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Afscheidsbrief Pamela Weston (muzikante)

n.a.v. haar begeleide zelfmoord.






Pamela Weston, vooraanstaand Engelse muzikant/ME-patiënt, heeft (begeleid) zelf-

moord gepleegd in Zwitserland. Haar afscheidsbrief werd gepubliceerd door de Times.






September 20, 2009



Pamela Weston explains her assisted suicide


Personal account of her reasons for deciding to die written before her death at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland John Arlidge and Sarah-Kate Templeton








Assisted suicide Pamela Weston said her illness was "entirely physical"


20 September 2009



As reported today in the Sunday Times, one of our older members, Pamela Weston, has taken her life at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.


The article makes reference to a letter, which we released to the paper, on hearing of Miss Weston’s death.


Although Miss Weston knew that the manner of her death would be of interest to the media, she hoped that her story would also raise awareness of the need for more research into M.E., particularly as it affects the immune system.


Her full, unedited account has been sent to key researchers and parliamentarians, as agreed with Miss Weston before she died.


In her account, she says the illness which caused her to take her life was entirely physical.


"If they could only get somebody to find a cure for M.E," she wrote. "The immune system needs help to tackle whatever attacks it. I think a lot of people still see it as a psychological disease. In my case it’s entirely physical. If I had had depression, I couldn’t have kept writing professionally for 18 years. The trouble is, M.E. is invisible - almost totally invisible - to others."


The World Health Organisation classifies M.E. as a neurological (physical) illness and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says the symptoms can be as disabling as m ultiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and other chronic conditions.




Miss Weston first contacted Action for M.E. in August.


"I am 87, have had M.E. for 18 years," she wrote. "It has become insufferable now and in September I am going to the Dignitas clinic in Zurich to end my life. If you think my story could be useful in pushing medical science to discover a cure, then please use it.


"I have had a successful career in music; for the first 25 years as a clarinet soloist, performing recitals for live audiences and for broadcast, then as a writer on the instrument and its great players.


"Writing and contact with other musicians have helped keep the mind off this debilitating illness. Periods of sleep during the day made this possible. Now, however, I can no longer do it, for the symptoms become increasingly worse."


Action for M.E. wrote back, very concerned, asking if she was receiving treatment to alleviate her symptoms and suggesting sources of support.


A number of letters and telephone calls followed.


While the situation was distressing for the staff involved, Miss Weston herself was focused and determined.


Action for M.E. stance


Sir Peter Spencer, CEO, Action for M.E., says:


"When Miss Weston wrote to tell us about her decision to go to Dignitas and asked us to tell her story, we faced a terrible dilemma.


"Assisted suicide is an extremely difficult, complex and highly personal matter.


"Many people with M.E. have suicidal feelings at some point. It is a very debilitating illness, especially for the severely affected. Symptoms include overwhelming exhaustion, pain, difficulty concentrating, digestive problems, even sensitivities to touch, light and sound. The road to recovery can seem never ending.


"However, for the majority of people with M.E., even those who are bedbound, there is still hope of recovery or at least a return to a good quality of life.


"Sadly, at 87, after nearly 18 years of M.E., Miss Weston felt that her health had declined to a point where assisted suicide was the only way forward left for her.


"She wanted us to use her story to draw attention to M.E., especially amongst medical researchers, to encourage them to seek out more effective treatments and a cure.


"In relaying her story, we neither condone nor oppose assisted suicide. We continue to focus our activities on improving the lives of people with M.E."


Chair, George Armstrong, adds:


"I was very sad to hear of Miss Weston’s passing and on behalf of the charity, I would like to extend our condolences to anyone who knew her. She was obviously very well respected in the music world.


"Although the clarinet was her passion, she always looked forward to reading InterAction, which she referred to as 'our journal.'


"She knew how committed we are to campaigning for more research, better services and greater support for people living with M.E."


Miss Weston’s books include: Clarinet virtuosi of the past, More clarinet virtuosi of the past, the Clarinettist’s Companion, Clarinet virtuosi of today, Yesterday’s Clarinettists, Eight clarinet trios of the 18th century and most recently, Heroes and heroines of clarinettistry (Trafford Publishing, September 2008). She also wrote a large number of articles and editions of clarinet music.






September 20, 2009


The farewell of an assisted suicide


Classical musician and writer, latest Briton to commit assisted suicide at the Swiss clinic, Dignitas, explained her decision






Met dank aan Rob.