The caring act

There have been a number of cases of people travelling abroad to be assisted to die in the past few months.

In May, father of three Jeffrey Spector, who had a tumour on his spine, ended his life at Swiss clinic Dignitas, acknowledging that he was ‘going too early’.

More recently, former palliative care nurse Gill Pharaoh ended her life at a Swiss suicide clinic. She was healthy, but feared growing old. And in mid-August, Bob Cole travelled to Dignitas to die after a period of suffering as a result of terminal cancer, just a year and a half after accompanying his dying wife to the same centre.

Whatever we think of their decisions, we must respect the deceased and their grieving loved ones, and the national debate must focus on what patients want and need, before and after death.

Attempts falsely to characterise assisted dying as symptomatic of a lack of compassion have seen some opponents of the practice forget about the patients and their


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