The assisted suicide of an English lady of 75 in good health

On July 21, 2015, a 75-year-old lady organised her assisted suicide in Switzerland, even though she didn’t have any serious health problems. This Englishwoman, a retired nurse living in England, explained to the Sunday Times, a few days before her death: “I want to die having all my senses, and being capable of sorting myself out on my own. I don’t want to be a weight for the people around me that I love. ”

On her blog she explained, “Getting old isn’t fun”, and expressed her wish that her children enjoy their lives without having to worry about her, or feeling duties or responsibilities towards her in her old age to come. She also shared her wish to avoid having one day to occupy a bed indefinitely, costing Britain a fortune in the National Health Service (NHS). In her farewell note, she said she’d always had an organ donor card, which would become superfluous if her planned death allowed the easy removal of organs that could be reused.

Once her decision was made to end her days, she went to a clinic in Basel in Switzerland, a country that permits this act. The association Lifecircle thus organised the suicide of the old lady, even though she was in good health.

The death of Gill Pharaoh sparked off emotional controversy in Switzerland. The Basel Daily paper reveals the debate that was raised, pointing out that the two main Swiss associations for assisted suicide, Exit and Dignitas, would surely not have accepted to perform this act, since the only people who are permitted to have assisted suicide are persons whose vital prognosis is in doubt, or who suffer serious pain or a severe handicap.

The last words of Gill Pharaoh on her blog are a call to the British Government to review their law, which, according to her, would be morally, ethically and financially beneficial.

Her widely publicized suicide occurred a short time before the Assisted Suicide debate scheduled to take place in the British Parliament starting September 11, 2015.


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