I am going to broach an emotive and contentious topic, the right for someone to choose to die. There have been numerous heart wrenching articles and stories across the past few years of people in severe distress and disability wanting to die, tales of family and friends who have gone to Switzerland with a loved one who had visited an euthanasia clinic being arrested for accessory to manslaughter or such crimes.
I fully appreciate that there are numerous people and organisations who for what ever reason are fully against this. I respect you for those opinions and beliefs, I can understand your reasons for that belief but cannot agree with you; and if you find a differing opinion offensive or are someone who can be easily offended – now might be a good point to stop reading and move on.
Apparently there is to be a debate in the House of Commons regarding a right to die. Essentially if an adult is given a terminal diagnosis of less than six months to live, they can, after the relevant assessments and declarations of two or three doctors, make a representation to a Judge to be able to die, at a time of their choosing, by medical means [overdose of some type, presumably].
Should an adult person have the right to choose to die. Why not? While the Hippocratic Oath includes the ethos “first do no harm”, prolonging a painful, terminal condition surely has to be harmful, if not physically definitely mentally harmful. Don’t we already have a form of this, where patients can ask and be assigned as DNR, they have a control over the degree of action taken to resuscitate and revive them. The reported Liverpool Pathway care protocol of the elderly, which have been mismanaged and now withdrawn.
Maybe, unlike many, I am approaching this issue from a different angel to most. I have a medical condition that can, and will, have an effect on the duration of my life on this insane lump of rock. Do I want to be kept going regardless, as a dribbling, mute, shell, with no control of my extremities or toileting, being assisted to breath, spending each an everyday as nothing more than a spectator – no. Life is not just about quantity but also quality, but that can only be gauged by the individual. Which makes it incredible difficult to legislate it for.
Sometimes in the wee small hours when my mind is being particularly belligerent I wonder whether if someone needs 24 hour care as they cannot tend to their own needs, they need someone to take the tops of bottles, or push the pills from blister packs, maybe hold the glass while liquid is supposed through a straw and so forth; if the person decides they wish to end their life, but they cannot because a third person is needed to push to pills fro the blister pack and hold the glass steady, is that discrimination? Access to an activity is blocked because the disabled person cannot manage it for themselves. Bound to be a tricky point of law, and an example where laws render each other illegal and there is no outcome.
Some might consider this the beginning of a slippery slope, that while the initial legislation may be for six-month terminal cancer adults, would be expanded to include others, for example dementia sufferers, those with life-affecting conditions, to those who have some form of control over persons with non-coms-mentis capacities. You may be right.