11 November, 2016

Lecretia's choice by Matt Vickers

Does the name Lecretia Seales ring a bell in your mind?

She was the smart, successful 42 year old Wellington based lawyer, who died of incurable brain cancer last year, after a brave and ground-breaking fight for physician assisted dying.

This book, written by her husband Matt Vickers, has love and admiration for her shining out of every page. It chronicles their years together, their happy times, friends and family, and professional successes, as well as their personal struggles. The first was trying to have a child, a desire that was left unmet even after a series of medical procedures and intervention and much money spent, which left Lecretia, particularly, disappointed and saddened.

Alongside this was the coming to terms with her illness which was first diagnosed four years before her death. An operation to remove the tumor in her brain was partially successful, and her life limped back to a kind of normal.

Then came the chemo and radiotherapy needed as the prognosis clearly became less and less optimistic. Through all this Lecretia was supported by her husband, family, friends and colleagues which was always something she expressed gratitude about.

Holidays surrounded by loved ones and trips away, travelling in foreign parts were something she undertook with a passion, almost as if one eye was fixed on the ticking clock.
The other task she put all her quickly depreciating energy into was that the end of life choice should become legal – that terminally ill patients like her should have the right to put an end to their suffering without risk of their physician facing prosecution.

In the end, she lost that battle but she gave voice to an issue that that has sparked enormous public interest and which has forever made a mark on the medico-legal fabric of our society.

As her husband continues to fight on, this is a must-read for all of us living in New Zealand, no matter which side of the debate we find ourselves on.

Author: Matt Vickers

Reviewed by Suneeta N, Highland Park Library

Suneeta N particularly enjoys biographies, travel stories and reading authors from around the world. She loves a good discussion and believes that everybody has a story worth telling.

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