Acclaimed author Terry Pratchett has confirmed that he received consent forms recently from Dignitas, the Swiss assisted suicide clinic. The Discworld creator says he intends to sign them “imminently” but does not know for certain whether he will go through with euthanasia, stating he changes his mind “every two minutes.”
If you’re a close follower of his doings or a regular viewer of BBC, you’ll know that Pratchett recently filmed and aired a documentary about the Dignitas facility called Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die. The decision by BBC to air the program has garnered complaints from anti-euthanasia activists who claim the documentary, which featured the last moments of millionaire hotel owner Peter Smedley’s life, is “propaganda”. Smedley suffered from motor neurone disease.
In 2008 at age 60, Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative and incurable form of dementia. Though he’s still working steadily, Pratchett says, “The only thing stopping me is that I have made this film and I have a bloody book to finish.”
Fans of Pratchett’s work are split, with some admiring the author’s bravery and others concerned that his decision will send an unhealthy message about the value of life to his readers. As for Pratchett, his concerns seem to lie in the quality of life and the freedom to make decisions. His wife, he says, does not want him to take his own life.