He Walked the Walk
In my usual perusing various news sources for anything interesting, I fell upon this article about a doctor in Oregon. He was someone who campaigned for and helped to get a Death with Dignity law passed in his state. Then last week, he used that law for his own benefit, at the age of 83 after suffering through a disease similar to Parkinson’s.
I’ve never really understood why we treat our pets with more compassion than we do our family and ourselves. Any time we have a pet that is near death, or in pain or suffering due to an incurable illness, we do what we feel is right and euthanize the animal. However, many don’t feel like we deserve that right for ourselves. The opposition will argue that
the proposal would promote suicide among the mentally ill or even wrongdoing by doctors and unscrupulous relatives.
That just seems shortsighted to me. It takes more than a family member or a wayward doctor to make these decisions. There’s only one thing that any of us truly owns in this world that that is our own lives. However, do we really own it when the only options for taking one’s own life are either gruesome or painful? If someone has an untreatable disease that simply leads to suffering and a painful end, why not let the person bypass that part?
Lastly, does something being illegal mean that something isn’t going to happen? Of course not.
Goodwin pointed out that the acts he sought to legalize were going on quietly between doctors and terminally ill patients anyway. The proposed law, he said, restricted the right to rational people who were at the ends of their lives and repeatedly requested their physicians’ help to end their suffering.
Legalizing this will remove some burden and fear from physicians. Just like anything else, a physician who does not believe in this action will not be forced to perform it. Instead it merely allows those who do agree with it to help. If anybody deserves help, it should be those who are suffering.