TAIPEI (CNA) – Renowned Taiwan sports news anchor Fu Da-ren (傅達仁) announced on Sunday that after much reflection and not wanting to shorten the already brief time he has with his son, he decided not to end his life in Switzerland.
“I called off (the plan) because I was reluctant to leave him,” said 84-year-old Fu in a public activity in Taipei accompanied by his son, Fu Chun-hao (傅俊豪).
The former sports journalist was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the terminal stage and has been given four to six months to live. He has refused to have surgery and has been appealing to the Taiwan government to legalize doctor-assisted suicide.
In early November Fu traveled to Switzerland with his family. There he joined the non-profit organization Dignitas as a member in a plan to have his life ended with the assistance of a physician so that his suffering can be relieved.
Only individuals who are members of Dignitas can ask for physician-assisted suicide. Dignitas considers the soundness of mind of the petitioner as well as the seriousness of his or her condition before approving the decision.
Fu announced last week that he has received approval from the Swiss clinic and could “die at any time” as he wishes.
On Sunday he praised the clinic as a “window God opens in the world” for anyone tormented by disease-caused pain. Any adults aged 18 or above can become a Dignitas member as long as they are suffering from an incurable disease and request euthanasia out of their own free will, Fu said.
Once becoming its member, the clinic will reaffirm his or her ill condition and consciousness before its second interview, during which the euthanasia date and details of how the body will be handled will be decided, Fu said, adding that he canceled the second interview for the sake of his son.
He said the remaining task for him in this world – in a democracy like Taiwan – is to work for legalizing the right to choose the way of dying.
“We’re a country that respects human rights,” Fu said, urging the government to “respect one’s right to make the final choice.”
By Lung Po-an and Elizabeth Hsu