Personal View

Terminally ill people shouldn’t have to travel abroad for assisted dying

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6201 (Published 14 September 2012)
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6201

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

  1. Laura McClelland, specialty registrar in anaesthetics, Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil, UK
  1. doctormac{at}doctors.org.uk

My aunt, Geraldine McClelland (Mo), died at Dignitas in 2011. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, aged 58, and had radical surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Some months later Mo developed a bad cough. The formal diagnosis of metastatic disease took four months. She was breathless after walking from her sofa to her fridge and wasn’t eating. She started palliative chemotherapy and was advised that she could live for up to 18 months. She went into rapid decline and so stopped treatment.

Mo was always clear about her decision to choose a medical death in the event of a terminal diagnosis if she felt her suffering was too great and if she became dependent on others. This was simply her wish.

Mo and her friends worked tirelessly to arrange everything. She had been unaware of how stringent the process was. Dignitas doesn’t promote its services; it just provides them for the small percentage who need them. It’s expensive and involves interminable paperwork. I thought of others like Mo …

Get access to this article and all of bmj.com for the next 14 days

Sign up for a 14 day free trial today

Access to the full text of this article requires a subscription or payment. Please log in or subscribe below.

Article access

Article access for 1 day

Purchase this article for £20 $30 €32*

The PDF version can be downloaded as your personal record

* Prices do not include VAT

THIS WEEK'S POLL