Sunday, June 13

Noel Conway, Assisted Death Activist, Dies at Home at 71 | Dying assisted

Noel Conway, a retired lecturer who campaigned against a ban on assisted death after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease, died at the age of 71.

Conway died Wednesday at his home in Garmston, Shropshire, after making the decision to remove the ventilator with the support of his family and a local hospice, the campaign organization Dignity in Dying said.

In a statement issued after his death, Conway said he had “no alternative but to end my life without pain and suffering and without compromising others.”

His statement read: “When you read this, I will be dead… because I have made a conscious and deliberate effort to end my own life. I suffer from MND and I was diagnosed more than six years ago knowing that at some point I would reach a point where my muscles would have deteriorated to such an extent that I could not function effectively.

“In the last two months it has become increasingly apparent to me that the balance of fullness in life, or if you will, my quality of life, has plunged into the negative … My voice has been exhausted until the point that many people now cannot say what I say and my eyesight has deteriorated recently.

“I am already a paraplegic and cannot use my hands or fingers, but I am aware that the muscles in my neck are weakening, as are the muscles in my mouth and speech. I recognize that the time has come to make the decision now to do something about it. “

It was “perfectly legitimate to take a fan from someone like me,” he said.

“This is not something I would have chosen, but I feel like I have no alternative but to end my life without pain and suffering and without compromising others. However, my heart goes out to all those terminally ill with cancers and other horrible illnesses that make their lives heinous because they cannot find relief from their terrible suffering.

“I have spent the last few years campaigning to change the law. The issue has been broadcast nationally and is much more prominent now than ever … It may only be a matter of time before assisted dying is approved in the UK. “

Conway launched a legal challenge for the right to die in 2018, claiming that the Suicide Act of 1961 sentenced him to an unworthy and terrifying death. Assisted suicide is prohibited by law, and voluntary euthanasia is considered murder under UK law.

He took his campaign to the supreme court, but lost the appeal.

His wife, Carol, said Friday that her husband died a dignified and painless death. “Noel was in control, which was very important. However, the uncertainty about how long it would take Noel and what he might experience presented us all with considerable anxiety, “he said.

Sarah Wootton, Executive Director of Dignity in Dying, said: ‘Noel fought in court, lobbied MPs and spoke forcefully to the media about his suffering under the UK blanket ban on assisted death, knowing all the time that any change would come too late for him. “

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