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Wife shares story of emotional goodbye to husband before his lethal injection, as Victoria assisted dying laws come into effect

Left and centre, Troy Thornton and his wife Christine. Photo Credit: Facebook/@MorningtonFireBrigade

Wife shares story of emotional goodbye to husband before his lethal injection, as Victoria assisted dying laws come into effect

It's been almost four months since Christine Thornton said her goodbyes to her husband as he died in a Swiss euthanasia clinic. She shares her emotional story on the eve of the Victoria assisted dying laws coming into effect.

Wife shares story of emotional goodbye to husband before his lethal injection, as Victoria assisted dying laws come into effect

Terminally ill Victorians can now legally ask their doctor for lethal drugs under the nation’s only euthanasia laws. The state’s voluntary assisted dying scheme comes into effect from today, 9 News reports.

Troy Thornton – an Australian firefighter who had been battling multiple system atrophy – wanted to legally end his life at home in Australia, with all those he loved around him. But despite Victoria becoming the first state to legalise voluntary assisted dying, he did not qualify – so he went to Switzerland to die in peace.

On Wednesday, however, new laws came into effect in Thornton’s home state of Victoria. Under the scheme, terminally-ill Victorian adults in intolerable pain and with less than six months to live, or 12 months for neurodegenerative diseases, and who meet 68 safeguards can request their doctor’s help in dying.

The bill has been described as the most conservative of its kind of the many other places who have similar laws in place.

A wife’s emotional story

Four month’s after his assisted dead, Thornton’s wife, Christine has shared his (and her) harrowing story. She tells of how Troy would still be able to hear her for about two minutes after the drugs began flooding his body.

“To me, that was peace of mind and I just made sure I said everything I could possibly think of to say,” the Victorian widow and mother-of-two told AAP this week.

“I told him how much I loved him, and how I would make sure the kids would never forget him, that they would know how special they were to him.”

Staff had been asked to gently touch Christie on the head when they were certain Troy was gone but when that moment arrived, she knew instinctively.

“You can feel the difference. I felt it. He was no longer there. It was the shell.”

She says there’s been no second-guessing Troy’s decision to die. But there has been a profound sense of comfort in the end of his suffering and the good nature of his death.

Christine says Troy would be happy that Victoria has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to allow euthanasia in more than two decades.

The laws were too narrow to help him, because he could not find two doctors who would say with certainty that his degenerative disease would kill him within 12 months.

But Christine is adamant that the Victorian legislation must be the start, and not the end, of a public conversation about the lack of end-of-life choices in Australia.

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