Saturday, February 16

Euthanasia

My regular readers may find this somewhat off topic for me and this blog, but for a number of reasons I feel the urge to make comment about it.

Recently, here in Western Australia a lady, who could no long endure the pain and suffering of her illness, took her own life.  She did it alone, so that her loved ones would not be involved in any legal action for helping, participating or not stopping her in what she did.

I know there are risks legalising euthanasia, but I do feel that with the clever legal people that we have these days, a system could be created so that those people who really do want to stop the pain, discomfort and indignity of the health problems might do so in a more pleasant way.  I know nursing homes also are home to many people who would prefer to depart this world rather than endure what they have to, and I know that (silently) there are nursing people who, like me, wonder at the waste, cost, indignity etc etc, of people who are surviving (not living) beyond their use by date.

Dr Phillip Nitsche has long promoted the discussion on Euthanasia and I do read his newsletters and website from time to time.  His organisation Exit International is very interesting to read.

Another person who was enduring great pain and discomfort from an incurable illness took his own life in a most horrific way, details of which I will not go into here and now, but it is another example of the need to look at things differently.  I know there are religious views on this topic, and I am glad that there is, but for those people whose lives really are not worth enduring, I think we need to look at other options so that they can die with dignity.

In Australia the major political parties are too scared to open the topic for wider discussion, but I do think it is time we did.  We don't have enough nurses and doctors, and nursing home beds are in short supply, and in any case no one should have to be kept alive in pain, (mental or physical) longer than they can endure.

Perhaps we should not be keen to "put down" humans as quickly as we do animals, but it is inhumane to do what we are doing.

I can only suggest that people write to their local political reprsentative asking for a public discussion, and change of law in Australia.  People are doing it in bizarre ways now, much of which is not reported publicly to respect the family, but it is about time we at least discussed it openly.

RIP Barbara Harrison.


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