Woman with similar brain cancer to Lecretia Seales’ speaks out against the End Of Life Choice Bill in #DefendNZ fourth documentary – Terminal but not dead yet
Vicki Walsh speaks out against the End of Life Choice Bill in Terminal but not dead yet, the fourth documentary released today by #DefendNZ – a grassroots movement opposed to the End of Life Choice Bill.
In 2011 she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), also known as Grade 4 astrocytoma, an advanced form of the brain cancer that Wellington lawyerLecretia Seales was diagnosed with in the same year. Vicki was given only 12 to 14 months to live.
Vicki has watched stories and campaigns unfold advocating for assisted suicide and euthanasia for people with conditions like hers. In the first few years after her diagnosis, she was particularly affected by media reports of Brittany Maynard in the US and Lecretia Seales. Vicki says that the way euthanasia was often discussed in the media – as being a noble and dignified way for the terminally ill to die – made her feel like she was “gutless” for not wanting to end her life.
Vicki recalls, “It really upset me. [My husband] Dave would come home from work to find me a blithering mess because all it did was put pressure on me constantly to feel like I was being selfish by not taking my life.”
Not long after, Vicki did try to take her own life. She prepared the pills that would kill her, but something made her stop for a cup of tea. Following the tea, she decided that that day wasn’t the day to die.
Now, eight years after her initial diagnosis, Vicki is still terminal, but appreciating being alive. She worries about the messages the End of Life Choice Bill would send to people with conditions like hers – that they would feel pressured to end their lives early.
And she’s worried about the dangers that would come from giving doctors the legal ability to end patients’ lives. Vicki doesn’t think she could trust a doctor who, on one of her dark days, could help her to end her life.
Complementing Vicki’s story in the documentary are commentaries from Grant Illingworth QC (Barrister-at-law), Richard McLeod (Human rights, immigration and refugee lawyer), and Professor Rod MacLeod MNZM (Palliative care expert).
The film can be viewed at www.defendnz.co.nz/vicki