31 January 2019, The Tablet

I hear a weight of evidence that the intrinsic value of human life is a concept lost on many


I hear a weight of evidence that the intrinsic value of human life is a concept lost on many
 

I’ve changed my mind”. The words of Greg Wise filled the Exchange theatre like a cool breeze on a hot day. But the heat, this time, had been created by an unsettling intervention from a woman in the audience.

The woman told us that her sick husband intends to go to Switzerland to arrange an assisted death. He has prostate cancer and he fears a painful death. Wise listened, nodding in recognition. He once felt similarly about a terminal diagnosis. But not any more.

I was at the theatre interviewing the actor, who had cared for his sister, Clare, in the last three months of her life, and Dr Kathryn Mannix, a palliative care consultant who has debunked many of the myths around what dying is like, for an event at the Twickenham venue of St Mary’s University being hosted by its website, The Art of Dying Well.

Greg and Clare co-wrote Not That Kind of Love (Quercus Books), a compilation of the blogs written by Clare after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and then taken up by her brother in the last three months of her life. Kathryn’s book, With the End in Mind (William Collins), drawing on 30 years of experience of working with patients in busy teaching hospitals, in hospices, and in their own homes, has just been published in paperback.

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