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British Television to Broadcast Suicide

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer A British television channel is planning to broadcast the assisted suicide death of 59 year old man suffering from motor neurone disease tomorrow night. Calling the show, “Right to Die – The Suicide Tourist,” Britain’s Sky Real Live is planning to air the recent death Craig Ewert who took his own life at a Swiss Dignitas clinic after drinking a lethal cocktail of sedatives. According to the Sun, the retired university professor and father of two decided to end his life after the disease began crippling his body. Motor neurone diseases are a group of progressive neurological disorders that destroy motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body. “I am tired of the disease but I am not tired of living,” says Mr. Ewert. “I still enjoy life enough that I would like to continue but the thing is that I really cannot. If I opt for life then that is choosing to be tortured rather than end this journey and start the next one. I cannot take the risk,” he said.  “Let's face it, when you're completely paralysed and cannot talk how do you let somebody know you are suffering? This could be a complete and utter hell. You can watch only so much of yourself drain away before you look at what is left and say ‘This is an empty shell.’” Once he became completely paralyzed, Ewert said he would be “nothing more than a living tomb that takes in nutrients through a tube in the stomach - it's painful.” Ewert traveled to Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal and passed away while holding his wife Mary’s hand. For a fee of 3,000 pounds, Dignitas assisted the suicide and saw to the cremation of Ewert’s body and the return of his ashes to the UK.  The people involved in making the film, including Oscar-winning director John Zaritsky, considered the experience to be very difficult. Co-producer Terence McKeown said: “It was an incredibly difficult experience for all of us. I think we’ve all suffered a bit of post-traumatic stress from it.” The experience was even more traumatic because they traveled with Ewert to Zurich and spent several days with him, getting to know him quite well. “It was profound and stayed with all of us,” McKeown said, the added. “'He should have been able to do it at his home. He argued that it is quite inhumane to force people in various states of illness to go to a little apartment in a foreign city to die.” The decision to broadcast the event is sparking controversy in the British media. John Beyer director of Mediawatch UK said: “This subject is something that is quite an important political issue at the moment and my anxieties are that the programme will influence public opinion. “If this programme is not impartial and promotes euthanasia then it would be in breach of the act - in short it must not influence members of the public or a change in the law.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace. http://www.womenofgrace.com

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