Australia Latest World

Woman narrates last moment of her euthanized husband

VICTORIA: A Victoria woman whose husband be euthanized early this year in a Swiss euthanasia clinic narrates the story of her husband last moment.

She has been laying beside her husband for four months and whispered into his ear as he died in a Swiss euthanasia clinic.

It was a good death, the kind the couple had so desperately wanted. Peaceful. Dignified. Full of love.

Christine Thornton, who has shared her story to coincide with the start of Victoria’s assisted dying laws today, knew that Troy would still be able to hear her for about two minutes after the drugs began flooding his body.

“To me, that was peace of mind and I just made sure I said everything I could possibly think of to say,” the Victorian office manager and mother-of-two said.

“I told him how much I loved him, and how I would make sure the kids would never forget him, that they would know how special they were to him.”

Staff had been asked to gently touch Christie on the head when they were certain Troy was gone but when that moment arrived, she knew instinctively.

“You can feel the difference. I felt it. He was no longer there. It was the shell.”

Soon afterwards, Christine was on a plane with Troy’s ashes, bound for their home state of Victoria and a sad reunion with their children Jack, 17 and Laura, 14.

Months down the track, Christine is frank about the aftermath of euthanasia and says it’s perhaps not what some might imagine.

She says there’s been no second-guessing Troy’s decision to die. But there has been a profound sense of comfort in the end of his suffering and the good nature of his death.

“I’m not questioning myself about whether it was the right thing. I know exactly how he was feeling,” Christine said.

“He was scared of what was coming (from his disease), and it was coming over the hill very quickly.

“I’m at peace that I was able to fulfil Troy’s wishes. We had so many conversations about it, over so long. His whole thing was having the right to chose a good death over a bad one. To have dignity. He got that.”

Victorians who meet all the relevant criteria can now take their own lives with a lethal injection.

Troy, a veteran Victorian firefighter, was just 54 when he opted to die quickly, by lethal injection, rather than slowly from multiple system atrophy, an incurable and untreatable disease.

If the disease is allowed to run its course, sufferers are reduced to a vegetative state, and can often die choking on their own mucous as crucial functions like swallowing become impossible.

Christine says she and her children are grateful that Troy was able to avoid a death like that.