Today marks one year since the right-to-die campaigner Omid T ended his life in Switzerland. To honour the anniversary, My Death, My Decision has released the exclusive extract from the last interview of Omid T, courtesy of ‘Endgame’ director Andi Reiss and Yellow Media Entertainment.
Omid had been a vocal and active campaigner, and a prominent member of My Death, My Decision before his death. Following a diagnosis of the rare neurological condition Multiple Systems Atrophy in 2014, the father of three launched the UK’s first assisted dying case, since Paul Lamb and Tony Nicklinson’s Widow Jane challenged the law in 2014.
Raising more than £34,000 to support his challenge, Omid sought to convince the courts that the UK’s prohibitive law breached the human rights of those living with unbearable and incurable illnesses, by denying them a right to a private and family life. However, fearing that his condition would progress and leave him physically incapable of travelling to Switzerland, Omid was forced by the UK’s law to go to Switzerland before he would otherwise have wished, and 2 days before the High Court delivered its judgment – ultimately leaving Omid’s case unresolved.
Omid recognised the importance of an inclusive law on assisted dying, believing that just as compassion has motivated people to support assisted dying for those who are terminally ill, compassion for others should also underscore support for a change in the law for adults of sound mind, facing constant and unbearable suffering.
“In my view, there is no moral or legal justification for drawing the line at terminal illness or 6 months or fewer to live. This would not have helped Debbie Purdy, Tony Nicklinson or me or many others who are begging for help to end our lives at a time of our choosing without pain in a dignified way.”
Acknowledging the one year anniversary of Omid’s death, My Death, My Decision’s Chair, Trevor Moore commented:
‘Omid’s story cut through the debate on assisted dying, to provide a strong and poignant reminder that, unless the law respects the rights of both those facing terminal and incurable illnesses, a balanced and compassionate change in the law, will discriminate against hundreds that deserve compassion. It was and remains a tragedy that Omid was forced to die abroad.
Nearly 90% of the public now agrees that Omid should have had the right to choose how he died, prominent medical opinion (such as the Royal College of Physicians) has shifted, and an increasing global consensus now points towards changing the law both for those who are terminally ill and those facing incurable suffering. Isn’t it time that our politicians take stock, and act to reflect this reality?
Omid has now passed the baton onto Paul Lamb and Phil Newby to change the law in the UK, and we will continue to support them both.’