Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Suicide of Kerrie Wooltorton

Almost exactly two years ago, Colin Wooltorton heard that his 26-year-old daughter, Kerrie, had killed herself by drinking a hideous poison, apparently in a depressive state about her incapacity for childbirth.

The dreadful truth is that emergency services and medical staff could have saved Kerrie’s life. You don’t have to be a parent to understand where that knowledge must place Mr Wooltorton. You just have to be a human being.

Try this: just for a moment, imagine that the police visit your home to tell you that your child has committed suicide. Now imagine that they tell you that the ambulance and hospital staff could and would have saved her life, but she handed them a letter asking them not to.

So they didn’t.

This is where we have arrived in our attitude to suicide in Britain today. A disturbed young woman, with all the promise of adult life before her, is left to kill herself, because under her current circumstances she wants to.

Apparently, doctors who could have treated Kerrie didn’t do so, because they feared that they might have been prosecuted for assault under the Mental Capacity Act (2005). This legislation forms part of a raft of laws and “guidance”, introduced on this Government’s watch, which promotes the individual’s right to die over our society’s responsibility to save their lives if we can. It passed onto the statute book to enable terminally ill patients to have a degree of autonomy over their medical treatment. It was intended to allow those who were dying, or who knew that their condition could only end in their death, to refuse medical treatment so that nature could take its course.

Read it all here.

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