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Terry Pratchett forthcoming programme


Registered User
Jan 30, 2010
Assisted death

I watched it, and the debate afterwards. Very thought provoking.

I have always felt strongly pro-the right to choose euthanasia, maybe because I have a lomng-term chronic (not terminal) health condition, and since knowing that Nan had AD as well as Mum I've been even more determined that if I get it too I will do the deed before it gets too late. There is no way I can put my family through again what we are living with now. Hopefully it will not be illegal, or put others at risk of prosecution by the time my time comes.

My Mum however has spent all her life very, vehemently, anti-euthansia, and I remind myself of that when she's very distressed and begs me to put an end to her terrible life. When she says this she doesn't really mean she wants to die, she wants what is happening to her to stop. It pains me that I can't do that for her, but comforts me that I might be able to do it for myself in the future! I'm grateful that deep down, I know that she would never have chosen euthanasia, assisted or otherwise, and it helps me stay chipper for and with her. It must be so much harder when caring for someone who would have chosen it if they could, especially with dementias because they rob people of their right mind and thus the rigth to choose, at least within our current legal framework.

The film left me feeling very uncomfortable about Dignitas, how sad that some folks have to resort to going there and cannot die as they wish at home. Those two men died too early I felt, because they had to go whilst their state of mind couldn't be doubted, and they could still physically participate. It left me thinking we really need to learn the lessons from Europe and put more resources into hospice care and into assisted death here. As one of the women said in the debate afterwards, we are a civilied country surely capable of putting systems in place that protect the vulnerable, surely it need not be so risky to the disabled as the other woman claimed? My Dad died in a hospice, with us with him, and it was ok, my Uncle did too. One of them would have chosen to go much sooner though if he could, and it was very hard not being able to help him as he wanted.

All in all I think we have to applaud Terry Pratchett, he is managing to spread the word about AD pretty well isn't he?

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I do not have any feelings against someone who chooses to end their life, if they have a terminal illness. I think it's very sad for someone to have to travel to another country to die.

Skye said:
But if I were diagnosed with dementia, I'd have to do it while I still had capacity. And how would I know when?

Hazel, you've summed up the dilemma very well.

For myself, although I have no religious beliefs, I would not be able to have my mother euthanized. I will not, however, be using extreme methods to keep her alive. There won't be a feeding tube or anything of that matter. If she starts getting aspiration pneumonia, I'm not certain what we'll do. It's a matter of thinking about it when the time comes.

I don't think I would kill myself either, as I am usually a hopeless optimist. My father always said "Life is good" and I believe him.


Registered User
Jan 28, 2009
I found the viewing very hard and emotionally draining. For the wife and mother not wanting their loved one to go down that route and yet not wanting them to suffer pain and indignity in their future, took some strength of character being able to travel with their loved one and witness such a thing. I know this is something I could not do. Having lived with my father's suicide and knowing what life is like for those left behind makes me think the emotional backlash will still be the same.

Someone once said to me that it was my father's choice to die: it took some strength and courage for him to take his own life/ I still ask myself if he really, really loved his family would he have put them through the years of hurt and distress that they have suffered. Was he not just being selfish? Yet know, as I've got older and now seeing the pain and torment of mental illness, as a result of dementia first hand, I now find myself asking is real love being able to support someone with their personal choice, is this not an act of true unselfishness. I then question, did my father take his life when the balance of his mind was unbalanced - was it. He took his life at a time when he hadn't been displaying the usual traits of mental illness. He did not have dementia. Was he having moments of lucidity when he took his life. I know the act of his suicide took some planning. I think suicide will always leave questions unanswered. Assisted suicide is supposed to eliminate this. but for those who have strong personal ethical and religious beliefs whose loved one wants to go down this route, how can they support this?

Terry Pratchett does raise awareness to Alzheimer's. As he said, he only has memory loss at the moment, so at this point in time does he still have capacity? I'm still not sure I fully understand the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia, but one thing for sure is I agree with Skye's comments.

The two people who chose to die in last night's programme were supposedly of sound mind. I am convinced that someone with alzheimer's or any form of dementia at whatever stage is not. Perhaps individuals when writing their last will and testament, when of sound mind and totally free of any disease, should include their choice to euthanasia then, and you are given the opportunity should you wish to amend your will at any time whilst you are still of sound mind.

This is only my own personal opinion and it is good that people are allowed to debate such important issues. I know I did not sleep well last night .....

June x


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
In this country we already have a form of euthanasia when we withdrawal medicines and stop treatment for a terminally ill person knowing to do so will bring about the end of their life a lot more quicker. But no one ever questions that decision on morality and even for people who are thought to lack capacity and it happens on a regular basis were people who are considered to lack capacity who have had their medical treatment withdrawn with out their consent just because someone has made the decision their life is no longer worth living!

A quote from my GP when my mother was dying from a stroke, and they wanted to put a PEG in:

"Thou shallst not kill but needst not strive
Officiously to keep alive"

His version of the Hippocratic oath.

If she starts getting aspiration pneumonia, I'm not certain what we'll do. It's a matter of thinking about it when the time comes.

When John developed aspiration pneumonia, the consultant spelled it out for me very clearly. Given John's condition, he was unlikely to recover. but they would treat him aggressively for 48 hours to see if there was an improvement. After 48 hours there was no change, so the consultant said he was proposing to withdraw treatment. But I did have the option of insisting.

I didn't. The treatment was not even easing his pain, and it was a choice between administering powerful ABs or pain relief. I chose pain relief. The other in my view would have been to 'officiously keep alive'.

Just my way of looking at it, of course, and it's always an individual decision.


Registered User
Jun 10, 2009
West Sussex
I felt it was a well balanced programme that did nothing to change my mind.

I disagree that Mrs Smedly was "detached". I think the poor woman was coping in the only way she could in exactly the same way her husband was. I am sure all her crying and grieving are done in private.

For the two men who decided to end their lives, for me it would have been the same decision. Equally, just like them, I felt it was too soon and in the wrong place, but they had to do it whilst they could.

I also disagreed with the argument in the following discussion programme about the option of a "good" death in a hospice. Many many people are not afforded this, and anyway it is not about the actual death, but the awful suffering that can go on for days, weeks and months before death.

As others have said, it is so different for dementia sufferers as by the time the body has failed then the mind has long gone and cannot make the decision.

Still feel that Dignitas itself is a mixture of some kind caring people, but there is something just not right about it. Sadly though it is all that is on offer for us Brits and we are fortunate that Switzerland facilitates it.


Registered User
Jul 27, 2010
Rural North Northumberland
We watched this last night and the debate. We recorded both programmes and watched them after MIL and FIL had gone to bed. It was all very thought provoking and I think as I always have that it is a personal choice. It should not be a taboo subject we all have to go at some point. I personally couldn't go to Switzerland to do it I would want to be at home, but then again I don't know if I could do it. My OH wants to be able to do it and I will support him if thats the choice he makes. My only hope is that things change here and he will be at home with his family around him. With my OH this will be a long time in the future hopefully. He has bipolar as his father has who now has Alzeimers and because of what he sees with his father he doesn't want that for himself. Its all very sad but whatever choice my OH makes I will be there for him. The way I look at it is we don't let animals suffer. As I said earlier its a personal choice and should be respected. The law needs to change and soon to stop people having to die too soon as was seen in the programme.


Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
Well said Skye. I didn't watch the programme nor would I consider others to influence my views of life and death.
I have many questions of this society. Why do we consider we know what the future holds? Why is it that the so called end stage of Alzheimer's is expected to end in unendurable pain? Why is it that so many consider consider medication is the answer to treating depression, wanting 'to go home' seeing people we can't etc., instead of tackling many of the of the underlying causes.
There have been many times the thought of 'ending it all' flashed across my mind: when our daughter was suddenly killed, when my wife passed away and recently with the constant pain of Gastric Cancer. Each time I've learned to appreciate wining what appeared to be the impossible fight.
My wife gave up the will to live whilst in a 'Nursing Home' and there is no doubt she would have died a very painful death had I not removed her to lavish her with loving care as though she was a baby. The experience of caring for her at home alone proved to be a terrible beauty as she had been given just 24hrs to live. She had a good quality of life for another 4yrs and 8 months. 003.jpg002.jpg Pictures say it all. One at the NH and 19 months later!


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
What it doesn't appear to show is the impact on the family.

Emmerdale has just shown the assisted suicide of Jackson, who was quadraplegic as a result of an accident. But it is following through with the aftermath, the impact on family and the wider community.

Whatever people's opinion, I do think the debate should be balanced.

I don’t normal watch Emmerdale as I am working at that time, but as it was my day off work I ended up watching it with my daughter not knowing that part was going to be shown. I could not believe for one moment that the mother would admitters the medication to her son. While my daughter did think she would and there have been true life cases of mothers doing that.

Only now after the death/ murder of my son do I know the experience of the aftermath that is going to be left behind for the family that is living. No matter what the age of the person or disability they have that leads them to want to take their life.

My daughter ask me would if I wanted Anthony my son in that condition if he had lived and been a quadraplegic. I said "Yes I would"

But then who is the selfish person. My son or I . Him I know not wanting to not live like that or me in wanting him to stay alive live like that . Because I do not want the aftermath of the feeling that will be left within our family .

It may well make thought-provoking and information providing viewing for some, but could potentially be very upsetting.

Back to personal choices again - the "off" button is there if it's not for you.....

Yes very thought - provoking as "feeling" comes into it .
tying to perceive it from an objective view, Is very hard when trying to not let ones emotions into the topic of assessed suicide from one own personal life experience into it.

They never operated on my mother cancer because of mum dementia was so advanced that she would not of had the mental capacity to recover from the operation ( consultant told me that ) So I had no choice but to watch my mother die .

Then I find out this year that a friend mother had the operation at the age of 79 same age as my mum . This lady is recovering,but she never had a dementia

Dementia is a cruel disease .
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Registered User
Dec 10, 2009
The media thrive on misery and violence. The more horrific and depressing the story the better. Though I don't watch soaps from what I understand, they also have their share of the same.
How wonderful it would be to watch just one programme about a home where dementia patients are looked after on a one to one basis with love, compassion and dignity as the over riding factors, and not profits.
Many of us are referred to as as the 'Elderly' by politicians and so called professionals. Is it any wonder few of us 'Elderly' are scared at the thought of ending up in a 'care home'?
It would be nice to feel included as part of society. For a change those in charge might change their tune by being inclusive: "We must ensure that conditions are the best they can be for all of us when we are Elderly and should suffer with dementia."
I'm day dreaming, right?


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Padraig...we can not let go of our dreams...our belief that things can be better....for once the dreams go there is no hope, and then where will we all be?
I will keep believing that things can change, that things will improve, and I will do my best to make it happen...even if that is only in the way that I care for an older person, or speak to them in the street or supermarket.
Love Amy


Registered User
Nov 22, 2008
A quote from my GP when my mother was dying from a stroke, and they wanted to put a PEG in:

"Thou shallst not kill but needst not strive
Officiously to keep alive"

His version of the Hippocratic oath.

I've nothing against the withdrawal of treatment from someone who would not benefit from continued treatment or have no quality of life! just the fact that some people and doctors just give up too soon not fully understanding that persons quality of life.
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Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
East Kent
I did not see the programme so cant comment on it

Though personally im not against euthanasia
Its not something I feel is right for me to decide
for another person, let alone for my mum or dad, but for
myself I could.

Im terrified that if it was made legal here how it
could be abused, not necessarily by some family member
but it could happen
my concern is mostly how it could be abused by some
in the medical profession, we only have to think
of some threads on here in the not to distant past

In my veiw what we need is good caring care,
not the shabby treatment some receive just because
they have reached 70

we also need wonderful end of life care such as a
Hospice is able to provide
This is one reason we got our local Hospice involved
with my mum. I did not know I could cope and care for
my mum properly if she went through what so many
of your loved ones went through before they died

fortunately mum didnt go through that for which
I will be forever thankful


Registered User
Nov 29, 2010
There are so many different emotions come into this sort of thing....with dementia, as someone rightly pointed out when would you know, and would you be "going" far too soon..as everyone is different and dementia takes it's own time...However after nursing my mum with cancer...that is a different thing altogether....near the end of the most horrendous week I would have gladly given her something and not had a second thought about it...like we say, we don't let our pets suffer...why then do we watch as our loved ones go through shear hell before they can leave this mortal coil.....I remember my Dad years ago saying he watched as his Father dissapeared in front of his eyes with cancer...and at the time he was in the RAF in charge of the Armoury...he said he would have got a gun and shot him if he could have done...strong stuff.....but..why would anyone want to go through that, and watch as your loved one went through that??? We have to have choices.