Terminally-ill Brit dies at Dignitas after nightmare few days

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Terminally-ill Brit dies at Dignitas after nightmare few days
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Terminally-ill Brit dies at Dignitas in Switzerland after a nightmare few days caused by changing coronavirus travel rules.

Before terminally-ill Brit David Peace died in Switzerland by assisted suicide he hit back at the UK’s assisted dying law. He deemed this to be “outdated.”

David had a nightmare few days due to constantly changing coronavirus quarantine rules in Switzerland. He finally made it there and was able to die peacefully on December 8 at Dignitas.

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David had terminal motor neurone. He had been fighting to get the law changed in the UK and on the same day he died, assisted dying was raised in the Commons by Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP. Mr Mitchell is the co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of life.

Before he died David said: “I have terminal motor neurone disease, a fatal illness for which there is no treatment or cure. It has robbed me of my ability to speak, swallow, balance and walk…I simply want the right to die on my own terms.

“My only option has been to plan an assisted death at Dignitas in Switzerland, which I have done in meticulous detail over the past few months… this has given me comfort and peace of mind… [despite] knowing that travel restrictions or lockdowns could jeopardise my plans.”


He went on to add: “With my final appointment set for next week, new Swiss quarantine rules for British visitors mean my fears have materialised. I cannot possibly isolate there for 10 days as required – not only is there insufficient time before my appointment, but the thought of spending my final days in an anonymous hotel room is unconscionable.

“I have been forced to spend my last reserves of time and energy trying to secure a waiver from the Swiss authorities… Fortunately, I was able to have my request expedited…The relief I feel cannot be overstated.

“I am enormously grateful, but very sadly, the close friends I had hoped would also accompany me are no longer able to [even after quarantine rules were overturned].


“The emotional and logistical nightmare I have endured over the past few days would have been avoided entirely under the Assisted Dying Bill, which would have enabled me to go peacefully and with dignity in my own home at a time of my choosing.

“The pandemic has surely proven beyond doubt that Dignitas is not a solution to our outdated law. We urgently need this option here, in this country.”

Mr Mitchell brought David’s case before the Commons on the same day as he died.

Mr Mitchell explained: “The already cruel situation, where British citizens can have the death they want only if they travel to another country, becomes yet more unacceptable when even this most exceptional option can be withdrawn with such short notice.

“That is not to blame Switzerland – it is the fault of our own failure as a country to provide that option at home, preferring to outsource our compassion to another country.”


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Alex Glenn is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News. Formerly she worked in the NHS for 15 years until relocating to Spain in 2018. She loves the Spanish lifestyle, language and culture and spent several years learning Spanish before moving to Spain for a better quality of life. She has made her home in the mountains in Almeria, where she loves being part of a rural community that has a mix of both expats and Spanish residents. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading and exploring the area where she lives.

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