Dying is my human right, says woman bidding to end her life
A TERMINALLY ILL woman has launched a pioneering legal bid to force doctors to let her die.
Kelly Taylor, 30, who has been given less than a year to live, will argue that medics are breaching human rights laws by refusing to provide treatment which would lead to her death.
She wants to compel doctors to combine two steps, each of which is within the law, but which together would end her life. First, she wants doctors to vastly increase her morphine dose to sedate her into a coma-like state. The morphine alone could kill Mrs Taylor, who is frail and endures constant pain.
But under a second stage of her plan, a "living will" would come into force and doctors would be asked not to provide artificial food or hydration.
Physicians have refused to provide the treatment, saying it amounts to euthanasia.
Lawyers for severely disabled Mrs Taylor have applied for a court order, with an initial hearing yesterday at the High Court in London. They will use part of the European Convention on Human Rights which bans "inhuman or degrading treatment" to argue that Mrs Taylor, from Bristol, should not be refused steps which will end her life.
Mrs Taylor said: "Enough is enough. I don't want to suffer any more. I'm not depressed - I am a happy person. But my illness is now at the point where I don't want to deal with it any more.
"My consultant has told me he does not expect me to live for another year. In that time I will deteriorate and that deterioration will become quite undignified. I want to avoid that.
"I hope the court will come to the conclusion that the decision by my GP and hospice was unlawful and that I can be sedated to the point that I become unconscious, and, secondary to that, that my living will should come into effect so I can die."
In July last year, Mrs Taylor attempted to starve herself to death. After 19 days she was in so much pain she decided it was less dignified than her medical condition, and began eating again.
Yesterday, she called for a change in the law so that people with terminal conditions could choose to end their lives. Mrs Taylor suffers from the heart and lung condition Eisenmenger's syndrome. She also has a spinal malformation, Klippel-Feil syndrome. Her doctors have been unable to find a combination of drugs to relieve her pain, as she is allergic to many of those normally used.
Mrs Taylor has studied part-time for seven A-levels because she was "terrified of boredom", and is currently studying for another in English literature.
She recently celebrated her tenth wedding anniversary with her husband, Richard. She said: "Obviously, he loves me and he can see I'm suffering. He doesn't want me to suffer, so he supports me in what I want to do."
Mrs Taylor said her parents also supported her in her decision, after watching her condition decline since she was born with a hole in her heart.
The option of travelling to one of the Swiss clinics which offer terminally ill patients the ability to commit assisted suicide had been rejected, Mrs Taylor said.
She was even a member of one organisation, Zurich-based Dignitas, for a year, she added.
"I got to the stage of trying to find out about plane tickets, but then I became too ill to travel by aeroplane," she said.
"I had also watched other people go over and saw what happened to their loved ones on their return. I didn't want Richard to be investigated.
"While I have respect for people who go over there, it really shouldn't be necessary."
Deborah Annetts, the chief executive of the pressure group Dignity in Dying, said: "Mrs Taylor is in an intolerable position. Her case highlights the impossible dilemma the current law presents to patients with terminal illness, where pain and palliative care do not work to relieve their condition."
Mrs Taylor's solicitor, Richard Stein, said: "We have advised our client that she is entitled to seek this treatment and that it is unlawful for doctors to deny it to her unless they also take steps to find a doctor willing to provide it for her."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West