Interesting take on “assisted suicide” as a care prevention option.
This couple were apparently in good health but precisely because they were in good health now was the time of their choosing;
“Mr and Mrs Milner’s daughter Chrissy said her parents had been in good health but did not want to get to a stage where they would be too ill to care for themselves. She said they felt they had to pre-empt any possible serious deterioration in their health.”
And this from the letter signed by both Mr and Mrs Milner;
“I have made many visits to friends and relatives in care homes. They cannot wash, dress, feed or toilet themselves. They cannot get out of the chair or walk. This can go on for a long time – years.
Long before we reach this stage of degeneration the quality of life for us would be unacceptable, cruel and inhumane.”
This is probably the main area of public commentary and thought where I come over as, dare I suggest, my most conservative. My biggest issue is the Milners objection to living a less than perfect life.The danger seems to be in leaving people with the impression that unless everything is just the way it always was, or the way you want it life is “not good enough” to live. That may or may not be appropriate for the Milners’ or the late Christopher Reeves who made similar comments following his injury. But as someone who occasionally needs help with all the things that letter listed, I’d like to think I contribute and have added value even at those times my health was at a low point and I needed to adapt.
Advocates of this position have told me that it isn’t personal: that they make no judgement about those of us who choose to live and hopefully contribute in spite of our challenges. They often heroise us; collectively for living.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they couldn’t live with my disability…. And there have been times when I thought they were right.
Each person will make their own decisions about end of life. I have no issue with the decision they have taken. I take issue with the publicity they sought by seeking to have the letter published.
He said his first letter was published 60 years ago and asked that this, his last letter, would also be published.
My quams are about the social responsibility of turning your choice into a headline and the impact that has on the rest of us
At the point that you write to the newspaper, or post to a blog claiming that you want to get out while you’re ahead you add to the debate and the value of choice that you advocate is compromised. You are in a position to place value and the associated judgment on all life, not just your own. On the recent paraplegic who is trying to piece it together on his way to physiotherapy; on the teenager whose parents have just divorced for whom just the way it was seems a long way away. Either of these folks could be flicking through the paper and read your assertions about maintaining control and “the good life”
Inclusion of the rest of us who just get on with it also gets much harder. The fact is none of us know what we will be capable of till we are there. To publisize a decision like this either way makes it harder for the rest of us to make our own choices.
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