Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ZenTiger Your Duty to Die

The number of over-65s in New Zealand is projected to double between 2006 and 2031 – by 2050, 1.33 million Kiwis will be over 65.
Well, there's the first problem.
All the while, medical breakthroughs make it increasingly possible to keep the seriously ill and injured alive in ways that, even five years ago, weren't feasible.
And throw in another issue of seemingly equal weight, but really, what's the proportion?
Both sets of facts almost certainly mean that calls such as Dr Pollock's, to the New Zealand Medical Association to reconsider its stance on euthanasia – and, presumably, on assisted suicide – will become louder.
The argument made above, in a nutshell, is all about money. It illustrates exactly the warning from Catholic bioethicist John Kleinsman:
John Kleinsman contends persuasively, however, that when the sick, dying, disabled and elderly are undervalued, as now, the "right" to die will all too quickly become a "duty" to die. "People who feel neglected and invisible will understandably think they are a burden and will want to do the `right' thing," he wrote in the Dominion Post last week.
Furthermore, the editorial extract above uses the issue of attempting to keep people alive beyond the point of reason. That, I think, strays into a different discussion than the specific issue of assisting people to commit suicide.  For example, some people have tattooed "do not resuscitate" on their chests to ensure those measures are not enacted. It's a different kind of decision to find a dead person and leave them that way, than bring them back and possibly leave them as a vegetable. What do you think?

Dom Post: Time for a new look at the right of people to ask others to help them suicide

2 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Not sure what you're saying. How would a catholic (ok I'm using a hypothetical ideal catholic here) arrive at the decision that they had a duty to die because it was costing people too much money? If the time of coming and going remains known only to god, there is no question of extra duty. Their faith would hold to the end. So the obvious theoretical way around these wordly problems would be to have faith. In real life, if flawed people are scared of being human, or hood-winked, the solution remains the same.

homepaddock said...

" It's a different kind of decision to find a dead person and leave them that way, than bring them back and possibly leave them as a vegetable."

Twice I have faced this decision.My sons were in hospital and had stopped breathing.Both had degenerative brain disorders and resuscitation - if successful which was doubtful - would merely extended their lives for a very short time.

Saying DNR in those circumstances was less difficult than if there'd been hope of a better quality of life if they survived.

But deciding not to revive someone is different from hastening their deaths.

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