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article imageDying Woman Takes "Right to Die" Battle to Court

By geozone     Feb 12, 2007 in World
A 30-year-old Bristol woman hopes a section of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits "inhuman or degrading treatment" will help grant her wish of ending her life.
Kelly Taylor was born with a debilitating rare heart condition and had waited almost 10 years for a heart and lung transplant. A couple of years ago, doctors told her they could not find a match for her and took her permanently off the waiting list.
Unable to walk more than a few feet, reliant on pure oxygen to breathe and in constant pain, Kelly went on a hunger strike last year in an attempt to end her life. She saw it as her only means of legal recourse to end her pain and misery without getting her husband prosecuted for assisted suicide. She stopped after 19 days when starvation proved to be a more painful and undignified way to die than she had anticipated.
Given less than a year to live by her doctors, Kelly is now seeking to legally force her medical caretakers to provide treatment that will lead to her death. She wants her doctors to increase her morphine dosage to the point where she is put into a comatose-like state. In the condition she is in, that amount of increase in morphine alone could kill her.
Should the morphine not kill her, Taylor has a "living will" which could come into effect. Doctors who attempted to provide her sustenance or hydration while she was comatose would be violating that will.
In essence, she would be forcing the doctors to participate in an act of euthanasia which is why they have refused to provide her the treatment.
According to Taylor: "I have made the decision because enough is enough. I don't want to suffer any more. I'm not depressed - I've never been depressed. I am a happy person...But my illness is now at the point where I don't want to deal with it any more. I hope the court will come to the conclusion that the decision by my GP and hospice was unlawful and that I can be sedated to the point that I become unconscious. And secondary to that, that my living will should then come into effect so that I can die."
Taylor's husband of 10 years fully supports her decision. Though he loves her dearly, he sees how much she is suffering.
Attorneys representing Taylor in this landmark case will argue the denial of morphine treatment which would put her into a state of deep sedation is unlawful and a breach of human rights. They will present their case that physicians "can lawfully administer large doses of painkillers in such cases, and that Mrs Taylor's living will should be then respected once she loses consciousness."
Without being in a position of being involved in such a situation, it is easier for me to say an individual has the right to die. I know if it were a loved one of mine, ultimately I would respect that choice but emotionally I would feel the immense pain of having to lose that person. If I were the one to have to take measures which would ensure that person's death such as the doctors in this case are being asked to do, I don't know if I could.
More about Kelly, Taylor, Right to die, Euthanasia