Paralysed motor neurone disease patient: ‘I’m a happy man’

A man with motor neurone disease (MND) has spoken out about his opposition to assisted suicide.

John Hughes was responding to an open letter to MPs by Geoff Whaley, another MND patient, who advocated legalisation.

Mr Whaley killed himself with medical assistance in Switzerland earlier this month, but Mr Hughes said it is “a great pity” that stories like his own aren’t told.

Different story

Mr Whaley’s letter read: “I have been able to fulfil my final wish: to be in control of my end, rather than endure the immense suffering motor neurone disease had in store for me.”

But in a letter to The Times, Mr Hughes explained how his disease does not prevent patients from having a “happy” life.

When he was diagnosed with MND four years ago and began to suffer with serious respiratory problems, Mr Hughes refused the morphine for a ‘dignified’ death and instead opted to have a tracheostomy.


He believes more and more people are concluding that being paralysed but alive is not the “living hell” that UK neurologists often predict.

“I am paralysed and in bed”, he said: “I cannot eat, drink, taste or speak, let alone pick up a copy of The Times, but I swear that I am a happy man enjoying life.”

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