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Healthy nurse decided to die at 75 rather than grow old

Written By Bewith Jeddy on Monday, August 3, 2015 | 10:10 AM

A healthy former nurse decided to end her life than grow old and be a burden to her family.

Gill Pharaoh, 75, was not suffering from a terminal disease or depression .She travelled to the Lifecircle clinic in Basel, Switzerland where Dr Erika Preisig assisted in her suicide on July 21st.

In a blog post she wrote just days before her journey to Switzerland, she explained the events that led up to her decision to end her life.
"Until I was seventy I was very fit and able to fully participate in any activity I wanted to do. I felt I could still be busy and useful and fairly productive. "Then I had a severe attack of Shingles and
it all changed. At seventy five I am told I look ok and I take no medication. However, I feel my life is complete and I am ready to die. My family is well and happy –their lives are full and busy. I can no longer walk the distances I used to enjoy so the happy hours spent exploring the streets of London are just a memory now."There is nowhere I want to visit enough to spend hours in an aeroplane or airport," she wrote.
She insisted she was not depressed and enjoyed her life day to day. But she said she did not want to deteriorate to the stage where she needed a lot of help.
She didn't want to become a burden to her children, or have a professional career, whom she said are frequently "abused, poorly paid, poorly trained, with no prospects of developing a career."
Her family, including her two children, Caron and Mark, struggled to cope with her decision.
"I have had to make my exit while I am in my right mind and capable of doing so without too much assistance, because I am afraid of compromising the people around me whom I love. I have had to do this outside my home, and without telling too many people for the same reason. I have written my goodbyes and tidied my life and hope I have managed to exit as unobtrusively as possible. I have always held a donor card but that will be redundant now."
"If I could have booked my death quite openly, I could have had a party before I died, in the way that people have done, and continue to do, in Switzerland and other places.
"In which case, perhaps any of my body parts that could be reused could be collected immediately. I could also be sure that I will never be an old lady blocking beds in a hospital ward. This would save the NHS a fortune."
She was accompanied to the Swiss clinic by her husband, John, who she described as the "love of her life".
She spent her final night alive wandering through the old part of Basel, before sharing a meal on the banks of the Rhine.
John told the Sunday Times: "The whole evening was very tranquil and enjoyable. I think it is what we both wanted. Gill had been thinking about it for years and I had no intention of spoiling it by getting emotional and heavy."

Sunday Times


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