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Jackie Meacock, Who Had Dystonia, Has Died At Dignitas

September 20, 2012

As always, I feel sad that a disabled person has chosen to end their life too soon in this way.

In this case, one line from Jackie Meacock’s video stays with me.

She said: “If I was a dog, you would put me down.”

This is true. Animals do get put down when vets feel they are in too much pain to live. It could be argued that people put their pets down to avoid them suffering. If you believe that disabled people suffer, if you support the right to die, then you are likely to hold this view.

However, if you belive that vets put animals down because animals’ lives  are less valuable than the lives of humans, then you are likely to share my personal opinion. My personal opinion, as I have written here many times before, is this:

I have always supported disabled people’s right to live with support for as long as is naturally possible. I have never supported the right to die and I will never do so. This is precisely because disabled people are just as human as anyone else. Disabled people are not animals. To give us an injection or a liquid solution to end our lives is to ‘put us down.’

This suggests that the value you place on our lives is the value you place on the lives of animals.

I own a cat. But I would like to think that my life is, even  just a little bit, more valuable than the life of  my much-loved pet.

If it becomes legal for a doctor to kill me, as it is legal for a vet to kill my cat, what will be the difference between us?

It could be argued that this is a harsh way of putting the situation. However, I would have to disagree. I have never been able to find the words to express this point before. However, Ms Meacock phrased my thoughts perfectly in a sentence.

That is the best tribute I can pay to her, even though I disagree with the choice she made.


8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2012 7:47 pm

    I too support disabled peoples right to live with support for as long as is natuarly possible, but the issue is about choice, what if that person doesnt want to live with their disability? what if that person doesnt want to live with the constant agonising pain that accompanies the disability? Who are we too insist and play God by saying you HAVE to keep living regardless of how you feel because we dont think it’s right to end your life and your suffering?
    There has to be an opposite to the argument of the right to live, and it has to be to have the right to die under excepsional circumtances.
    This isn’t about the value of human life over animal life, my mum said that as a compariable to highlight the fact it is legal to end your pets life if they are sufferring but we as humans dont extend that right to ourelves. By not allowing the person the right to choose, it’s you that places human life in a less favourable light over your pets life, as the pets suffering becomes more inportant than that of a humans.
    We’re not saying it should be legal for a doctor to kill you, but it should be de-criminalised for those in ‘exceptional circumstances’, each case should be considered on an individual basis, much the same as Dignitas do. Who by the way, do turn people away.
    You havent made any tribute to my mother at all.
    As a family we agree that this isn’t for everyone, but for those who choose this, the choice shouldnt be denied. Life for some people is about quality, and they feel that without this the quantity doesnt make any difference.
    The biggest tribute I can give my mum is to carry on with her campaign to bring the debate out into the open. Death is something we will all face, it’s the one certain thing in life, some of us would just prefer to choose when we go and not be at the mercy of our pain and suffering.


  2. Michelle permalink
    September 20, 2012 9:54 pm

    Here here Donella. You have to be so strong and brave to leave those you love behind, especially when your children are at your bedside when its time. No one on earth would choose to leave the ones they love if there wasn’t pain and discomfort in their own life every minute of every day, to which no medical interventions could help hinder. Life if not LIFE when you suffer. People should be given the option to die if they wish to, you are not born to suffer, and like Donella says we are all faced with death one day. I’m all fore having the right to end your life, and in the near future do see that it will introduced in England. There are people I know that have said they have plans in place to do exactly the same / choose not to have drugs to keep them alive…
    Nan you are sooooo brave and we love you & miss you all so so much. No more suffering, peace and pain-free is what you have now, and we take with us all the memories of your life. x


  3. Faye permalink
    September 21, 2012 1:40 pm

    I agree with the above commenters. Right to life and right to die are not mutually exclsive. All PEOPLE have the choice of living or dying. Non-disabled people have the right to choose suicide if they wish but you’re saying that those with severe disabilities shouldn’t be allowed to choose suicide. This is not equality! This is discrimination!!

    I am confused as to how you can stand for disability rights but be anti-choice? In saying that Mrs Meacock is not allowed to choose YOU are treating her as a lesser being, not the doctors who adhered to her choice. They are accepting her as an equal, capable of making the decision but simply incapable of physically acting on it on her own.

    I would also add that vets have dedicated their lives to protection and health of animals. Implying that they euthanise animals because they believe them to be unworthy is both insulting and inaccurate.


  4. marina durrant permalink
    September 21, 2012 6:32 pm

    I worked for Mrs Meacock for two years doing her housework.
    I saw the pain she was in from the time she woke up until she went to bed, day in day out, she couldnt put up with it any longer, who wish her to live like this for years to come.
    Jackie made the right decision for her 100 per cent, she had no quality to her life anymore and what a very brave decision it was.
    I would like to send my best wishes to Jackies lovely Daughters,Son and all her family, my thoughts are with you


    • Nina permalink
      September 23, 2012 11:27 am

      Thank you
      Marina, she was very fond of you ,you was very kind.
      Nina Sloper


  5. Marti permalink
    January 7, 2013 10:27 am

    II too suffer with Dystonia. It is a cruel condition with no cure! I suggest that people should never judge another perspn’s actions unless they have walked in their shoes.


  6. September 22, 2013 3:17 pm

    I too am sad when someone get’s to the point where death is welcomed!
    I do feel it’s our duty as disabled-people to join forces and fight this callous,
    Government! so no*
    even after a big brain-hemorrhage!
    and suffering all maner of abuse*
    you will find my fighting to the bitter-end*
    I wonder how many of you agree?


  7. September 16, 2017 10:37 am

    You are confusing the two issues here where there is no confusion.
    You do what you think is best for your beloved pet, as you do not wish for it to suffer in pain.
    This lady did what she felt was best for her. It’s more about the suffering and pain,
    then the disability. Her family supported ‘her choice’.
    You don’t have to choose to end you’re life,
    but you should have ‘The Choice’.
    I new this lady for many years and she was of very strong character.


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