Ter­mi­nally ill Noel tells MPs of 2 ‘grim choices’ CAM­PAIGNER


MO­TOR neu­rone dis­ease suf­ferer Noel Con­way has warned MPs that he may be driven to end his life at the Dig­ni­tas sui­cide clinic.

The re­tired lec­turer, 68, claims he is faced with two “grim choices” af­ter he lost his bat­tle at the Supreme Court for the right to die.

Ei­ther turn off his ven­ti­la­tor – which he re­lies on for 23 hours a day - and face the pos­si­bil­ity of a drawn-out death of as­phyxia.

Or travel to Switzer­land, where he can die on his own terms, but risk his loved ones be­ing pros­e­cuted for ac­com­pa­ny­ing him.

In a fi­nal bid to get law-mak­ers to in­tro­duce right-to-die leg­is­la­tion, he has pleaded in an open let­ter to MPs: “Do the right thing”.

He wrote: “When my fi­nal months ap­proach, I will be faced with the same grim choices I had when I first brought my case.

“I re­main a mem­ber of Dig­ni­tas, but trav­el­ling there means dy­ing be­fore I am ready and putting my fam­ily at risk of pros­e­cu­tion for ac­com­pa­ny­ing me.

“The prospect of a slow death by suf­fo­ca­tion by re­mov­ing my ven­ti­la­tor, and the im­pact on those around me, I find equally un­con­scionable. To me, this is not mean­ing­ful choice.

It is merely a de­ci­sion be­tween one form of suf­fer­ing over an­other.

My an­swer, and plea to you to recog­nise, is that it is my body, my death and my choice.”

Noel, who was di­ag­nosed in 2014, has en­joyed Christ­mas with fam­ily in Shrop­shire but fears he is near­ing the end of his life.

He can­not walk and strug­gles to breathe un­aided. In a few months he may not even be able to move his head. He fears be­ing “en­tombed” in his body and sub­ject­ing wife Carol to watch­ing a slow and painful death.

He told MPs: “I defy any­one to say they would pre­fer their fi­nal stage of life to be one of suf­fer­ing over a quick, hu­mane death.

“All I ask for is ac­cess to safe and ap­pro­pri­ate life-end­ing med­i­ca­tion, which I will take. The fi­nal act will be mine and mine alone.”

Noel, who is sup­ported by cam­paign group Dig­nity in Dy­ing, wants the UK to in­tro­duce laws al­low­ing peo­ple with less than six months to live the right to con­trol when and how they die.

He knows by the time laws change it will most likely be too late for him. But he is de­ter­mined to fight on for what he says is a “fun­da­men­tal hu­man right”. He told MPs: “When­ever the is­sue comes be­fore Par­lia­ment again, it is likely to be far too late for me. “I sin­cerely hope that when it does, you re­mem­ber my words and do the right thing.”

LE­GAL BAT­TLE Noel Con­way and wife Carol

STRUG­GLE Noel Con­way

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