Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A different approach to assisted suicide

An elderly high profile English couple, one terminally ill and the other struggling with eyesight and hearing problems, travelled to Switzerland where they ended their lives at an assisted suicide clinic.

It is news to me that Switzerland has such an enlightened approach to death.

Switzerland allows assisted suicide by a nondoctor provided that it is not done for profit. That is the most liberal ruling in Europe and its principles were set out as early as 1918: “In modern penal law suicide is not a crime . . . aiding and abetting suicide can themselves be inspired by altruistic motives.”

It is interesting to read the comments that follow. It is not enough that some people want to tell others how to live their lives but also how to end them. Naturally. In severe pain or drugged up to your eyeballs with morphine; in and out of consciousness but sometimes aware of the grief of those watching; slowly, with no control over your bodily functions; powerless . Your life did not belong to you so why should your death?

Welcome to New Zealand. Welcome to most supposedly civilised western nations.


Lucy said...

I was forced to watch my 15 year old sister die of the horrific form of cancer.

She had had 3 strokes in the last 2 weeks of her life, she went blind, her liver had gone, and it hurt her if a touched her so I could not offer physical comfort.

She was in so much pain and if they had of come up with a miracle cure the next day it would not have helped her.

I was 15 years older (30) at the time and she begged me to help her die.

She was in the Mary Potter Hospice being cared for by nuns. I went looking for the drug cabinet but got caught before I finished breaking in.

The nuns prayed for my soul and told me how lucky I was that they hadnt called the police.

My sister died in agony 3 days later and the only thing I regret was that I was caught and could not help her as she wanted me to. In fact I still have nightmares with her screaming. I hated those nuns I still do.

Dieing with dignity? My sister didnt.

Last Tuesday my beautiful little dog (15 years old) who had gone blind (Through senility)and had started to be in pain laid in my arms and looked at me while the vet put her to sleep. It was so peaceful and although I cried and cried her death was better than my sisters. How can that be right?

Lindsay said...

Lucy, The relating of your experience says everything. It can't be right. Thank you.

Lucy said...

Thank you Lindsay.

Lucia Maria said...

When I was in my early 20's, I watched my father die of cancer. He too wanted help with dying. But rather than killing him, he was given increased palliative care which decreased his pain enormously in his last days.

Watching anyone you love die is horrific. However, to then make the leap to the choice for that person to kill themselves is even worse. It opens the door to nightmare scenarios of pressure for people to kill themselves to save their families' pain.

Already in the US, medical care is provided for terminal cancer patients to suicide, but not for their treatment. Because the possibility of recovery is remote, this is somehow justified.

What happens in Switzerland right now is monstrous. Thank God we don't have it here yet. But I'm sure it's coming.

There are a number propaganda films that Nazi Germany produced to get people used to the idea of the nobility of the terminal and useless killing themselves for their own good. Look where that went.

Lucy said...

You are entitled to your opinion Lucia but I do not share it.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Lucia, You can choose how you die (probably when God calls you and not before) and I am not contesting that. Yet you won't allow that others have the same right to choice as you. That's what it boils down to.