‘My wife endured 15 hours of hell after overdose – legalise assisted dying’ | UK | News

March 11, 2024
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A widower who watched his terminally ill wife endure “15 hours of hell” after taking a cocktail of drugs has backed calls for a parliamentary vote on assisted dying.

Performer Tina Humphrey enchanted households across the UK dancing with her dog Chandi in the 2010 Britain’s Got Talent final.

She and Steve Jetley were engaged two weeks after they met and married five months later in a whirlwind romance.

But just one year later, their final hours together were marked by horrific suffering when she desperately tried to hasten her inevitable death from cancer.

Tina had collected a stash of pills and took them at home in the garden she loved. Steve, 68, said: “Her plan was that she would have time to say goodbye, then fall asleep and have a peaceful and quiet death.

“But because it’s illegal to get advice from a doctor, she’d got the mixture wrong. Instead of putting her to sleep quietly, she went through 15 hours of hell. Towards the end she was gasping for breath.

“She went through this because there was no help available for her. She didn’t deserve that and neither did I.”

Tina and Chandi also wowed judges at Crufts, winning awards for freestyle and heel work to music.

Her diagnosis of melanoma came a week before she and Steve married in April 2016. Both her parents died of cancer and she had seen her mother left in a zombie-like state by medication.

Steve said: “It was that as much as anything that gave her her views on the way to die. Tina didn’t drink or smoke, she had this amazingly clear mind.

“The one thing she didn’t want was for that to be dulled down to a state where she had no idea who she was or what she was doing.

“She wanted to know that I was next to her, to hear me tell her that I loved her. She didn’t want to be asleep or drugged up to the eyeballs.”

READ MORE: France legalises assisted dying for adults suffering from ‘incurable illness’

The couple, who lived near Shrewsbury, discussed going to the Swiss assisted dying clinic Dignitas but could not afford the cost of over £10,000.

Tina was also determined to keep fighting the disease for as long as possible, at which point she would be too sick to travel.

When it became clear treatment was no longer working, she stockpiled medication. Tina said in a Facebook message to friends shortly before her death that she had “fought so hard to stay”.

She added: “Perhaps you will be able to marvel at me in the Northern Lights or meteor showers or a lunar eclipse.”

Tina died aged 45, one month after the couple’s first wedding anniversary. Steve added: “That was almost seven years ago and I remember every moment, and her tortured face.”

Tina’s experience influenced a heartbreaking Emmerdale storyline in 2022. Steve spoke to the soap’s producers ahead of an episode in which Faith Dingle took her own life while dying of terminal breast cancer.

Tina’s death stands in stark contrast to the way the couple’s beloved dog, eight-year-old Gromit, died a year later after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Steve said: “I just couldn’t bear to see him suffer in the way Tina did. The vet came to the house, where Gromit felt happy and safe. He sat in my lap and the vet gave the injections.

“He died peacefully and quietly in my arms. He didn’t suffer through the horrible illness and pain that Tina had to. It’s just inhuman.”

The Daily Express Give Us Our Last Rights crusade calls for assisted dying to be legalised for terminally ill people who are expected to die within six months.

Steve is among more than 150,000 people who have signed our petition calling for a parliamentary debate and free vote on the issue.

Having this option would have “made Tina feel so much stronger”, he said. “She may now have chosen to take it but it would have given her strength and comfort to know it was there.

“If she’d had the proper drugs, she wouldn’t have suffered for 15 hours and had this awful, hideous death. It would have been dignified.”

Steve added: “People talk about ‘ending your life’. I feel strongly that Tina did not end her life, she ended her death. It’s never about ending a life, it’s about shortening a death.

“She had no choice. She was already dead, essentially. She just wanted to make it a little shorter and more comfortable.”



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