Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide - Archive

‘Never Give up Hope’: Former ‘Locked-In’ Patients (2010)

As campaigners use the “hard cases” of severely disabled people to push for legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia in Britain, Pink and McNeilly urged sufferers not to give up on life.

When Kerry Pink, an interior designer, was 35 in 1997 she fell ill with an undiagnosed neurological i

llness and suffered what is called “locked-in syndrome,” that is, she could not move or communicate. For 18 months, she said, “I lay paralysed in hospital, locked into a motionless body, conscious of the conversations around me but unable to respond”.

In a long testimony in Britain’s Daily Mail, Pink said there were times when she could hear and understand conversations being held around her and others when she would sink into a “deep coma,” but that through all this, her family and doctors did not know she was ever aware.

“I know that however dark the twilight world I inhabited, I never lost my will to live. I was always determined to come back home.” After a year and a half in this condition, Pink spent three years in various hospitals undergoing treatments and can now walk briefly with the assistance of a cane.

During the period of her medical crisis, Pink said, doctors had asked her husband, “Do you want us to keep on – or shall we pull the plug?” But Greg Pink insisted that treatment continue.

In a related story, Marini McNeilly, a former teacher who was paralysed by a series of strokes, said in an interview with the Times, “Hope is the last thing you should lose.”

McNeilly, who can move only her eyes and head and has slight movement in her fingers, said she is “full of optimism,” and that “I feel I owe it to the people who cared”.

As campaigners use the “hard cases” of severely disabled people to push for legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia in Britain, Pink and McNeilly urged sufferers not to give up on life.

Pink said that it was after reading Rudd’s story “that I felt compelled to send him a message of hope”. Richard Rudd is the paralysed father of two who recently indicated, using eye-blinks, that he wants to live.

“It was an incredible moment that showed the strength of a man’s will to survive. It’s a life-force that I myself have experienced – and I want to show Richard that it is worth battling on,” Pink said.

At the same time as Rudd was giving his message of hope, another severely disabled man, Tony Nicklinson of Melksham, Wiltshire, is going to court to try to change the law on homicide to allow his wife to euthanise him by lethal injection. Nicklinson has told the court that he is “fed up” with his life and wants his wife to kill him, rather than face the future as a disabled person.

Speaking of Nicklinson, McNeilly said, “It’s a very personal thing. Where there is a challenge there is hope to meet it.”

Under current UK law, doctors can face charges for refusing to dehydrate a patient to death. Guidelines installed under Tony Blair’s Labour government, say that a patient’s “advanced decision,” including a request for cessation of artificially administered food and hydration, must be followed even if it means the patient will die.

The guidelines say, “If you are satisfied that an advance decision exists which is valid and applicable, then not to abide by it could lead to a legal claim for damages or a criminal prosecution for assault.”

Related coverage:

Over 30% of Euthanasia Cases in Belgian Region Did Not Give Consent: Study
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/may/10051903.html

URL: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/aug/10080611.html
[August 6, 2010, http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/printerfriendly.html?articleid=10080611, Hilary White; N Valko RN, 7 Aug 2010]