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tv   When Would You Want to Die  BBC News  October 23, 2021 8:30pm-9:01pm BST

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of western england and wales. and we should see clear spells and showers following on behind there for northern ireland. ahead of it, for much of england and wales, it will be dry, breezy, and very mild, much milder than what it was last night. so, we start sunday off on a mild note, a lot of cloud around, a little bit of sunshine, too. that weather front begins to weaken and fragment as it moves eastwards, eventually reaching the east and south—east of england later in the day. behind it, sunshine and showers, some of these heavy for northern ireland and scotland. and it is going to be a pretty blustery day, these are mean wind speeds, gusts reaching 30, 40mph around some southern and western coasts. and it will be mild, with top temperatures reaching 16 degrees. hello this is bbc news. the headlines. a senior government adviser on covid warns the uk could face another lockdown at christmas and tells people they shouldn't wait for ministers to take action. do everything possible
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in your control to try to reduce transmission. don't wait for the government to change policy. the sooner we all act, the sooner we can get this transmission rate down, and the greater the prospect of having a christmas with our families. the warning comes as two of the biggest teaching unions have called for tougher covid measures in schools in england to combat a rise in infections. a welcome from england's city regions outside london for an announcement of nearly £7 billion to improve their transport networks, but they say more money is needed. ministers promise £0.5 billion to support families in the budget, but the labour party calls it a smokescreen. court documents reveal that alec baldwin was told a prop gun was safe moments before he accidentally killed a crew member on a film set. a warning that dog owners are pretending their lockdown pets are strays, in order to get
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rid of them. now on bbc news, as lawmakers debate whether doctors should be allowed to help some patients take their own lives, wyre davies investigates — when would you want to die? so beautiful. one day, i won't be able to do this. it's one of life's biggest questions. my first response was, "who is going to find you? "what's it going to do to them?" about choice. about control. i think it would just be cruel for me not to have a choice. and what if we're given it? it would change us all. it's too dangerous. this is a red line in the sand and it should not be crossed.
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he'll have to wait. he's not gonna run a wheelchair over, is he? thank you! the sun's coming out now. look. lovely. sit here and mull things over in my mind. i'm sharon. tetraplegic, in a wheelchair. somebody said they were doing the lottery and asked if i wanted to do it. isaid, "no. no. knowing my luck i'll bloody win." nothing i can do. i'm not doing the lottery. everything changed for
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sharon three years ago. i was outgoing, chatty, fun. i walked. i worked. i worked in a bookmaker�*s, always have worked and before that i was a publican. and the one day fatal day, i went upstairs to get washed and changed and fell down the stairs. the accident in aberystwyth left sharon almost completely paralysed. i'm in pain. discomfort. this is the only hand i can use, or arm. i haven't got any grip. i place my hand and push it forward and back ? occasionally it goes stuck and gets a bit wild. but i manage it. this is my two—bedroom adapted flat.
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through into the hallway, and it's the two bedrooms. i get carers four times a day. this may be assisted living but sharon says what she really wants is doctors to help her die, something which is currently illegal in this country. if you were in my position, you haven't been there with the pain, the not moving, the loss of dignity of everything. doubly incontinent. can't use my hands. can't use my legs. it's not a fun way to live. physically i can't do a suicide, i can't take an overdose of medication because it's all done with the carers in a secure medical box. i don't want to do a botched suicide.
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single and with no close family ? is it a question of more support? no, not at all. i've got a fantastic team around me. i'm not depressed at all. i go out in the town and i can get about. it's not that like i'm trapped in bed or bedridden. sharon has seen others with severe disabilities living full lives. so why not her? that's them. everybody�*s different. i appreciate that they have a brilliant life and good for them. i'm pleased. but it's not for me. i just want to get out of this suffering. it's horrible. what if we were given the choice to control when we died?
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it's a big question with powerful arguments on either side. this week, lawmakers will debate whether to introduce an assisted dying bill. while some are worried about the risk and what it might mean, others want choice. an inquest has heard how a couple in their 705, from the conwy valley, died in a suicide—pact after telling their children they didn't want to carry on living. the couple were found dead in bed at home last december. they came for christmas dinner and told us. my father told us. my first response was, "who is going to find you? what's it going to do to them? that's why we volunteered because walking in on knowing that's what you're going to find it is... it's tough.
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they didn't give us a specific time—frame. they phoned us on boxing day and said, "can you bring some eggs around?" it just felt like it was back to normal. did you think this might be the end? yes, i hoped it wasn't. but yeah. when they arrived, they found tom's parents david and suzanne marshall dead in bed. they left a letter and asked us not to try to stop them and they said basically they had enough. but they'd lived happy and full lives. yes, and they were very proud of everything their children had done. david was 75 and suzanne 72. they were really proud people they had spent a lifetime taking care of every aspect of their life. this is one of the first places
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we came after your mum and dad died. this is a bird hide dad built in 1996. it's a nice memory of them both. tom's mum had huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative condition which can be inherited. it was very subtle to start off with, it went quite slowly then there was a dramatic change in the last couple of weeks. she deteriorated. she started losing the ability to swallow. and was your dad's health 0k at this time? he was suffering, he had problems with his hips, arthritis, constant pain. he couldn't do the things he loved. his memory was failing him so, yeah, both their quality
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of life was changing. after her diagnosis, suzanne had considered going for an assisted death in switzerland where doctors are allowed to help some patients take their own lives. i was devastated, but very quickly i had to rationalise it, as it was about my mum's decision not mine. we felt maybe we could help out more, but they were proud and they didn't want us to. my father particularly that you have your own life and you can't spend your entire life looking after us. david feared that if he helped his wife to die, he would be prosecuted. the loss of his wife and the potential criminal ramifications afterwards would have destroyed him, they'd been together for 54 years. the police investigated and, at the couple's inquest,
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a verdict of suicide was recorded. there are those that say that disabled people, people with very bad illnesses can still have a fulfilling and relatively happy life. of course they do, but it is for the individual to determine the quality of life and for tom's mum and dad they determined that their quality of life was not what they wanted and there should have been a legal route that supported that, in my opinion. to have that option, comfort that it could have been done legally whether it was just mum or whether both of them, it would have made a massive difference. what's being proposed is that only terminally ill adults who are mentally competent and are expected to die within six months would be allowed to apply for an assisted death. two independent doctors and a high courtjudge would then determine if they're taking the decision for themselves, and
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are not being coerced. only then would they be given lethal medication which they'd have to take themselves. but opponents believe it could make an early death seem like the best option. this type of legislation creates a duty to die, a burden to die, a burden on when do i take the lethal medication? professor ilora finlay has spent a career in palliative medicine. and as a member of the house of lords, she'll get a say on the bill. we don't need to go down this road to improve patient care. we go down this road, we jeopardise the improvements that we have already started to put in place. proponents of the bill insist there would be safeguards built into this legislation.
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i don't see in this bill anything to detect the rogue doctor who is quite happy to get rid of a patient a bit earlier. i don't see anything in this bill to check out that assessments are done properly. i don't see anything in this bill to make sure that coercion, abuse behind closed doors, is properly detected. i've had quite a lot of doctors say to me, "if this comes in, i'm off. it's hard enough already." it's notjust some doctors but patients too who are worried about what it could mean for them. yay, poppy! nikki lives near the welsh border with her husband mervyn who is also her carer.
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she was paralysed by an illness 30 years ago. we'd only been married about two years, merv and i. i had a lot of things on the go. most important thing was my son, he was one. i was at home with him. nikki collapsed and was taken to hospital with what she thought were flu like symptoms. by the next day, my entire body had stopped moving. everything. and i was left with just my right eye working so i couldn't breathe. i couldn't speak, obviously. so i had a tracheotomy. cos i had to go onto a breathing machine and i had that for about four and a half months. doctors diagnosed a rare condition called guillain—barre syndrome which affects the nervous system.
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did that condition ever make you feel, "i can't go on"? i've felt very definitely i still want to be alive. i must be here for my son and i must be here for merv. i didn't want to die. and yet, if you asked me that before it happened, i would have said, if anything like that happens to me, i don't want to live. boy, did i have a lesson to learn! nikki began to campaign for disability rights and against assisted dying. if you're terminally ill and you want to die, why shouldn't you have that right to die? because it's notjust about you. the door will open for other people who are seen as less worthy. there's not enough in society that says if you're disabled or old,
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for god's sake, that means you matter. it stops you mattering cos you canjust be got rid of, and then that will change the way we see each other. it's too dangerous. what some regard as a threat, others see as a comfort and a right they should be given. that's amazing. it's hard to put into words how special it's gonna be. i'm so excited. sherrie and anna are planning their wedding. look at the floor. you're gonna be dancing. you are. after ten years together, they're due to marry near their home in caerphilly. i expected to wear one type of dress and i love the other kind of dress, so it's a gamechanger. you'll be crying when you see it. i have no idea what it looks like.
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sherrie's family are not letting me see it. but just as they thought they'd be spending the rest of their lives together, sherrie was diagnosed with incurable cancer. when i was 27, ifound a lump in my breast. and then the doctor said it was indeed breast cancer. while i was going through chemo, they found the cancer spread to my bones. so it was in my spine, sternum and a little bit in my hip which is quite painful because it's in the bone and that's when they found it was as incurable. stage four cancer. sherrie is worried about what the end stage of her cancer will be like and has told ana she wants the option of an assisted death. to me, the pain is scarier than death. i think in the latter stages, i don't want to go through that.
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pain is my worst fear and being sick, you know. i know that treatments do make you sick. you lose your hair. you feel sick. you throw up everywhere. it's very upsetting. if that happens in the latter stages, i don't want to go through that. so why not choose end of life care? i don't want anyone taking care of me at the end and not because i don't want to be a burden, i don't care about that, you know. that's what we pay our taxes for. but because i don't want people seeing me like that. that's my dignity. it's me, being me. doctors are trying to slow the progress of sherrie�*s cancer with medication. she doesn't know how long she's likely to live. you've got a take everything and just make memories, and experiences. don't think about the end all the time. it's just really nice to escape and enjoy some time with animals. there's the meerkats.
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look at them. i'm disabled. yeah, but i'm getting on with life and i'm enjoying my life i wanna live. but when it gets to the stage where i can't, i think i'lljust be cruel for me not to have a choice. but when it gets to the stage where i can't, i think it'lljust be cruel for me not to have a choice. on the horizon could be some of the biggest changes ever proposed for patients and doctors. i haven't signed up to kill my patients. i am very much here to help people live their best life for as long as they can. dr victoria wheatley treats hundreds of palliative patients across south wales. it's the care we provide for people that we can't cure. it's maintaining their dignity, maintaining their comfort and trying to work out what's really important for them. and district nurses, gps hospital doctors, all provide excellent palliative care. if somebody asks me to die, we have that conversation and we talk
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about what would make life better. and then we worked really, really hard to make that happen for them. if, on the other hand, the law was different and somebody said i want to die for the response would be, oh well, i'lljust go and get the paperwork then. that very clearly is not that... it deflects us from providing the care that we need. if it's in the ether and medics know they can have it and the public know they can have it, it will be ok to say to people surely you don't want to stay alive do you ? what have you got to live for? nick will often say to me, ifeel such a burden. and i've no doubt that a change in the law would probably leave her in a situation where she felt even more of a burden. and i also feel that people might
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also encourage her to feel burdensome by how they actually talk and care for her. i think it's will affect people's attitudes and the way we live. it will affect doctors' attitudes, it's bound to. the issue divides opinion amongst some patients and doctors. the british medical association has now moved to a position of neutrality on assisted dying. not all doctors agree with that stance. one of the provisions in the proposed bill is that any medical professional who did not want to be part of assisted dying procedure. you wouldn't have to do so. most will assume that they'll be a conscience clause which indeed there needs to be. but what if the whole team wasn't prepared to do it? what if one person in the team wasn't prepared to do it? none of that has been worked out.
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we have a workforce that is exhausted and short of colleagues anyway. the last thing we need is anything that's going to make it harder for people to do theirjobs well. even if the proposals become law sharon knows she wouldn't be eligible for an assisted death. so she's decided to ask for one in switzerland. she'sjoined right—to—die campaign groups online, as well as dignitas. she's asking them to help arrange her death. it's going to cost around 14,000 in total, which includes everything, your cremation. so it's all included. i've got my provisional green light from dignitas. i felt so relieved i got this far, i cried when i opened it
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actually, it was fantastic. i arrange to go there spend the three days with the doctors and do the deed. i know what's going to happen and the procedure and i'm quite happy with that i have dreamt about it. get on that plane going, it's a happy dream. she has decided not to ask for more help from her medical team in wales. there's no counselling or anything that would make me change my mind. but sharon can't get there alone from ceredigion and she's aware what could happen to anyone who helps her at this end.
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somebody travelling with me could be arrested if they're assisting me to die. in effect, she'll be asking someone to break the law and risk prison. i am worried about that, very worried. but i know the person who might assist me. got the courage. they'll be ok. i know they're doing it for me and helping me. for no gain whatsoever. the law needs to be changed. i want the proposed laws to be widened to include people like me. the proposed law is similar to one introduced in the us state of oregon, almost 2a years ago.
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opponents are concerned if it does become law, it safeguards could be challenged. in become law, it safeguards could be challenaed. . , become law, it safeguards could be challenaed. ., , , ., challenged. in a very short time, there could _ challenged. in a very short time, there could be _ challenged. in a very short time, there could be seen _ challenged. in a very short time, there could be seen as _ challenged. in a very short time, there could be seen as barriers l challenged. in a very short time, | there could be seen as barriers for some people who basically want death on demand. this begins to open the door and very rapidly it escalates because that is what has happened in the other countries. given the relative populations and what is being proposed here, how many people do you think would choose assisted suicide in the uk every? if you look at their death rate and our death rate, and their current rate, not how it started, but how it is now, of physician —assisted suicide and for people who ingest it, you are talking around 3,000 deaths per year. it is unclear how many
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might take up the option. because of all the complexities involved. the death of his parents and the fact that his mum's disease has made tom thang what he might do in the future. tasha his mum's disease is inherited. i'm probably subconsciously planning for it in some way already. i'd be probably looking at the same option that my mum took. would you support tom in that? completely. that would be his decision and it will not be one he took lightly. this week, the assisted dying bill was debated in the house of lords.
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and there will be further discussions. our law is a very clear red line. doctors do not give lethal drugs i to their patients to end their lives prematurely and that is safe — i you erode that line at your peril. while those discussions continue, sharon says she is ready to make her final journey. i've got plans to get help which i'm not going to discuss that. nobody can change my mind. it doesn't bother me, it doesn't phase me in the least. it's living that phases me, i can't stand being like this. i feel sorry for us and i feel afraid for us. because it will change who we are as human beings and cos the future will be a very dangerous place.
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any change in the law could take years to implement, by which time sherrie and anna plan to be married. i keep telling myself to be strong. days will get worse as you go along. but there's always light in your life. there's always till death us do part but i don't think it ends at death. we will always be together no matter what, like. hello, it was very cloudy today across the country. the temperatures slowly coming up a little bit, though, and into tomorrow, it will feel a bit milder. that's because we will have more sunshine around, but there will be some showery
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bursts of rain, too. we could see this weather front which is bringing some very wet weather to northern ireland, much of central and western scotland through this evening and overnight, but it will slowly move its way eastwards, eventually, by the end of the night, reaching parts of western england and wales. and we should see clear spells and showers following on behind there for northern ireland. ahead of it, for much of england and wales, it will be dry, breezy, and very mild, much milder than what it was last night. so, we start sunday off on a mild note, a lot of cloud around, a little bit of sunshine, too. that weather front begins to weaken and fragment as it moves eastwards, eventually reaching the east and south—east of england later in the day. behind it, sunshine and showers, some of these heavy for northern ireland and scotland. and it is going to be a pretty blustery day, these are mean wind speeds, gusts reaching 30, a0 miles an hour, round some southern and western coasts. and it will be mild, with top temperatures reaching 16 degrees.
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this is bbc news. i'm ben boulos with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. italy's former interior minister — the right—wing leader matteo salvini — has gone on trial in sicily on kidnapping charges — for refusing to allow a migrant boat to dock two years ago. investigations are continuing into a fatal shooting on an alec baldwin movie set — as the film director injured in the incident — speaks out for the first time. we'll be live in la for the latest. also in the programme... president erdogan of turkey withdraws diplomatic status from ambassadors from ten countries — including the united states — for demanding the release of a prominent activist. concerns over another sharp rise in covid infections in the uk — a prominent government adviser says
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he's fearful about another "lockdown christmas".

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