Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm a Supporter of Physician-Assisted Suicide...

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

...but, um, yeah. Not sure how I feel about this case:

A pair of identical twins have died after seeking euthanasia when they discovered they were both going blind. The 45-year-old twins were born deaf and requested to die after being told they would never see each other again.... [In Belgium] the option to die is usually only available to patients suffering unbearable pain who can also make their wish to die expressly clear. The twins’ case was unique therefore, as neither was suffering extreme physical pain or was terminally ill. David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, told Belgium's RTL television news channel that the twins had taken the decision in "full conscience." He said they were "very happy" and it was a "relief" to see the end of their suffering.

Joel Connelly will have lots to say about this, I'm thinking. Discuss.


Comments (59) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Who is to say that their mental pain was not extreme, and that it was not so very different than physical pain? They likely would have found other means to end their lives if left to do it on their own. When an extremely depressed person commits suicide, they have succumbed to their illness.
Posted by Barbara on January 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM · Report this
This was clearly an EMOTIONAL or MENTAL issue that should have been addressed by psychologists. ANY euthanasia candidates should be screened by a mental health professional before euthanasia is administered. The "doctor" should have his license revoked for following to get these patients the mental health assistance they clearly required.
Posted by LML on January 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 3
They made an informed and reasoned decision. I really don't see (ha!) the problem here.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
lolorhone 4
Don't know that I can get on board with this one. I don't mean to trivialize losing one's sight, but it seems in a different ballpark then terminal cancer or unbearable pain. That said, in conjunction with being unable to hear? A tough one, no doubt. But ultimately, I don't think I'd be able to assist them personally.
Posted by lolorhone on January 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
very bad homo 5
You know, if someone no longer wants to be alive, we really can't judge them for that decision. We have no idea what their life is like.
Posted by very bad homo on January 14, 2013 at 1:06 PM · Report this
I'm fine with it, but I might be an extremist on this issue.
Posted by Prettybetsy on January 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
I am generally in favor of letting adults choose their means of death when that is possible. Up to them, any family members they choose to include in the decision and their physician/s.

Posted by alight on January 14, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 8
I'm not comfortable with this either, but I have to admit the bright line is between having assisted suicide or not. Where you draw the lines around it being allowed is pretty damn subjective.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 9
I don't think any illness should be required. If I want to live only 40 years, I should be able to make that choice. Sure, you should be careful about depression (i.e. short term feelings of suicide), but it doesn't sound like this was a rash decision.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on January 14, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
Yeah, this seems totally reasonable to me, I've got to say. I guess if I would put myself in that situation, I think I would feel the same way as these twins, so it's really not my place to say they should not do it. Of course, there should be safeguards in place to make sure it is 100% their decision -- I'm sure not everyone would decide the same way, and that is also their right.
Posted by sara on January 14, 2013 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 11
If I were going blind, that would be it for me. And I would want it to be clean and sure. Add that to deaf, yeah, I'm o.k. with their decision.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 14, 2013 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 12
If someone doesn't want to be alive, then let them die. Mental health issues or no.

What is with this incessant belief that life is so fucking awesome we've just GOT to keep people alive against their will, for their own good, because they're going to like it, whether they like it or not?

It's their life, they can end it if they want.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 14, 2013 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 13
Some twins have a very deep spiritual and emotional connection and the thought of being apart is worse than death.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 14, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
@10 How to be sure it's their decision: that's the snag. I support the right to suicide for anyone over the age of 18 at any time, but it's hard to think of an airtight way to keep greedy heirs from making the decision for their aging relatives. Waiting period maybe? Mandatory consultation with lawyer and/or shrink? That sounds too much like some of the BS restrictions on abortion.
Posted by Prettybetsy on January 14, 2013 at 1:32 PM · Report this
For everyone who thinks that mental/emotional problems are grounds for suicide/euthanasia: What about all those gays and lesbians--many of them teenagers--who commit suicide because of the mental/emotional problems they face due to discrimination?
Posted by LML on January 14, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
I thought the point of physician assisted suicide was to help people who physically incapable of taking their own lives do so. 45yo deaf twins are perfectly capable of taking their own lives.
Posted by ourkind on January 14, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 17
@15 Apples and oranges mang: for one thing, the DSM no longer recognizes homosexuality as a mental disorder. Second, people object to the discrimination these young people face - they don't condone their suicide.

Prohibitions against suicide are paternalistic bullshit on the part of the State. It's a sad, and often profoundly selfish act - but the government has no say in my decision to be or not to be.
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm on January 14, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
Fortunate 18
While I find it sad, I can't condemn it. If I were in their shoes I would probably have killed myself. Living without sight or without hearing is one thing. To live without both, especially when you have lived over half of your life with at least one, is another story.

Being born without both you don't even know what you are really missing. But being so cut off from the world around you after having experienced in a certain way most of your life, I can't even imagine.

I can't imagine considering the kind of life I would have to live after losing both hearing and site at this stage in life satisfying, complete, or happy. Not being able to do all the things I have always loved doing, loss of independence to a great degree, being cut off from contact with people in normal circumstance...

I think I'd rather be dead, and can totally understand their reasoning. That they expressed relief at the end explains it all.

Some things get better and there is hope to live for. Other times things are just not going to get better and people have to make their choices.
Posted by Fortunate on January 14, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Ugh, twins are so creepy.
Posted by hereiswheremynamegoes on January 14, 2013 at 1:52 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 20

Most of the cases of physician-assisted suicide I've heard of involved patients who absolutely could have taken their own lives if they wanted. You'd have to be pretty damn incapacitated not to be able to raise a gun to your own head.

What physician-assisted suicide is meant to do is offer a painless and effective means of suicide. Most non-legal methods of suicide are either painful or not particularly effective.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM · Report this
kim in portland 21
I don't think we can judge this decision. From what I understand they were both deaf and mute and in addition to going blind they had other serious health conditions. They also feared being institutionalized. Lastly the process took two years and a judge had to be convinced that they each wanted to die.

I can only imagine that the loss of their sight and also the loss of both their ability to communicate (via sign language) and their life (independence) was too much. My thoughts are with their parents and brother.…
Posted by kim in portland on January 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM · Report this
This isn't about "losing both sight and hearing," as if these were somehow two separate but equal blows from fate. It's about access to language, for people who have grown up deaf and find that state to be normal.

Unfortunately Belgium is still very much oralist in its approach to deaf education, so it's likely that these brothers were oral communicators and entirely dependent on the visual modality to be able to use language. If they were sign language users, they would be able to transition without too much trouble to tactile signing, which is fundamentally the same language with a few modifications. They would still be able to communicate with each other and with all their loved ones in the deaf signing community. Not so for an oral deaf person going blind.

Anyone imagining, "Gee, I couldn't live without music, but if I had to live without music and ALSO live without seeing sunsets, then I'd really kill myself!" -- you're missing the point. Deaf people see these issues really really differently.
Posted by Margaret L. on January 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM · Report this
Their lives, their deaths, their decisions. Pretending to know better than them and making determinations for them (@2) would be not only overbearing, but cruel.
Posted by Kairon on January 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM · Report this
wingedkat 24
I want to say that they deserve to be able to make their own decisions, without anti-depressants or a waiting period.

I know I'd feel differently if they were 15, not 45.
Posted by wingedkat on January 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Well, the research on what happens when people have spinal cord injuries suggests it can take a couple of years before psychological state returns to pre-accident levels, and in most people it does return. Although this isn't a SCI, it has some similarities -- significant loss of prior functioning.

People can always kill themselves. Given that euthanasia involves *assisted* suicide, I think it's fair to regulate it. Ultimately, psychological pain can be as bad or worse than physical, so I would indeed offer to non-terminal cases without physical pain, but I'd place a long waiting period on these -- two years in fact, with psychotherapy required (much as it is for any significant procedure, such as sexual reassignment surgery).

2 yrs seems long but is based on research. If after two years you still feel your subjective quality of life sucks, then fine we'll help you die. Seems like a rational balance.
Posted by delta35 on January 14, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
imbecile 26
@12...I fully agree.
Posted by imbecile on January 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM · Report this
Bonefish 27
Physical pain is only one form of unpleasantness. If they don't think life would be worth living without sight or hearing, I think it's their right to avoid that without having to blow their brains out or jump off a bridge. They would rather have a medical doctor give them a clean, dignified, painless death, and I don't see any reason to interfere with that.

I guess you could apply "slippery slope" and argue that if their upcoming "unpleasantness" qualifies them for euthanasia, then what's to stop us from giving euthanasia to people who are sad that they just got dumped by their college sweetheart? But "slippery slope" arguments amount to disagreements over where the line should be drawn, and I think that putting these twins somewhere within that line is reasonable: they're about to face permanent blindness on top of their permanent deafness, putting limits on their interaction with the world that they consider to be too much.

A person can argue that they might still have fulfilling interactions via smell, taste, and touch, but I think that whether they attempt this or not should be up to them. What if they find it every bit as miserable and confining as they imagine? How would it be kind or life-affirming to force them to go through that?

I'm sure they've considered the possibility that it won't be as bad as they imagine, and they've made the choice not to take that risk. As adults, I think that should be their choice to make.
Posted by Bonefish on January 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Bonefish 28
15: Nobody is arguing that the problem with suicidal gay teens is merely their ability to commit suicide. The problem is when other people's actions make them miserable enough to drive them towards it.

To be analogous, somebody would have to be planning to blind these twins out of some warped religious belief that "duplicates" shouldn't be allowed eyesight. In that case, I would be focused on the sicko that plans to blind them.

Their ability to commit suicide after being blinded, much like a gay teen's ability to commit suicide after being ostracized by everyone he knows, is not the issue.
Posted by Bonefish on January 14, 2013 at 2:35 PM · Report this
Not sure what' to discuss here. If I were to find out that I'm going to be blind I would kill myself without any hesitation.

After seeing your whole life and then going blind is like hell on earth. It's different for people who were always blind.
Posted by Falcor on January 14, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
Read the article linked by @21. Deafness and blindness weren't the only problems. The men had other medical problems, their livelihood was dependent on sight, they could only communicate with their immediate family and only via sign language which would have been lost to them when blindness set in.
Furthermore, it took 2 years for them to get from deciding this is how they'd go about it and it being done. A judge had to rule in their favor and a doctor had to be found who was willing to perform the euthanasia. This was not a whim and they weren't just losing their sight. They were losing their independence, their work, their home and their ability to communicate at all.
I think their family, the judge and the doctor should all be commended for their compassion to these two poor men.
Posted by moosefan on January 14, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
No one is any under obligation to continue existing regardless of what demands other people make on their bodily autonomy
Posted by cpt. tim on January 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
It is really impossible to divorce their request from the fact that we live in a society that is bitterly steeped in ableism. Asking ourselves whether their *request to die* is legitimate isn't complete without asking ourselves also whether their *assessment of their projected quality of life* is legitimate too, and considering their request should include working to address reasonable conclusions they drew about their quality of life going forward had they not killed themselves.

Every able-bodied person alive is guilty of thinking of people who live with certain disabilities as less-than. These men reasonably concluded that their lives were worth less than others', that they would be treated accordingly, and made a reasonable choice based on the fact that they'd be at the mercy of people who didn't value them as equals.

Look how many people right in this comment thread just busted out with a casual, 'hey, their choice!' as if ableism didn't exist, or factor in anywhere. *That attitude* (on the part of the able-bodied among us) is the shit that needs changing NOW, not a law that allows people to choose medically assisted suicide.
Posted by happyhedonist on January 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Mike Force 33
If Braille was my only connection to the world I'd want to end it for sure.
Posted by Mike Force on January 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
Simply Me 34
The choice to live or die is the most personal and profound choice we have. Pain or no pain, no one can take that away.
Posted by Simply Me on January 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
It's their life. Belongs to them. They can end it when they choose.
Posted by Gamebird on January 14, 2013 at 4:56 PM · Report this
onion 36
this is just over the line for me. sure they should end their own lives whenever they choose, but a doctor shouldn't be doing it. they should. unasssisted suicide is the answer here.
i think the slippery slope argument truly applies here. we have to be careful not to corrupt the medical profession.
Posted by onion on January 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM · Report this
@36 - And how easy would it be to commit suicide if you're blind and deaf? Sounds pretty challenging.
Posted by Mike in Olympia on January 14, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
We can define if a person is rational, it may not be perfect, but at the end of the day we lock up the severely mentally ill.

It is THEIR decision to take their lives. The doctor does not have to agree and could refuse.

It is MY life, I don't tell other people how to run theirs and if I want to end MY life, its MY decision.
Posted by JJinAus on January 14, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
Their request. Their choice. Quality of life is key.
Posted by StuckInUtah on January 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM · Report this
The most powerful aspect of this sad story, for me anyhow, was that their parents & brother have to endure the loss of two lives at once....yet they had worked through to some degree of acceptance of the decision made by the twins. Better that they had this option to exercise, even with the 2 years it took to complete than had they attempted & failed, ending up worse off physically (and then unable to complete suicide. If one had not been successful he would have ended up more miserable in his failure & loss of his twin. Just my thoughts.
Posted by TampaDink on January 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
I agree with @4. This isn't the same sort of thing as terminal cancer or unrelenting physical pain, though the two year wait does indicate that it wasn't a moment of weakness. It is super tough to live without hearing or eyesight, but I don't want the world to come to the idea that life is not worth living without either of those things or that blind and deaf people have no value to themselves or society.

It's super tough to be a gay teenager too (totally different kind of tough; hear me out) and we don't want them to commit suicide. Why? Because it gets better. For someone dealing with a disability 1. it's possible that some treatment may one day mitigate or reverse it and 2. it's possible to get used to it and wring all possible satisfaction out of one's albeit limited life. Two men in this situation could have spent those two years learning a new sign language, one they could do by touch. (Um, and why did they have to rely on a sign language that no one outside their family could understand? Does Belgium not have a national sign language or a deaf subculture?)

With the two men able-bodied, I have to wonder why they went for euthanasia instead of just suicide.

Ageism is in play here as well as ableism. Imagine if they were 95-year-old twins instead of 45-year-old twins.
Posted by DRF on January 14, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
@14 There are two important ways in which required waiting periods for legal suicide would be different from waiting periods for abortion:

1. Abortion is time-sensitive and suicide is not. The longer a woman waits to terminate a pregnancy, the more invasive, expensive, risky and ethically problematic the act becomes.

2. Waiting can sometimes solve the problem that the prospective suicide faces. Many people who contemplate suicide are in the throes of a recent event or recent news and will be able to deal with the emotions that make them want to die in time. A man who learns that he will be deaf may want to die at first but then change his mind after he learns sign language. Women who want to terminate their pregnancies usually have reasons that do not disappear, get better, or go away over time (unless you make her wait so long that she gives birth).
Posted by DRF on January 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM · Report this
sirkowski 43
Creepy twins are creepy.
Posted by sirkowski on January 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM · Report this

28--Gay teenagers do not kill themselves because some malicious person TURNED them gay. They kill themselves because INSENSITIVE ASSHOLES TELL THEM that they are worth less (worthless) because they are not "normal."

Would I want to kill myself if I lost my sight and hearing? Quite possibly. But then, I also thought about killing myself over issues such as "I am never going to finish my dissertation," "I am never going to get a job," "I am never going to have a girlfriend." I made it through all of these challenges, partially through mental health services.
Posted by LML on January 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM · Report this
A complex and compelling issue. I’m all for a well-considered choice to end one’s own life. Howevs: The safeguard issue raised by 10&14 is important. I don’t think a single doctor should ever be able to make the decision that euthanasia is warranted in any situation. In most (all?) states, you can’t get psychiatrically hospitalized without two docs signing off on your papers. Death should be at least that well considered. As for the heartless 12&26: A lot of people who suffer from major depression go through periods in which they seriously don’t want to be alive. I don’t agree that we should just let them die, because I have seen some of them get through the darkness and go on to live really rich, fulfilling lives with people around them who would have been devastated by their absence.
Posted by Dr. M on January 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 46
If someone wants to kill themself, the assistance process seems so much better than the DIY version.

1. There are requirements to be met to insure this is not a rash decision. Here, especially because they broke their own rules to accommodate these twins, there was nothing rash about it.

2. None of your friends or family have to find you dead. That is the most dickish part of suicide. Might as well write on your note, "Whoever finds me, fuck you, asshole!"

3. It's successful. It's hard enough to get right with all of your senses. I'm guessing when you're deaf and blind, trying ANYTHING you've never rehearsed before would be a recipe for failure.
Posted by Free Lunch on January 14, 2013 at 8:48 PM · Report this
@29: "I would kill myself without any hesitation."

Dude. We're all going to be dead. Soon. And for a long time. Maybe even people with handicaps can wring some joy out of the few years we get to shuffle around on this planet?
Posted by fubar on January 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
Def a tough one. I personally like the idea of euthanasia because multiple times I've witnessed the horror of slowly losing your mind, your identity, and your independence to dementia and I would rather die than go through that (I THINK, though it's hard to say until you're there yourself.)

But on the other hand it's such an irrevocable business to leave up to fallible humans and human institutions. Like, it seems that an intensive 2-year process could almost work the other way: ie. once you have invested a lot of money and the time of multiple highly paid professionals in convincing people you want to die you might be LESS likely to admit your having second thoughts.

Or if your family is poor and insurance will pay for euthanasia but not treatment.

Or if you are elderly and your entire family pressures you to agree to euthanasia and make you feel so guilty that you (seemingly) readily agree.

Tough one.
Posted by chi_type on January 14, 2013 at 9:03 PM · Report this
I know some deaf-blind folks. It's not unmanageable. In fact, there are some people who are genetically deaf who also lose their sight after a time (probably what the twins had). Makes me wonder how many deaf-blind folks they went out to find, but maybe the deaf community is different in Belgium than it is in the U.S. No major university for deaf students, for example like there is here.
Posted by MinnySota on January 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Fortunate 50
@47 - "Dude. We're all going to be dead. Soon. And for a long time. Maybe even people with handicaps can wring some joy out of the few years we get to shuffle around on this planet?"

That would be a valid point if people were saying these twins SHOULD die due to their disability.

What these twins said, and what some of us are saying, is that for US this disability is not something we would want to deal with and death to US is a more attractive alternative.

Sorry, I wouldn't want to live in a state of not being able to hear or see, probably having to be institutionalized, at the very least losing all real independence, and basically having to live in my head alone 24 / 7 except for the brief periods I would be able to have interactions with the very few people who would be able to effectively communicate with me, in the hopes that I might just possibly be able to wring just a bit of joy out of my few years left. That is not my idea of a life.

If someone is in that position and they want to fight the fight and try to live a decent life in that state them more power to them. I fully support them.

But if someone is faced with that prospect and they chose not to their choice should be equally respected. It is not their job to be forced to exist in a state they consider intolerable to make other people happy or to prove the worth of disabled people everywhere. They aren't paragons, they are individuals as we all are, and we all should get to make that choice.
Posted by Fortunate on January 15, 2013 at 7:45 AM · Report this
Bonefish 51
44: Good for you. It was your right to decide to go the mental health route. For these people, it's their right to choose suicide. Or not, if THEY change THEIR minds. Don't make the mistake of assuming that they haven't thought about this carefully.

Also with the gay teens, my point is that their suicide is due to the actions of others (ostracism and bullying), not that their homosexuality is due to the actions of others. These twins, however, are not committing suicide due to the actions of others; nobody is bullying them or ostracizing them, nor is anyone else turning them blind.

You could possibly point to societal notions of disability as a force that is driving them to suicide, but I don't think it's that cut-and-dry. These men aren't seeking suicide because they will feel inferior to able-bodied people. They're seeking suicide because they have imagined what their lives will be like after losing their sight on top of their hearing, and they've decided that it would be torturous. You may disagree, but that's why nobody should force you to make the same decision under the same circumstances.

For all those crying "ableism," respecting the choices of disabled people is not ableist. Even if we find their choices to be based on unenlightened (to us), "incorrect" (to us), socially-inspired notions of what it means to be disabled. Even if they were making a mistake, it's their mistake, and their right.
Posted by Bonefish on January 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM · Report this
John Horstman 52
Ethically, coercive means to prevent suicide are a violation of bodily autonomy. Allowing people to exist as they wish to necessarily means allowing them to end their existences when they decide the conditions of existence are unbearable (and especially when they see no hope of improvement). Without a concomitant right to die, there is no right to live: there's an obligation to live (and in many cases to live under shitty conditions, as the world can be a fairly awful place). That's fucked. Coercive suicide prevention is based on the idea that other people have more of a right to determine what happens to you/your body than you do. No dice - that's the same attitude that normalizes transphobia and forced pregnancy and rape, to name a few of the worst expressions said attitude. We need to do what we can to a) make the world the sort of place in which people will have good lives, such that they don't want to not live any more, and b) make suicide as painless as possible for those who want to die.
Posted by John Horstman on January 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Report this
debug 53
@5 Yes, judgement doesn't help, but a large portion of suicide cases come from untreated depression. There are many who, after a failed first attempt, received treatment and are now happy they are alive and able to better cope with life.

It is inhumane to think "if they want to kill themselves, then let them go ahead" when for many that feeling may be curable.

I agree that those with terminal illnesses should be allowed an option to die with dignity (my mom's last months of brain cancer were a nightmare).
Posted by debug on January 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
Wrong translation of Dutch, the loss of eyesight was a side-effect of a more serious illness that was giving them constant pain.
Posted by wiccaantje on January 16, 2013 at 6:37 AM · Report this
Helix 55
If I was going blind and deaf you can be sure as fuck I would kill myself. I have no desire to live with that kind of extreme sensory deprivation.
Posted by Helix on January 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
We know from experience that people who get a certain disability often feel, when they first find out, that life will not be worth living like this, and that they would like to die.

Wait 10 years and they almost always think that was stupid of them, are glad that they didn't/weren't able to commit suicide, that life is well worth living, and test as feeling just as satisfied with their lives as they were before they ever got disabled. Only a small percentage still feel terrible about the disability.

The only sensible response to this situation is to impose waiting periods. Not a 10-year long waiting period; that's too much. But 1 year of living with a (non-painful) disability before the doctor will help you off yourself? Absolutely. It's irresponsible not to tell them that, if they want help doing it, they need to prove this isn't just a passing desire.

If you want a doctor's help killing yourself, then your rights aren't being violated if that doctor imposes some restrictions on how she'll give that help. And a doctor has no business going along with someone's desire to die in these circumstances without requiring a substantial waiting period.
Posted by Danadana on January 16, 2013 at 7:41 PM · Report this
Fortunate 57
"Wait 10 years and they almost always think that was stupid of them"

Not all disabilities are equal. If you want to make this claim back it up. Where are the numbers on how many people who, after living over half their life sighted and then lose their sight after already being deaf and want to die after it later change their minds?

I highly doubt any such statistics have ever been collected and so such an assertion is more what you hope happens rather than what anyone knows happens.

So a person who does not want to live must be forced to live in a state of partial sensory depravation and loss of independence for a year of what, to them, is suffering to satisfy someone that they are or aren't suffering and won't change their minds?

Sorry, but if were facing suffering and someone else told you that you only had to suffer in an unbearable state before you would be allowed to end it I doubt you would be so accepting.
Posted by Fortunate on January 16, 2013 at 7:59 PM · Report this
There's no question that euthanasia will eventually claim lives for the wrong reasons (treatable depression, manipulation from family members, and so on). I think it's likely that a greater number of lives will be defiled with horrible, demeaning, agonizing deaths if we do NOT permit euthanasia under any circumstances.

Some people luck into a good life. Most people have to work for it, and sometimes they still don't achieve it; sometimes our very efforts to obtain a good life are what make us miserable. Despite these unfortunate outcomes, we should still have the option to try, since people who make no effort at all generally end up having a pretty miserable life.

The very same things can be said of an easy death.
Posted by Keey on January 17, 2013 at 6:39 AM · Report this
@54, the Independent article already made me think some information was missing. I mean, it would have had to be some sort of genetic degenerative disease to cause both twins congenital deafness, then lose their eyesight. There were probably other medical problems related to such a disease. Unfortunately, I can't find any info on that, since most English language media concentrate on the killing of relatively healthy, able-bodied, mentally stable adults.
Posted by ine on January 20, 2013 at 8:12 AM · Report this

Add a comment


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy