Within days of writing a sceptical piece on Euthanasia (see “Dying to Meet You” dated 5th January), I read a thought-provoking article in the Daily Mail on the 8th December written by Geraldine McClelland and published after her assisted suicide at the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland.
Her personal experience, clear thought and sincere concern for others in her situation just cannot be ignored.
The significant factors in Miss McClelland’s case were:-
- She had a clear diagnosis of a terminal illness
- Her lung cancer caused serious breathing problems
- She was mentally alert and had given much thought to seeking assisted suicide
- She did not want to endure the physical decline that lay ahead of her
This is a powerful rationale for allowing someone to be helped to die with proper medical support and safeguards.
It would have also allowed her to die at home and have freed the relatives from sharing the burden and uncertainty of assisting her.
The key questions is – can a change in the law be framed precisely enough to only allow assisted suicide in circumstances like Miss McClelland’s?
This is never going to be a simple or an easy decision but Geraldine McClelland has powerfully and posthumously put down a headstone for some change.