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