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MAY 2014

Assisted suicide after being “left behind by digital age”


A retired art teacher committed suicide at Dignitas after becoming disillusioned with the trappings of modern life.


The 89-year-old complained that modern technology was “turning people into robots,” before travelling to Dignitas in Switzerland, to end her life — despite not being terminally ill.

Speaking days before her assisted suicide last month, the former teacher, who asked only to be identified as Anne, said she felt that she faced a choice either to “adapt or die” and said she was not prepared to adapt to a world in which technology took precedence over humanity.


Anne said that she had become frustrated with the trappings of modern life, including fast food, consumerism and the amount of time people spend watching television.


Before her death last month she told The Sunday Times: “People are becoming more and more remote … We are becoming robots. It is this lack of humanity.” She added: “I find myself swimming against the current, and you can’t do that. If you can’t join them, get off.”  16


Michael Irwin, of the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide, helped with Anne’s application to the clinic. He said: “She felt her life was complete. With quiet determination, she ended her life with dignity.”


But opponents warned any rules brought in here to permit assisted dying for the terminally ill would eventually be widened for others, too. Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: “This case shows that any law allowing assisted suicide for a restricted class of people will be subject to incremental extension. Desperate people will push the boundaries, and as a result legal protection for vulnerable people will be weakened.” 17


16  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10748699/I-cannot-adapt-to-modern-times-said-teacher-who-ended-life-at-Dignitas.html

17 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teacher-committed-suicide-dignitas-after-3382668

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