Page 48

Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Arena Health Making a quick exit Assisted dying has always been controversial. The UK has just voted against legalising it, while Switzerland’s Dignitas clinic continues to attract clients from far beyond its borders Barnaby Bayswater Jeffrey Spector made UK national news in May when he took his own life at a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland six years after being diagnosed with an inoperable tumour growing near his spinal column. A husband and father of three, Spector did not want to die but felt that he did not have another option. He said that the tumour made him feel like a ticking time bomb as he could have been struck with neck-down paralysis at any moment. Unwilling to give up his autonomy and become a burden to his family, Spector made the choice to travel to Zurich when his condition began to deteriorate. “I was going downhill and was finding it hard to use my hands. I had no pressure in my fingers,” explained Spector in an interview with Dignitas hours before his death. “I felt the illness had crossed the red line and I was getting worse. Rather than go late, I am jumping the gun. I call it the least worst option, which is best for my family in the long term.” Spector had been a successful businessman, working as the director of several advertising firms in Blackpool. Friends and family members urged him not to go through with the plan, but his resolve was unwavering. “I know I am going too early but I had consistent thoughts without peer pressure. It had to be a settled decision by a sound mind. If I am paralysed and cannot speak, then what hope is there? I am a proud person – a dignified person, independent and self motivated. It is me who is doing this.” Spector had to travel abroad in search of an assisted death because of the prohibitive laws currently in place in the UK, which ban assisted dying. The case provoked renewed discussion on the issue, with many claiming that the husband and father could have had months left with his family, but had been forced to cut his time short, knowing that if his condition deteriorated further he would be trapped. “Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK so it had to be Switzerland,” Spector said. Speaking to The Guardian in the wake of Spector’s death, Sarah Wootton, chief executive officer of British assisted dying pressure group Dignity in Dying, disclosed that one Briton travels to Dignitas every fortnight in search of a self-directed death. “We know that for every one British person that goes overseas to have an assisted death, ten Britons are taking matters into their own hands in this country to control their deaths,” she added. © Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com four 46 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2015 global


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above