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It has been a significant happening in the controversial world of euthanasia and assisted suicide that a British doctor, Ann Turner, aged 67, flew to Switzerland to have another doctor end her life with an overdose at the Dignitas clinic. (Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland for 65 years).

She had an incurable degenerative disease, PSP, and was suffering greatly. One of Dr. Turner’s three adult children who were at her side when she died said: “We are very thankful her suffering is over.”

Before she died at Dignitas, Dr. Turner mailed letters to some 100 friends and acquaintances saying that by the time they were reading the letter she would be dead, and explaining why.

That a physician (from Bath) should have to use the services of a Swiss clinic for hastened death is bound to have some effect on the forthcoming debate in the British Parliament on the Joffe Bill, which if passed would introduce an Oregon-type physician-assisted suicide law.

Derek Humphry

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