ASSISTANCE: Liz Whitton is calling for voluntary euthanasia laws after she watched her husband die a painful death.
ASSISTANCE: Liz Whitton is calling for voluntary euthanasia laws after she watched her husband die a painful death. Hayden Johnson

Husband 'was dying for help' to end the terminal pain

INSTEAD of facing a painful and agonising death, Glenn Whitton toyed with the thought of taking his own life on the family's Grandchester farm.

In 1996, he was first diagnosed with carcinoma, a cancer that starts in cells that make up the skin or the tissue lining organs.

More than one decade later doctors would find spots on his liver, signalling death was likely to arrive in about 12 months.

Mr Whitton, who had witnessed cancer take his father and brother several years earlier, knew the pain.

His wife, Liz, recalls her husband's urge to end his life before it arrived.

"He was constantly saying to me I just feel like going out to the farm and just putting a bullet to my head," Mrs Whitton said.

"I would plead to him and say Glenn, just don't do that, you've got two children."

For Mr Whitton, losing control of his body and hallucinating because of morphine was a major fear.

"Fortunately, well it depends on how you look at it, he went to the end and died with morphine," Mrs Whitton said.

"For his dignity, he would have preferred to have died a couple of weeks earlier before the end because of the pain."


Glenn and Liz Whitton.
Glenn and Liz Whitton. Contributed

She is now a staunch advocate for assisted dying legislation, arguing dogs in terminal pain had access to euthanasia while her husband did not.

"It's terrible to see someone that you love die in absolute agony," she said.

Mrs Whitton believes in the last three weeks of his life, her husband would have asked for assistance to die if it was available.

"Absolutely, without a doubt he would have taken the option," she said.

"You could see him fading away - cancer had taken his body."

It was not a dignified end to the life of a "stoic and capable" military man who had worked as a bodyguard for premier Robert Borbidge.

Mrs Whitton believes access to voluntary euthanasia for people with a terminal diagnosis is the "kindest thing you can do".

She called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to consider the pain of people who nursed a loved one and consider legislation to make voluntary euthanasia legal.


It will happen this year: DWDQ

DYING with Dignity Queensland president Jos Hall has been "absolutely swamped" by supporters of voluntary euthanasia since the group increased its lobbying efforts.

Mrs Hall, who has led the advocacy group since August 2014, said hundreds of Queenslanders had reached out to throw their support behind the social change.

"I have been absolutely swamped with people who want to tell their story," she said.

The positive response from people and recent polling shows the majority of people want some form of voluntary euthanasia, Mrs Hall believes.

Despite the Labor Party endorsing the consideration of assisted dying as party policy, the State Government has left the matter off its 2018 agenda.

Mrs Hall is optimistic progress will be made without the need for a

private member's Bill.

"We believe it will be brought on as part of Labor Party policy," she said.

"It will be for parliamentary discussion this year."

She said improvements to palliative care went "hand in glove" with assisted dying laws.

"There is a lot of room for improvement, especially in non-metropolitan areas," she said of palliative care.

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