MDMD’s Campaigns and Communications Manager, Keiron McCabe, spoke exclusively with “Endgame” director Andi Reiss about Omid’s journey. Andi was present at Omid’s medically assisted suicide in Switzerland.
Photo: Omid and Andi, shortly before Omid’s death at Lifecircle Switzerland. Photo credit: Andi Reiss
How did you first become interested in the issues around Assisted Dying?
My mother died in 2010 whilst in the UK. Although she had been on a clinical trial and lived for over 19 additional good years, I eventually witnessed the indignity of her death first hand. That’s when I first started to think and examine the process of Assisted Dying in this country. It’s also why I wanted to direct a documentary examining these issues in more depth than anyone had done before.
And how did you find out about Omid’s case?
About two years ago I approached My Death, My Decision’s coordinator Phil Cheatle about the Endgame film and the issues surrounding Assisted Dying. Phil and everyone at MDMD were great and that’s how I first found out about Omid. I got to know Omid over the filming of Endgame. But it was more than that, I spent a lot of time with Omid and Omid wasn’t just someone I was following for a documentary, Omid was my friend.
I realise you were with Omid and spent some time with him when he went to Lifecircle for medically assisted Suicide. What was Omid’s mood and atmosphere when he decided to end his life?
It’s hard to emphasise enough, just how much anguish and pain Omid was in before he visited Lifecircle. I’ve known Omid for over two years now and words simply can’t describe it. It’s quite an extraordinary thing. No one can fully comprehend that the day you are going to die could be one of the best days of your life.
The mood at Lifecircle was joyous! I’d never seen Omid so excited, happy and calm. He looked incredibly relaxed and was very peaceful. It was extraordinary. It might be hard to understand, but when someone becomes incurably sick and life becomes totally hopeless, making that choice is empowering. Omid’s life had become at the behest of everyone. He couldn’t do anything for himself anymore. So knowing that you can lean over and switch the valve and go to sleep within one minute is pure empowerment.
Endgame is scheduled for a screening on Tuesday 9th October 2018 in Jersey. Further information can be found at: www.endgamemovie.uk