A woman from Montreal died by assisted suicide in Switzerland on April 25. Susan Griffiths, 72, suffering from multiple system atrophy, a rare degenerative disease without remission that causes significant disabilities, died at the Dignitas assisted suicide facility in Zurich.

Because assisted suicide is illegal in Canada, Griffiths travelled to Switzerland, the only country that gives the procedure to non-residents. The law in Switzerland requires a patient to see a physician twice within the space of three days as a safeguard against abuse. During the first brief meeting, Griffiths was medically assessed by the physician and the follow-up meeting was arranged.

“Even the doctor that we met today and other people in the medical profession have said the same thing,” said Griffiths to CBC News. “If they had my disease that I have they would do what I am doing. Interesting.”

Griffiths walked, talked, and sang with family members in the property’s garden before taking the two lethal drinks. A half-hour after drinking the first one, she took the second one and died 20 minutes later.

The day before her suicide, Griffiths said that she hoped the procedure would be legalized in Canada in an email to the Canadian Press as well as in an interview with Donna Carreiro of the CBC.  “The future is totally downhill and totally ghastly, and who on Earth wants to head that way when you have to eventually have everything done for you,” she had said earlier in the month to the Canadian Press.

“We should really be asking: ‘Why is no one trying to stop Susan Griffiths from committing suicide?  Does the media orgy around Griffiths story mean that we believe the everyday realities of living with a disability are reason enough to get help to die?’ ” wrote Amy Hasbrouck of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet on the Council of Canadians with Disabilities blog.

“Why has nobody asked the question, why did the doctor in Switzerland decide so quickly that Griffiths should be given the lethal cocktail? The article from CBC News stated that the meeting with the physician in Switzerland took only a few minutes,” wrote Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, on his blog. “This was a doctor who had never met Griffiths before and decided in a few minutes that she was good to go.”