William Paolini said:
As you probably know, Jack Kevorkian died recently. Some believe that an individual's end-of-life decision is a human right and not something that should be against the law.
What do you think? If any of you have been in the position of having to deal with a medical decision for an aging relative, I personally think it is a fine line sometimes as if that relative left no "official" final wishes and if during an operation the doctor asks the family wishes in a difficult situation, to continue with little hope of any quality of life, or to not treat further, one could view that as indeed a "quiet" form of assisted suicide. That is just one example as there can be many shades of grey.
So why shouldn't an individual judged to be of sound mind, have the right to end life on their own terms? I don't really see much of a difference between assisted suicide and placing an elderly in hospice on morphine so they are basically not conscience until they finally pass, which can literally take weeks until they waste away. Or if they give a do-not-resuscitate order, isn't that paramount to suicide since resuscitation could end up saving them for a sizable while?
Here's a little background then I'll weigh in with my opinion.
My Dad lingered on in pain for months with cancer in all his joints, his brain, his colon and well pick an innard, and he had it. They moved him from Hospital to Hospice and doped him up.
The medication (morphine equivelent) had a detrimental affect on his thought process. Then he was half in & out where everything was a blur and very uncomfortable. It was very frightening for him. In his more lucid moments before he died, he asked me to take the pain medication away. He'd rather live in pain that loose his mind. I didn't blame him. I passed this along to Mom who discussed it with doctors who assured her the pain alone could cause a cardiac arrest. At that point they doped him up so much he was unconcious. That should be a crime.
I think we all agree cancer sucks. It and many other old age malodies makes the end of our lives a very difficult challenge.
There is some good news in that little saga. He was three months short of his 84th birthday, and had lived a very good life. After six days in Hospice they reduced the drugs so he could talk. He asked my Mom to hold his hand till he fell asleep and that was it.
OK, the last few minutes were about as good as it gets. The last few months were about as bad as it gets.
My Dad was a strict Catholic and believed he was meant to suffer this fate. Now he's probably rolling his eyes knowing I dissagree. The end of our lives is such a personal thing the government can just butt-out.
That's easy to say for someone 83 years old having lived a long life filled with good works. Dr. Kavorkian must have known the suffering his patients were going through. If stopping my Dad's pain could have been done by some gentle means, I would have. Yet his desires, in accordance with his beliefs, not mine, are what we respected.
I've also seen a sixteen year old girl seriously mangled in a car accident. Her parents didn't believe in doctors and carted her off on a blanket in the back of a pickup truck like a sack of onions. Small town news traveled fast. We found out she didn't make it to her own bed. Internal bleeding that might have been corrected surgically was ignored.
Our government likes simple accross the board rules. Most Prosecuting Attornies just want to rack up as many convictions as they can regardless of the unfortunate lifes of those they consider victims.
Should I become dependent on some drug or machine that keeps my body going when my mind is gone... well both my brothers and I have an agreement.
However, who would judge if we are not of sound mind. We may well be, but simply not be able to communicate. If it seems to be the end of a long life, I'm really OK with it. If it's a teenager who's life could be saved, then call 911 run the blood tests take the X-rays and do whatever it takes.
Losing one's mind if frightening, and becoming a burden to my own family is outside the scope of my work here. So... Thirty years from now, if you hear I set out to sail around the world alone and vanished. Well...you'll know.