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I normally try to keep things positive and apolitical around here, because I want everyone, no matter where they fit on the political spectrum, to feel welcome. But I just came across an article from Yahoo! News (thanks Twitter) about two men who decided to have their doctor euthanize them after they found out that along with being deaf, they were also going blind and would never see each other again. I heard something about this story earlier this week, but didn’t go looking for it. After reading this article, I’m shocked. I would never dream of having myself euthanized if I found myself in a position where I was going to lose my hearing, although I depend heavily on it. Yes, it would be devastating, but I’d learn to adapt. But I also recognize that, in Belgium, where this took place, euthanasia is legal, and individuals who are over eighteen, and mentally competent, have the option of doctor-assisted suicide if they’re suffering. But what really shocked me was the last line in the article:

Belgian lawmakers are considering a law that would extend euthanasia to dementia patients and children, whose families and doctors consented.

That’s taking this entirely too far, in my oppinion. I can see where this is going. A couple has a baby, learns that the child will be disabled, and then decides to have the child euthanized. The child has no say because he or she is too young. That’s crossing the line and would be murder. Same thing with the elderly. Family decides they don’t want to take care of Grandpa anymore, so let’s just put him out of his misery. And I can see all kinds of “quality-of-life” arguments being bandied around.

Personally, I think the two gentlemen who committed suicide rather than become blind and then learn to adapt made a tragic decision. But I can also understand that they had the choice, and maybe they weren’t aware of any resources that could help them, and they figured they were in for a lot of unbearable suffering. And so they exercised their right of free choice, and took the option they did. I don’t agree with it, but I can understand it. But according to the last line of that article, consent by the victim goes out the window, and it becomes another person’s choice. And that’s completely evil.

So what do you all think? Am I just foaming at the mouth, or does my position have merit? Leave a comment and let me know.


Comments

  • Amanda – That is some complicated moral stuff right there.

    On the one hand, adults with full mental capacity should have the right, and even the medical option to do whatever they choose with their own life/body.

    Now, having said that – I certainly DISAGREE whole-heartedly with legalizing Euthanasia when it comes to children, or anyone of any age with a decreased mental capacity.

    I have personally witnessed several elderly people, and experienced the tragic delusional condition which can result from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.

    The result of these two conditions, and their resulting effects can best be summed up as an elderly person uncontrollably reverting back to the mental state of an infant.

    As a young child, I had to live with my step dad’s mother as she progressively declined due to early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s which eventually required my step dad and mom to commit her into a nursing home with a large Alzheimer’s unit.

    My mom did quite a bit to shield me from many of the worst episodes resulting from the disease, however – I can still as an adult remember over-hearing the nurse whom came out to our house once a week tell my mom and step dad that: “This disease will progress, and you’ll eventually experience her going through sporadic episodes in which she might just randomly sit down in the middle of the floor, and attempt to start a fire!”

    As a young child, I did not understand that at all, but it scared the crap out of me, and sticks with me until today!

    Now, I went into that to illustrate the severely delusional state that is known/expected from Alzheimer’s patients. So, I do not believe that ANYONE confirmed to have Alzheimer’s at any stage should be given the right/ability/opportunity to end their own life. They simply do NOT grasp reality enough to fully think it out.

    Now on another related note, we actually already have widely-accepted euthanasia for the very ill and elderly in this country! You’ve heard of Hospice care?”

    My mom worked most of her adult life as a licensed, in-home elderly care nursing assistant. You name it with seniors, she’s seen it!

    One of her last clients before retiring herself was for a very long time misdiagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s. This lady was very nice, very capable of normal conversations at most times, and appeared mostly healthy for an elderly lady! Her only symptoms were 1 – she would sometimes randomly drift off, and even lose consciousness for a moment; and 2 – she would often lose her thoughts during a conversation.

    My mom worked in this lady’s home, and was soon told that Hospice had taken over her care, and would now be administering all further medical care and directives at the request of the family.

    My mom had actually grown to care a great deal for this lady during the several years that she had worked with her. She cried a LOT for the first week after being placed with another client!

    My mom recently shared with us some of the horrific things done by Hospice as soon as they first took over her care.

    My mom recalls the Hospice Nurse bringing out “graduated packets” of powdered Morphine to the lady’s home! The family recieved instructions to administer the “medication” beginning with the smaller packets, and working up to the larger packets when/if the suspicious mental episodes/phenomena occurred.

    My mom actually heard the Hospice nurse telling the family that the Morphine would “ease any physical pain, and the higher – final doses would minimize her final suffering by expediting the final stages leading up to death!”

    Several weeks passed, and my mom recieved a call to go back to her home to work. My mom was both shocked, and ecstatic at the prospect of working with her favorite client once again.

    Upon returning, my mom was briefed by the now extremely upset family members as to what they had come to discover.

    They had actually gotten very concerned at their mother’s Hospice treatment, and gone against the advice of Hospice. See, upon beginning Hospice care, the client, and/or family agree to discontinue visits to their normal doctor, and turn any/all further diagnosis/care over to the Hospice nurse, whom is supposed to then report directly to an over-seeing physician. Their mom had all her usual meds discontinued, and the Hospice nurse, (supposedly instructed by the doctor) would simply give her more of the Morphine doses whenever scheduled by the nurse.

    They explained that they began to ponder the possibility of a misdiagnosis. Upon consulting the original family doctor, the doctor began to immediately recognize some of the newly developing symptoms not as Alzheimer’s, but a much less severe, and even treatable disorder known as Hydrocephalus.

    The doctor requested they bring their mother in for a full exam as soon as possible! After being examined by the normal doctor, as well as a Neuro-pathologist, the appropriate diagnosis of Hydrocephalus was confirmed.

    When the family informed the Hospice nurse that they were discontinuing their services, the Hospice workers were actually reportedly angry, and had informed the family that they should have NOT gone against the original Hospice care plan.

    Well, after that long explanation and story, I can report to you that this very nice lady is now very healthy, undergoing proper treatment, and is enjoying her life!

    But had the family stuck to the Hospice care plan, continuing to administer the Morphine packets, they were given a maximum Hospice expectancy of 3 to six months max!

    That is fact!

    So, while I strongly disagree with such tactics – believe me when I tell you that we HAVE Euthanasia right now in America!

    I should say however, that if a healthy, mentally-competent adult chooses to seek a controlled death, a doctor should actually administer the final dose, but should be allowed to prescribe such medication upon notarized patient request so that the patient could then end it themselves.

  • Excellent blog you have here but I was wanting to know if
    you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here?

    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks a lot!

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