“We must authorize assisted suicide”, the testimony of a family whose father went to Switzerland to die

Hélène and Véronique lost their husband and father last year, Alain Amiel. This 78-year-old Laurentin had preferred to organize his death rather than“inflict on others” an end of life that promised to be very complicated due to the Alzheimer’s disease that was eating away at him. On September 2, 2021, he died in Switzerland where he had benefited from assisted suicide. Before, he had confided in his career in our columns “so that we talk about this subject”. His family continues this work and calls for a change in the legislation: “we must finally authorize assisted suicide in France”.

“Following the publication of the article last year, we received many testimonials, from people we know but also from anonymous people. They were all very positive and told us that it was important for reflection to be carried out and for decisions to be made. Not a discordant voice, says Véronique Amiel.

It is possible to legislate and regulate things. What are we afraid of? Not all French people will decide to kill themselves! On the other hand, those who suffer, who no longer see a future, could benefit from a chosen and dignified end of life, as was the case for my father. »

Supervise and avoid tragic situations

Alain Amiel wanted to benefit from assisted suicide in Switzerland rather than inflicting his illness on his relatives (DR)

Hélène Amiel accompanied her husband during the months that the procedure lasted in Switzerland. “There are a lot of administrative documents to provide. Alain has met the doctors several times, alone, because they check precisely that it is indeed the person’s choice to die. Everything is very supervised. My husband had to do make medical certificates stating that he was still in full possession of his cognitive faculties. His fear was that he would be refused assisted suicide. He was so afraid of inflicting illness and the deterioration of his condition on us – it’s him who said so.”

Véronique, her daughter, explains why she believes that legislation is necessary: ​​”first to allow people like my father to die at home, in France. But also for a question of equality: going to Switzerland is expensive and it’s not affordable for everyone. Finally, because without it, people end up fending for themselves, sometimes ending their lives in tragic ways, which can be very traumatic for families. I know that If dad hadn’t been able to die in Switzerland, he would have committed suicide. But under what conditions? Imagine the shock when you learn that your loved one killed himself by throwing himself under a train or from the top of a bridge, it’s much more violent! If, on the contrary, we accompanied, it would give everyone time to prepare, the family could begin their mourning in a much more serene way.”

A political question

Alain’s grandson wrote a text for his grandfather after his death. (DR)

In the Amiel family, the subject is regularly discussed. Hélène warned her relatives and told them that she would take the same path as her late husband if she lost all autonomy and fell ill. Véronique also: “I obviously thought about it. I am only 52 years old but I know that if I become a burden for my family because of serious health problems, I will choose to leave before.”

As to whether the legislation will change, the two women are not convinced. “We know that public opinion is in favor of it. We have spoken about it with a lot of people. If we have to hold a referendum, let’s do it! Politicians must take up this issue and stop allowing themselves to be influenced by a minority that blocks everything. The end of life is a crucial subject, everyone is concerned. We can no longer close our eyes.”

“We must authorize assisted suicide”, the testimony of a family whose father went to Switzerland to die