for Diane Pretty, a woman suffering from ALS (which is called motor neurone disease in the UK), who brought her case before the High Court in London, and also before the European Court of Human Rights in The Hague, arguing for her right to assistance in dying. While she lost her case, and the appeal to the ECHR, Diane Pretty, who sadly died as she feared that she would die, was, like Sue Rodriguez, a brave advocate for the right to die with dignity, and paved the way for many of the changes that are now taking place in England and Wales. Professor Grayling wrote a paper supporting Diane Pretty's right to assistance in dying, entitled "Diane Pretty - the case for her right to choose", and you can read it here, on Professor Grayling's web site.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Why is Choice in Dying so Important?

As Canadians, we value the freedoms we have to make choices in our lives.

Whether it is the freedom to choose how to participate or celebrate spiritual beliefs, the freedom to participate in democratic elections, or the freedom to speak our minds without fear of reprisal enjoying these freedoms in life is our protected right. In fact, it is one of the reasons we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and value that so dearly.

But even though dying is something that every Canadian will face, unfortunately we do not have the same freedom of choice at the end of our lives.

Even with an Advance Directive (sometimes referred to as a “Living Will”) in place, or a designated substitute decision maker, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be respected. As an example, legalized aid-in-dying is an option that is not currently allowed in Canada, regardless if someone has specifically requested it.

As the “Boomer” generation swells our aging population and advances in healthcare are achieved that both prolong life and the dying process, there has never been a greater need to face these issues, learn about them, and talk about them openly.

We need change. And that change can only come when dialogue and information sharing is activated among elected officials, policy-makers, spiritual leaders, healthcare practitioners and advocates for choice.

Dying with Dignity is committed to ensuring that dialogue and debate on these critically important topics continues until our freedom choose our end of life options are as firmly entrenched as our freedom to choose to vote, to worship or to speak our minds.