Tim Dower: We have to consider the consequences of assisted dying

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 26 Jun 2020, 11:19AM
(Photo / 123RF)

Tim Dower: We have to consider the consequences of assisted dying

Author
Tim Dower,
Publish Date
Fri, 26 Jun 2020, 11:19AM

A new study has been looking into the social consequences we might see fanning out from the End of Life Choice Bill.

We vote on this at the election, along with cannabis reform and if the polls are right there's strong support.

I've spoken before about my own family's experience with this.

When my Dad was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and was going downhill fast, he asked if I'd go with him to Switzerland. He'd signed up with an outfit called Dignitas.

In the end, he got so sick so quickly, which is unusual for MND, that they wouldn't have been able to help him.

Now, I'd have gone as a sort of last service to my father, but what he hadn't done was tell anyone else about what he was planning.

Big mistake.

My sister was horrified, almost disgusted at the idea he wanted to bring it all to an end on his own terms. I got it, but she didn't.

Look, this is an intensely personal decision, but there are other consequences I haven’t given much thought to.

Stigma, which can be felt by the surviving members of the family: they didn't want it, but Granddad went ahead and did it anyway.

The feeling a precedent has been set, and that they too, if and when the time comes, should consider taking that option themselves.

And this is part of the point this research is making. It's not just about the person who wants to end their life.

Like when you've decided you want to donate your organs if you're in an accident, you need to talk this through with your loved ones.