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A prayer from the dying

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 17 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1084
  1. Jeremy Anderson, psychiatrist
  1. Australia

    June Burns, a 59 year old woman with terminal bladder cancer, wants to die before her pain becomes unbearable. In an attempt to persuade others of her right to die as she chooses, she has appeared on Australian television in an advertisement sponsored by the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New South Wales.

    The advertisement features Mrs Burns speaking from her hospital bed, appealing for legal sanction to kill herself. “If I was a dog, by now the RSPCA would be on to my husband for cruelty and would have me put down straight away,” she says. “I feel life is very precious and I've enjoyed every moment of it and I wish I could go on, but I can't and I'd like to die with dignity.”

    The advertisement has had a major impact both on the public and on Mrs Burns. Carmel Marjenberg, coordinator of the …

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