I accompanied a friend of mine to Dignitas on the 16th Feb 2005 as her husband couldn't face the journey. My friend Dorothy was suffering from motor neurone disease so we had to go whilst she was still physically able to administer the drug herself. We went by air ambulance which took 6 hours, but the treatment Dorothy and I received whilst in Zurich was wonderfully sensitive. When the district attorney came to the apartment to make sure all was correct, she actually put her arm round me and said 'you have done the most wonderful thing possible for your friend'.
Travelling to Zurich was traumatic for Dorothy, for me and obviously for her husband, who was worried about the legal side of things as well as losing his wife. Before we went Dorothy was interviewed by the police and a psychologist, I was also interviewed, as was her husband - presumably to make sure that it was Dorothy's choice to go.
Fortunately my friend had the finances to pay for the air ambulance and the donations to Dignitas, had she not have had this then I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she would have suffered the most difficult of deaths.
This has to stop, we do need a law to help people make the right decision about ending their life, and to make sure no one takes advantage of a sick person by taking them to Switzerland against their wishes. When the police spoke to me, they asked me how I felt about everything and I said 'I hope that if ever it's necessary that I have a friend as good to me as I'm being to my friend'.
Dorothy was a UK citizen and should have been able to have the death she wanted at home in the UK with her family and friends around her.
The accounts made in the personal stories section of the Dignity in Dying website reflect the views of the authors. The views of Dignity in Dying may differ. For Dignity in Dying's mission please go to: http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/about.html
Should you want to contact any of the people featured in these pages, or wish to share your own story with us, please contact Jo Cartwright:
020 7479 7737 or 07725 433 025