Pretoria - “I wish to end my life with dignity, surrounded by my loved ones, while I am able to breathe on my own, speak to my loved ones and see and hear them…”
This is the plea of Robin Stransham-Ford, a well known Cape Town advocate who is dying of prostate cancer, which has now spread to the rest of his body.
In his heart-rending application to the High Court in Pretoria to be assisted in his death by a doctor, he said he only had two to four weeks left – give or take a few days.
He was in March this year diagnosed with prostate cancer and his health has been deteriorating since then. He is currently being looked after at home, where he wants to die.
As the cancer has spread to his kidneys, lower spine and lymph nodes, he has no hope of living much longer. “I suffer from severe pain, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, weight loss and increased weakness and frailty… I am in constant extreme pain, unable to get out of bed, unable to eat or sleep without morphine.
“Unfortunately I know my death is imminent. I have accepted that fact. But as time progresses my condition will become progressively worse…”
Stransham-Ford said he was becoming weaker by the day and was bed-ridden with drips and constant injections.
“As the disease progresses, I will be confused and scared… until I breathe my last breath, which may even be with a machine.
“I am not scared of dying. I am scared of dying in this terrible way. It is not a dignified manner to end my life. “
He said as a country, we had the decency not to allow our animals to suffer, yet as the law stood, we didn’t afford the same courtesy to fellow human beings.
Stransham-Ford reiterated that he was of sound mind. Doctors told him it was likely he would die of renal failure. “I have no other option but to bring this application on an urgent basis.” He has been an advocate for the past 35 years and lived and worked across the globe.
He has competed in the world’s longest triathlon from London to Paris and the world’s longest non-stop canoe race from Devizes, in Wiltshire, to Westminster.