MS sufferer seeks answers over laws on euthanasia laws

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The Independent Online

A woman who suffers from a degenerative disease has called for the law on assisted suicide to be clarified so that she can decide when she wants to die.

Debbie Purdy, 45, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), has launched a legal challenge in an attempt to find out whether her husband would be prosecuted if he helped her travel to Switzerland to die. Ms Purdy was diagnosed with primary progressive MS in 1995. She met her husband, Omar Puente, a 46-year-old musician, shortly before her diagnosis and the couple married in 1998. Since then, Ms Purdy's condition has got progressively worse; she now uses a wheelchair and is losing the strength in her arms.

She is a member of Dignitas, the Swiss organisation that offers euthanasia.

Ms Purdy said she would start making arrangements to travel to Switzerland if her challenge to the Director of Public Prosecutions to clarify the law at the Royal Courts of Justice in London next Wednesday was unsuccessful.

She said: "I don't want to die. I'm extremely happy in my life. I love being married to my husband. I love my friends. I don't want to end my life now. But if I leave it too late and need his help, he faces 14 years in jail. And that's more frightening to me than going to Switzerland by myself and ending my life before I'm ready."