Family tragedy led to ‘no’ vote for Erewash MP

Erewash MP Maggie Throup.
Erewash MP Maggie Throup.

Erewash MP Maggie Throup has said the great care that her mum received at the end of her life led her to vote against the assisted dying bill.

The bill was defeated by 330 to 118. Had it been voted in it would have allowed terminally ill adults to choose to be provided with medical assistance to end their life.

Maggie said: “For as long as I can remember, my mum said that we should, metaphorically speaking, ‘shoot her’ when she became a burden. Over the last few years of her life, Mum suffered from a progressive and life-limiting condition idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis which meant that for the last 12 months of her life she was dependent on oxygen to breathe.

“Yes, we could have found that virtual gun to end mum’s suffering but then she would have missed out on so many precious and irreplaceable moments during her final months.

“In fact the day before mum passed away, two of her close friends visited her, and as they said afterwards, they all had a grand afternoon together.

“Mum obviously enjoyed her final day and it comforts me to know that, something which the Bill would undoubtedly have denied us all.”

Maggie praised Treetops Hospice in Risley and said her mum received amazing palliative care in her own home and at a hospice in Yorkshire.

She said: “The fact that Treetops does not have any beds but provides all its palliative care in the community means that it is helping so many more people to fulfil their wish of dying in their own home.

“We must do whatever is possible to make sure that the final wishes of those with terminal illnesses are met to ensure a good death. With 63 per cent of people preferring to die at home but only 21 per cent actually doing so, this needs to be addressed.”

“It is also important that those with life-limiting illnesses know that hospices are not just for people with cancer. I believe it is vital that we ensure the hospice movement is appropriately funded but still able to keep charitable status.

“I was with mum when the palliative care nurse asked that all important question. Mum only hesitated for a few seconds before saying she wanted DNR in place - I could see the relief on mum’s face knowing that when the time was right, she would be allowed to pass away with dignity.

“But her definition of dignity was, I must stress, far different to that proposed by the Dignity in Dying campaign.”