Everyone Has a Right to Die with Dignity

The Journal (Newcastle, England), November 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

Everyone Has a Right to Die with Dignity


tHE funeral of tragic Oxo mum Lynda Bellingham once again brought home the very harsh and cruel reality of cancer.

Increasingly it seems no one is left untouched by this terrible disease.

The courage of sufferers seems to know no bounds and none more so than that of a beautiful American woman Brittany Maynard, whose story touched the world.

At the weekend the 29-year-old chose to end her suffering by taking her own life before its quality became so poor it was unbearable. And she did so legally.

Brittany's heartbreaking story garnered global attention and reignited the on/off debate about whether assisted suicide should be legalised throughout the world.

In highlighting her decision before her death she became the unofficial spokeswoman for the right-to-die movement.

Many, including myself, were left in awe as she spoke with a calm acceptance and unthinkable poise of the decision she had taken.

And on Saturday as she lay in the arms of her husband, in her own room surrounded by her loved ones, she took a lethal dose of barbiturate prescribed by a doctor as she had planned.

As she closed her eyes she simply drifted off to sleep forever free of the pain and suffering her inoperable brain tumour was destined to cause.

Before her death she moved so many to tears, changing the minds of even some of the most hard line opponents of assisted suicide.

It was only January when doctors had told Brittany her excruciating headaches were caused by a brain tumour.

The devastating news came just a year after her wedding and cruelly forced her to abandon plans to have children.

Despite two operations and the best efforts of doctors, seven months ago she was told she had Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme - an aggressive form of cancer.

Her surgeon explained there was nothing that could be done and that before long, they estimated just weeks, she would succumb to the disease. …

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