Longtime actor Sir Michael Caine (he was knighted in 2000 for his contribution to cinema) has revealed in a radio interview that in 1955, he asked a doctor to help his father die.
His father, Maurice Micklewhite, had been suffering from liver cancer and was given only three to four days to live. Caine confesses he was in such anguish over his father's pain that he asked the doctor for the mercy killing.
"I said to this doctor, I said, 'Isn't there anything else you could do, just give him an overdose and end this,' because I wanted him to go and he said, 'Oh no, no, no, we couldn't do that.' Then, as I was leaving, he said, 'Come back at midnight.' I came back at midnight and my father died at five past 12. So he'd done it …"
Micklewhite died in a hospital at the age of 56. Caine says he kept the secret from his mother, Ellen, who passed away in 1989.
Asked if he agree with voluntary euthanasia, Caine said:
"Oh I think so, yeah. I think if you're in a state to where life is no longer bearable, if you want to go. I'm not saying that anyone else should make the decision, but I made the request, but my father was semi-conscious."
As someone who supports death with dignity, I personally think Caine is brave for speaking out about this. I don't know how the situation today would be different—perhaps Caine's father would have been in a hospice, with his pain better managed, and surely there would have been more focus on whether or not his father had the facilities to specifically ask for the overdose—but I think Caine made a compassionate and loving choice at the time.
This is sort of a deep subject for the comments section, but what are your thoughts on this? Do you support Caine's decision to end his father's life?
Image via MichaelCaine.com