Final certainty

LAST year Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old Californian, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Rather than let the illness take its dreadful course she moved to Oregon, where a “Death with Dignity” law exempts doctors from prosecution, with some safeguards, if they prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients who ask…

Euthanasia in the Netherlands: One family’s experience of a loved one’s assisted suicide

There is nothing about the home we visit near Arnhem, south of Amsterdam, to suggest it is anything but ordinary. It is council collection day and assorted bits of broken or outworn furniture line the pavement. A postman asks 77-year-old Toos Pietersma to take a package for an absent neighbour.…

‘I held his hand as he drank the fatal dose’: the day my husband chose to die

When Gerard began to be seriously ill, he insisted: “I don’t want to leave you with a mess to clear up.” He was dependent on frequent blood transfusions. A controversial antibiotic used to treat a serious lung infection had destroyed his mountaineer’s sense of balance. Walking, even with a crutch,…