Veteran sports commentator Fu Da-ren (傅達仁) yesterday said he would not have had to spend NT$3 million (US$100,604) on euthanasia in a foreign country if the government were to legalize assisted suicide for people with terminal diseases who want to end their lives early.
The 85-year-old sports journalist has petitioned for the legalization of euthanasia in Taiwan since 2016, but to no avail.
After he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer last year, Fu was accepted by Dignitas, a non-profit organization in Switzerland that legally offers assisted suicides to patients with terminal or severe physical or mental illness.
Having postponed several times, Fu was reported to have arranged for his death on Thursday this week.
In a video yesterday he said that he had proposed eight different dates for euthanasia to Dignitas, adding that all eight dates were turned down for legitimate reasons.
One of the dates that Fu proposed was June 6, the anniversary of D-Day, when the Allied forces landed in Normandy, France, during World War II, he said.
“I was told that two people had already scheduled procedures on that day and they could not possibly fit me into the schedule,” he said.
Despite problems setting up the euthanasia appointment, Fu said he is convinced that he has made the right decision.
“The day we die and the number of days we get to live are in God’s hands, but we have the right to choose the way we want to die,” Fu said in the video. “I chose euthanasia, which means I will take medication that causes me to fall asleep in 30 seconds and my heartbeat to stop after three minutes.”
“If Taiwan had laws to regulate assisted deaths, I would not have had to spend NT$3 million to apply for and undergo the procedure in a foreign country,” he said. “I have made the right choice for my life. I hope that our country will have a law [to legalize euthanasia].”
“One can choose not to undertake the procedure if one does not want it. The person can only apply if they are willing and are diagnosed with a terminal illness,” Fu added.
On Sunday, Fu said on Facebook that he was originally scheduled to undergo euthanasia on Nov. 10 last year.
He decided to cancel the appointment and return to Taiwan after his son contracted a fever that caused his temperature to rise to 42°C, Fu said.
Fu rescheduled the procedure for Dec. 5, but his flight was canceled due to a snowstorm in Switzerland, he said, adding that he was then told he would have to wait until after the Christmas holiday.
His son decided to get married in February, so he stayed to help organize it and postponed the trip to Switzerland, Fu said.
He departed for Switzerland again at the end of last month.
“I meant to set an example by spending all that money and time to come here,” he said on Facebook. “I will not be coming back. So long, farewell.”
Fu hosted his own memorial in 2016.
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