A Short Stay in Switzerland is a BBC dramatisation telling the true story of Dr Anne Turner. Diagnosed with the degenerative neurological condition Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) and facing progressive deterioration in her condition, Dr Turner decided that she would end her own life by travelling to the Swiss clinic ‘Dignitas’. Unlike the UK, assisted euthanasia is legal in Switzerland. A Short Stay in Switzerland tells a highly emotive account of a woman who wishes to “die with dignity”, a decision eventually supported by her children.
The programme follows the events during the final stages of Anne Turner’s life. Although the dramatisation attempts to illustrate events as accurately as possible, it does so with a clear agenda in favour of her autonomous decision and it does not discuss the other possible alternatives when faced with such a situation in any detail.
There is, however, a section of the programme which shows Dr Turner’s children attempting to convince her that her life is worth living and that they can provide palliative care for her (00:25 :10 – 00:33:33). In this specific case, Dr Turner succeeds in her wish after an unsuccessful suicide attempt in her home persuades her children how determined she is. (Warning: if using the section indicated by the timings above, please be aware that the scenes that follow, graphically depict Turner’s earlier suicide attempt and therefore may not be suitable for all audiences).
There is also a BBC news article about the programme and you may be interested in this post on Panorama – I’ll die when I choose.
A Short Stay in Switzerland was first broadcast on BBC 1 21:00 – 22:30 (90 minutes) Sunday 25th January 2009, and is available on BBC iPlayer until 10:29pm Sunday 1st February 2009.