My Masters project looks at the issue of assisted dying. Based on a friend of mine who is terminally ill I have developed a project focusing on the idea of offering control and choice when it comes to the end of life. I have been in contact with the organisation Dignity in Dying and they have put me in contact with other people in similar situations. The main philosophy behind my work is to emphasise the right to choice.
There are so many people with terminal illness that are of sound mind that have no quality of life and are effectively waiting to die. Many of these people have been given approximations of how long they have left and many of these turn out to be wrong especially with improvements in medical technology. The fact of the matter is many of these people feel that they are merely existing as opposed to living. Nicky Dalladay, one of the people I interviewed, has the disability Multiple Schlerosis. She does not want to die right now but would like to have the ability to decide when the right time is. Nicky has had all the control of her own life taken away from her and would like to have the control over the end of her life
My project reached this stage after a long process of investigation. I was initially aiming to offer some sort of improved quality of life to a friend with the degenerative condition Freidriechs Ataxia by means of redesigning his living environment. As the project developed I began to realise that this would merely provide a technically improved environment, rather than a better quality of life. I wanted to do more than this. After speaking with him again I started to think about his dreams and wishes, most of which are sadly never going to be able to happen. I have learnt that disability has a habit of taking over a persons being, disguising the essence of the individual. It can take away all the control, and make people treat you like you are fragile and susceptible to breaking. Sometimes resulting in being overprotected hindering your quality of life even more. The disability in effect becomes the dictator of your existence. One wish he had which I now know many people share is to die on his terms. My project does not in any way offer this option but aims to highlight this issue, to make people consider this situation and the lack of control that people feel about there own lives. Who should have the right to decide the end of somebody elses life. As said by Nicky Dalladay “In our society we will put an animal to sleep to end their pain and suffering, we need to show the same compassion to those people who are suffering at the end of their lives, and give them a choice to be allowed to die should their suffering become unbearable to them.”