“Dignified Death”

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.


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4 Responses to “Dignified Death”

  1. John again you have entered a mine field, and expressed in clear terms can the law or a change in the law be acommodated? I think not! I believe it needs a change in everyone of us and as a society as to how we come to terms with death and dying, of ourselves and our loved ones. The medical profession has its ethics, unfortunately for the young and fit the Hypocratic Oath is to defend life its self. What Did the old greek philosophers of the day such as socrates pontificate on about the richness or right to life, for the frail and elderly or infirmed members of a society?
    I do not think philosphy has moved on with modern life and what the new life preserving/lifesaving drugs can do.
    The society in which we live needs to change with respect to life and we have to park for a time the ‘adversarial role of parliament and the law to one side, and clear our minds as to what we wish to happen to ourselves and our loved ones, at the point of death.

  2. John, Oh John! My sleep has been disturbed. As an agent provokerteer on this subject as we have discussed before, I now come to appriciate the point you make above!!! But what a decision you have left me with?
    I have been looking out and not inward as to what I wish: Now I must struggle with my conscounce(Spelling), and I feel uneasy.
    I did , and do believe if the situation arouse in my very close family: as a son, husband father and grandfather, I could with meaningful discussions come to some decision, and act either within or outside maybe the law??? But it would depend on all things being equal. If It happened to be me the centre of the situation I would not ask or hopefully embarrass the close family, and would maybe seek with their blessing the use of a physician, man of the cloth and a hospital for my salvation and saving of my soul.
    Now I come to the tricky bit: I would be embarased if I where approached by a third person/friend or aquaintace, and asked to act outside the boundries of advice and to ‘express the wishes’ of that person to a hospital physicain or man of the cloth: Then I would refuse in the first instance and even if the law would or where to change? I would have to seriously wressle with my concsounce (Spelling), and would definitely feel repungnent to act.
    As I have said before John it is a personal decision between me and my god, and what in the end of the day my conscions (spelling) will allow? I do not know the answer to your question? But it has been good to talk.

  3. davidwfreeman237 says:

    Dear John some where on this ‘blog’ site i responded to one of your blogs and mentioned Haley and Roy Cropper of Coronation Street, and the demise of Haley with terminal Cancer, and the protrayal of the thoughts (That the sciptwiters introduced), that life may be present Haley with as she approchehes the end of her life with Roy.
    I cannot trace my blogs on your sight, but never mind the soap opera continues and in the New years episode there were a few lines between Haley and Roy which I found informative? The time, place and the last good bye will be of Haley’s chosing? I wonder how the scriptwriters have written Haley Out?? On New years eve 2013 Haly’s mobility has become questionable, but not her mind or reasoning? I just wonder were it will all end.

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