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Reaction to the sad news that Kelly Taylor has died

Kelly Taylor, a powerful advocate of greater patient choice at the end of life, died last week aged 35. Kelly suffered with the life-threatening heart and lung condition Eisenmenger’s syndrome.

Kelly brought a legal case in 2007 that sought to enable her to request sedation and the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment if her suffering became unbearable. Whilst Kelly’s legal case was unsuccessful, her efforts on behalf of the campaign to change the law have played a critical role in the gradual improvement in patients’ rights at the end of life.

Commenting, Davina Hehir, Dignity in Dying’s Director of Policy and Legal Strategy said:

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Kelly’s death, and will miss her enormously. Kelly passionately believed that patients should have greater control over their care and treatment when death becomes inevitable. Kelly’s determination to speak out about why she wanted the choice of an assisted death made a huge impact – people could see that this was someone who had given a huge amount of thought to the issues and who was prepared to stand up for what she believed in. It is because of Kelly and many others like her that we will continue to fight for an end to unnecessary suffering at the end of life.”

In a statement of support made in 2007 Kelly set out her views on Dignity in Dying’s campaign:

“I love my husband and my family very much and I am still trying to do as much as possible – I am studying part-time at college. But my health just keeps deteriorating. I have to sleep for about 18 hours a day but I have terrible nightmares as a side effect of my medication. I have bed sores and suffer from breathlessness. I am in constant pain and I feel I am denied almost every pleasure by my illness. I want my suffering to end.

“I have been working since 2005 to try to change the law on assisted dying – I strongly support any law that enables doctors to help patients to die if they request this.”


Notes to editor:

About Dignity in Dying:

  • Dignity in Dying campaigns for greater choice, control and access to services at the end of life. It advocates providing terminally ill adults with the option of an assisted death, within strict legal safeguards, and for universal access to high quality end-of-life care.
  • Dignity in Dying has over 25,000 supporters and receives its funding entirely from donations from the public.
  • The British Social Attitudes Survey 2010 found that 92% of non-religious and 71% of religious people support assisted dying. This relates to overall support of 82%.

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