Dystonia sufferer Jackie Meacock wants assisted suicide law change

  • 5 December 2011
  • From the section Sussex

A Brighton woman with the neurological movement disorder dystonia has called for changes in the law to help people seeking to end their life at home.

Although Jackie Meacock's condition is not life-threatening, the constant pain it causes has made her want to die.

The 70-year-old wants more to be done to help those people wishing to commit assisted suicide at home rather than having to travel to a clinic abroad.

"If I was a dog, you would put me down," Ms Meacock said.

In a video diary kept for BBC South East, she described how she was exhausted from the constant pain and shaking every "waking minute" caused by her condition and said she could not "deal with it any more".

"But at least when I'm asleep I'm not in pain, so I count the hours for half past eight to nine o'clock to come around, until I wake tomorrow morning when it all starts again."

'Pain and sadness'

Ms Meacock said she had contemplated suicide but was too frightened it would go wrong.

Her daughter, Nina Sloper, said: "My mum's been down a lot of avenues regarding treatment.

"We've tried so many things... she still has pain injections which are not working.

"Her life is morphine, pain, sadness."

The Dystonia Society said it could not speak about Ms Meacock's case because it did not want to risk associating a condition that was not terminal with suicide.

However, James Harris, of Dignity in Dying, a campaign group demanding greater choice and control at the end of life, said people were clearly "taking matters into their own hands" and it was "the decision-makers" who were "turning a blind eye".

But Dr John Wiles, from Care Not Killing, which opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, said the present law should remain in place as it protected people.

"What we should concentrate on is how we improve the care for patients, [and] support for their families, in what is obviously a very distressing circumstance."

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