Edinburgh Evening News

Assisted dying law will let Scots choose

- Alex Cole-Hamilton Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats

‘‘ This isn’t a substitute for palliative care but rather another, final tool in the box

My fatherin-law slipped away from us six years ago, on a morning like this one.

After decades grappling with MS, he succumbed to a kind of liver cancer that was mercifully painless and took him very swiftly after diagnosis. We’d managed to get him home from hospital and when it was clear the end was coming, my wife and her siblings moved back into the house to support their parents through the final week of his life.

I would go out there whenever I could, it wasn’t a chore, it was lovely. They had created a bubble around him filled with love and light and laughter. We took turns to sit beside him, to rub moisturise­r into his arms, dab his lips with a wet sponge and to tell him stories, jokes and news of the outside world. There was such unexpected joy in those days and then one morning he was gone, in a room full of flowers, bathed in warm spring light.

He was taken from us too early, and after many years of illness, but it was a very gentle passing. If I could choose the manner of my death- it would certainly be that. But recently I’ve been brought hard up against the visceral reality that we don’t get to choose and all too many people are denied a good death and depart this world in pain and in distress.

Tomorrow my friend and Scottish Liberal Democrat colleague, Liam McArthur MSP will introduce to the Scottish Parliament a Bill that if passed, will make assisted dying available to adult patients living in Scotland, who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, who have mental capacity and possess the physical ability to take the pharmaceut­ical preparatio­n needed.

He has worked incredibly hard to find the appropriat­e balance of rights and safeguards, learning from the best practice of those progressiv­e countries and regions of the world that have gone before us.

It is a Bill that is sufficient­ly narrow in scope to prevent abuse and to ensure that it is only available to those who are certainly going to die as a result of their condition and who have their mental state and motivation­s fully assessed by two clinicians. It will also allow anyone in the health service, to absent themselves from the process on grounds of conscience.

This isn’t a substitute for palliative care, which I think should be available to everyone who needs it, but rather another, final tool in the box.

 ?? ?? Liam McArthur‘s bill will be debated at Holyrood
Liam McArthur‘s bill will be debated at Holyrood
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