‘I WATCHED MUM STARVE HER­SELF TO DEATH’

Dy­ing with Dig­nity push for choice in Queens­land

NewsMail - - FRONT PAGE - TAHLIA STEHBENS [email protected]

IMAG­INE starv­ing your­self be­cause you had no other way of dy­ing.

That’s what 70-year-old Bar­gara woman El­iz­a­beth Jones’s mother did when she had nowhere else to turn.

Yes­ter­day Ms Jones joined the push for Queenslanders to die with dig­nity. But not ev­ery­one agrees.

Find out what our two state MPs have to say on the is­sue as

IMAG­INE starv­ing your­self be­cause you had no other way of dy­ing.

That’s what 70-year-old Bar­gara woman El­iz­a­beth Jones’s mother did when she had nowhere else to turn.

“She re­fused to eat, and then she re­fused to drink, so it took her about seven weeks to starve to death,” she said.

“It’s ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble watch­ing some­body you love die. She begged me to help her, and I couldn’t. You can’t, be­cause you go to jail for 20 years.

“It’ll never hap­pen to me. I will find a way.”

Hav­ing bat­tled ill­ness and sur­vived two can­cer di­ag­noses, Ms Jones said hav­ing the choice to end her life with dig­nity should be a hu­man right.

“A lot of el­derly peo­ple who want to end their lives do it in hor­ri­ble ways,” she said.

“I’ve got a gene that means I could have other kinds of can­cer, and I don’t want to die a hor­ri­ble death.

“I want to be able to have my fam­ily there, I don’t want to have to go and sneak away in a corner. I mean there are ways you can kill your­self but there’s nice ways, too.”

Mrs Jones said while she felt like she might die when she had can­cer, at no point did she want to.

“I’m fine now, but I’m in line of get­ting other can­cers. Some­times you get to a point where (treat­ment) can’t help you,” she said.

“They keep say­ing pal­lia­tive care, but is that what you want? Do you want to lie in bed soil­ing your­self? No way in the world.”

Three years can­cer-free, Mrs Jones is en­joy­ing life but be­lieves the op­tion should be avail­able to those not so lucky.

“I just be­lieve you should be able to pick the time,” she said.

“I mean I wouldn’t do it now, I’m fit and healthy. But I think that you get to a stage in your life, es­pe­cially when you’re sick, where you’ve got no more fight in you and you’re suffering. It’s just not right.”

On Novem­ber 14, 2018, the Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly re­ferred an in­quiry to the com­mit­tee into aged care, end-of-life and pal­lia­tive care.

Dy­ing with Dig­nity Queens­land spokes­woman Phyl­lis Wag­ner said the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pur­pose was to have laws in­tro­duced to al­low an adult with a ter­mi­nal ill­ness, who is suffering in­tol­er­a­bly, ac­cess med­i­cal as­sis­tance to end their life should they choose to.

More than 20 peo­ple at­tended the lo­cal group’s meet­ing yes­ter­day. The state of Vic­to­ria al­lows as­sisted death and Dy­ing With Dig­nity Queens­land is push­ing for the same laws.

“Ev­ery­one who agrees with it should talk to their politi­cians, it doesn’t mat­ter what age you are,” Mrs Jones said.

DE­MAND­ING DIG­NITY: El­iz­a­beth Jones wants Queens­land's laws to be changed to al­low vol­un­tary as­sisted death.

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