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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Assisted Suicide: That Did Not Take Long

The first legal test of the interim rules on assisted suicide in Britain has already come to light. An 83 year old former GP and assisted suicide advocate, Libby Wilson, was questioned and according to some reports arrested by the police. Dr. Wilson, the founder of FATE, Friends at the End, was questioned by the police in connection with the death of Cari Loder. Ms. Loder, a 48 year old academic, was not terminally ill. She had Multiple Sclerosis. Ms. Loder killed herself using helium gas and a hood she bought on line. According to Dr. Wilson she spoke with Ms. Loder twice and explained how to use the mask and gas she purchased. Loder was dead two days after they spoke and appears to have used a Final Exit suicide guide to end her life. Dr. Wilson was not the only person questioned by police who also spoke to one of Loder's neighbors. However, Dr. Wilson has been frank in stating her opinions about Loder's death. Wilson has been quoted as stating that she gave Loder "final tips" and that her questioning was an "appalling waste of money. The police time and effort to investigate the death of a lady who wanted to die and had good reason to die and I had absolutely nothing to do with the means of how she did it". Exactly why Loder had "good reason" to die is something I and many others would dispute.

This case does not surprise nor does the identity of the victim. Loder was a lecturer at London University's Institute of Education and discovered what was named the "Cari Loder Regime" for MS. This regime combined antidepressants, an amino acid and vitamins. Loder wrote Standing in Sunshine in 1997. In her book she wrote that she was diagnosed with MS at the age of 32 and was on the verge of committing suicide until she discovered the "Cari Loder Regime". It will be very interesting to see how and what Keir Starmer does in light of Loder's death. I sincerely doubt Dr. Wilson will face prosecution based on the interim guidelines thereby paving the way for many more deaths.


Full Tilt said...

Is it your view that Dr. Wilson should face prosecution?

From what's written here, it sounds like Ms. Loder was proactive in developing a regime that worked for many years. As a reader, I do not know the exact reasons she chose to end her life. Perhaps she felt that her regime was no longer working and her quality of life deteriorated. The fact that she also considered suicide prior to finding an alternative that mainstream medicine did not offer speaks volumes about our medical system and the medical models allopaths are trained in. It also tells me that dying was an alternative Ms. Loder was not afraid to think about, though why brings more questions than answers.

From what you write, I have the clear impression that dying was Ms. Loder's decision and not one made for her by Dr. Wilson.

As a disabled person, I understand why this is a hot-button issue for many.

For me, it comes down to a question of how far my rights extend and whether I want the right to decide when and how to end my life should I believe that my quality of life has diminished and will continue to do so.

I agree that as a society we all have an obligation to make our communities liveable for all, and as many of us continue to struggle with basic needs, lack of services, attitudinal barriers, insensitivity, discrimination, we are not where we should be.

That said, denying an otherwise competent person the right to decide when to end their own life will not change the larger picture here.

Anonymous said...

The million dollar baby is a good example of assisting someone to finish with life in a simple way, although that movie appealed to me, I don't much agree with that. When watching that movie I saw a lot of commercial breaks about Generic Viagra