Terry Pratchett, U.K. author of the wildly popular Discworld series, says that special “tribunals” should be set up to allow people suffering serious medical conditions to seek help in terminating their own lives. Assisted suicide is currently illegal in the U.K., but Pratchett, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has offered himself as a “test case” for the kind of tribunal he is proposing, which Sky News says “would include a legal expert in family affairs and a doctor who had dealt with serious, long-term illness.”
Pratchett is to deliver the Richard Dimbleby Lecture tonight, in which he will argue that being granted permission to end his life would make each day more precious. The Telegraph quotes Pratchett:
If I knew that I could die at any time I wanted, then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds.
I certainly do not expect or assume that every GP or hospital practitioner would be prepared to assist death by arrangement, even in the face of overwhelming medical evidence. That is their choice. Choice is very important in this matter.
But there will be some probably older, probably wiser, who will understand.
Pratchett may be right about that. According to the same Telegraph article, 75% of those surveyed in a recent poll approved of making assisted suicide legal.