Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A matter of choice..

Monday night saw the documentary by Terry Pratchett, he of the Discworld fantasy books on “Choosing to Die”.  For those who didn’t see it, it was about Terry Pratchett trying to establish whether he would be able to die at the time and in a way he wanted.  In the documentary he followed two people to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland where they had chosen to end their lives.  The final moments of the film saw one of the men who had Motor Neuron disease dying.
As upsetting, disturbing and strangely peaceful those final moments were I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth he had to travel to Switzerland, to a foreign place to end his life. Why is the government dragging its heels on this issue?  Yes, it is an emotive and contentious issue.  Yes, we have to protect the vulnerable to ensure no one is coerced into making this somewhat final decision.  Yes, the argument against assisted dying is strong though mainly based on religious or moral beliefs.
But surely as a Human Being suffering from a terminal\debilitating disease, illness or injury we should have the right to choose to die with the dignity afforded to us.  What right is it for another individual or even government policy\law to tell us that we can’t?  Then if we do choose to go aboard it is at a cost, which then makes it only accessible for the rich.  While there is a threat that your loved ones may be prosecuted on their return to the UK.
Living Wills are common place now, where they let your loved ones know what medical treatments you want or don’t want to help prolong your life if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.  So why then when you are in “sound mind” you are not allowed to choose when to die.
I know that if the time came that I had to make that choice as upsetting it would be for my family and friends I know that they would support me in my decision.  You go through life making choices all the time and when your life is full of pain and illness then you should be able to make that final choice.
To choose to die in your own bed, your favorite chair or place surrounded by the ones you love and who respect your final choice in life, must surely be a choice available to all.


Sarah said...

Assisted death goes against my catholic upbringing. It grates at my morals, but my emotions tell me differently. I couldn't stand seeing someone I love dearly, going through such a traumatic time, without support. It may not be what I'd want for myself ( but who can say that either - I've not walked in his/hers shoes), but I would honor and respect my loved ones wishes.

Frankie P said...

Hey Sarah,

I know for a lot of people that it will be against their beliefs however i believe we should be able to have the choice.


Anonymous said...

Tough choice. I think it is one of those 'I don't know what I would do until I was in that position' and then my thoughts may be different if it was me or someone very close to me. I would like to think that by the time I am in this position (some years away...) that there will be a change in culture, attitude and legislation and the debate will me much different. I would also think that medical science will have progressed significantly and that what are now terminal illnesses will be treatable so the need for this is lessened... Good post. Thought provoking

Fox in the City said...

Really well written post.

I firmly believe that a person should be the ultimate authority over what happens to their own body. I understand the need to protect those who might be coercied into something but ultimately, I would like to be the final authority, rather than the government, over my body.

Frankie P said...

Hey Jenn,

totally agree, its your body you should have the final choice.. Choice is all i am asking for..


katie @mummydaddyme said...

Great post Frankie. I have no idea really what I feel on the subject as I have never been in the position to have a family or loved one go through any bad disease which leaves them feeling like they don't want to carry on.

I do however feel like we should be given the choice of what we want to do and I don't feel like the ones we leave behind should be punished for us wanting to go peacefully.

Muddling Along said...

A great post - for me its about choice and what worries me is that there currently isn't any choice, much less the option of a good death with dignity

Perhaps if we could guarantee a high level of care in our old age then being treated with respect at our deaths would be a natural continuation of that

Frankie P said...

Hi Muddling

Think you are right if only we could get that guarantee. But somehow i cam't see it in the near future.

Thanks for stoping by..

Anonymous said...

I share your views. No state or other individual's wishes should override a personal's own wish in this important matter.

But I am guilty of tending to such important matters myself. A living will is something one should take care of, but instead of taking myself to a law office, I am here blogging :)