Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Dimbledy Lecture: Assisted Death

Yesterday evening I watched one of the most thought-provoking and emotional BBC television programmes ever.

The late Richard Dimbledy, who died of cancer many years ago, was a much respected television personality. Two of his sons carry on where he left off, and last night the BBC broadcast "The Dimbledy Lecture" - and what a great lecture it was.

The author Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame has a form of Alzheimers. He has made public announcements to this effect. He has donated $1million to an Alzheimer charity. He does not want to succumb to this disease but has - at the moment - no choice.

He wrote this lecture. Brilliantly. However, because the disease prevents him from reading for more than a short time his friend, the actor Tony Robinson, delivered the lecture. Again, brilliantly.

The hour long lecture centred on "the right to die when one chooses". Terry P does not like the term 'assisted suicide' and uses 'assisted death' instead. He puts his case clearly and strongly.

I agree with everything I heard.

When life becomes intolerable, when the prognosis is a lingering decline and death, when an incurable disease makes life a living hell, then the sufferer should be helped by the medical profession to slip away. To die peacefully with dignity.

I see nothing but good coming from this lecture. We would not allow a sick cat or a dog to shrivel away over weeks, months and sometimes years. We consider that cruel, yet we inflict such trauma on our fellow humans.

What do YOU think?