MS sufferer Andrew Barclay ends his life at Dignitas

The Daily Mirror reports the story of Andrew Barclay who ended his life at Dignitas in Switzerland. It includes a clear and articulate video statement made by Andrew  shortly before his death. He had been suffering from MS for 25 years, but it was when his illness entered the secondary progressive stage that Andrew decided that his quality of life was incurably below the level he could tolerate, and that he should take steps to end it. He took time to discuss the decision with his family who, with obvious difficulty, accepted and supported him.

The video ends with a statement that summarises his feelings: “I really don’t see the point in waiting until one is a virtual corpse that simply breathes”.

Some other quotes from Andrew give insight into the difficulties in choosing the time to end his life, but also to the relief that his eventual decision brought him.

“There are still genuine moments of happiness. But they no longer outweigh a life in which every single day is a struggle from start to end. So I have made this decision.

“There will always be a reason not to go ahead with it – Christmas, a birthday, an anniversary.

“The decision is made, the date is set and the hard truth is there is now a job to be done. I’ve spent 14 months fighting to get to Dignitas and there’s now a sense of relief it will soon be over.”

The newspaper article quotes Dignity in Dying Chief Executive Sarah Wootton as saying that it is tragic and unacceptable that people like Andrew feel they have to end their lives in Switzerland. The article fails to point out that the Dignity in Dying proposal for an assisted dying law would not help people like Andrew, as he was not terminally ill with a life expectancy of six months or less.

MDMD campaign for a law that will help people like Andrew.