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Assisted Dying Quotes
We cannot sit back and complacently accept that terminally ill patients who are suffering unbearably should simply continue to suffer for the good of society.
(Lord Joffe, 1932–2017)
My support for a safeguarded assisted dying law comes from supporting the cultural shift in medicine from paternalism to person-centred care and by recognising the cruel injustices inflicted by the blanket ban of assisted dying in the UK.
(Professor Sir John Temple, past president of the British Medical Association, past president of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh)
Opposition to assisted dying does not properly represent the full range of views that doctors have about assisted dying. Modern medicine is increasingly taking the view that patients’ wishes are paramount, and when the vast majority of patients want to see a new law allowing assisted dying, we believe that healthcare professionals should pay attention. (Sarah Wootton, Dignity in Dying Chief Executive)
I do not accept the view that if there were a change in the law this would create overwhelming pressure on elderly people to agree to an assisted death to avoid being a burden on society.
The changes we are proposing require an individual to proactively request help with end of life and judicial oversight to confirm there is no undue external pressure on him or her.
To argue, as some have, that the moral climate will have been so tipped to place indirect pressure on people is spurious and hypothetical and not borne out by practice in those countries where there is such a law.
(Noel Conway, undated, accessed 11 March 2017)
Why I want the option of assisted dying
My thoughts are filled with uncertainty and fear that my pain and sickness will not be controllable - but having the option of an assisted death would change all that.
I think about dying constantly - what will happen if the tumours on the left or the right grow fastest, how am I going to die, whether I will be in pain.
I don't want my family to see me suffering, I don't want that to be their last memory of me.
I just want to say goodbye to my family and drift off peacefully.
Knowing I had the option of an assisted death when things get too much would allow me to live now, without the constant fear of what might happen at the end.
For me assisted dying isn't about dying, it's about living.
By backing this campaign I am fighting to live.
(Sandy Briden, undated, accessed 26 August 2017)
Palliative care cannot alleviate all suffering. This is about a patient making their own choice, and having good quality of life right until the end.
(Dr Sandy Buchman, President-elect Canadian Medical Association)
The existing laws around assisted dying [as at 2020 UK, a blanket ban] assume that palliative care can prevent all suffering at the end of life. This is sadly not the case for a significant minority of people. According to research released in September last year, even if there was universal access to excellent hospice-level care, 17 people every day would still die having had no relief of their pain in the last three months of their life. This is a conservative estimate.
Alongside those who experience unrelievable pain as they die, there are many more who experience uncontrollable symptoms that cause further anguish, indignity and suffering. As well as being highly distressing for patients, these symptoms are also often traumatic for loved ones. Bereaved family and friends are substantially more likely to experience complex grief and post-traumatic stress after witnessing a bad death.
(Adapted from my 2020 letter, via Dignity in Dying, to my MP)
We don't call it assisted suicide. We call it supporting the right to terminate your life. We don't get a choice on how we come into this world, but we should have a choice on how we go out. (Last Flight Home, Official Trailer, 54s, posted 15 September, accessed 6 October 2022)
If you’re terminally ill, you should have the right to terminate your life if you don’t want to suffer any more. It’s a right over our own bodies.
(Ondi Timoner, creator of Last Flight Home, quoted in The Guardian, posted/accessed 6 October 2022)
Almost every single time I deem a patient eligible [for medical assistance in dying, aka Maid], that patient stops worrying about how they're going to die and starts wondering how they're going to live. It is objectively therapeutic to give someone the option.
(Dr Stefanie Green, president of the Canadian Association of Maid Assessors and Providers, quoted at BBC, posted and accessed 14 January 2023)
Death & Immortality