She fought, lost in court

The Province - - Assisted Suicide News - — Sean Sul­li­van

Some­time around noon on Feb. 12, 1994, Sue Ro­driguez took her last breath.

The 43-year-old mother died from a mas­sive over­dose of mor­phine taken with Se­conal cap­sules in her North Saanich home, end­ing a high-pro­file, two-year bat­tle to die with dig­nity.

Her death, a doc­tor-as­sisted sui­cide, took place on her own terms, as her body be­gan to be rav­aged by the worst of amy­otrophic lat­eral scle­ro­sis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease.

ALS causes the body’s mus­cle func­tions to pro­gres­sively weaken, lead­ing to paral­y­sis and the shut­down of all mo­tor func­tions.

Di­ag­nosed in April 1991, Ro­driguez de­cided the fol­low­ing year to com­mit sui­cide.

Wish­ing to pur­sue her death un­der the purview of the law, Ro­driguez turned to the B.C. Court of Ap­peal, then Supreme Court of Canada. Both re­jected her chal­lenge to al­low doc­tor-as­sisted sui­cides to ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients.

Her lawyer, Chris Con­si­dine, said Ro­driguez lost her will to live when she was un­able to hold her nine-year-old son Cole in her arms.

— PNG FILES

Sue Ro­driguez, here with thenNDP MP Sven Robin­son, took her life in 1994.

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