Published here is an article written by Mike Findley MBE about his experiences with Motor Neurone Disease. He is a councillor on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, and a former Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland.
He writes about the need for a change in the law which of course protects the vulnerable whilst allowing people of sound mind suffering from a terminal illness to die with dignity in the manner of their choosing. In fact Mr Findley himself might not have been covered by the Assisted Dying Bill I introduced in Parliament in 2015 – because sadly the loss of the use of his hands and arms and further paralysis from the neck down might prevent him from self-administering medication. My thoughts are with this brave man.
"Whenever people hear the words assisted dying there is generally a massive debate with so many different opinions, among MPs, Religious Leaders and the various Do-Gooders. As someone with a terminal illness. I take great interest in what people say; personally I honestly believe that in certain situations there is a case for an individual to be allowed to die with dignity.
"I recently read an article about the former comedy actor Lord Brian Rix, in the past when he had been fit and well he voted against any laws on assisted dying. However, once he was diagnosed with a terminal illness he changed his mind and wanted help to die with dignity but of course he couldn’t unless he chose to go to Switzerland, so why shouldn’t he have been allowed to die surrounded by his family in a dignified way that’s within the law? Of course anyone with any common sense understands the need to protect the elderly and the vulnerable in society, but surely it can’t be wrong to pass a law for the minority of individuals like Lord Rix who had a justified reason to want to die with dignity.
"I have lived with motor neurone disease (MND) for 11 years now; I’ve lost the majority of my independence simply because I can’t do the everyday things that everyone takes for granted, so apart from the odd down day (as I call it) and although every day has its challenges, I have a very happy and enjoyable life. However, if, as is possible with MND, that one day I’m paralysed from the neck down, unable to talk or swallow then I would not want my life to continue, I would like to be sitting in my favourite chair, looking out onto our lovely garden with my family around me, and a doctor legally able to assist me in ending my life with dignity. I don’t believe anybody, no matter who they are, has the right to deny me that. In this day and age, when there is nothing that can be done to save a person’s life, and death is the only option available, it makes no logical or moral sense to prolong the suffering of the dying person. You would not keep a dying animal alive just so it can suffer until the end, so why would you keep a person alive? Religious arguments hold no weight in this debate in this day and age, as religious beliefs are just that – beliefs. No person should be forced to die a long, painful and drawn out death when there is an option to prevent this.
"It shouldn’t be beyond Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords to come up with a law that protects the elderly and vulnerable from assisted dying, but gives people like Lord Rix, the opportunity to die with dignity."