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Non-terminal patient demands 'right to die'

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A man who is not terminally ill is trying to change the law to legalise assisted suicide for anyone with an incurable illness.

Father-of-three Omid, whose surname cannot be revealed for legal reasons, is crowdfunding a High Court bid to change the law on assisted suicide.

But Baroness Campbell, founder of campaign group Not Dead Yet UK, has warned that changing the law would be a "real threat" to disabled people.

Omid appeared in court earlier this week and the judgment is expected in the next few days.

Long life expectancy

Omid is 54 years old and has suffered for three years with multiple system atrophy, which means that his muscles and speech have deteriorated and he is bedbound.

In 2015 he attempted to commit suicide but failed.

The condition is not terminal. Omid, who was born in Iran, could have a life expectancy of over 15 years.

But on his page on the fundraising website CrowdJustice, he says:

"Remember that suicide is legal – it’s just that I cannot end my life as I have lost control in my arms and hands.

"I could have several miserable years ahead of me. I have lost the will to carry on with a wretched existence without joy and pleasure. I cannot do anything for myself. What sort of life is this and who would want it?"

'Huge and frightening burden'

Baroness Campbell of Not Dead Yet UK disagrees with Omid’s stance. Despite having spinal muscular atrophy, she firmly believes that the lives of the vulnerable must be protected, which means that assisted suicide should remain illegal.

In January, she told the BBC that "disabled people want to be valued by society and would see any legal change as a real threat.

"We already have to fight to live; a right to die would be a huge and frightening burden."

In 2015, the Marris bill to legalise assisted suicide in the UK was roundly defeated in Parliament.

Noel Conway's legal bid

Omid’s legal challenge joins that of Noel Conway, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2014.

Mr Conway wants a doctor to be allowed to prescribe him a lethal dose when his health deteriorates, and is being backed in his legal bid by assisted suicide pressure group Dignity in Dying.

Both Omid’s and Mr Conway’s cases were heard at the High Court last week. A decision is expected this week. 

Related Links: 
Non-terminal patient fights right to die law (BBC)
Courts could challenge Parliament's decision not to legalise assisted dying (Telegraph) 
Father-of-three with non-terminal disease demands right to die as he says he cannot endure final 15 years living 'worse than an animal' (Telegraph) 


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