A former nurse who has been diagnosed as suffering from PTSD after watching her husband die from cancer has backed calls to legalise assisted dying in Scotland.

Patricia Donoghue, 69, spoke out as Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur prepares to formally introduce a Bill at the Scottish Parliament that, if passed, would allow for those who are terminally ill to be given help to end their life.

Mr McArthur has already said he is “absolutely convinced” the “long-overdue reform” will become law.

Mrs Donoghue, from Glasgow, gave her backing to his Assisted Dying For Terminally Ill Adults (Scotland) Bill, as she insisted that leaving people suffering at the end of their life was “cruel”.

Glasgow Times:

She made the plea for the law to be changed eight years after her husband Kevan’s death.

He had been diagnosed with a rare form of bile duct cancer some 18 months before that, with the disease leaving him unable to eat or drink in his final three weeks of life.

Mrs Donoghue said her husband, who had worked in social care prior to retiring, had been in constant pain.

She said: “He felt abandoned by God and ultimately by the system that wouldn’t help him leave this world without suffering.

Glasgow Times:

“He accepted death, but why did he have to suffer like that for three weeks?”

Mrs Donoghue added: “I know if assisted dying were an option, he would have wanted it.

“He would have said ‘I’ve tried. I’ve had enough, I’ve done enough. I want to go.”

The former nurse practitioner said: “We think of Britain as being advanced, but we are not.

Glasgow Times:

“Leaving people to suffer in the final stages of their life is far from advanced – it’s cruel.”

Mrs Donoghue and her two sons are still coming to terms with Kevan’s death eight years ago, recalling that their home “would smell of ketone” as he painfully wasted away.

Having previously volunteered as a health care assistant providing hospice care, she also believes those working in palliative care would welcome a change in the law.

“They are not in that job to let people suffer, they want to help people,” she said.

Speaking ahead of Mr McArthur’s Bill being lodged, she added: “I can’t change what happened to Kevan, but I want it to change for others in the future.

“People are suffering and having a horrible time of it, all being made worse by this cruel law.

“You can’t sit on the fence with this issue, it needs to change.”

Trevor Moore, the chair campaign group My Death My Decision, said: “It’s stories like Patricia’s and Kevan’s that show why Liam McArthur’s Assisted Dying Bill is so badly needed.

“I urge all Scottish politicians to listen to their story and vote in favour of a compassionate and dignified end-of-life choice.”

My Death My Decision is campaigning for people in England and Wales who are terminally ill or in intolerable suffering to have the option of an assisted death.

Mr Moore said the group would “continue to campaign for the same progress in England and Wales as we have seen in Scotland”.

Mr McArthur’s Bill marks the third time MSPs will have considered the issue of assisted suicide, with previous attempts to change the law by independent MSP Margo MacDonald – who later died as a result of Parkinson’s Disease – and Green MSP Patrick Harvie both failing to secure enough votes to proceed.

However, the Liberal Democrat MSP has said he believes the “political mood has changed” since the issue was last before Holyrood in 2015.

His Bill would require two doctors – including one with no prior relationship with the patient – to confirm the person is terminally ill and also has the capacity to request an assisted death.

In addition, there would be a waiting period of two weeks before a patient could be given the medication needed for an assisted death, which they would have to be able to take themselves.

Doctors and others opposed to the procedure would be able to exempt themselves from being involved, and there would also be a requirement for anyone requesting an assisted death to have lived in Scotland for at least a year beforehand.

The Bill is being introduced at Holyrood a week after proposals for how an assisted dying law in Jersey were published.

Fraser Sutherland, chief executive officer of Humanist Society Scotland, claimed publishing the Bill was a “key milestone in the campaign to give dying people the right to choice and comfort”.

He said: “We know from the extensive testimony gathered from both the public and health professionals during the pre-Bill consultation that too many people in Scotland suffer a bad death needlessly.

“Many compassionate alternatives have proved effective overseas and it’s time for the same humanity to be extended to people in Scotland.”