Castle Hill man's right-to-die case

No substitute for life's quality: Self-described lover of life Hugh Darling says there should be a right to die. Picture: Gene Ramirez

No substitute for life's quality: Self-described lover of life Hugh Darling says there should be a right to die. Picture: Gene Ramirez

HUGH Darling wants people to be allowed to end their lives if the quality is lost.

Mr Darling, 75, lives at Castle Hill and recently joined the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, which is fielding candidates in next year's state election.

"It was because of the experience I had with my wife Ruth, who died about six years ago," he said.

"She suffered a severe stroke and I became her full-time carer for 10 years."

Mrs Darling was 62 when the stroke paralysed her on one side and left her unable to speak.

Her mind was not affected and she could communicate with sign language.

"Ruth 'said' she wanted to die," Mr Darling said.

"She knew the situation and she hated it."

His position is more slightly more radical than his party's.

The Voluntary Euthanasia Party advocates allowing medically assisted suicide only for terminally ill people, of sound mind, who decide to end their suffering.

"It's allowing people to die who are dying anyway," the party's NSW convener Shayne Higson said.

Ms Higson also came to the euthanasia movement through tragic personal experiences.

"My mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and in her last few weeks, her condition had deteriorated so much she pleaded with us to end her life," she said.

"She had pain and was in distress; it is not a peaceful, dignified way to die."

Mr Darling said our laws effectively gave animals more rights than humans.

He said it was a pity the majority of Australian MPs did not agree with the majority of Australians.

WHERE IS EUTHANASIA LEGAL?

■ Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg permit euthanasia. Belgium and Luxembourg require the agreement of two doctors.

■ In The Netherlands, doctor-assisted suicide is also legal.

■ In Colombia, the Constitutional Court ruled in 2010 that no one could be prosecuted for ending the life of a terminally ill person who had authorised euthanasia. But it is not legal to end the life of someone who only has a degenerative disease.

■ In the US, the states of Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont all permit euthanasia in some circumstances. Oregon allows for terminally ill or ‘‘hopelessly ill’’ people to request lethal medication, with a doctor’s agreement.

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