Robin Stransham-Ford, a terminally-ill South African man died of natural causes Thursday on the same day that a court granted him the right to end his life.
Robin Stransham-Ford – photography kindly provided by Jaco Marais

DignitySA Chairperson Professor Sean Davison says he learnt from Advocate Robin Stransham-Ford’s caregiver and companion, that Robin has died peacefully of natural causes.

Lee Last, Executive of DignitySA:
“On behalf of the Board of DignitySA, our legal team and our thousands of supporters, we offer our sincere condolences to Robin’s daughter, his family, his caregivers, his loved ones, his friends, his colleagues and clients. A true warrior and brave soul to whom all South Africans who want the right to choose dignity at end-of-life will forever be indebted. We request, out of compassion and respect, that the family be granted privacy during this sad and difficult time.
Robin, your legacy will live on forever. Thank you!”


Dying and the law: the DignitySA case explained

Palace of Justice in Pretoria

Stransham-Ford was a 65-year-old man who was dying of prostate cancer. He had asked the court to determine whether a doctor could legally assist him to end his life. Although, because of the urgency of the matter, a full written judgment will only be provided by Judge Fabricius in the weeks to come, the judge’s order indicates that Stransham-Ford had at most a few weeks to live and was “suffering intractably” and should therefore be permitted to end his life with the assistance of a doctor.
Read original article:
Dying and the law: the DignitySA case explained | Groundup


Assisted-suicide proponent Robin Stransham-Ford dies

Pretoria, 30 April 2015 – DignitySA say Robin Stransham-Ford has died. In a groundbreaking ruling on Thursday, a high court granted the terminally ill man the right to take his own life.
Video duration 1m 29s:
Assisted-suicide proponent Robin Stransham-Ford dies | eNCA


Is the assisted death ruling still valid?

30 April 2015 – Stransham-Ford is believed to have died before being granted the right to end his life. Justice Minister Michael Masutha says he’s waiting on council from the Minister of Health and his legal team before action can be taken.
Video duration 2m 45s:
Is the assisted death ruling still valid? | eNCA


South African man dies naturally on same day as winning right to die

A terminally-ill South African man died of natural causes Thursday on the same day that a court granted him the right to end his life, a ruling that could pave the way for assisted suicide legislation. Retired advocate Robin Stransham-Ford, 65, was reported to be heavily sedated and a statement from his family did not say whether he died before or after the ruling. DignitySA, which lobbies for assisted suicide legislation, said that Stransham-Ford “died peacefully of natural causes”.
Read original article:
South African man dies naturally on same day as winning right to die | yahoo.com


39 thoughts on “BREAKING NEWS:
Judgment and Reasons for Decision by Judge Fabricius

  • 8 May 2015 at 09:45
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    If it was your life, sure. When you define life as belonging to you, where it is actually just lent to you, doesn’t magically make it true. It makes you a thief who takes that which belongs to God. There is no dignity in your last act when it is a premeditated theft.

    If you continue to ignore this, all you can look forward to is: Revelation 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

    The fact that you may take lives as you choose and then therefor proclaim that the power over life and death is a matter of choice, just makes you temporarily self-deceived. When God removes the power to kill and steal from you, then you will see, but then it will be too late.

    Revelation 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
    16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
    17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

    Don’t you know that the LORD has the power to heal? Ask Him for death if you must. He can provide either way. But remember that He can heal as well.

    Kind regards,
    And hold on mate.
    Give em one last swing!

    Reply
  • 7 May 2015 at 19:56
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    If you watch the movie “John Q” with Denzel Washington, it clearly shows you, that money is prioritised over human life.

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    • 7 May 2015 at 20:48
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      “A down-on-his luck father, whose insurance won’t cover his son’s heart transplant, takes the hospital’s emergency room hostage until the doctors agree to perform the operation.” (IMDB)
      Quite the opposite, but I’d still agree – it’s all about money 🙂

      Reply
  • 7 May 2015 at 18:36
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    I take it, Edson Mbuzana, that if your cat or dog was in agony, a one-way deterioration, suffering endlessly with no hope of recovery, you would sit and nurse the poor creature in your arms, no matter how long it took for it to die? Months, years, you would sit there and stroke its forehead, saying, just hold on a bit longer, to this wonderful life you are having. You are either a hypocrite, barely out of school, or have had your mind fut up by some unreasonable, illogical doctrine.

    Reply
  • 5 May 2015 at 20:26
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    Trust me, “God” has nothing to do with our lives and certainly doesn’t dish out any “gifts”. People like you are the reason people like me and others suffer the indignity of death under such miserable circumstances. I hope you get very sick and learn what it means for death to be a relief.

    Reply
  • 5 May 2015 at 15:12
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    The right to die is as much a right as it is to live. Assisted suicide should be available to any sane adult whether terminally ill or not.

    Just as we have no right to end another’s life, we have no right to force another to stay alive. If anyone wishes to die, that person should have access to a death cocktail or lethal injection. Otherwise, you all end up being slaves to those who wield authority over you.

    Your life, your right. Your death, your right. Assisted suicide for all. Terminally ill people are not more special than ordinary people who are still capable of being modern slaves. Freedom for all.

    Reply
    • 5 May 2015 at 19:58
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      Condolences to the Stransham-Ford family. There is a time for weeping and we weep with you. Life is God’s gift. . . and God knows best.

      Reply
  • 5 May 2015 at 11:01
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    As a member of the legal profession, I followed the reports with detached interest. I did not consider the person launching the Application and the toll it would take on him and his family. I was interested only in the outcome and the legal precedent that might be set However, reading the comments posted by friends and family, I am humbled by the strength that it took for Mr Stransham-Ford to embark on this process. It could not have been an easy decision for him and his family knowing that this matter would be open to public scrutiny and debate. Condolences to the family does not seem enough.

    Reply
    • 5 May 2015 at 11:10
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      Thank you for recognising the strain Mr Stransham-Ford’s application had on him and his loved ones and caregivers. It’s really humbling when one of our species does something as courageous as this, especially when he knew that he himself would not benefit from it. The stuff hero’s and warriors are made of.

      Reply
  • 2 May 2015 at 08:47
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    I believe that 90% of the objection to the dignity of assisted suicide is financially motivated. As with all things in this corrupt world we live in, doctors, private hospitals pharmaceutical companies and so called old age homes and phony caregivers are afraid of being out of pocket. Why switch off their life support if they still have money in the bank?
    I have yet to hear of a private hospital who will walk the walk when the time comes, without demanding in advance payment. There is today no longer a respect for a person’s well-being if he cannot pay for it. If you can’t pay, shame. Die! If you can pay… well I will keep you alive with the assistance of all my cronies, but if you want to live make sure you can afford it.
    If you are lucky, as long as your medical scheme pays you’re OK…

    Reply
    • 2 May 2015 at 11:49
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      Absolutely spot on!

      Reply
      • 5 May 2015 at 19:52
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        Twycross – and Aubrey -: you are BOTH WRONG!!!!
        life is worth preserving in whatever state the person is. your conspiratory theory on Medical Aid and hospitals etc is unfounded!
        Oh by the way Long Life dear Aubrey!

        Reply
        • 6 May 2015 at 15:31
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          In reply to Edson Mbuzana. Unlike you I don’t have all the answers. You don’t state your age or any medical condition. I have cancer, I am hanging in there and I can tell you without medical aid I would probably not be around but it costs 80% of my pension. Please speak for yourself. You won’t have the right to decide on my fate. As from now I am out of this forum as I can see where it is going. Your beliefs are your right but this is not about religion, it is not about comatose people, it is about terminally ill people screaming in agony as I have witnessed.

          Reply
    • 5 May 2015 at 11:19
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      Indeed. I know from a friend’s mother who has Alzheimers and pays R13000 per month to be taken care of in a home.

      The staff there care mostly about their salaries and the home about its profit. There is a disgusting smell of urine, feces and other foul smells in the home. Often the residents have lice infections.

      There is something about Alzheimers, dementia and other mental illnesses that most don’t even realise: people who suffer from these diseases in homes have short moments of sanity. These moments can be absolute hell for these people. It would be better if they simply lost their minds, but it doesn’t work that way. Occasionally, they are able to think clearly. At times like that, their feelings are ones of utmost despair and hopelessness as they lie there frail, in soiled diapers and all alone – neglected by everyone, including their very own families. Shame on the human race! Dogs and cats get to die a dignified death.

      But no. Keep these poor sods alive because the homes are making R13000 per month. Doctors get paid for treating their many falls, illnesses and ailments and the quality of their lives is still dismal. Let them suffer the mental torment in those moments of sanity. Let them endure the filth, the loneliness, the humiliation, the agony of being alive without anything to look forward to.

      Is this what you want O hypocritical religious freaks?

      Reply
      • 5 May 2015 at 12:51
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        In response to Aubrey Smith and John Gabriel I support your views and there is not much to add. What can be done is another matter. We are kept alive and outlive our money and sometimes even unintentionally our usefulness.

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      • 22 May 2015 at 15:34
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        John,
        During my invalid mother’s illness I experienced firsthand all the things you are talking about and it was heartbreaking for me to see her suffering, not only through illness but the indignity of it all. It was aggravating to witness the incompetence and apathy of a lot of nursinghome staff who do not care a hoot about the dying and suffering residents. I moved my mother five times to different nursinghomes but found none worthy of the service they are supposed to render. The stench and utter neglect you are talking about was present at all these institutions. My mother was continually covered in bruises through hard and unsympathetic handling and there was nothing I could do but move her to the next nursinghome each time I had a complaint. She could not speak for herself towards the end. I wanted to take care of her myself but was in no position to do so because of a weak back and neck.
        In the beginning, shortly after the first massive stroke and being paralyzed she could still communicate and more than once begged for assisted help to die. During two years of being completely paralyzed she had more strokes and developed gangrene in her feet and legs which had to be amputated. She died shortly afterwards which I am sure was a relief for her. But she could have been spared two years of hardship had assistance to die with dignity been legalised. I still get goosebumps just driving past any of those nursinghomes. Hope I never have to end up like her completely depending on one of those places for every drop of water or waiting to be fed or cleaned up by reluctant and unfriendly staff.
        Regards,
        Esther

        Reply
        • 4 June 2015 at 08:36
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          Dear Esther, your Mom’s story is beyond tragic. I am so sorry that you all had to endure this kind of treatment. It’s inhumane. Please write to me (lee@dignitysa.org) if you are willing to share your story on our Your Stories page. Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your mother.

          Reply
    • 5 May 2015 at 19:46
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      Precious Aubrey Smith . . . to point a finger at money/payment etc as the motivation for action against sucide is a pretty unreaseched theory. It accuses wel-meaning doctors and hospitals of being money-motivated. Two Sundays ago my brother was admitted in a serious state into the Donald Gordon Medical Centre without even paying a cent up-front. Ihave been treated by one Dr Duncan. . . . and many others . . . many times completely free of charge. Why? Because they VALUE LIFE. Yes even the photo of Robin Stransham-Ford says tome THAT LIFE was worth preserving.

      Reply
  • 1 May 2015 at 08:58
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    At WFRtDS we welcome this ruling, commending Judge Hans Fabricius and his court for such a wise verdict. We congratulate Dignity South Africa with this success in otherwise such sad circumstances. It certainly is a first step towards a right for every South African to ask for and acquire a legal physician aid in dying with dignity.
    Our condolences go to the family of Robin.

    Reply
  • 1 May 2015 at 07:54
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    Living in New Zealand (as I do) we have a similar case waiting adjudication. The applicant is a lady by the name of Lecretia Seales, a lawyer with the NZ Law Commission. This decision may help in Ms Seales having a favourable outcome in her case.
    Well done South Africa.

    Reply
    • 1 May 2015 at 07:59
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      We will be following Ms Seales’ case closely and it is likely that the recent Canadian decision, together with ours in SA, could well influence the outcome. Wishing you all the best.

      Reply
  • 30 April 2015 at 19:07
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    What brave and generous people you all are. I feel a deep respect and appreciation for your visions,”grace and grit”. Thank you. Heather Scholtz

    Reply
  • 30 April 2015 at 18:46
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    Death with dignity… it’s a right we all should be entitled to. it’s a basic right and an act of compassion. I’m hoping today is the beginning of change. No more suffering. An end with dignity. xxx

    Reply
  • 30 April 2015 at 16:32
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    Baie dankie aan Robin Stransham-Ford vir die saak wat hy voor die hof gebring en gewen het. Nie net het hy die saak vir homself gevoer nie maar ook vir ons ander kankerlyers. Nou kan ons al met minder vrees begin dink aan ons eindes.
    Ons wens hom ‘n vreedevolle, rustige en pynlose tyd voor.
    Sterkte ook aan sy geliefdes, familie en vriende. (Hou sy hand styf vas, julle het ‘n engel in julle teenwoordigheid)
    Mag net goeie herhinderinge julle bybly.

    Reply
  • 30 April 2015 at 13:23
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    Hi, I am very proud of the outcome of the case to “assisted” suicide, 30 April 2015. At last we can go in dignity if we so wish at the end!!! Thank for assisting in your way and the support.

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  • 30 April 2015 at 06:16
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    I’m in Nairobi, otherwise I’d be there to support your very important cause. I’ve watched a few loved ones suffering needlessly… it’s utterly heartbreaking. I pray that the application is granted today, both for Robin and for all who will benefit from it now and in the future. Sending love and peace to Robin and his family.

    Reply
  • 29 April 2015 at 21:36
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    I wish you all the best.. I am sending energy.. we should have the right to decide.

    Reply
  • 29 April 2015 at 18:57
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    I would like to send Robin a message on a less public platform. If I can’t, do send my wishes of strength and the least amount of pain possible.

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    • 29 April 2015 at 23:36
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      Dear Marguerite. Thank you for your message of support for Robin. Lee from DignitySA has my permission to send you my email address so that you can mail us directly. Penelope Stransham Ford

      Reply
  • 29 April 2015 at 13:11
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    The very best of luck with your application!

    Reply
  • 29 April 2015 at 12:33
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    Wish I could be there to support you. Good luck with the campaign.
    I also have been battling with prostate cancer for fifteen years. Hopefully I and others might still be able to benefit from what you all are doing now.
    Thank you all so much.

    Reply
  • 29 April 2015 at 09:26
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    Good luck and thanks for the information.

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  • 28 April 2015 at 21:27
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    My sister-in-law (in the Netherlands) was given elected euthanasia on 1 April after a conscious and dignified leave-taking from my brother and their children. I hope it will be legal here if/when my time comes. My prayers are with Robin that he succeeds in court to pave the way for others.

    Reply
  • 26 April 2015 at 15:48
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    Wish Pretoria was nearby!!
    I would certainly have used the opportunity to actively support both Robin and South African VES (Voluntary Euthanasia Society) in their quest for humanitarian laws around the end-of-life and dying with dignity, as representative of the more than 50 RtD Societies around the world!
    Am with you all in my thoughts.

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    • 26 April 2015 at 18:06
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      Thank you, Rob. We appreciate your message and kind thoughts and wish Pretoria was closer for you too!

      Reply
  • 21 April 2015 at 12:47
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    I’ve always wondered: Why is the right to die prohibited anyway? All we need is obligated systems & procedures to be put in place such as specialized counselling etc, and whoever wishes can apply for it. This world ain’t a place to hold someone to stay unwillingly.

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    • 26 April 2015 at 05:20
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      Indeed. Canada’s Supreme Court used Oregon’s model as proof that the safeguards work and that there is no slippery slope. Furthermore, as our Prof. Willem Landman says: “The purpose of medicine is not only to save or lengthen life. This is only the case in the “normal” course of events. When a life has run its course, attempting to save it may be futile and thus unjustifiable and undignified treatment. When life has become a burden, devoid of its natural good, consumed by suffering induced by pain and distress, then ushering in death is compassionate and caring.”

      Reply
  • 15 April 2015 at 12:10
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    I am 100% behind “Assisted Death” in the case of the terminally ill.
    Knowing Robin personally. If he is suffering to that extent, I say he should be allowed the dignity to end his own life if that is his wish to end his suffering.

    Good luck with your case, if not only for Robin, but for ALL other people with incurable diseases.

    Reply
    • 16 April 2015 at 08:09
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      Thank you Laura for your support. It’s dreadful knowing someone you care about is suffering and yes, Robin is suffering. Terribly.

      Reply

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