Friday 23 February 2018

Irish MS sufferer fighting for right-to-die: 'I have found a loophole that will allow me to take my own life'

Kate Tobin (50) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago.
Kate Tobin (50) was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three years ago.
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A former nun who has multiple sclerosis and is campaigning for the right-to-die believes she has found a loophole in Government legislation that will allow her to take her own life.

Kate Tobin (50) from Lismore, Co Waterford worked as a palliative care nurse until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013.

Now, Kate takes 50 tablets a day to battle the degenerative disease, and she says it’ll be a miracle if she sees her 60th birthday.

"I found a loophole. Under the Advance Healthcare Directives 2005, the Government says that people can choose their own healthcare plan.

"My directive is that I don't want any resuscitation if I become unconscious and if I get an infection I don't want any antibiotics so it will slowly kill me. I want to keep my pain managed but I don't want any treatment that will prevent me from dying," Kate told Independent.ie.

The HSE states that the Advance Healthcare Directives allows a person to refuse medical treatment in advance provided the conditions set out in the Act are satisfied.

However it states that the Act does not affect current law in relation to euthanasia or assisted suicide, both of which are and continue to be illegal in Ireland.

Kate said that the healthcare plan has never been used by an Irish person to take their own lives, but that by resiting treatment, she will die from natural causes.

"I will die from natural causes if I refuse treatment."

Kate said she feels some "peace of mind" as she has planned her funeral and how she wants to die.

"It gives me a sense of relief. I have picked my coffin, my songs etc. Everything is planned but I'm still trying to raise money to cover the costs."

Kate said that in November, doctors told her there was nothing more that they could do for her.

“I’ve got very little leg movement, I go into spasm, I’ve got poor swallow, I’ve got terrible pain, I can’t walk more than 100metres. I need a wheelchair if I’m going anywhere more than that.

“I’m on pain medication, stuff to stop spasms, I’m prone to low blood pressure, and I’m prone to throwing up, nausea, so it literally is all the side effects of MS.”

Doctors have given Kate up to 18 months to live.

"I feel better knowing I can live and die the way I want to. Fundraising has dried up so I would be very grateful if people would like to donate to help me pay for the renovations I did to my home to make it accessible for me and to pay for my funeral. I have a huge amount of debt and nobody is there to help me."

You can donate to Kate's fund here

You can call the Samaritans Helpline on 116-123

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