Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die

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In a frank and personal documentary, author Sir Terry Pratchett considers how he might choose to end his life. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, Terry wants to know whether he might be able to end his life before his disease takes over.

Travelling to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, Terry witnesses first hand the procedures set out for assisted death, and confronts the point at which he would have to take the lethal drug.

Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die, 9.8 out of 10 based on 70 ratings

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  • Me

    It’s retarded channel5 blocks it when i’m in the UK… ffs

    • John39555

      I often wonder why they simply don’t give a blood thinner and allow someone to exanguinate?Perhaps a simple line in the femoral artery with a catch basin…
      Painless and clean..
      Or perhaps methadone? It is lethal in most adults at about 100 mg..and is not bad tasting in regular tang…

  • Me

    It’s retarded channel5 blocks it when i’m in the UK… ffs

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  • Jsmith

    What a beautiful documentary- it was very dignified and touching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Hagen/1576734049 Brian Hagen

    “I would not like to live in a world where anyone could die more or less at any time, more or less on a whim. Maybe there are better ways of doing it.”

    I disagree, Terry. We currently live in a world like that. It’s just not having others assist you in death. It’s assisting yourself in death. Paying money for a peaceful death is a new concept, but don’t mistake that anyone would do it on a whim. Survival and death are not whimsical feelings, and your serious thoughts about the matter show this to be true.

    • Kosta Starostin

      I think Terry’s point was that he is afraid the idea of assisted death may be taken too far in its commercial prevalence, and as a result of the availability of it, people may not consider in full the consequences of their action. 

      I believe he simply worries people will act out of emotion and make an ill-thought decision.

      There are always options to consider if your condition is treatable (ie. if you are a depressed teenager or having a mid-life crisis, you should perhaps think of a better way to deal with it, not decide more or less on a whim). Death should be a last resort, because it will be.

    • Kosta Starostin

      I think Terry’s point was that he is afraid the idea of assisted death may be taken too far in its commercial prevalence, and as a result of the availability of it, people may not consider in full the consequences of their action. 

      I believe he simply worries people will act out of emotion and make an ill-thought decision.

      There are always options to consider if your condition is treatable (ie. if you are a depressed teenager or having a mid-life crisis, you should perhaps think of a better way to deal with it, not decide more or less on a whim). Death should be a last resort, because it will be.

  • dn1529

    Does anyone who chooses this believe in God? What about God giving and taking a life? Does no one believe that anymore? I’m sorry, I believe it’s not our choice. We didn’t have a choice to be born, why would it be ours to take away? What happened to trust, faith and belief that when God calls us home we won’t be suffering? I just cannot understand how people abandon that idea all together.

    • Aa

      Ok, be completely ignorant on the fact that millions of people suffer painful deaths every year.
      But smart people are abandoning the idea of God altogether.

      • dn1529

        SMART??? You mean afraid, cowardly and probably agnosttic or atheist. So if that’s the case, then I get it, I guess.

        • Chrono

          You’re a joke dn1529. If you think these people are cowardly, you could not be further from the truth. Fact is, a lot (perhaps not all) of these people became agnostic or atheist after a long process of research and thought about whether god could exist. I know I became one after a long and frightening realization came to me over the course of years of reading and learning about religion. That realization was not based on fear or cowardice, but simply following the logical conclusion of all the evidence presented, the diversity of the world, and the origins of religious thought.

          At the end of the day, there is no god. As frightening as that may seem, and even if that means our existence is finished with death, it is the religious that are the cowards by not allowing themselves to accept it and instead trying to rationalize contradictions in their beliefs or being happily ignorant and closing their ears to any rational discussion.

          I only wish you not allow your beliefs to block you from doing the research (as scary as the result may be) and not listening to reason (if you know the logic is sound, don’t brush it off with anger or contempt).

          • dn1529

            But what if your wrong?

            I myself am not afraid or a coward, I believe in heaven. I am not afraid to die. Why should I be? At the very least my belief system is there. For you have none.

          • dn1529

            But what if your wrong?

            I myself am not afraid or a coward, I believe in heaven. I am not afraid to die. Why should I be? At the very least my belief system is there. For you have none.

          • dn1529

            But what if your wrong?

            I myself am not afraid or a coward, I believe in heaven. I am not afraid to die. Why should I be? At the very least my belief system is there. For you have none.

          • Chrono

            If I’m wrong, I believe that if you live as a decent person and treat others with respect throughout your life, you will be ok with God. It would be quite odd for those who believe in god to have a “pass” into heaven, even if they act atrociously in life, while others who are generally good and care for the well being of others to be condemned to hell, simply because they have not accepted religion based solely on faith. If that is God’s justice, I don’t want your heaven. Arguing by saying “what if you’re wrong?” is a classic appeal to fear. I say so what. If I am, at least I had the courage to ask the question. Your belief system isn’t worth much if it’s based off of fear, rather than reason.

            As a side point, I wonder what happens to all of those people who never had the chance to learn about Heaven, say people in rural Asia. Should they be condemned to hell because they spent their life ignorant? If so, why did God put them there? Just to send them to hell?

          • Aa

            You can’t argue rationally and intelligently with people so ignorant they brush off irrefutable logic with such close minded arguments, so just let them go waste their life, then expecting a heaven.
            If heaven is so good, why arn’t all Christians in a rush to get there? Because deep down they know it’s not true.

          • dn1529

            Because we know we are blessed with this life.

          • Kurt Smith

            Wishful thinking, vacuous assumptions and mindless declarations, the foundation of “religion”.

          • Aa

            You can’t argue rationally and intelligently with people so ignorant they brush off irrefutable logic with such close minded arguments, so just let them go waste their life, then expecting a heaven.
            If heaven is so good, why arn’t all Christians in a rush to get there? Because deep down they know it’s not true.

          • Aa

            You can’t argue rationally and intelligently with people so ignorant they brush off irrefutable logic with such close minded arguments, so just let them go waste their life, then expecting a heaven.
            If heaven is so good, why arn’t all Christians in a rush to get there? Because deep down they know it’s not true.

          • dn1529

            I’m not scared. I think you might be though. You have an awful lot to say for someone who is very confident that good works will get you to heaven. I’m not the closed minded one. Those who only see with eyes are the close minded people.

          • Chrono

            I stopped taking you seriously after you said:
            At the very least my belief system is there. For you have none.
            ————————-

            If it’s not real, as I believe, why would that argument work on me? It’s the equivalent of me saying: At the very least my belief system that all caterpillars evolve into horses is there. For you have none. 
            If it’s not true, do you care? Nope. 

          • dn1529

            Your lost. It’s sad, but God still loves you. Please take comfort in that.

          • Aa

            Your mother sucks cocks in hell

          • fw

            Boy, that was the most unfortunate answer you could give… And no punctuation???

          • fw

            Boy, that was the most unfortunate answer you could give… And no punctuation???

          • Chrono

            Ah! See, even you think God still loves me even If I believe he’s not real…and you were saying I wouldn’t get into heaven. tsk tsk.

            My final point is: 

            Don’t be afraid to question your religion, for you have nothing to fear if you’re right. If you don’t question it, it only means you fear the consequences of finding out there is no God, and that’s cowardly. 

          • Chrono

            Ah! See, even you think God still loves me even If I believe he’s not real…and you were saying I wouldn’t get into heaven. tsk tsk.

            My final point is: 

            Don’t be afraid to question your religion, for you have nothing to fear if you’re right. If you don’t question it, it only means you fear the consequences of finding out there is no God, and that’s cowardly. 

          • Chrono

            Ah! See, even you think God still loves me even If I believe he’s not real…and you were saying I wouldn’t get into heaven. tsk tsk.

            My final point is: 

            Don’t be afraid to question your religion, for you have nothing to fear if you’re right. If you don’t question it, it only means you fear the consequences of finding out there is no God, and that’s cowardly. 

          • Chrono

            Ah! See, even you think God still loves me even If I believe he’s not real…and you were saying I wouldn’t get into heaven. tsk tsk.

            My final point is: 

            Don’t be afraid to question your religion, for you have nothing to fear if you’re right. If you don’t question it, it only means you fear the consequences of finding out there is no God, and that’s cowardly. 

          • dn1529

            I absolutely question all religion, even my own. Anyone who doesn’t would be stupid. God loves when we question things.

          • dn1529

            I absolutely question all religion, even my own. Anyone who doesn’t would be stupid. God loves when we question things.

          • Kurt Smith

            Gods are man made myths. We have an irrefutable written history as proof.

          • dn1529

            Your lost. It’s sad, but God still loves you. Please take comfort in that.

        • Kurt Smith

          No, just educated and adult.

    • Aa

      Ok, be completely ignorant on the fact that millions of people suffer painful deaths every year.
      But smart people are abandoning the idea of God altogether.

    • blurbel

      why are we then allowed to intervene when someone is dying, in order to keep them alive?  are we also then not choosing when they die?  why are people to be kept alive artificially by machines?  for the thiestic argument of “god’s chosen time of death” to stand, we should also then abandon western medicine, and return to dark ages life expectencies.

  • Anonymous

    Terry Pratchett is pro-depopulation and I do not believe this film is anything other than a promo for euthanasia. Just like abortion is tagged pro-choice, so will final-exit. Everything’s A-OK whatever unless and until The System gets involved; sooner or later the people get systematic murder at birth or sterilisation and quick-exit for the over 30′s. Sod Pratchett and his Eugenical hatchet.

    • Kurt Smith

      grow up

      • Pavlov’sBitch

        What an ‘adult’ comment, so imbued of knowledge, wisdom and analysis. There’s no-thing ‘childish’ or ignorant in my remarks, rather astute observation. Idiot. I don’t ‘do’ this channel any more, as it does not satisfy persuit of knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a funny thing you know, this notion of a painless and peaceful death by choice. An interesting documentary from another Eugenicist pro is How to Kill a Human Being (available on google) which explores the various methods of execution deployed in capital punishment. (the system’s choice). It’s an eye-opener but the most humane method is simulating altitude sickness; depriving the brain of oxygen via helium or similar gases. When we have our pets ‘put down’ it looks peaceful and when lethal injection is given to death row humans, it looks peaceful too. Fact is, muscle relaxants are peaceful to observe; not so peaceful however to experience when heart-stopping, ‘fire alive’ agents are subsequently administered to ensure a very painful death indeed. Don’t be fooled by appearances; put a secure bag over head or jump in front of train.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a funny thing you know, this notion of a painless and peaceful death by choice. An interesting documentary from another Eugenicist pro is How to Kill a Human Being (available on google) which explores the various methods of execution deployed in capital punishment. (the system’s choice). It’s an eye-opener but the most humane method is simulating altitude sickness; depriving the brain of oxygen via helium or similar gases. When we have our pets ‘put down’ it looks peaceful and when lethal injection is given to death row humans, it looks peaceful too. Fact is, muscle relaxants are peaceful to observe; not so peaceful however to experience when heart-stopping, ‘fire alive’ agents are subsequently administered to ensure a very painful death indeed. Don’t be fooled by appearances; put a secure bag over head or jump in front of train.

  • http://twitter.com/panthera_f panthera f

    Very good docu.
    I only wonder:  does my healt insurance cover this ? or is a gracefull exit again only for the rich at a cost of 30.000 pound ? :-(

  • http://twitter.com/panthera_f panthera f

    Very good docu.
    I only wonder:  does my healt insurance cover this ? or is a gracefull exit again only for the rich at a cost of 30.000 pound ? :-(

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaymes420 Jaymes Moynihan

    amazing documentary!, very sad, but eyeopening

  • http://www.facebook.com/navyl33tmaster Franklin Christensen

    I don’t know that i approve of assisted suicide. But then, even in my darkest hour (to this point) i have not honestly contemplated such an act. I can not say whether i would take the step towards it were i in bad health, or as the documentary puts it “weary of life,” I do however approve of those who wish to die, to have the option of making sure of it’s success.

    My heart goes out to Sir Pratchett, and i hope he finds peace in his decision however it turns out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/navyl33tmaster Franklin Christensen

    I don’t know that i approve of assisted suicide. But then, even in my darkest hour (to this point) i have not honestly contemplated such an act. I can not say whether i would take the step towards it were i in bad health, or as the documentary puts it “weary of life,” I do however approve of those who wish to die, to have the option of making sure of it’s success.

    My heart goes out to Sir Pratchett, and i hope he finds peace in his decision however it turns out.

    • Christina

       I feel the same way. I can’t imagine making such a decision being relatively healthy, but who knows how I would feel if I get sick…

  • Humes

    As a graduate student in gerontology, I have always supported physician assisted suicide given the proper context.  But who can define when it is acceptable and when it is not.  It is difficult to draw the line at physically deteriorating diseases when those with profound mental illness should not be discounted.  Pratchett says it well, “When you consider all the ways a person can die” this method is seemingly dignified.  I really enjoyed this documentary and will always support PAS.  The question remains: Who owns our body?

  • Humes

    As a graduate student in gerontology, I have always supported physician assisted suicide given the proper context.  But who can define when it is acceptable and when it is not.  It is difficult to draw the line at physically deteriorating diseases when those with profound mental illness should not be discounted.  Pratchett says it well, “When you consider all the ways a person can die” this method is seemingly dignified.  I really enjoyed this documentary and will always support PAS.  The question remains: Who owns our body?

  • Humes

    As a graduate student in gerontology, I have always supported physician assisted suicide given the proper context.  But who can define when it is acceptable and when it is not.  It is difficult to draw the line at physically deteriorating diseases when those with profound mental illness should not be discounted.  Pratchett says it well, “When you consider all the ways a person can die” this method is seemingly dignified.  I really enjoyed this documentary and will always support PAS.  The question remains: Who owns our body?

  • Humes

    As a graduate student in gerontology, I have always supported physician assisted suicide given the proper context.  But who can define when it is acceptable and when it is not.  It is difficult to draw the line at physically deteriorating diseases when those with profound mental illness should not be discounted.  Pratchett says it well, “When you consider all the ways a person can die” this method is seemingly dignified.  I really enjoyed this documentary and will always support PAS.  The question remains: Who owns our body?

  • g k

    a good documentary,shocking and thought provoking regardless of the religious and moral aspects of the subject.i dont think i would make that choice but i think people should have the option.then again people already do have an option to suicide.its effectively the same thing no matter what the justification is or the label we put on it.
    as for people who say the smart thing is to not believe in god (no matter which god u refer to)these days,all i can say is this.i may be a fool and believe in something that is false and i will never be rewarded for my faith.i may spend my whole life believeing in soething that doesent exist.i may die and just dissapear and that will be it.so i may be wrong about my faith my whole life.but reagardless of that,i wont lose anything by believing.now,if you are wrong,and im right,how much have you got to lose?

    • Bumble

      I doubt you chose to believe, and I know I never chose not to believe, so it doesn’t really matter who is right or not right now. Because no one has chosen sides

      • Georgekaf

        well u are right on that part.i did not chose to believe.i was raised into it.just like everyone else that follows a faith.however,i do have a choice.that is to continue or not,believing.so its prety much the same thing the way i see it.on top of that,-and i dont know how this is gonna sound-i  have a tendency to distrust people with no faith.it doesent matter to me which faith they follow and what they believe in,as long as they believe in something thats better than themselves.not believing in anything,to me anyway,means that those people may have no conception of right or wrong in a way.there is nothing to limit their ego’s so to speak.and that usualy leads to bad things.either for themselves or for others around them.and believing in “science” does not qualify as a belief in my view cause science is manmade and has alot of flaws,just like the people behind it.im talking about science as a “religion” now,not about science in general.i may be wrong,but thats how i see it ;-)

        • Sway

          1stly. I’m going to quote another post because i agree whole heartedly in what is said here:
          “I’ve never understood religious people who look down on or mistrust people of no faith. You’re a good person because you think someone is keeping score and is going to reward you for your good behavior in an afterlife. I’m a good person because my parents raised me to care for others. I don’t do good because I think I’m earning heaven points, I do it because it hurts my heart to see another human suffer, and since I think Earth is our only life, the best thing you could do with yours is help others to improve theirs. I am a good, honest, decent person who does what is right expecting NOTHING in return and I’M the one who isn’t trust worthy?”
          2ndly. As it happens I’m not religious at all but i’ve been called spiritual. I don’t believe in a god at all and personally its because i grew out of imaginary friends around the time i was 10. I’m also a big fan of Science. Although i don’t worship science as a religion, i do believe it will tell us more about our ancient heritage than some book that was supposedly written hundreds of years after the events of which its written about.
          And 3rdly. I am going to quote YOU and explain why i think your comment was wrong.. (Which might seem obvious. But the fact you believe in imaginary people at your age tells me that explanations ARE in fact necessary)
          “not believing in anything,to me anyway,means that those people may have no conception of right or wrong in a way.there is nothing to limit their ego’s so to speak.and that usualy leads to bad things.either for themselves or for others around them.”
          Most wars and terrorist acts are done in the name of religion, Honestly i think it just might be safer to believe in nothing. I’ll admit my ego has no limit, But i assure you my friends and many strangers have found me to be very trust worthy. I would also like to point out that ALL humans make mistakes in their life, not just those of us who chose not to believe in a god of some sort. Now dont take this post as an attack on people who believe, as i dont judge. But i cant help replying to a post that says I’m an untrustworthy individual purely because i’m not a believer. I’ll make you a deal. If all religious people stop killing in the name of religion and i’ll stop calling you all religious fanatics “delusional”. Hows that fair?
          Now for a bit of a laugh >
          Lets make religion history
          Now if you need a little bit of prodding to change your beliefs, try watching this….

          Also i think your gramma sucks.

          Sway

  • Mac

    I don’t think it’s the way that would serve me and the people around me in the best way. But I strongly belive in everyones right to make the choice themselves.

  • AlexEconomics

    I’ve never understood religious people who look down on or mistrust people of no faith. You’re a good person because you think someone is keeping score and is going to reward you for your good behavior in an afterlife. I’m a good person because my parents raised me to care for others. I don’t do good because I think I’m earning heaven points, I do it because it hurts my heart to see another human suffer, and since I think Earth is our only life, the best thing you could do with yours is help others to improve theirs. I am a good, honest, decent person who does what is right expecting NOTHING in return and I’M the one who isn’t trust worthy?

  • Sissel

    I have now seen this documentary for the third time. Its something about it that makes me come back to it. Its honest,peaceful,brutal and beautiful at the same time… May every human with sickness in there lifes get the opportunity to choose!

  • julian

    Alzheimers is a tricky disease. Know one can know for certain if they have it until an autopsy and someone digs through your brain and sees the spider web look that happens to the neurons under a microscope. Dr. Linus Pauling I know was curing alot of people of “Alzheimers” a long time ago by just giving them lots and lots of water. And it would turn out they didn’t have Alzheimers at all. I just worry that if people have the option to go when they want they’ll miss opportunities to perhaps heal themselves. They’ll think its over when maybe it never was. Its their life again though.. I don’t know.

  • Amber

    I was Andrews friend,he spoke to me just before he took the dying drug. I knew him a long time,it was right for him and although I lost a very special friend who I will never forget I was happy to say goodbye, he told me he was OK and his last words to me were *shake the world by its shoulders, I love you, I will always be there when you need me, I’ll see you on the other side little lady* to know Andrew was to know a angel, a sincere,loving,sensitive soul who believed in free spirit and peoples rights. To support assisted suicide is giving Andrew his
    dream of freadom for people.
    Please support assisted suicide. To know what suffering is ahead of you is cruel. I have a rare head cancer that can’t be cured, I will follow Andrew, and think of this, we would never let a pet suffer like we do our fellow man………..WHY
    God bless Andrew and Mr Smedley ,I’m sure you are both free from pain and in a much better place. X

  • Jessica

    I think that anyone who opposes PAS has never WATCHED someone fight for their life. A lot of people have known someone who has died, or gone to a funeral, I’m sure – but how many have sat in the same room as someone waiting? To watch them, completely gone from the world and laying there in endless pain, fighting to breathe with a cold glossed look in their eyes, with nothing to do but wait for their body to finally give in. It just sounds terrible, now imagine what it must look like, or feel like. Even after they take the tubes off and shut off the machines, they body can still go for hours on it’s own accord, waiting to finally give in. I’ve watched someone die before, it’s not pretty to sit there for 20+ hours knowing that it could be over in minutes if it were legal here, if it were possible to make the decision for them. Watching family or friends dying isn’t something I want for anyone, but I think it would open more people’s eyes to why PAS should be our right as human beings.

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