This is something that has been bothering me for some time. Some people support it because they believe it’s quality and not quantity of life that matters. On the other hand, others are against the idea because they think that this might lead to a dangerous slippery slope in which people who feel that they are a burden to the family may opt to be euthanised.
I used to say that I am against the idea because I believe it may lead to a dangerous slippery slope but deep inside, something didn’t feel too right. Lately, I stumbled upon a blog written by a paralyzed woman and I started thinking about this issue again. I thought that she was a really strong lady and she was very frank with the challenges that she faced. So I was very taken aback when I found out that she eventually took her own life. She wrote a post on her blog to her friends, thanking them for their support and informing them that she could not hold on to a life like this anymore. It’s quality that matters, not quantity.
When someone said something like this, my knee-jerk reaction is to want to say to the person to hold on because there’s hope as long as there’s life. But what if the person has tried living with it? What if the person has come to terms with the disability but still makes the decision to not live anymore? What if his/ her life is painful, close to unbearable? Am I being selfish for cheerleading the person? I’m not the person living through it and I’m not the person who is imprisoned by my own body, I really do not have the right to tell the person to persevere.
So does it mean that under the conditions that the person choose to end his/ her own life after coming to terms with the disability and after trying to live with it for some time, I am ok with supporting euthanasia? That’s because everyone is entitled to the right to die. But what if there is a new medical treatment to relieve this person of his/her disability in the near future? What if just by holding on a little while longer, he/she could have made a lot of progress in recovery? What if there can be quality of life at the end of this dark, long tunnel?
Deep inside my heart, I have faith in medicine and I have faith that it is moving forward, albeit slower than what people want it to be. I hope you have faith in medicine too.