Monday, June 17, 2024
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Woman with terminal cancer chooses euthanasia on New Zealand beach: ‘Put rest of the medicine in & I will die’

NEW DELHI: Tracy Hickman, a 37-year-old British woman with terminal breast cancer, passed away peacefully through euthanasia on a beach in New Zealand, surrounded by her loved ones. Hickman, who had been advocating for assisted dying rights in the UK, chose to spend her final moments “on a beach in the sunshine” more than five years after her diagnosis during a routine mammogram, as revealed by her close friend Dom Harvey on Instagram.
In an interview with Harvey on May 9, Hickman described her ideal last day, which included having “chocolate for breakfast,” being with her sister, her sister’s husband, her niece, her partner, and a few close friends, listening to the waves, and seeing the sea before taking the final medication. She expressed feeling a “huge relief” and privileged to have the opportunity to take control of her death and say her goodbyes.
Hickman’s partner, Paul Qualtrough, confirmed her death and had previously told the Guardian that euthanasia was the “best of a bad set of sh—y options.” Hickman herself had expressed feeling at peace with her decision, despite the distress it caused her family and friends, who understood her choice. She had hoped that the UK would follow New Zealand’s example and introduce better legislation for assisted dying.
Euthanasia remains illegal in the UK, with medical professionals facing potential manslaughter or murder charges and up to 14 years in prison if found guilty. New Zealand introduced the “End of Life Choice Act” in 2019, allowing adults with terminal illnesses and a life expectancy of six months or less to euthanize themselves, but the procedure is not permitted for those suffering from mental illness, disability, or advanced age.
Hickman’s sister, Linda Clarke, supported her right to choose her own death and hoped that UK lawmakers would listen to her sister’s story. In the United States, 10 states and the District of Columbia allow assisted dying or “physician-assisted dying,” permitting doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for self-administration.

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