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Tuesday October 12, 2010

‘I Wanted Him to Go’: Michael Caine Says he Convinced Doctor to Kill Father

By Kathleen Gilbert

October 12, 2010 ( – British actor Michael Caine has revealed that he asked a doctor to kill his cancer-stricken father because “I was in such anguish over the pain he was in” and “I wanted him to go.”

In 1955 Caine’s father, a fish market porter named Maurice Micklewhite, was dying of liver cancer at the age of 56. Caine, now 77, said in a Classic FM radio interview broadcast Sunday that the doctor at first recoiled, but then apparently gave in to the suggestion to kill Micklewhite.

“My father had cancer of the liver and I was in such anguish over the pain he was in, that 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,'” said Caine. “Then, as I was leaving, he said: ‘Come back at midnight.’ I came back at midnight and my father died at five past twelve. So he’d done it.”

Although giving no indication that his father wanted to be put to death, Caine went on to advocate “voluntary” euthanasia when asked about the topic. “Oh I think so, yeah,” he said. “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.”

Assisted suicide is illegal in Britain. However, last year the Director of Public Prosecutions was accused of largely gutting the law with new guidelines stating that officials would not enforce the law if perpetrators did not appear to be driven by personal gain.

A spokeswoman for Dignity in Dying, a pro-euthanasia group, responded to Caine’s admission by calling for more legal allowance for individuals to seek their own death.

“It is unimaginably difficult to watch a loved one suffer against their wishes at the end of their life,” the spokeswoman told the media, and urged the advent of “up-front safeguards which allow people who are terminally ill and mentally competent to be allowed to ask for help to die in the final days or weeks of their lives, whilst also better protecting vulnerable people. The current situation places a terrible emotional burden on both patients, their families and their doctors.”

However, Alistair Thompson, spokesman for the anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing, insisted that putting suffering patients to death is “both cruel and unnecessary.”

“There is always an alternative to euthanasia. We are incredibly lucky to have access to amazing palliative care in this country, which is second to none in the world,” said Thompson. “That has been developed over a number of years, and I find that the experts who we work with regularly do not believe there is any necessity to legalise euthanasia.” Rather than pushing more and more license to kill, Thompson indicated that advocates for the dying instead “need to make sure that everyone who is in need of care is quickly attended to by specialists.”

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