Choosing death with dignity – a very grey area

Choosing death with dignity – a very grey area

Death is something we all struggle with, and people often question how someone can decide to take this option over life.

The story of Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old woman who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year is hitting the headlines on Facebook. Brittany, struggling with a debilitating illness, had decided to end her life on her own terms, leaving behind a husband and devoted family.

Looking at the pictures of this beautiful young woman, it seems hard to comprehend how this could happen. Many people may feel that this is somehow not right and should not have been allowed, yet if we do not suffer as terminally ill patients do, who are we to make such a decision on their behalf?

In the UK, if you are found to have assisted someone who has made the decision to bring about their own death, you can actually be prosecuted. As this is such an unfamiliar process for so many people, there are many grey areas in UK law on this topic. People choosing to go down this route are often fearful about the legal implications for friends or family who have supported them in their decision.

Brittany comments that people would often tell her she does not look so sick, yet she would frequently be overcome with seizures that took away her ability to speak. It’s a hard thing to accept, and seemingly impossible that anyone would make their life any shorter than it has to be, and yet, for some, it is the only choice they feel they have. Sad though it is, the suffering that comes with daily life is for some, unbearable, and simply not worth it. For those who have to say goodbye to someone, it can be the most difficult thing in the world to stand by. But people do decide on this route and loved ones do back them up, bearing this in mind, it might be time for the law to accommodate.

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