'There was no dignity and death was welcomed' - Sunderland Echo readers back assisted dying bill

Dr Kevin Yuill
Dr Kevin Yuill

Plans to allow patients to end their own lives with help from a doctor have been welcomed in Sunderland.

Proposals are due to be debated in Guernsey, where a bill on assisted dying is to go before the island's parliament in May. If it succeeds, it would make the Crown dependency the first place in the British Isles where the practice would be permitted.

It would also open the door for people from mainland UK who want to die, and meet the criteria, to travel to the island and take advantage of the new law.

We reported how Dr Kevin Yuill, a Sunderland academic and prominent opponent of assisted dying, had spoken out against the proposals in Guernsey stating "we should not as a society sanction the destruction of the lives of others".

However, dozens of Echo readers backed the proposals on our Facebook page, some of them with sad tales themselves of loved ones suffering, and 82% of people backed assisted dying in a poll on our website.

Graeme Hummy Humphries said: "If you've ever had to watch someone you love go through the pain or indignity of dying of terminal cancer or dementia, you'd agree with euthanasia."

Margaret Crosby said: "I watched a relative suffer terribly at the end. There was no dignity and death was welcomed. I can't think of it without crying, years later!"

Fiona Aynsley Hull said: "I just watched my mam slowly dying for seven weeks, no food, a sip now and again. I would of give her the injection myself."

Tracey Usher said: "We don't allow our animals to suffer, we do the kindest thing for them. So why let our loved ones suffer? It's their choice at the end of day."

Eleanor Forster said: "There is no way I want to exist (can't use the word live) the way my mother did with dementia - harrowing to watch, must be even worse to go through it.

"I would love to be able to make plans for assisted dying while I still have mental capacity. Assisted dying is not euthanasia, assisted dying needs the patients consent and euthanasia does not.

"My mother, a good Catholic, said they should just give you a pill rather than let you suffer from Alzheimer's."

Susan Walton said: "I agree it's a person's individual choice. My mother had Parkinson's disease and at the end had lost her mobility.

"She went from being very active to being stuck sitting in a chair all day. This made her very unhappy. If she'd had the choice she would have opted to end her life."

Mandy Tucker said she supported assisted dying "as long as the person is of sound mind and can give consent".

Others brought up issues to consider.

Claire Edmundson said: "I'm a nurse, or I was I should say, and I've watched many people suffer no matter what pain relief was given.

"It's horrendous for that person and the family, however I don't think as a professional I could ever give someone anything to kill them, because that's what it would be looked upon as."

Mandy Tucker said: "What repercussions would there be for any family or friends that accompany the person wanting to die when the come back home?

"I'm sure I remember people were arrested when they came back home after taking family members to Dignitas."