A letter in the Times (7/10/04)
From Ms Alison Davis
Sir; Mr Tim Beresford (letter, October 2) says that those who argue against euthanasia believe that doctors will not be able to resist killing their patients, and that there is "nothing worse than being dead".
I have several severe disabilities and use a wheelchair full time. I also experience severe spinal pain which is not always well controlled, even with morphine.
I object to euthanasia because, had it been available when I wanted to die, 19 years ago, when doctors wrongly believed I was terminally ill, I would have been robbed of the best years of my life. Of course, no one would ever have known that the future held something good for me, and thus the fallacy would have been preserved that sick and disabled people are "right" to want to die and should be helped to die, while others who express suicidal thoughts are "wrong" to want to die and should be helped to live.
I think that if euthanasia were legal, doctors would take at their word people like me who would qualify for euthanasia under the rules proposed, and who say they want to die.
Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill proposes a 14-day cooling-off period in which a person may change his or her mind about being killed. I wanted to die for ten years. Would any doctor really wait that long if euthanasia were legal and the patient qualified for it? I think not.
Blandford Forum, Dorset