The son of a woman who died slowly after a stroke has said assisted dying should be introduced so other people can “die with dignity”.
David Kidd’s mother, Marie Kidd, was hospitalised for 10 days last month after she suffered a stroke and the family found watching her deteriorate was “quite difficult”.
Speaking to Lunchtime Live, Mr Kidd praised the “fantastic” doctors at Tallaght Hospital but his mother would have preferred a quicker death.
“Mam had a ‘no resus[itation certificate]’ and that was basically it,” she said.
“So, we endured 10 to 12 days of watching Mam.”
David said he has discussed assisted dying “many times” with his parents and both consider it far preferable to dying slowly in great pain.
“We need to really look at this to help with assisted dying at a point of a person’s choosing [so] that they die with dignity,” he said.
Today, those in favour of assisted dying have gathered outside Leinster House, urging the Government to change the law.
It is a measure Mr Kidd believes a majority of the public would support.
“Unless we the people contact our Senators and our TDs to say, ‘Look guys, this is a difficult situation but from what I can see, a majority of people want this [reform] brought through,’” he said.
“Even at my Mam’s funeral, there was probably 200 there - she was quite popular - and 75% of them came up to me afterwards and said, ‘We totally agree with what you’re saying about assisted dying.’”
'An inherent dignity to life'
Although a number of countries - such as Switzerland and Belgium - have introduced assisted dying, it is still controversial among the medical community.
Many doctors are concerned it could put pressure on old people to end their lives before they are ready and Irish Association for Palliative Care Chairperson Dr Hannah Linane said most of her members are against it.
“Our stance is we wouldn’t endorse legislation being brought in for assisted dying,” she said.
Dr Linane said all sides of the debate are motivated by “compassion” but feels there are better alternatives to assisted dying.
“We feel there’s an inherent dignity to life and that is not taken away by illness,” she said.
“We should be looking less at alleviating suffering through assisted dying and more providing supports - not just for the person but for their family.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously said he favours establishing an all-party committee to examine the issue.
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Main image: Marie.