A woman who announced on live television that she wanted to go to Dignitas to die has abandoned her plans after undergoing a new treatment which has left her feeling “reborn”.
In 2013, Jennie Thornton, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, told ITV’s This Morning that if she felt close to death she would travel to Switzerland to be killed.
Cystic fibrosis is a condition that affects the lungs and digestive system, potentially hindering breathing and normal weight gain.
Earlier this year her lung capacity dropped to just 30 per cent.
Fearing coronavirus would kill her if she caught it, she began to contemplate assisted suicide once again.
But during lockdown Jennie, now 40, was selected for a new treatment, which early clinical tests indicated increased lung capacity by 10 per cent.
She praised the treatment for its immediate impact, saying: ‘’The results were almost instantaneous.
I don’t feel like I’m dying any more
“All my family sat with me in the garden when I took my first pill at 10.30am on a Saturday morning. By 4.30pm the cough I’ve lived with all my life had eased.
“In two weeks my lung function had shot up to 60 per cent, I gained 10lb and no longer felt breathless and exhausted. In short, I don’t feel like I’m dying any more.”
Jennie added: “I’ve been given my life back. I’m euphoric. I began to realise that I am laughing all the time. Throughout my life I’ve suppressed laughing, as it took up too much lung function. Now I laugh all the time. I feel reborn.”
She continued: “My biggest ambition was to walk, surf and swim – and in July I did just that. I went on a road trip with a friend to Cornwall and did things that would have been simply unimaginable four months ago.
“For the first time in my life, I can plan a future I never expected to have.”
The drug has now been introduced into the NHS.
Under the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a person who intentionally encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another person commits an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.
A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015 by 330 votes to 118. The Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill was also rejected by 82 votes to 36 the same year.
Baroness Campbell, a disabled peer, was among those opposing the 2015 Westminster Bill. She argued that disabled people need more care, not an easier death.
She said: “We already have to fight to live; a right to die would be a huge and frightening burden”.