Monday, 9 August 2010

The Right To Die

I wrote this nearly a month ago now but havent posted it due to not wanting to be morbid. However after watching Casualty and the very excellent and sensitive way this subject was handled perhaps now the time is right for this post to be published.

Is it time we had a proper open debate about when we chose to die? I believe it is. At the moment assisted suicide is illegal in this country. I think that's wrong. People are forced to leave the country to get the help they need to end their pain. Why do the laws state we need to prolong peoples suffering?

People shouldn't be made to suffer when their quality of life becomes intolerable. The pain they feel is more than any of us who have not been there can possibly start to comprehend. Why do we do this?. Its not humane. We have huge double standards when it comes to this as a society. If an animal is in pain we end its suffering but a human, no you have to go on until your body gives out. Ravaged with pain and kept alive by drugs and machines.

I understand there are people that chose to do this for personal and religious reasons and that's fine, but why do those that want to die with dignity not allowed to do so. If you are to weak to do this yourself the person that helps you is charged with your murder. That cant be right can it?

Personally if I'm brain dead I don't want to be kept alive by a machine. That isn't me laying there its my shell as my soul has long gone. If I get a terminal illness and I cant fight it I want to chose when I die. I want to be able to spare my family the heartache of watching me die. Its my body, my choice, I should be allowed to leave this mortal coil as and when I see fit. Shouldn't I?

I understand there are people that feel this will be abused and people will use it for personal gain. If that's then proven then prosecute them. I also understand that their are people with religious views that will strongly disagree with this argument. I take those views on board. However we were given a will for a reason. To be able to decide ourselves what is right for us at any certain time. If you are in pain why prolong it if you don't wish to do so. Having a law in place that makes you do this is wrong in my opinion.

I have told my family, well my wife at least what my wishes are if the worst happens. I want any usable organs,apart from my eyes to be used. I also don't want to be kept alive by a machine. I want to be able to choose when I go if illness strikes me down. Its my life so it should be my choice, not a politician or a lawyer to tell me I'm not allowed to do this. If we allow humans to put down animals when they are in pain then why cant we do this to ourselves?

Suicide carries a stigma that needs to be addressed. Its seen as a selfish act. If you are terminally ill and take your life to end your suffering you are recorded as a suicide. That's wrong. That's just a way for insurance companies to not pay out the life insurance. That's a criminal act. When there is clear medical evidence that you are dying then you shouldn't be treated as a suicide to stop a company paying your life insurance to your family when they need it the most.

So as I said at the start lets put our own prejudices aside for once and have a real adult debate, so that people with very poor quality of life don't have to spend those final few days in court challenging their right to chose how they die. That's got to be stopped.

Death for those are left behind is a terrible experience and can take people many years to get over. Lets have a law that states if you wish to die because your illness leaves you in pain, you can chose when and where you do this. Lets leave this place with happy memories for our family, knowing we went in peace when we wanted to. Not that they prolonged our life because they felt obliged to.

Lets start by having an open and adult debate.

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