I'm for this mostly although it's not just a question of the person who's ill - but Terry says his nearest and dearest have been involved in the decision. That's fine if everyone most closely concerned is aware of, agrees or most importantly are ready to accept the situation.
My father goes into a hospice tomorrow - not to die, but to have his palliative treatment sorted out by experts whose skills are focused on keeping him out of pain and comfortable (he's refused further cancer treatment and has an estimated 4 - 6 months left him). My mother is trying hard to accept this, but is in no way ready to accept it's the 'beginning of the end', so an accelerated course is for now something my father is also not ready to accelerate or to force upon her, even though I suspect he wants to go a.s.a.p. So long as the person dying is still able and willing to stay on and leave it to 'nature' that is their choice as is the option to choose the time themselves.
Choice is always good but I wish he only had himself to consider because he's in a bad way just now - but 2 weeks time and he could be feeling differently so I think he's right to see it through. With due respect to Terry it's 'easy' to make this kind of decision hypothetically when he's not in terrible, constant pain and has a very reasonable lifestyle in which he's physically and mentally able to weigh and express his decisions and wishes and still able to steer his own course professionally with some concessions - I think he's right I really do, but he's possibly years away from having to make the choice for real (many, many years away I hope). So of course I have more 'sympathy' for people like my dad, or Debby Burry whose existence has many limitations and are nearer to possible devastating and permanent degradation of their quality of life - Terry's statements are therefore aspirational not essential - so far as he's concerned personally at this moment.
Debby Burry was interviewed this morning and she's still saying she's ecstatic with the new guidelines because although they do not go far enough they do give her a framework and knowledge to use which will mean that when her MS becomes intolerable for her and her partner she can choose her moment knowing that if he helps her to die - with her medical advisors support - they can now plan that knowing that he and her care team will not face prosecution.
As for Dignatas-style clinics - we already have them in this and most other countries, except ours are currently obliged to operate to stricter guidelines and are there for more than the last hours. So is Dignatas come to that - it is not there just to help end life but to make the last days supportable for the patient and their loved one for as long as they can go on. My dad isn't going into St. Luke's Hospice to die - yet. But if he deteriorates or his status is compromised by say, a heart attack, whilst he's there they have no resusitation equipment and he can choose to take the option not to be taken to a nearby general hospital if that happens. If he has to go the 'natural' route then that also is eased with drugs that are purely needed to keep him out of pain and in doses where he will sink deeper into insensibility until he slips away in peace. This happens all the time, when the outcome is inevitable and close, as a 'halfway house' to assisted suicide.
Yesterday's government announcements were a small and 'grudging' breakthrough perhaps, but now the ball is rolling towards putting this final situation onto a footing where people have the choice to do this in a way that is not punitive legally for those brave and compassionate enough to help someone die as they wish. Terry's ending may then be entirely possible for everyone, but controlled and I hope not open to abuse by people who are not like my mother or Debby Burry's partner and want someone to die in a timely manner for more selfish and criminal reasons and against the patient's wishes. That is paramount in this and why it's currently and mostly the correct reason why nature 'must' take it's course.
Magic always happens for a reason, wherever and however it is created. Inside the fantasy, or springing from it…
Dreamless Roads by Jan Hawke on the DreamWorlds forum