Right-to-die case poses ‘threat to disabled’

A disabled woman who recovered from locked-in syndrome has raised concerns about the latest attempt to legalise euthanasia, saying it poses a “genuine threat” to people like her.

Nikki Kenward has also challenged the head of Dignity in Dying, the assisted suicide lobby group, to an open debate on the issue.

Recently, a man with locked-in syndrome has taken up the right-to-die case of Tony Nicklinson, who lost his legal bid for euthanasia in the High Court last year.

Pointless

Paul Lamb, 58, said in a statement that life was “pointless” and he would like a doctor to help him die by lethal injection.

But Mrs Kenward said: “The bad news is that disabled people like me and rucks of others get depressed because, just when we thought we might have a place in society, along comes another ‘my life isn’t worth living’ campaign.”

She added: “Even though right-to-die campaigners keep banging on about euthanasia being only for terminally ill people, I believe that those changes in the law would pose a genuine threat to people like me”.

Debate

Mrs Kenward has invited Sarah Wootton, the chief executive of Dignity in Dying to meet with her and publicly debate assisted suicide and euthanasia.

In an open letter, Mrs Kenward accused Sarah Wootton of “hooking in to people’s worst fears and using them for a campaign that will generate only more hatred and visceral fear of the unknown.”

She said legalising assisted suicide will lead to a future full of “greedy relatives, dodgy doctors, grabbing insurance brokers, mealy-mouthed horrors of parliamentary rogues”.

Worried

A new poll suggests that people are supporting the legalisation of assisted suicide because they are worried about the standard of care terminally ill people receive.

A survey of over 4,000 people showed that more than a third of those who support a change in the law listed the view that the NHS cannot provide “decent” end of life care among their reasons.