Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Right to die (ii)

A quadraplegic man this week "won the right to starve himself to death" (here). It begs all sorts of questions. The case was not so much about this man's rights as clearing any palliative care agency of negligence if they decide to agree with his wishes not to accept food....and that they should respect his wishes not to be force-fed.
A correspondent to The Advertiser yesterday rightly asks the question whether this decision is actually 'civilised', as many claim. Not because it allows a person to suicide by starvation, but because by allowing in principle a person's right to determine whether they should not be treated, the person then has to go through a slow but excruciating process of dying by starvation.
I think this is a good point.
Whilst I personally believe we should not go down the track of allowing active euthanasia (that is, doctor's should not be allowed to inject people with drugs the sole purpose of which is to take away their life) there are going to be dilemmas like this which need better solutions.
Incidentally, last night S and I went to see My Sister's Keeper, which is also about death...but I will blog about that later

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