The Patch

February 13, 2007

Tuesday 13th February 2007.

Filed under: UK News — Claire @ 12:14 am

Euthanasia. To kill or not to kill? It’s a dilemma that’s faced so many people. Put someone you love, who you know you’re going to lose, out of their misery despite it being illegal in the UK, or let them suffer? Help them to end their suffering because they’re not strong enough to commit suicide alone, or just watch them painfully die?

It’s a subject that’s hit the UK news again this week, with a Bristol woman, Kelly Taylor, taking to court her argument that doctors should use morphine to sedate her, which she knows will increase the likelihood of her death. Doctors argue that doing this would be tantamount to euthanasia, and that they can only use morphine to provide adequate pain relief.

The saddest part? She can’t even kill herself. She tried to overdose on paracetamol and has also attempted to starve herself in her desperation to end her own life. This is a woman that wants to die, but can’t. She just has to wait until ‘her time’. But why shouldn’t she be allowed to choose when that is?

This woman is in constant pain, suffering from heart, lung and spinal conditions and is terminally ill. She will die within the year. But because our laws say we cannot assist someone in dying, she has no out. She has to wake up every day knowing that she’s going to die whilst in complete agony and that’s seen as the legal option. In this case, it’s legal to watch someone being tortured, to watch someone who’s had enough of life but is too weak to end it just wither way.

There‘s something sickening about it. If a pet is ill, we put it down. We give the poor animal an out, because we don’t want to see it in pain. Yet we expect a human being just to get on with it. We expect their family to just sit around watching someone they love suffer, rather than giving them the option to help them let go. Surely that can’t be right.

It is obvious why people oppose. Those people see a life as a life, which should end naturally, without interference. But for Mrs Taylor and others like her, it’s not a life anymore. A similar case that comes to mind is that of Diane Pretty, who argued that the terminal Motor Neurone Disease had taken away her dignity and her liberty. She could barely communicate and could not move. She was basically trapped in a body that she no longer had control over. Is that life? Yet she was refused the right to die. Her husband just had to watch helplessly as she died in pain and fear, after courts decided he had no right to help her end her suffering.

Why should it be up to courts? Why should a person who’s suffering so much that they want to end their life be denied by a judge who doesn’t even know them, let alone have any idea of the torment they face daily? Terminally ill people should be allowed to choose when to stop the suffering.

And yet Mrs. Taylor must spend her last months fighting for something that should be her right.



  1. Definitely agree with you. The arguments against euthanasia seem so contrived (old people might feel guilty about staying alive and feel pressured to pull the plug, so to speak, etc)- if it’s only used in cases when someone really has no quality of life any more, I don’t understand how anyone can argue against it. Like you said, we’re more humane to animals and let them be put down, so why can’t the same be applied to humans?

    Comment by amyfeldman — February 13, 2007 @ 12:41 am | Reply

  2. one of the problems is, what contitutes quality of life, why should one person be allowed to kill themselves if another person is willing to fight for life, to live with their disability or disease, for example Alison Lapper has done a great deal with her life, more than most of us infact, but if someone who was in the same situation as her decided that they didnt have a good quality of life would that but ok for them to kill themself or have someone do it for them, not in my opinion, but then thats just it, its an opinion, thats the problem with the whole issue, everyone has an opinion, who’s to say that theres is the right one

    Comment by andy — February 13, 2007 @ 2:12 am | Reply

  3. The person whose life it is gets to say whose opinion is right. It makes me so angry when “the courts” and the government interfere with an regular person’s life just because they want to make a decision that a lot of people may disagree with. They are so busy taking away people’s rights to refuse medical treatments and have euthanasia; what they should be worried about is education, health care systems, something that affects a lot of people, not just one. Talking about rights, what gives the government the right to decide the fate of one citizen who has not commited a crime, who just wants to die in peace? It’s absolutely inhumane and wrong.

    Comment by Amie — February 13, 2007 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

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