Death With Dignity

death

It is amazing that still in the 21st century there is not widespread acceptance and legality of physician-assisted suicide. 


Even the term voluntary euthanasia (from the Greek meaning good death) is still considered taboo–similar to using the term radical Islamist.


People are afraid to call a spade a spade and deal with life’s complexities and harsh realities. 


All through history, mankind had the code of conduct and honor that when someone (person or animal) was mortality wounded by nature or in battle, they would be “put out of their misery.”


This is called COMPASSION!


Yet, in modern-day civilization, extremist PC-ness (politically correctness) dooms even such a basic fundamental act of decency toward one another. 


Like with radical Islam, the fear of saying it and admitting to a war against extremist and murderous religion ideology cannot be fathomed and so “leadership from behind” mandates that we close our eyes and pretend the boogeyman isn’t really in the room–even if it means continuous losing in the global war on terror. 


Similarly, with euthanasia, poor excuses for leaders fear that once the genie is out of the bootle, people will just be committing arbitrary acts of suicide left and right. 


Unfortunately, these weak people in leadership positions are not leaders, but rather cowards who force others to suffer whether by the hands of terrorism and war or by the unnecessary and cruel suffering for people with the most horrible illness and disabilities in society. 


In 1988, “Dr. Death,” Jack Kevorkian, provided assisted suicide to someone with the horrible, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and in turn, he had to spend 8 years in jail for second-degree murder.


Fortunately, there are now already 5 U.S. states where “physicians cannot prosecuted for prescribing medication to hasten death”, where individuals that “have a terminal illness as well as a prognosis of six months or less to live.” These include: Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, and Montana (when mandated by a court ruling).  


Similarly, overseas in Switzerland, associations like DIGNITAS, provide services “accompanying dying patients at the end of their lives and assistance with suicide.”


The person must have a: 


– “terminal illness” and/or an 

– “an “unendurable incapacitating disability” and/or 

– “unbearable and uncontrollable pain.”


The end is made reasonable and humane by having a in-depth evaluation, followed by at least 2 face-to-face meetings with doctors, getting a prescription for the medicine, setting a mutually agreed date, having loved ones at their side, and self-administering the fatal dose of Sodium Pentobarbital (NaP), usually 15 mg by swallowing or administering by gastric tube or intravenously.


The medicine is “lethal, fast-acting, and completely painless”–after taking it, the patient falls asleep within a few minutes and passes peacefully. 


Having seen my own mother suffer horribly with Parkinson’s Disease, I know that voluntary euthanasia would not only have been the merciful thing to do, but the right thing to do to help people. 


Political correctness and fear of doing what needs to be done is no excuse for prolonging the suffering of those that want to exercise their right to die and who deserve their final peace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disability Rights – To Life Or Death

Disability Rights - To Life Or Death

I read today in the Wall Street Journal an editorial by Joni Eareckson Tada–which I couldn’t have disagreed with more.

Let me start by saying that I have the greatest respect for Ms. Tada who is herself a quadriplegic and has overcome unbelievable challenges to become a huge successful author, radio show host, and advocate for disabled people.

Yet in the editorial, she rails against those with disabilities that choose death over life and the laws that would enable this.

She says, “first it was assisted suicide,” and now it’s unlawful birth suits after a child was born with severe disabilities that could have been genetically screened for, and an upcoming Belgium law that may “legalize euthanasia for children with incurable diseases–who, with the support of their parents or guardians, ask to die.”

Ms. Tada calls these out as some sort of incredible “double standards” vis a vis the “freedom and dignity that the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] championed”–she says that “instead of helping the disabled live full lives, new laws seek to help them die.”

While I appreciate her sentiments, I cannot agree with them–not everyone is Ms. Tada who decided she wanted to live and was able and fortunate to do what she has done.

This is a free country and people deserve the right to decide for themselves, making an informed and a well-thought out decision and with their loved ones, if they are too young, old, or otherwise unable to make the decision anymore for themselves.

Having seen the ravages of disability, especially with my own mother, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments, I cannot believe that anyone would try to force life on someone who has endless pain and suffering and wishes only for their final peace.

Ms Tada asks, “What type of society do we want?” She goes on claiming that “if we are seeking a good society then we do well to defend the rights of the helpless-not nullify their rights,” yet this is exactly what Tada is advocating by seeking to nullify their right to end their suffering.

If it amazing that people will “put down” a sick dying animal to relieve it of it’s suffering when it is beyond cure, but we don’t show the same mercy to fellow human beings when they are in the clutches of death and torment.

There is most certainly a time when it is enough pain, enough disability, when there is no more hope, and the most decent human thing we can do is free the person from their intolerable suffering.

Life is a wonderful thing if it can be lived, but if it is a living hell, then we should be merciful and let people go to their final resting place without the anguish that only they can ever really understand.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to GizM ()17)