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Friday 21st October 2016

'I want to die'

12th February 2007

A young woman from Bristol has launched a legal battle in a bid to be allowed to die.


Kelly Taylor, who is terminally ill, wants doctors to give her a massive dose of morphine to induce a coma. Once in the coma she made a ‘living will’ which states she does not want to be fed or hydrated. Her doctors have refused her requests saying they are illegal and amount to euthanasia.

Mrs Taylor, aged 30, has been ill all her life and has been told she has less than a year to live. She is in constant pain, suffers bedsores and breathlessness and says she has “had enough? of her illness. Although she could travel abroad to a country where euthanasia is legal, she says she does not want to have to leave to UK in order to die and that she is too ill to travel. She suffers from Eisenmenger's syndrome and Klippel-Feil syndrome and says, "I don't want to be looked after any more. I want to assert my own independence. I don't really understand why I'm here. I go from day to day just making it through the day. I don't want to be here."

Eisenmenger's sufferers are born with a large hole in the heart meaning that blood flow becomes reversed or bidirectional which leads to shortness of breath, coughing up blood, reduced exercise tolerance, fainting and palpitations. Klippel-feil syndrome is a rare musculoskeletal developmental disorder characterised by a short neck, and restricted mobility of the upper spine. The pain Mrs Taylor suffers has led her to take several overdoses of paracetamol and she has even tried starving herself to death in a desperate bid to end her life.

Mrs Taylor’s case is thought to be unique as her lawyers will argue that doctors have a duty to provide her with adequate pain control even if this hastens her death. Her legal team plans to use part of the European Convention on Human Rights which bans "inhuman or degrading treatment" of patients to argue in the High Court that she should not be refused the right to die. However, the British Medical Association has said that administering a high dose of morphine with the intention helping someone to die is "unlawful and unethical". A full hearing has been scheduled for the end of March.

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