British Columbia

Margot Bentley's family considers appeal to fight for her right to die

The family of a woman living with late-stage Alzheimer's disease is considering appealing a B.C. Court of Appeal decision issued yesterday to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Daughter Katherine Hammond says her family's battle is about personal choice at the end of life

Margot Bentley, who has advanced Alzheimer's disease, is spoon-fed each day at a B.C. residential care home. (CBC)

The family of a woman living with late-stage Alzheimer's disease is considering appealing a B.C. Court of Appeal decision issued yesterday to the Supreme Court of Canada.

On Tuesday B.C.'s highest court rejected an appeal by the family of Margot Bentley, 83, to let her die.

The court ruled Bentley must continue to be spoon fed by staff at an Abbotsford care home, despite the directives in her living will.

"My mum wasn't afraid to die at all. She was a very spiritual person. She didn't believe that death was final," Bentley's daughter Katherine Hammond told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"She also, very clearly, did not want to endure a long gradual decline and loss of her facilities and she was really clear about that."

Bentley wrote a living will in 1991, explaining she did not want to receive nourishment or liquids if she was suffering from an extreme physical or mental disability.

Lawyers successfully argued that she's consenting to care because she opens her mouth when offered food.   

Hammond said the family is now considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in order to honour her mother's wishes.

"The toll has been huge on my father — on my mum's husband. He is almost 90. He is devastated. He is anxious beyond belief. He is filled with grief. I think it's killing him slowly," she said.

"For me and my siblings — our grief was greatest when my mum was diagnosed, and that was many years ago. Now I persevere looking at a much bigger picture. This is about my mum but I take some comfort in understanding that she left a long time ago.

"This is about all of us, and it's about personal choice at the end of life."

To hear the full interview with Katherine Hammond, click the audio labelled: Margot Bentley's daughter.

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