Crossing the line?

11 November, 2012

Reporter: Mike Duffy

Producer: Richard Andrews

Controversial and confronting, Susan Potts’ story is sure to spark debate.

Mention ‘euthanasia’ and most people immediately think of elderly, terminally ill people desperate for their pain to end. Susan Potts’ story is very different. A fit and active 89-year old, she led a rich and colourful life. The thrice-married former model was an astute businesswoman who, until recently, still drove her vintage Rolls Royce around the Gold Coast.

Potts’ sister was the famous author Sara Henderson, who died a lingering and painful death Potts witnessed and did not want for herself. Despite being in good health, sprightly and with all her mental faculties, Potts simply wanted to check out, on her terms, to her own timetable. She also wanted her decision to become a talking point for the euthanasia debate.

On October 19 of this year Potts made a video interview and started to put all her affairs in order. Just four days later, on October 23, she took her life. She didn’t tell her friends or family.

Potts’ remarkable interview will polarise views about the right to choose your demise, particularly in the case of those who are fit and healthy. The controversial ‘Doctor Death’ Philip Nitschke met Susan, and does not believe the voluntary death of a fit and healthy person is a step too far.

Indeed, Nitschke believes the age at which someone can decide to legally take their own life should be set at 50.

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline Australia - 13 11 14 or beyondblue: the national depression initiative 1300 22 4636.