A Time to Die (2023) Movie Script

We've got the ability
to take people's suffering away
in a clinical way,
and it should be my choice.
'I would like to be able to
calmly and quietly call it a day.
'I would ideally like to have it
happen at home or in a hospice,'
not on the way to an A&E
or waiting for an ambulance.
I regarded what we had helped
Mum to do as an act of love,
and I was plunged into
a police investigation.
It's like knowing the date
of, like, a car crash,
when a murderer is gonna
come into your house. It's...
It's unnerving, it's scary.
For disabled people like myself,
it's bad enough as it is now,
let alone adding a treatment
called "assisted suicide".
No, thank you.
DAN: 'If I couldn't make music,
life would be awful.'
There we go.
So, you can see,
the mouse follows my head,
and that camera follows a point
on my nose, my big old hooter.
You have to be able to click,
which I do by poking out my tongue.
You can see that getting activated.
Raise your eyebrows, drag it around.
And I can drag stuff about, you see?
This is how you compose.
Intro. Intro.
'I was a music teacher for 16 years.
'I'd gone to university,
studied music and English,
'DJ-ing and doing clubs
and stuff like that.
' '90s raver, basically.'
I'll turn it off now.
There we go.
Multiple sclerosis,
it's your own immune system
attacking your nervous system.
'You'll die from related conditions,
'So you might not be able
to swallow,
'so you might die of choking.'
I have rationalised all this stuff
a long time ago, so...
it's shit, it's a fucker,
but what can you do?
'If I was able-bodied,
'I'd be able to go and drive myself
to Beachy Head,
'throw myself
in the English Channel.
'But I'm not in a position
to do that.'
I wouldn't have done that when I was
able-bodied enough to do it,
cos I haven't got a death wish here.
Is it better for my kids to say
goodbye to me in the nearer future,
get over the grief,
and get on with their lives...
..or to have me kind of there,
..for possibly years?
And, erm...
Excuse me,
I have to pause occasionally...
so I don't blub.
Trying to get Dignitas,
get the green light from them,
so I can just have that
in my back pocket.
And if the time comes...
..activate it, and...
..wait for the final stages
to be sorted out, and then do it.
This is...
Regulates your...
Regulates my bowels.
I have to admit,
I put it to the back of my mind
because I find it really hard...
..to actually believe that
it's actually going to happen.
It's a horrible idea,
dying in a Swiss clinic,
but we will support,
and I speak for Frankie, I think,
I'm sure, in this,
what he wants to do.
If he wants to do it, we'll do it.
He just doesn't want to be
totally incapacitated.
I think he'd rather just, you know,
go at a time of his choosing.
Yeah. We've got mixed feelings.
On one hand, we'd...
He'd leave a big hole in our lives
if he wasn't here.
On the other hand,
we don't like to see him suffer.
REPORTER: If it got to a point
where he was green-lit
to go to Switzerland,
you would take him?
I don't hesitate.
My Lords, I wonder
if the noble Elder Minister
could comment on
the remarks made to me
by an MS sufferer I know very well.
And that is...
The remarks were that MS is
a Cinderella service in the NHS.
It does not get
its fair share of resources.
JOHN: If he wants to do it,
I mean, I will support him
in any way that I possibly can.
And there could be consequences,
legal consequences,
er, for me, perhaps in particular,
but... I mean, I'd face up to them.
I'm very anxious about it, really.
Anxious, well, worried.
DI: 'We started to go out together
in 1976.
'I was 18, he was 21.'
We worked in the same office.
'And we got married four years later
in 1980.
'We didn't have any children,
but we have travelled extensively.'
Trevor was very keen
to learn to scuba-dive,
so we qualified in 1991.
The thought of being on my own
after he's gone is quite tough,
cos I've never lived on my own.
And I think this is what Trevor
finds most upsetting,
and why he's getting emotional.
It's not about
what's going to happen to him,
it's about leaving me behind
on my own.
He used to talk about if you could
only ever eat one fruit,
what would it be?
And we'd have a discussion about
what would be our favourite fruit
and the one you would want,
and he can't eat anything.
It's not just a matter of not fruit
or whatever, it's...
It's so hard when you've been
really interested in food
and cooking your whole life,
to not be able to eat anything,
and everything goes through
a feeding tube.
This is a suction machine,
or aspirator,
and it helps to remove the saliva
from his mouth.
He's unable to swallow at all,
but the body still goes on
producing saliva.
So it can choke him.
And this one is a ventilator
to help him breathe
when he struggles to get air
in and out.
REPORTER: On a scale of one to ten,
how would you describe the quality
of your life at the moment?
I assume one is very bad...
One is very, very bad.
Try and describe for us what
the last six months has been like.
'He still heard movement
in his arms and hands,
'so he's been able to bake bread
'for most of our friends
and neighbours,
'and that has been his passion
and his happy place.'
And Trevor's told me
he can't bake any more...
He's not baking, no.
Are there any painkillers
so that it's not unbearable?
READS: "The pain clinic at the
hospital in St Thomas'
"said that the painkillers
don't work for his sort of pain
"because it's neurological pain."
How long could this go on?
The life expectancy for this type
of motor neurone disease
is six months
to a maximum of three years.
So, erm, he's done well
to do two years.
I don't think he will make three.
We had lots of plans for things we
would do together once we retired.
We've been saving all our life
to have a really good retirement
and spend time abroad.
"We did most things together.
"We ended up working together
"for the brilliant company
she founded."
My experience extends to caring
for several thousand dying patients.
Doctors know they can't make
many of the life-or-death judgements
this bill asks.
This is not a job for doctors
already on their knees
after the pandemic.
'This is an
extremely complex issue.'
The more that I've thought about it,
the more aware I've been
of the dangers of changing the law.
You can see a terribly sad situation
and think that the answer
would be to speed up death.
Now, as a legislator,
I have to think,
"What is the effect of changing the
law on the whole of our population,
"on the way that we deliver care
and what we do?"
And I've seen how people
will be in despair
and cannot believe
things could improve,
are frightened,
their families are frightened,
and yet when get the care
that they need,
they will say, "I never believed
I could have lived this well."
And how people change and adapt
and do amazingly creative things
in the last - sometimes moments -
of their lives.
I've worked quite closely with lots
of other house-builders locally.
They've looked my plans and
turned them round or gone white -
we've seen all the colour
drain out of their faces.
Now they're starting to build
the internal walls,
we can see where things are going,
we can start planning.
I've already got
the kitchen catalogues, of course.
I'm looking forward to the time
where we can take all this back,
one wheelbarrow at a time,
and put it back on the roof
and get grass down again.
That's the plan.
The idea of building this house
is a house that sort of
looks after itself,
it heats itself, it cools itself.
'It is a good way of life
when we see more of Phil,
'and... we have a good family life.
'I love it here.'
Good morning.
You all right?
We'll get you to sit up.
I'll get that curtain a little bit.
'We are managing my way out of this
life as best as possible.
'There might be periods
where you flatten out,
'stay stable for a while,
but it is a one-way road.
'I don't know what it's like
to be disabled from an injury,
'but I'm clearly disabled.
'Can't use my legs and my hands
and most of my arms and other bits.'
All right?
'But I'm also ill.'
And it is the illness
that is killing me.
'Er, breathing,
I can't breathe lying down any more.
'I think the hospital has me
'at part way through
respiratory failure,
'which isn't very cheerful to read.'
All right, you got it?
One pocket... Thank you.
So, Monday, we're going to go
to Leeds. Mm.
Erm, we're gonna get... So,
four of us are going on the train.
You don't wanna get stuck
on the train again.
Yeah, well, that has happened.
We went down to London.
We got into King's Cross,
and we were waiting for the man
with the ramp... Mm.
..and nobody came.
Nobody turned up.
I think our lives look quite normal
from the outside.
I think even... our friends think
we're doing much better
than we probably are, and...
No, our lives behind closed doors
are absolutely NOT normal.
They are really...
It's quite traumatic living
with a situation like this.
And... it's not going to get easier.
On a day like today,
things look quite calm,
and Phil is all right,
but some days,
it's not like that at all.
Can I have some blackberries, then?
'I've been disabled and sick.
'And it was only
when the doctor asked me,
'do I feel more sick
than disabled now...'
I don't want that one, though.
Is that a good one?
'..that I suddenly really began
to separate the two.
'And I realise now that
it's the illness that's murder.'
Not a great one, no.
You knew that was a bad one.
They're never as nice
as you think they're gonna be.
'You know, being in a wheelchair
is... is not easy either,
'but the real...
the real killer is the illness.'
Told you that was gonna be
a good one.
I'm like a prince of blackberries.
Thank you. Mmm. Nice.
I would like to be able to calmly
and quietly call it a day.
I would ideally like to have
that happen at home or in a hospice.
Not in a general hospital,
not in an A&E,
not on the way to an A&E
or waiting for an ambulance.
I would like to pick the time...
erm, and go peacefully.
Actually, I think I did just feel
a bit of rain then. OK.
Where are you going?
All right, we're going slowly. Mm.
The former Lord Chancellor
has appealed
to the Justice Secretary
to change the law
on assisted dying
after a Rutland man's appeal
to the High Court was refused.
The Labour peer Charlie Falconer
says Phil Newby from Oakham,
who has motor neurone disease,
has been badly let down.
I think if there was any message
from our court case, it was...
and any success, it was that, erm...
the High Court judge
and then the Court of Appeal judges
erm... absolutely
and very brusquely threw me out...
..as a signal to politicians
that they'd had enough
of dealing with this stuff,
and it could only be touched
by Parliament.
The thing
that I felt most strongly about
was the response
from the Justice Minister
who basically said that...
..Phil could end his own life
if he wanted to
by just stopping eating
and drinking.
And I was stunned by that.
That was...
That was...
..a shocking response.
My own mother was very strongly
in favour of euthanasia,
and when she was dying,
and we thought
she had six weeks to live,
she was extremely angry with me
that I'd opposed it.
The hospice thought
that she was going to be dead
within a few weeks.
She died four years later,
not four to six weeks later.
She went home, er...
from the hospice.
We looked after her at home.
And she made a radio programme
with me
saying how glad she was
that she was still alive
and changed her mind completely
later on.
How's it going, mate? You OK?
Cushty, mate. You sleep all right?
Yeah, good. Good.
Not bad at all.
Cushty. Put the box on, yeah?
The tricky thing with MS
is that I don't think he could say
how things are gonna progress.
He did give an example.
He gave an example of a woman
who has already passed away
who was in my kind of position.
She got a succession
of respiratory infections.
Yeah, pneumonia.
Pneumonias, that sort of thing.
Every time she got one, she said,
"Oh, I want to go to Dignitas."
And then she recovered.
And then she said,
"Oh, I don't wanna go anywhere."
Well, perhaps he was thinking...
Well that's exactly why
I'd wanna go to Switzerland.
Because last time I was in hospital,
with the respiratory infection,
feeling like shit...
I did think, "Listen,
I can't keep going through this.
"I can't keep dragging, you know,
"everyone through this every year,
or twice a year."
You know, you may well say,
"No, I'm not ready yet."
You know, it could be
quite a long sort of process.
Absolutely, yeah, absolutely.
You are heroic in the way
you're coping with it.
No, no, no.
Yes, you are.
Yeah, you are.
Sorry, you're my hero, Dan. Yeah.
To us, your sort of
gradual going downhill
has almost become natural,
you know, but it's not.
It's absolutely horrendous.
Absolutely terrible.
INTERVIEWER: And then, eventually,
you came to England,
and you went to university.
What was university like?
ANDY: I first met Kim in 1991.
Kim was studying chemistry at UMIST,
and I was one of her lecturers.
Kim and I started a relationship
in 1993,
after she had graduated.
And we fell in love straight away.
My son Sean and Kim
became very close,
which has continued to this day.
We were married in 1998.
In 2003, our son Josh was born.
Joshy, look. This part.
It's a present, Joshua, isn't it?
What is it?
Bob the Builder!
Bob the Builder. Who is this from?
It's possibly another tin.
Daddy's so silly.
From Oen and Alan.
In December last year,
Kim was diagnosed
with a terrible terminal illness.
Progressive supranuclear palsy, PSP.
It's an ultra-rare disease.
It is a progressive, degenerative,
neurodegenerative disease.
Many of the brain cells
that are affected by this
are ones that control
balance and movement.
There's a basket case of problems.
It's losing someone's self
And you
can actively see it happening.
And, from the way they smile,
the way they talk,
they're not in the same headspace,
and they never will be again,
and you've lost someone
who's incredibly dear to you.
And you don't know how much
you're gonna lose each day.
And that's... that's terrifying.
Why not?
Of course, everyone is sad.
You know I will.
What is it, sweetheart?
It's OK. Should we get some tissue?
Yes, please.
Oh, I'm wearing a tissue here, look.
Thanks, Ruky.
'The first thing she said was,
"I want to go to Dignitas." '
And I've tried to be completely
clear and honest with her,
and said, "OK,
but you can say no at any time,
"and we've always got the fall-back
of palliative care."
Do you want have a lie down? Yeah.
OK, let's go and do that.
And I've tried to be planning that
in parallel, anyway,
because we just don't know
what's gonna happen, right?
Is there a bit of you that wishes
she would choose that option?
That's a tough question. Erm...
Yes, of course,
but at the same time,
I don't wanna see her suffer,
And if those are her wishes, erm...
it's my responsibility
to help her get there, somehow.
I can't see. Here, there.
That one is...
'I think, since I started
working with Kim from January,
'her condition has deteriorating.'
Kim was lovely, and then,
she used to tell me,
"Oh, if I get well,
"the first thing I will do for you,
I'm gonna help you.
"I'm going to do
acupuncture for you,
"I'm going to massage you,"
you know?
She used to tell me all that.
And as time goes on,
over the months, she got worse.
I promise you, we'll be OK.
I've done one.
I'm sad, Joshy. I'm sad.
I'm so sad because my robot
is not here with me any more.
Aw. Ahh.
We'll be fine.
You don't need to look after us.
We're gonna be fine.
You're going to keep an eye on us,
aren't you, anyway? Hm?
INTERVIEWER: How sure are you,
with one being "not very sure"
and ten being "very sure",
that this is how you want to end...
It's not. Come on, pick him up.
Mummy pick you up.
There, Joshy. Smile.
Put that here.
a religious woman, aren't you?
Are you still?
Some religious people would say
that you mustn't go to Switzerland.
It's a no-no for me. Erm...
Apart from my personal views,
when you talk about religious views,
I'm a Muslim.
It's forbidden, in Islam,
for you to kill yourself.
It is forbidden.
You can't even think of it.
You're not even allowed
to think of it,
not to talk of, you know,
killing yourself.
And when you do that, in Islam,
it is believed
you are going to hell.
Yeah. Yeah, you're going to hell.
That is it, straight away.
INTERVIEWER: Are you frightened?
My mum was a proud, hard-working,
diligent, committed woman.
Married when she was 19.
A wife of nearly 60 years.
She was a great mum
to myself and my sister.
My mum was very game. She was.
I took her on holiday
to Lanzarote about...
I think it was about five years ago,
and we went on
a catamaran trip one day,
and she had it in her head
that she'd like to go on
the jet skis,
so the minute the guy said
the jet ski was available,
her hand was the first one
in the air.
And everything changed
in May of 2019.
She was waiting at the bus stop
in her town
where she lived in Yorkshire
to go to her dance class
that afternoon
and she collapsed at the bus stop.
Erm, and somebody called
an ambulance
and she was taken to hospital
in Hull.
She was a different woman
in the blink of an eye.
It was heartbreaking to see
how much effort she put into,
especially the work she did
with the physiotherapist,
and then I don't know
if something happened,
but she was rushed back to hospital
one day.
They thought perhaps
she'd had another stroke
because her speech
was suddenly set back again,
and she never really got back
from that setback.
And I think that's why she found
the life of significant disability
so difficult
because it completely
turned the tables on who she'd been.
It's Mandy Appleyard here
with my mum, Janet,
and I was just going to ask you
about your decision
to go to Switzerland.
Do you understand what that means,
to go to Dignitas. Yes.
What does it mean, love?
It means that you're going to die.
It means that you'll die, yeah.
By suicide, which you understand.
And what makes you want to do that,
Why have you decided that
you want... I don't want to live.
What can't you do, Mum,
that you want to be able to do?
Talk properly.
Talk properly.
And I want... hand. And you can't
do anything with one hand.
She had asked us to kill her
several times.
She'd asked us to smother her.
She'd asked us
to leave her medication
on her little table across her bed
so that she could take an overdose.
She'd asked about
could we leave an apple
and a paring knife next to it
so she could use a knife.
To have...
..my mum ask my sister and I
to murder her, to take her life,
was... unimaginably sad.
Has anybody influenced you
in that decision? No.
And have you ever felt that you
wanted to change your mind
about that decision?
No. OK. All right.
All right, well, we've got it
on record, haven't we?
OK, love.
I do remember asking her if she was
making that decision for herself,
cos I said, "I can't live with it
"if you make that decision
for my sister and for me..."
VOICE BREAKING: "..because
we're your daughters
"and we'll care for you,
and we're in this situation."
And she said, "No, it's my decision.
It's what I want for me."
I don't know if it was,
but that's what she said.
"It's my decision for me."
I am tired of living.
You're tired of living.
OK. All right.
So you've had no second thoughts
about what you want to do?
No, no, not ever.
The person who feels that they
have lost everything in life
and their life is all about loss,
there are two aspects to that.
One of them is what are the things
that are still there
that can be built on
and are positive?
And then who decides
to cut that life short?
How do you know that that
really is the person's wish,
or is it that they feel that
that's what they should do
to relieve a burden on others,
rather than it really being
where they feel they want to go?
Death is the end. That's it.
And so many families will say,
"We were really prepared
for the death,
"but when it came, it was a shock."
He's now too weak to be able
to get all the way to Switzerland
with all this equipment. It just...
It's looking like it's not really
gonna be an option for him now.
We have paid a deposit,
just under 4,000.
The full amount would be between
12,000 and 15,000,
so this makes it an elitist option.
INTERVIEWER: Did you ever think
that it might be OK
to have what is now available
to you only,
which is palliative care, hospice,
and so on?
"I don't want that because it
means Di sees me suffer." Yeah.
have you ever felt pressured
to have an assisted death?
It's totally from him.
He has said to me
on numerous occasions,
"I don't want to live like this
any more."
"Utter boredom,
pain, both actual and emotional,
"and my sense of smell
works perfectly,
"so I smell the food
but can't even try a tiny bit."
He said he's ready now.
He wasn't ready a month ago...
and now he is.
But we can't do it
because it's not an option here,
and he is too weak
to get to Switzerland.
Would anybody like some wine,
Or is it just gonna be me?
I'll sit next to Kim
and help her eat...
This is really hot.
Is that enough spaghetti?
Do you want a little bit more?
That's not terribly much.
Excuse me, Mama.
We can try, see how you do.
I know it's a little bit...
It's a little bit tricky.
It's been a very long time
since you tried squid.
When did you have it last?
Focaccia out of the way.
And move that for me.
Have you pinched my napkin?
That's good, that's good.
It's like knowing the date
of, like, a car crash,
or when a murderer
is gonna come into your house.
It's unnerving, it's scary...
..and it's awfully quiet.
I think, to be honest, I'm literally
not thinking about anything,
not even the return flight,
but actually just getting
to that date and time,
supporting Kim, whatever it takes.
I'd like to be the one
to comfort her
and to make sure she's OK.
And to just...
..be there for her
because I don't think I'd be able
to live with myself if...
..during a very,
very hard time for her...
..and I've spent 19 years with her,
that I wouldn't be there for her.
Right, do you recognise
what kind of cake it is?
What's one of your favourite
kinds of cakes
that you used to like
making yourself?
Yeah. German chocolate cheesecake.
Happy birthday.
Various medical reports
had to be secured,
including a psychiatric assessment,
to determine whether or not
she was depressed,
because depression
creates a lot of difficulties
for people who want to go
to Dignitas.
Because their view, quite rightly,
is that if somebody's depressed,
they may cease to be depressed
next Tuesday or next year,
and therefore, they might have made
a very different decision
about their end of life.
Several people that we approached
for assessments
refused to help Mum.
One of them had agreed
to assess Mum,
and we'd set everything up
for that Friday,
and then phoned the day before
and said she'd spoken to her...
the governing body,
erm, and they had said,
"You shouldn't do this,
"because maybe... this is to dying
inquiries, so you can't go there."
There was a police officer
from Humberside Police
and a social worker from
East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
My mum was in her chair,
where she always was.
My sister was looking after her
in the lounge.
They questioned them to begin with
on whether there was a plan
for Mum to go to Dignitas.
Mum said it was a private matter,
a family matter,
and she didn't want to talk
about it with a third party,
and it was nobody else's business.
And the police said to my sister
in front of my mum,
"Do you realise that
if you are planning that,
"it's murder, it's manslaughter?
"It's a serious prison sentence
for you.
"This isn't a road
that you can go down."
Don't forget that in this country,
elder abuse is a big problem.
One in five people
over the age of 65 have been abused,
usually financially
or emotionally or by neglect.
Doctors don't pick that up,
they don't pick up the coercion
that goes on behind closed doors.
They don't know about it.
And now we have an NHS
which is on its knees,
we have a shortage of doctors, we
have ever-lengthening waiting lists,
and yet you're gonna take doctors
away from providing care
to be the judge and jury
to assess patients as to whether
they should have lethal drugs
to shorten life.
And there's no backfilling,
so more and more people are not
gonna get the care they need.
We banned capital punishment
because there had been
wrongful convictions.
We know that there had been
we know of someone who was told he
had severe lung disease in Canada.
He had lethal drugs,
his life was ended.
And at postmortem, that lung disease
was not there at all.
This was misinformation.
We know from other jurisdictions
that young women
who had been sexually abused
earlier in life, severely abused,
in despair, now with anorexia
and other mental health conditions,
had been given lethal drugs.
I sort of think it's the usual
muddying of the waters.
It's the same stuff about
whether anorexic girls
should be allowed
to take their own lives.
And this stuff, it's never gonna be
within the scope of a law
put forward.
Is it always about people
whether they're mentally competent?
If you're talking about
a teenager with anorexia,
they are going through
a mental health condition,
which means that they are not
mentally competent,
so we shouldn't be talking about
them as you say.
Or children under a certain age,
they don't need to be brought
into this conversation at all.
Where people are weak or vulnerable
or exposed to risk,
you can just shut down the risk
with a decent bit of legislation.
Until the age of three,
I was non-disabled.
And then in 1949, I got polio,
was paralysed from the waist down.
Was put in a machine
called an iron lung,
and that's the only reason
I'm here talking to you.
This is serious stuff. This isn't...
It's not easy to talk about,
or it's not a subject
that people want to really
think about
cos it's... it's about people dying.
And the debates about disability
and end of life really began
to gain traction 15 years ago
as a solution to ending interminable
suffering, you know, that kind of...
So disabled people,
like myself and others,
began to get very worried
about where we would fit
in this new world.
It's bad enough as it is now,
let alone adding a treatment
called assisted suicide.
No, thank you.
Feels a bit like the sort of meeting
at the OK Corral.
How are you, Phil? Nice to meet you.
How are you doing?
Very nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you, too. At last.
It's good not to get run over
as well. Yes!
As if we haven't got enough
to worry about. I know, I know.
An odd kind of meeting, isn't it?
Yeah, it is. It is.
It's lovely to see you.
And you, too.
The question we should ask ourselves
maybe, Phil,
is how do two such fine gentlemen
in wheelchairs
end up, you know, in a park,
on a grey day,
which is a good day
to talk about death, isn't it? Yes.
What got us here, Phil?
I'm a part of a group of disabled
people called Not Dead Yet UK.
And our mission
is to resist all attempts
to change the law
on assisted suicide.
So what that does
is put you and me together.
As adversaries.
No, I wouldn't say adversaries.
I would say that you have your view,
and I have mine.
It's people like you and me
who are actually
in the middle of this debate.
I think we probably
all have views about suicide,
and sadly, for very severely
disabled people like yourself,
administering your own medication,
say, to kill yourself,
is beyond
your physical capabilities.
So there is no question
that for people like yourself,
who face a very uncertain future,
erm, that is out of your control
is... terrifying.
Putting it plainly.
It's how I would feel anyway.
It is frightening, yeah.
But I think until we have
systems in place
that can provide
first-class social care,
can provide first-class
end-of-life care, palliative care...
..in my view, would be dangerous
to change the law.
And we have never really looked at
one main cause of people
wanting to end their lives,
which far from popular belief,
is pain.
It isn't, it's about being a burden.
You and I both rely incredibly
on our partners. My wife, your wife.
Yeah, yeah.
And there will be times, I know,
when I think,
"Having me around, apart
from my charming personality...
"having me around
stops Sue doing things."
There's no question about that.
Yeah, absolutely.
And it's gonna get worse
as I get older,
so I think that it's dangerous
to offer assisted suicide
as a treatment plan
as opposed to the more expensive
palliative care,
social care and so on.
I feel that.
But there comes a point where,
you know, if there is no more value,
if there is no more enjoyment
in life,
and there's more suffering,
then by keeping me alive,
it's... you know,
it's not good for anyone,
and at least of all me.
Right. So, Phil, how do you
feel about assisting a suicide?
A Reggie Perrin.
I'm resigned to the fact that
nothing will change in my lifetime.
But there are a lot of people
like me who will find ways
in very lonely
and desperate circumstances
of taking their own lives.
Hundreds of terminally ill people
do that every year.
I know that palliative care
can take away pain.
I had five sets of drugs last night.
And I know it can take away anxiety.
But it's not... It can never really
take away my anguish,
you know, the burden
of struggling to breathe.
I say, well, what about us?
How long do people like us
have to wait?
For people around now that are
managing the end of their lives
without the legal recourse
to assisted suicide...
..that's obviously awful.
But what I'm also trying to get
across is that disabled people
often feel very vulnerable,
and it's very difficult to then say,
of course,
change the law that makes our
position even more vulnerable,
Potentially. And, you see,
the words you used there like that,
the "mights" and "coulds"
and "potentially".
Now, I know there's, you know,
some very definites
in the way I'm going.
Here, we're talking about
that's gonna lead
to potentially people dying.
So good enough isn't...
Hopefully, it will.
but good enough is not good enough.
We've gotta be sure that we've put
in place all of the components
that protect everybody from harm,
And I think it's fair to say
that the jury's out
amongst disabled people.
Disabled people don't all go,
"No way." No.
Most disabled people are either
not sure what they think about this
or they take one view,
which is "no way,"
or they say,
"I wanna die by my own hand."
Yeah, but it's kind of ironic
that the polling shows that,
you know, across religious groups,
and across disabled
and non-disabled people,
that they're in favour
of a change in the law.
Right, so, Phil,
is the law gonna change?
I think the answer's probably yes.
I'm a realist.
There's enough momentum behind...
..something changing
on assisted suicide
that it will happen at some point,
and maybe when I'm not here either.
But we have to fashion this
in a way that what works for us.
My fear about this, really,
is that we're gonna be,
as a country, shamed into this
and rushed into this.
And that will involve
bad legislation,
and that will be a right mess.
And you won't benefit from that.
In fact, no-one will benefit
from that.
This must look really weird.
Good technique for, erm...
..licking lollies, maybe.
Gotta write this
biographical sketch, erm...
..which is a bit weird,
cos I've never had to do
something like this before.
As well as the technology
being a bugger,
it's an inverse job app...
I've never thought about it
like that, application to die.
..born in Chatham, Kent, 1976.
Parents: Frankie and John Monks.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
Maybe it doesn't look like
the word "sclerosis".
Have the use of my left arm
and hand.
I think it doesn't like my kind of
slightly chavvy North Kent accent.
I'm just approaching this process
as I would
anything else
I've approached in life.
And the fact that it's about
my demise, ultimately, is by the by.
But you're determined to do it,
aren't you?
Because you're never thinking
about an alternative.
I always have been determined
to do it.
But I'm open-minded about when,
and I'm certainly not in a position
where I want to die yet.
If I can get all this...
..sorted and organised...
..then when the time comes,
I can just say, "Right...
"You know, book the Channel Tunnel.
We're off to Switzerland."
That's there, that's my
get-out-of-jail-free card, you know?
Cos that's what it is.
That's what it will feel like.
Do you feel that you've got months,
got years?
It flips around.
If it's bad, I'll feel like
I've got three or four months left.
At other times, I won't even
think like that, you know?
I'll be making plans for next year
and booking holidays for the summer,
which we've done.
You know, every Christmas,
I'm like...
"..is this the last Christmas?"
DI: He spent a lot of time
texting people.
He instructed me on how to make
the Trevor signature loaf
for the staff.
Then towards the end of the day,
he said,
"Take the dogs for a walk,
"and then you can take me back
to the hospice."
Come on, Meg!
'I was a few fields away,
'and my phone pinged.'
So the text says,
"My dearest friend, lover, and wife,
"I'm so sorry for what I have done.
"I cannot continue with my life
the way it is now.
"I can't walk, talk, eat,
"and I'm losing the use
of my right arm and leg.
"I'm only bringing
forward the inevitable.
"I love you more than I can say,
"and I thank you
for spending your life with me.
"Your ever-loving husband, Trev.
"Of course,
I wouldn't have to do this
"if this stupid country
allowed assisted dying!
"You will find me in the workshop.
Don't hate me, please, Di."
He'd clearly taken an overdose.
And these drugs,
which I didn't know what they were
or where he'd got them from,
obviously preplanned,
and he'd put them through the tube.
He was unconscious.
Erm... his heart was still beating.
Two and a half hours later, I think
it was, he still hadn't died.
Any means of ending his own life
was taken from him,
which left him
with the only option he had is to...
..prevent them from giving him
any nutrition,
so he stopped taking water as well.
To start with, I thought...
"Good on you, Trev.
"That's the only way you're gonna do
what you want, and, you know,
"hopefully, no water will mean
it will happen quite quickly."
But I...
I didn't realise how desperately
thirsty he would get, and he was...
It was really horrible to watch.
And I did say to him, "Are you sure
you want to do it like this?"
But absolutely he did.
It was his only choice.
I was so lucky to find him.
We were good together.
It's horrible.
It's horrible not having him here.
But he's in the best place for him
Once he was able to...
..communicate on his iPad after his
suicide attempt, I asked him...
if he wanted me to see you guys
again and tell the end of his story,
and he was insistent that I did.
He felt passionately
that he should have had the choice
to do what he wanted to do
and me not to have to face
potential legal...
OK, we're recording now, so, Kimmy,
it's the... What day is it today?
Sunday the what, do you know?
And a week today,
we should be over in...
Switzerland. Switzerland.
So, why's that?
So you completed all the forms
and things like that
and asked me to get them
sent off and things for you,
and I'm going to accompany you
to Switzerland.
And what will happen there?
We have a law at the moment
which has a firm face
but a kind heart.
If somebody assists suicide
in this country,
if there is evidence
that the person tried really hard
to support the person,
dissuade them, the law looks on them
in a much more lenient way.
But every case
is assessed individually.
The boundary is clear, the message
is clear. You don't do it.
If you break it, the extenuating
circumstances are looked at
in a kindly way by our law.
That's how our law works.
When we got back from Switzerland,
we went back
to our respective homes,
and then my sister was in bed
at 7pm on the Sunday evening
the following day
when there was a violent banging
on her front door.
It was Humberside Police
saying that they had reason to
believe a crime had been committed.
And they came,
and they did the interview,
and there are very sympathetic,
and they were very reassuring
when they left that this was
a procedural thing.
Somebody had reported a crime,
so they had to be seen
to be investigating that,
but not to worry.
"The most likely outcome here
is that within six weeks,
"you will get a missive
from the Crown Prosecution Service
"saying that it's not
in the public interest
"to prosecute you
or that there is no case to answer."
It didn't happen like that.
The police asked me for permission
to go through my bank account.
They asked for access
to my sister's bank account.
They went to Mum's two sisters,
to a close family friend,
and to one of her carers,
and asked for witness statements
as to Mum's state of mind,
and I did a two-hour interview
under police caution.
So we'd go for two or three months,
and it would seem as if things were
quiet, and I would forget about it,
and then I'd have another phone call
"Now you need to produce this,"
or, "Now you need to produce that."
'I regarded what we had helped Mum
to do as an act of love.
'And that was criminalised,
'and it made it feel dirty,
and it drove it underground.'
I was seething with anger.
I was angry that we were distracted
again and again and again
from mourning our mum.
'And increasingly, as time went by,
'thought that there was
a very real chance
'that I might go to prison
for 14 years.'
I had serious suicidal thoughts
when it came to the possibility
of a prison sentence.
I just couldn't have gone to prison.
I couldn't have done it.
I would rather have been dead
than serve a prison sentence
for what happened.
Same here.
Same here.
Shh, shh, shh, shh.
Don't be sad.
You'll make me sad, don't...
Stop it.
If you don't want to go through
with this, love,
you can always change your mind.
You must be...
You must be sure, OK?
I understand.
I don't mind caring for you,
but I don't like to see you suffer,
and if that's your decision,
you just must be sure.
OK. Got it.
Well, none of us want you
to be alone. You can't be alone.
We're gonna be there to support
and love and care for you, OK?
You know you don't come back
from this, right?
You OK with that?
You don't have to.
You warm enough?
Gonna pop that there.
All right.
Are we ready for off?
Are you going to say that halfway
down the road we missed anything?
Got the passports.
MUSIC: 'Build Me Up Buttercup'
by The Foundations
# You know that I have
From the start
# So build me up, buttercup...
# Don't break my heart... #
Shall we sing along, Kim?
# To you, I'm a toy
But I could be the boy you adore
# If you'd just let me know
# Although you're untrue
I'm attracted to you all the more
# Why do I need you so...? #
'The whole journey is going
to take us at least eight hours.'
I have to use the wheelchair,
of course.
'We've had to make
special arrangements
'through airline assistance
in order to get Kim to Zurich
'because she's in a wheelchair.
'Airline travel to Amsterdam.
'Layover in Amsterdam Airport.
'Another flight to Zurich,
'and then a long taxi drive
'to a hotel near Dignitas.
'A little distance from Zurich.'
Does it feel today
like you expected it to feel?
Hello, I'm the doctor.
Andy. Nice to meet you. Come in.
Nice to meet you.
Hello, I'm the doctor.
Nice to meet you.
What did the doctor ask you, Kim?
Do you really feel you have to go?
It's OK.
It's OK.
Love you.
ANDREA: Morning.
I'm Andrea.
Nice to meet you. Hi. Andy.
This is Kim. Nice to meet you.
Hi. I'm Andrea.
Josh, Sean.
Let's go.
Please take a seat.
Do you have
the original documents here?
Yes, which ones do you want?
The birth.
We keep the passport here
for the police to take,
and then we send it back in ten,
14 days with the death certificate.
We've got the certificate
of naturalisation
cos we don't have
a birth certificate
because she was born in Vietnam,
so we have a...
And we've got a new copy of that.
And you need the marriage
certificate, I think. Yes.
OK, then we have all three.
SUSAN: Thank you very much.
Thank you.
OK, we need your signature here.
Would you like to take
something with you in the coffin?
Something personal,
like a flower or a letter
or a photo or something like that?
We look in the garden for a flower?
Did the doctor explain you
the procedure here with the
first medication for your stomach?
And then we have to wait
minimum 25 minutes,
and when you're ready,
you can take the last medication.
So it's up to you when you want
to start with the first medication.
Do you need some time
with your family?
KIM: Mm.
And you know you can stop it
any time,
and you can go back if you want.
There is no pressure.
That is beautiful.
Isn't that lovely?
It's your favourite, isn't it?
It does smell beautiful, doesn't it?
Oh, yeah.
You want a drink of water?
OK, do you want to...? I'll do that.
First medication, yes.
First one? OK.
We will bring it.
This is the first medication
for your stomach.
There are some chocolates there,
as well, looks like.
I think water would be best.
SUSAN: For her stomach?
Yeah, yeah.
Well done.
Now we have to wait
minimum 25 minutes,
but you can wait longer.
There is no pressure.
Yeah, do you want to sit
in the comfy chair?
This is... Look, this looks like
a reclining chair, doesn't it?
What's best?
For the last medication,
when you lie on the bed.
Up you come.
No, no, it's OK. She can walk.
She'll be OK. It's just...
She needs just some help,
that's all.
Right, do you want to...?
Let's get rocking. There you go.
That's it, until you feel the bed
at the back of your legs.
Do you want to be
a little further backwards?
Then we'll leave you alone
for this time, and...
OK, thank you very much.
When you are ready,
knock on the door. OK.
SOFTLY: OK, good.
Can you grab me a tissue, Joshy?
There's one right there.
Oh, there's one here.
Why are you thanking us, Kim?
You're a very brave woman.
Would you like to take
the last medication?
WHISPERS: I love you.
If you think about
your best day in your life,
and have a good sleep.
It's OK.
WHISPERS: Thank you so much.
I love you, Kim.
Thank you for raising me.
We're all here.
I love you more than anything.
I love you, darling.
I think she's stopped breathing.
I think she has stopped breathing,
She does like
the most peaceful of scenery.
Couple of years.
You've done well, you guys,
dealing with this. Well done.
Let's leave her in peace
and let these guys do what they do.
Bye-bye, love.
Thank you.
It's a lovely place you have here.
OK, let's go.
MUSIC: 'Here Today'
by Laurie Lewis
# I've had my share of good times
# The taste of love
# The kiss of wine
# And I've tried to stand up
And be strong
# I've tried to help
My friends along
# And when I'm gone
# They'll weep for me
# But I'll be a fading memory
# We're here today
# And then we're gone
# This life will end
# Just like a song
# We only have this little time... #
I think it's just too dangerous
to go down this road.
There are risks,
there are unintended consequences.
There are things that go wrong.
Every bit of legislation I've seen
has got room for error in it,
has got room
for people to get caught up.
And if you're going to
change the law,
you have to make sure
that it's safe.
This just is not safe.
It's too risky.
# I've tried to walk
# The path that winds
# And leave just
These few tombs behind
# So when you hear
# The night bird cry
# Won't you think of me and sigh?
# And when the wind
# Sings through the trees
# Won't you sometimes
Think of me...? #
My sister said,
"I think that we should keep
a lock of her hair each."
People knew her for her hair,
people used to say,
"Oh, she's the smart lady
with the silver bob."
And I just remember kissing her
and feeling that fuzzy face
and smelling her hair,
it was lovely.
And this hair,
I've kept it in a little box,
hoping that the smell would stay.
Obviously, it's been
a couple of years now, so it's gone,
but, yeah, just that.
And her laugh,
she had a great laugh.
# We're here today
# And then we're gone
# This life will end
# Just like a song
# We only have this little time
# So come and let our voices twine
# We're here today. #