Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:57 UK

Author attacks suicide guidance

Sir Terry Pratchett
Sir Terry was diagnosed with Alzheimer's two years ago

The fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett has criticised new guidelines on assisted suicide.

Guidance from the director of public prosecutions said a range of factors would be considered in such cases.

These include whether there was a financial motive, and looking into how the decision to die was made.

The Wiltshire-based writer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago, said the guidelines had "made me a bit more angry".

The Discworld series author told the BBC Politics Show West: "No-one is happy with them [the guidelines].

"It would appear they are suggesting that people could help you commit suicide, and then the police would investigate as an act of murder.

It is not nice and I do not wish to be there for the endgame
Sir Terry on his condition

"The police would then decide whether or not this was the case, which seems a very lame way of doing things."

Sir Terry went on to explain that he had his own ideas about how people wanting to kill themselves should be dealt with.

"I have suggested that there should be possibly some kind of non-aggressive tribunal system where someone who, for whatever reasons wishes to end their life - and I would only really accept medical reasons, I must say - can make their points to a magistrate or a coroner along with the medical evidence on which they wish to end their life.

"I believe that the reason I wish to end my life is because of a medical condition - it's not bad yet but it will eventually get very bad and Alzheimer's is the most feared disease among the over-60s.

"It is not nice and I do not wish to be there for the endgame.

"I spoke to a doctor who told me that when he was a young doctor he once walked through a ward of terminal Alzheimer's patents who effectively were not there any more, and he wondered why they were being kept alive when there was very little there to keep alive."

The guidance does not represent a change in the law.

Assisting suicide is illegal and carries a jail term of up to 14 years.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Assisted suicide law 'clarified'
23 Sep 09 |  Health
A step closer to reading the mind
12 Mar 09 |  Health
Dementia patients seek more aid
28 Feb 09 |  Business
Novelist Pratchett becomes a Sir
18 Feb 09 |  Entertainment
Profile: Terry Pratchett
31 Dec 08 |  Entertainment

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific