Its my choice to die – or is it?

Julie James explained her decision to help her son kill himself in two emails to a newspaper earlier this month, in response to articles about the High Court “right to die” test case brought by multiple sclerosis sufferer Debbie Purdy

“My heart goes out to Ms Purdy. Three weeks ago our son was at last allowed his wish of a dignfied death in the Dignitas apartment in Zurich. Dan was 23 years old and had broken his neck in a rugby accident in March 2007.

“He couldn’t walk, had no hand function, but constant pain in all of his fingers. He was incontinent, suffered uncontrollable spasms in his legs and upper body and needed 24-hour care.

“Dan had tried to commit suicide three times but this was unsuccessful due to his disability. His only other option was to starve himself.

In doing so his body finally shut down from dehydration and starvation. His mother “assisted” him by not feeding him.

Personally, I think that its your life, do with it as you please. At some point quality of life is very important and actually hinders the great experiences of this incarnation.

Here is more on the topic…

Embedded video from CNN Video

Also here is a link to a company that actually advocates your death if needed.

http://www.dignityindying.org.uk/

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7 thoughts on “Its my choice to die – or is it?

  1. This is like an episode of snapped where a mom had lost her husband to a crippling disease, then finds out that her 2 sons had it also. They had expressed to her that they wanted to die, so she shot them both in the head as they lay in the hospital.

    There are a couple ways people can look at this situation. Me being a mother, I don’t think that I would have it in me to kill my child, even if he, wanted me to do it. Part of me thinks that it takes an inconceivable amount of love and courage to pull it off, another part just thinks it’s murder – and that is what divides most people’s thinking.

    Putting myself in the son’s shoes, I would rather not be here than to be totally helpless. At some point, the government has to look outside the law and into their hearts as to what they would want. I can’t think of anyone who would rather be in constant pain, unable to move, etc… I just hope I’m never in that position…

  2. There are so many lenses through which to discuss this issue –

    1) Right of the individual to control his/her life
    2) Right of family in ‘control’ of terminally ill loved one
    3) Justice system in evaluating / determining onus of control in path to death of individual
    4) Ethical / moral dilemma of assisted suicide and quality of life

    I have not experienced, first-hand, the horrific pain of a loved one dying. What I adamantly believe is that death should not be prolonged and painful. I’ve always thought I’d prefer to learn today that my time on this earth, for whatever reason, had reached the end of the road, and be gone immediately. No pain, no prolonged agony, just wham bam thank you…I’ve known and. thus, been privvy to friends who have been ‘given’ (never understood that term) XX months to live, planned their lives accordingly, helped plan the end, and spent final days saying their good byes. I can’t imagine.

    I cannot fathom, as a parent, dealing with the reality of a terminally ill child. Parents are simply not supposed to outlive their children. That, in and of itself, is too painful to imagine, let alone factoring in seeing my child in pain. At what point does the love for your child supersede what you know and understand about taking a life. I don’t know how I would face such a situation.

    Imagine the intricacy of the justice system in sifting through murder vs. assisted dying. Even in such a situation as the Dying with Dignity organization you linked, there is the reality of an individual who never ‘registered’ with the organization while he/she was in possession of full mental capacity. If a loved one then assists with the death, how do you judge intent of the individual vs. decision by the family member to expedite the burden of care for said ‘high maintenance’ wife/husband/child…there are so many layers.

    Ethically and morally, who decides who lives and who dies, and at what point the individual’s quality of life is so far diminished that time on this planet can be ended? I’ve touched only briefly in scratching the surface within each point. A white paper could be detailed on any one of these points. In theory, it should be simple but in reality it is convoluted by a litany of issues to easily ascertain choice or ‘right to die’.

  3. Let me open with a quote by Florynce Kennedy:
    “I think we should look forward to death more than we do. Of course everybody hates to go to bed or miss anything but dying is really the only chance we’ll get to rest….”

    Why is it that we as people have such negative attitudes about death? Is it because we fear the unknown?

    If a person is suffering or want to end life as they know it, why not allow them? It’s their fu**ing choice!!

    Positive note for the earth and humans: By committing suicide they will be making more room for those who enjoy living they also will help to eliminate some pollution. They are helping to balance the environment (no matter how small it may be). We can’t save EVERY life where would they all go… Yes, some may view committing suicide as a cop out especially if they have family, but maybe their family is better off without them. I can delve deeper into this but maybe another time. I really just wanted to release some thoughts that were ready to jump off the cliff. 🙂

  4. Vic, Perhaps I don’t see it so complicated. If you want to die you sign a form – just like if you want to be an organ donor.

    As far as morals, none of “our” morals or wants should matter. I think the biggest point thats being missed is the choice of the sufferer. If they want to go b/c of pain or simply dying with what they deem dignity – let it be. Of course I cannot speak from a parents perspective, but i find it SICKING we are apt and quick to put a damn dog or horse down “so it doesn’t suffer” but yet want to banter about humans!? I think its all ass backwards.

    KH, I agree. Physically all humans are over 600 billion years old its only our conscious that is born and dies. Just as I noted on Swans blog, its all about the balance of energy and resources. Again, some people are here just to inspire thought and leave a mark on our conscious and to do so their physical body must expire.

    Your body, your life, do what you do 😉

  5. It is the judicial system that complicates things, D, as with so many other issues. For example, you have someone such as my uncle who, years ago, was diagnosed with colon cancer and signed up for surgery at the recommendation of his doc. He hadn’t been asked or given thought to ‘what if’ as he was healthy prior to the check up that found the cancer. Everything happened so quickly. He was left in severe pain after the surgery as the cancer spread so aggressively in such a short time post surgery. He was in and out of semi-conscious states from that point forward. The court system tied the hands of his wife as no will, living or otherwise was in place. They hadn’t yet gotten to that point. They wouldn’t honor paperwork signed at that point because of the pain meds he was on. I say all of this to say….it should be simple, but it isn’t!! Reality bites.

  6. Ah, very good points Vic. Perhaps if we took the “do you want to be a donor” at the BMV approach it could circumvent alot of this.

    Not suer if you know but legislature made it “ok” to ask that question and indicated it on the Drives License because the drivers test is nothing more than a competency test and it “proves” ones sanity, cognitives kills, and ability to rationally reason.

    So again if we had two symbols on your DL, one for organ donation and the other for assistive death I think we would be good.

    Thoughts?

  7. Indeed! Sounds like a plan. And, since I’m already a registered organ donor, next go around with the wonderful folks at the BMV, I can just do the old ‘check, check’ motion and be good to go. Just remember that, k!

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data, ability to repeat discredited memes, and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Also, be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor even implied. Any irrelevancies you can mention will also be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous :)

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