B.C. woman with dementia pens open letter before killing herself

At the website deadatnoon.com, Gillian Bennett said she was diagnosed with dementia three years...

At the website deadatnoon.com, Gillian Bennett said she was diagnosed with dementia three years ago, and wrote of her battles with the disease. (Screengrab)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

A B.C. woman who had feared losing herself completely to dementia killed herself Monday after publicly posting a goodbye letter online asking Canada to allow doctor-assisted suicide.

"I will take my life today around noon. It is time. Dementia is taking its toll and I have nearly lost myself. I have nearly lost me," the letter from 85-year-old Gillian Bennett of Bowen Island begins.

At the website deadatnoon.com, Bennett said she was diagnosed with dementia three years ago, and wrote of her battles with the disease, and the costs it would take not only on her body but on the Canadian medical system.

"I can live or vegetate for perhaps 10 years in hospital at Canada's expense, costing anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 per year. That is only the beginning of the damage. Nurses, who thought they were embarked on a career that had great meaning, find themselves perpetually changing my diapers and reporting on the physical changes of an empty husk. It is ludicrous, wasteful and unfair."

She suggested doctors should be allowed to administer "a lethal dose to end the suffering of a terminally ill patient, in accordance with her living will."

Earlier this week, the Canadian Medical Association voted to allow doctors to "follow their conscience" if and when assisted suicide becomes legal in Canada.

"If (doctor-assisted suicide) does become legalized, then we know where our members are and how we will position ourselves," Dr. Jeff Blackmer, executive director of ethics at CMA, said.

The Supreme Court will hear an appeal in October by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association that could make doctor-assisted suicide legal.

A Quebec bill, still to be voted on, would allow doctors in that province to help end the lives of dying patients who are clearly suffering.


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