London: Right-to-die campaigner Jean Davies, 86, who stopped drinking water on September 16, passed away on October 1, British media reported.She believed it was the only way she could legally exercise her right to die.Davies had spent five weeks attempting to end her life, Independent reported.The former maths teacher, 86, did not have a terminal illness, but suffered a range of conditions that made her life uncomfortable including chronic back pain and fainting episodes.
Before her death, she told the Sunday Times: “It is hell. I can’t tell you how hard it is. You wouldn’t decide this unless you thought your life was going to be so bad. It is intolerable.”Ms Davies’ four children and two grandchildren were reportedly supportive of her decision.She told the paper that she had no alternative as the other methods are “either illegal or I would need to go to Switzerland – and I want to die in my own bed.”
Earlier this month Australian doctor Philip Nitschke opened a clinic in the UK to help advise people on how to end their lives.Called Exit International, the organisation has been branded as “potentially very dangerous” and could be “open to abuse”, Independent reported.“It is easier to prepare [for death] now. That is the message Exit International has been promoting and why it is so important to have an office in London.”
The Guardian reported Pavan Dhaliwal, head of public affairs at the British Humanist Association, as saying Davies’ “immensely brave decision” to speak out before her death was an attempt to advance justice and bring about a more humane society.“It is our moral duty as a society to give assistance to mentally competent adults who are suffering incurably, permanently incapacitated, and have made a clear and informed decision to end their life but are unable to do so independently,” she said.
“Our determination for a change in the law and the vast majority of the public who support this will be renewed by Jean’s example.”Davies has published a book, Choice in Dying, in 1997 and spent much of her life campaigning for a change in the law to let doctors administer lethal medication to patients who wanted to die. She had explained that she did not have a terminal illness but suffered from a range of medical conditions including chronic back pain and had suffered increasingly frequent fainting episodes.
Davies received care throughout her fast from her doctor, who agreed to treat her to alleviate the symptoms of starvation and dehydration after consulting his defence union. The doctor, a Christian who does not believe in assisted dying, last visited her hours before her death.“The defence union said that if someone has capacity then it is their choice. You cannot force someone to eat if they have capacity,” he told the Sunday Times....