SIGN KENNY'S OPEN LETTER TO THE FIRST MINISTER
Humza Yousaf has said he’s “not convinced” we should change the law on assisted dying. But people like Kenny know the true harm the current law causes to dying people, like his father Robert, and their families.
Kenny has bravely shared his story to ask Humza Yousaf to give terminally ill people a more compassionate choice when they are dying – and to show just how many Scots are in favour of legalising assisted dying.
Please sign the open letter today to let the First Minister know how strongly Scots feel about this vital issue.
Dear Humza Yousaf,
My name is Kenny, and I am your constituent in Glasgow Pollok. Last month my father, Robert, starved to death from oesophageal cancer. He was 96 years old. Following his death, I am calling on you to support the Assisted Dying Bill, an issue now more important to me than ever.
My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. Just three months ago he learned it had spread to his oesophagus. It was aggressive, and soon became terminal.
My father was fully aware of his prognosis. He was desperate to eat and drink, but could not. His ailing body was unable to go through surgery. The hospital staff did all they could, but no amount of care could relieve his suffering. On more than one occasion he asked if there was anything he could have to end his life. Unfortunately, there was nothing. The cancer eventually ended his life, and until that day arrived he literally starved to death. I know that had assisted dying been an option, he would have taken it with both hands.
We were unable to fulfil my dying father’s request; a burden that my sister and I will have on our conscience for the rest of our lives.
Deaths like my father’s cannot be ignored. Without the option of an assisted death, dying people who want control at the end of their life are faced with stark choices: starvation, Switzerland, or suicide. These are in no way acceptable alternatives to a peaceful death, when death is inevitable and the limits of suffering have been reached.
After watching my father suffer, I am in full support of Liam McArthur MSP’s Assisted Dying for Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill. This bill is a chance to put things right for terminally ill people by creating a safe and compassionate law that allows choice, alongside excellent palliative care. It is a very measured proposition. Only terminally ill, mentally competent adults would be eligible. In the USA similar legislation has been in place for decades. Every state in Australia, and New Zealand now have a similar assisted dying law. Palliative care has flourished alongside greater end of life choice, and the legislation has never changed beyond the remit of terminally ill, mentally competent adults.
This is a modest change in the law that would spare dying people like my father extreme suffering, allowing them to choose when enough is enough.
The Scottish public are behind this bill, which I hope is made clear by the thousands of Scots who have signed this letter.
Please listen to terminally ill people and vote to give people a more compassionate choice when they are dying.
I hope that terminally ill people, like my father, are not forgotten in this important debate.
Thank you for listening.