Friday, May 3, 2013

OPEN LETTER TO SARAH WOOTTON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF DIGNITY IN DYING - UK


By Nikki Kenwood

Link to the original letter.

Nikki Kenwood
A meme is "an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture”.

Sarah, I would like to begin by asking a simple question. Is your world full of lovely, caring, sensible people who only want the best for others and see, in that glistening blue sky, that is their future, a sure and meaningful death should they ever succumb to terminal or disabling illness? In your recent publication you state that “80 per cent of the British population” support euthanasia (although you seem strangely reticent to use the term too often).

So that’s 80 per cent saying they don’t want to be disabled, they would rather be dead than be me. You’re hooking in to people’s worst fears and using them for a campaign that will generate only more hatred and visceral fear of the unknown. We who live with disability every day have first-hand knowledge of such attitudes and it is even more significant that you fail to notice that not one organisation for “us” has backed your campaign. Doesn’t that say something to you?

Sarah Wootton
Despite saying that you only work for those with a terminal illness you’ve been quick enough to take up people who are not imminently facing death, such as the Deborah Purdys and, heaven forfend, the Christopher Woodheads of this world, who are ready to be your groupies, whatever the cost to the rest of us. Think deeply, Ms Wooton you are creating a meme, an idea, a practice, that people like them, will, in their last sad days, lick around you for. They fail to realise that the lick contains a future full of greedy relatives, dodgy doctors, grabbing insurance brokers, mealy mouthed horrors of parliamentary rogues, whose present careless and care - less attitude will bring children, old people and the vulnerable to your door. 

So, before you open your door I invite you to meet with me, I suggest a public debate, me, you, and maybe one or two of my “supporters”, instead of yours, just for a change. Prove to me that your blue world exists and that I am just one of those disabled people cynical with the world and closed to the kindness you offer me. Go on talk to me Sarah, talk to us. We could be “dying” to listen.

Nikki Kenward, who was 'locked in' for almost a year following an attack of Guillan Barre syndrome in 1990,  says that the campaign for assisted suicide in the UK may be putting the lives of people with disabilities and other vulnerable people at risk.

6 comments:

Winston said...

Wow. This post was filled with wafer-thin veiled insults and condescending arrogance to those who disagree with you.

Sadly, I'm too used to this behaviour from the anti-choice crowd to be surprised. Call me jaded.

Winston said...

Alex, when did she EVER say that " 80% would rather be dead than disabled"? The 80% figure simply reflects the proportion of the public in the UK who wish to have a CHOICE if life becomes too painful, too saturated with suffering to be worthwhile.

I bet you'd want a choice for yourself too, Alex. Just wait 40 or so years. Perhaps you'll understand why the suicide rate among the extremely elderly is so high.

Tony Burns said...

How can people get it so wrong?

Nikki, if there are people who want you dead because you are disabled then please let someone who cares know about it. I'm willing to bet that the folks at Dying With Dignity would wholeheartedly support you. All the ones I've met are extremely caring. None of them want you, or any disabled person, dead. This has nothing to do with getting rid of disabled people and I for one resent that even being implied.

Dying with dignity is about life and an individual's right to a dignified death. The one criteria that is seen over and over again is that the person has an illness that, to the best medical knowledge, will not allow them to survive more than six months. Then the dying person has to request assistance. Then there are other safe guards over and above that to prevent the imagined fears of the no assistance at any price zealots.

Please stop creating imaginary monsters that want do away with anyone who is not like them.

I have a friend who is now in the process of recovering from a complete quadriplegic state for the third time in the 20 years I have known her. I know of no one who thinks she should die and if she expressed the desire there would be a good deal of discussion and counselling before any action would even be considered. When she has had these episodes all her friends are there to lend a hand and encourage her recovery.

I'm sorry you have such a negative view of humanity.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Feeling threatened by the possible abuse of legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide is not creating imaginary monsters.

Your comment about your friend suggests that you understand the human emotions one experiences when living with a disability, but your previous comments suggest that you are not connecting emotions to the reality of what could happen to a person with a disability who is affirmed in suicide rather than supported in their personal needs.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Feeling threatened by the possible abuse of legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide is not creating imaginary monsters.

Your comment about your friend suggests that you understand the human emotions one experiences when living with a disability, but your previous comments suggest that you are not connecting emotions to the reality of what could happen to a person with a disability who is affirmed in suicide rather than supported in their personal needs.

Winston said...

OK then, Alex, by your own logic, anti-choice monsters who want to torture people are real too.

Have you seen the movie Awake with Hayden Christensen? If not, I highly suggest you do. If anti-choicers continue to have their way, everyone will be forced to die a "natural" death, some with excruciating, irrelievable suffering, and they not be able to communicate their plight to everyone.

Printfriendly