Gill Pharaoh, a 75-year-old woman from Britain with no serious health issues, decided to end her life at a Swiss euthanasia clinic on July 21 with her partner of 25 years by her side, sparking renewed debate over the right to die.
According to the Daily Mail, her partner John Southall said Pharaoh had been talking with family and friends about someday ending her life for more than 20 years. Her decision to die was based on a desire not to grow old and become a burden to her family.
Pharaoh, who worked as a nurse and had written two books on caring for elderly patients, wrote about her decision in a blog post entitled “My Last Word” on her website:
During my working life, first as a general nurse and then working in palliative care, I often met people who felt that their life was complete and that they were no longer prepared to fight to stay alive. I also found that people did not tell their family this, in case they were thought to have “given up”.
These were people who had a serious and life threatening disease. I often felt that they were being urged to “keep fighting” when in fact they were quite ready to give up. And when, later, families said what a good fight they put up, my instinct was that the patient was fighting to be allowed to let go peacefully.