A former government minister has revealed the tearful truth about her husband’s battle with colon cancer, admitting that she nearly took matters into her own hands one night before he peacefully passed away. Now, she has submitted a plea for assisted dying rights in the UK, and it’s gained momentum.
Former Minister Reveals Troubling Personal Experience
Dame Joan Ruddock, a former government minister renowned for her leadership in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), recently shared a deeply personal experience. She disclosed that she had come close to taking her husband, Frank Doran’s life, with a pillow during his excruciating battle with terminal colon cancer. This revelation has reignited the debate on assisted dying.
Dame Joan Ruddock’s story unfolded against the backdrop of her husband Frank Doran’s courageous yet agonizing struggle with terminal colon cancer. The couple, who had openly discussed death, found themselves navigating a year of chemotherapy, with Dame Joan supporting Frank through the challenging journey.
The commitment to face the inevitable together was severely tested as Dame Joan witnessed Frank’s relentless suffering during the grueling chemotherapy sessions. Their deep connection and shared promise to aid one another through the dying process was put to the ultimate test as the physical and emotional toll escalated.
Contemplating a Drastic Decision
Dame Joan reached a moment of desperation, contemplating a drastic decision to alleviate her husband’s escalating pain. As Frank’s condition worsened, she found herself grappling with the moral and ethical implications of potentially ending his life to spare him further torment.
Dame Joan revealed the emotional turmoil of contemplating the unthinkable. Faced with the possibility of Frank’s suffering persisting, she prepared mentally for a drastic measure in the final hours, claiming that she got “the pillow ready” on occasion, “my only option was a pillow over his head”, she admitted. Reflecting on her decisions, Dame Joan expressed remorse for not utilizing liquid morphine earlier in the trajectory of Frank’s illness when he could still swallow.
“I resolved that if a doctor did not come before 1 am, I would end Frank’s life”, she admitted, but the pivotal moment arrived with the timely intervention of a doctor just before midnight, averting the dire circumstances that pushed Dame Joan to contemplate such a drastic measure. The reluctant but necessary medical intervention ensured Frank’s peaceful passing and offered a reprieve from the harrowing choices that loomed.
“I cursed myself for not using the liquid morphine when Frank could still swallow. Now my only option was a pillow over his head,” Dame Joan admitted, “I feared he might struggle but I got the pillow ready.” She then said, “Just after midnight a doctor arrived. He said there was no need as Frank was sleeping peacefully… I told him once the drug wore off the groaning would start again and I couldn’t allow his suffering to continue. He reluctantly gave [an] injection. Frank died seven hours later.”
A Personal Appeal for Assisted Dying
Dame Joan’s submission to the Commons Health Committee transcends her personal experience, evolving into a passionate plea for a parliamentary vote on assisted dying. Her heartfelt call echoes the sentiments of countless individuals as she stressed the urgent need for legislative acknowledgment of the overwhelming public support for such measures.
Dame Joan Ruddock’s call for a parliamentary debate on assisted dying finds resonance with Esther Rantzen’s revelation about her stage four lung cancer and decision to join the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The intersection of these two influential figures shows the growing urgency to address end-of-life choices.
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