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Let me die when I'm ready to die; DUTCH EUTHANASIA DECISION 'SHOULD BE COPIED HERE'.

Byline: NIGEL HART

A MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferer hopes for a change in the law so that she is allowed the choice of when to die.

Denise Badland is optimistic following a decision by the Netherlands to allow euthanasia under strict conditions. It is the first country to legalise "mercy killing".

Former nurse Mrs Badland's MS is described by doctors as "relapsing and remitting", meaning some days are better than others, but she will get worse.

But the brave and bubbly mother-of-four, who has eight grandchildren, knows her quality of life will deteriorate.

Already in a wheelchair, Mrs Badland, aged 45, of Keresley, wants to control her own destiny and be given the dignity to choose when she wants to die.

The decision by the Dutch Parliament, in a country where mercy killings have been tolerated for years, has given her hope.

Mrs Badland said: "The decision in the Netherlands is a great step in the right direction but there are a number of conditions including residency and the agreement of the GP.

"I believe we are now starting to push on an open door and I am holding my breath, although I hope I will not have to hold it for too long."

Mrs Badland acknowledges that euthanasia is not for everyone.

But she emphasises that having the right to choose is fundamental to her campaign.

She said: "I certainly feel I have a fair few years in front of me but if push comes to shove, I would consider moving to the Netherlands.

"My biggest fear personally is choking to death and gasping for every breath from no longer being able to swallow my saliva.

"I do not want to frighten people just diagnosed with MS, as it is important to stress that there are varying degrees of multiple sclerosis and there is no one path the condition follows."

But she added: "It comes back to having the choice to being able to keep your dignity and decide when enough is enough and not being made to hang on to life for the sake of it."

CAPTION(S):

CHOICE: Multiple sclerosis sufferer Denise Badland, wants to control her own destiny. Picture: MICHELLE SPERRY
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 29, 2000
Words:364
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