Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Death and Dying #2

Last night as I watched TV I experienced huge emotions:
The programme was Terry Pratchett - Choosing to Die

Much publicity was given last year when this very talented author let it be known that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. He set out to make this documentary to investigate assisted suicide (not of course legal in this country) and options available to UK residents

Now, I somewhat naively assumed that those who chose this end would be close to their end, in constant pain or suffering hugely from thier disability.
The young man interviewed was only 42; he had MS and was certainly suffering; but he was also totally cognisant; he talked very calmly about how he didn't want to get worse, how he had reached what he considred to be his limit.

The interview with the doctor from Dignitas I found more alarming - the person being 'assisted' must be capable of administering the drug themsleves - if they left instructions, but had reached a point were they were incapable of speech, or of holding a glass to the lips then the drugs would not be given.

Terry and his assistant visited two men at home in England, and then in Switzerland. One they stayed with right to the end - filming the drugs being taken, and the cameras staying on while he died - off camera.
I found it incredibly disturbing - and hopeless - and so wrong!!!

The very fact that the phrase 'helped to die' is used gives a softer light to somthing that is not at all soft - it is hard, hard truth. Suicide is not an easy answer, and suicide in this manner - clincalised somehow did not feel right.
To my mind euthanasia is for those whose life is beyond any treatment, any help - not just because if it's not done now - while I have strength, while I can speak, then it won't be an option.
One of the other, horrifying statistics quoted was that not everyone who passes through that door is ill - terminally or otherwise - just 'weary of life'

I am appalled
I was revolted by the programme
But I also recognise that this is an issue which is not going to go away; is not going to die a natural death
When I wrote about euthanasia in January it was after much heart searching as I took the decision to let my dog die - that decision took me months to come to

Human life is precious - our life is a God-given gift.
Having witnessed the assisted death of a man who was still vital, who still had life in him I cannot see that it was a good decision

I wonder how many others watched?
And how many are filled with questions today?

No comments:

Post a Comment