My dying wife was in so much pain that her last wish was for euthanasia to be legalised – Yorkshire Post letters

From: Karl Sheridan, Old Lea, Holme upon Spalding Moor.

How hospitals treat the terminally ill is in the spotlight as calls grow for the law on assisted dying to be altered.

THE Parliamentary debate on assisted dying appeared to have achieved little to amend the existing outdated laws where it is likely that those assisting their close relatives to die prematurely are prosecuted (Sir Vince Cable, The Yorkshire Post, July 8).

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Hopefully there may be a public consultation on this sensitive matter that not only looks at the pressure on relatives placed in that situation, but also looks at the needs and wishes of those who themselves are terminally-ill.

Outgonig Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable is calling for the law on assisted dying to be changed.

My wife of 43 years was diagnosed with terminal cancer just before Christmas – an aggressive form that had contaminated her pancreas and liver. We were told she only had months to live; if that.

The beginning of the new year brought us chemotherapy to ‘‘help give her a better quality of life’’ for those remaining months.

The Dignitas end of life clinic in Switzerland - should there be such a facility in the UK?

Subsequently a stent fitted by the oncology department became infected, resulting in further stays in hospital. Then her liver began to fail and another stent was added and again that became infected, resulting in abdominal drains being fitted. For the next four-and-a-half months my dear wife endured sheer hell with visits in and out of hospital, pain, discomfort and finally the loss of her dignity with me having to attend to her every need.

The hospital, in all fairness, tried to improve her remaining months, but in actual fact gave her five months of sheer hell; admittedly interspaced with the odd week of tolerable health now and again that raised our hopes, only to have them dashed as the crippling cancer fought back ferociously.

During those months she three times begged and implored me to end the misery she was going through, and of course I couldn’t; but my God, how tempted was I to grant her wish. To see the one I loved lying there suffering was heart-breaking – and that is an understatement, to say the least. And yet my hands were tied and I could do nothing, because I knew I would be hauled over the coals in a law court. My beloved Ann said one day that if euthanasia was legalised, then she would fight to be the first in the queue.

I firmly believe that we need the legislation amending now and that we need a Dignitas right here in the UK. I also I know that I speak for thousands of people who have been, and indeed who are, in the same boat. The terminally-ill should have the basic human right to end their suffering in a dignified and painless way if they so wish.