NEWS FEATURE | Ultimate pain killer: doctor with cancer fights to the death for assisted suicide
Palliative care specialist uses years caring for terminal patients and own cancer battle to strengthen her case
On February 3 2017, palliative care specialist Dr Sue Walter was driving in Joburg when she got a call to say she had been diagnosed with a bone cancer known as multiple myeloma, typically incurable. “I remember the day. It was the day before my birthday,” says the 47-year-old mother.
“Obviously it was a shock, and it really made me want to change the law,” says Walter, who was already fighting for the right to die with dignity before that day.
“Palliative care alleviates suffering in the majority of cases, but in some cases it is not enough,” says Walter. “Patients should have the right to make autonomous decisions. I am fighting for them to have access to assisted dying at the end.”..