Letters to the Editor

Death with dignity

May 1, 2012

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To the editor:

This may be the next needed and, one day in Kansas, protected human right: the right to die with dignity, for those requesting it, physician-assisted dying, an earnest choice between a patient and her/his physician in the privacy of their shared conversations.

The anguish of imposing on one’s loved ones that prolonged period of enduring the suffering and irreversible deterioration of one so well-loved, when it’s against her/his wishes should be finally eliminated, not to mention the costs to the family of those last excruciating months. Shouldn’t such compassion be among the personal choices afforded the person who is dying? It’s her life, isn’t it? Let it end with her personal wishes for a death with dignity and compassion.

Comments

bozo_the_clown 3 years ago

I'm afraid God and the self-righteous would disagree.

Ragingbear 3 years ago

I know Hilda personally. She is one of the most religious and pious individuals I have met in life.

SnakeFist 3 years ago

There is nothing dignified about death, the only dignity is in living well. No rational being chooses death. By definition, a desire to die is irrational and not only need not be respected but, for the good of the person, ought not be respected. Life isn't always pleasant, but its all we've got. Death is the ultimate evil - it strips us completely and permanently of our personhood. Embracing nothingness to avoid fear or pain is not the answer.

David Klamet 3 years ago

Clearly spoken by someone who has not experienced the long painful decline of someone close. So often, the last few days, weeks, or even longer are filled with pain both emotional and physical, and painful memories for the loved ones who must watch their loved one go through it.

We make choices about who lives and who dies everyday, but those are not so clear as something like this.

It has always amazed me that we will let our mothers and fathers, etc. go through hell that we wouldn't let our pets experience.

It is not easy, the moral choices are not always clear, but fear guides the decisions we make, not what's best for the dying person.

Those that see it the most make different choices.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577243321242833962.html

SnakeFist 3 years ago

You said: "...painful memories for the loved ones who must watch their loved one go through it."

I agree with FalseHopeNoChange, you seem more concerned with sparing the loved ones' emotions than doing what's best for the dying person. In effect, get him out of the way quick so we don't have to be saddened by watching him decline.

Physical and emotional pain are part of life. If we go down the road of allowing ourselves the easy way out when we feel pain, where will it end?

jonas_opines 3 years ago

I like how you wrote it, pretending like that was actually logic, despite the fact that your ultimate conclusion is completely founded upon premises that are completely unproven.

You should just scrap all of that, and restart with honesty. It will be much shorter, and simpler.

"I am deathly afraid of death, so death is bad."

SnakeFist 3 years ago

"I am deathly afraid of death, so death is bad."

Sounds better than "I am deathly afraid of living so death is good".

Scribeoflight 3 years ago

"There is nothing dignified about death, the only dignity is in living well." I disagree. Death is a marker of time. How we meet that end, and how we lived before, are what shows who we are as a person. Dignity, is living and dieing as we ourselves see fit. Not others, not governments, not doctors.

"No rational being chooses death. By definition, a desire to die is irrational and not only need not be respected but, for the good of the person, ought not be respected. " I also disagree. Any being who is rational is in control of their life and actions, even if that leads to ending their existence. The sacrifice of oneself for others is considered heroic, and a quality that is amongst the highest a human can posses. And the ULTIMATE expression of that is to lay down your life for another, or for an idea that you believe in. That is a rational decision to die.

"Life isn't always pleasant, but its all we've got. Death is the ultimate evil - it strips us completely and permanently of our personhood. Embracing nothingness to avoid fear or pain is not the answer."

And once again,. I disagree. Death is not the ultimate evil. Everyone, and everything around you, will die. Our only option as rational beings is how we live and how we die. If my choice is between months or years of emotional and physical pain, both for myself and those around me, or falling asleep in a garden listening to the sound of a thunderstorm one last time, I know which one I would pick.

But, and here is the really really really important point. That's what I, and I alone would pick. Not you, not a doctor, not the government, not anyone. You are free to make your own choice, and have no interference. I would ask the same.

David Klamet 3 years ago

I am not, of course equating the two situations, but contrasting them.

There are really hard questions in this moral area (and many others). Our approach is to stick our head in the sand and allow decisions by inaction.

Did anyone read the link I posted?

There are no simple answers or universal formulas to help make these decisions. We can make laws and policies to relieve ourselves of guilt, but that doesn't help those who will suffer.

We can imagine horrible scenarios where people can avoid a horribly painful death only by taking there own life, or worse, someone who has the choice of doing it for them.

The only difference between that and the situation of SOME terminally ill people is one of degree. These are the situation when there is no good choice, only a least bad.

As is stated above, people should be allowed to choose, but when the situation is desperate, we should make those choices as easy as possible.

Sometimes the things that happen in life are horrible. Doctors have as much experience with those situations as anyone. If there example doesn't influence you then the only way your mind will be changed is, unfortunately, to experience it yourself.

number3of5 3 years ago

I hear this comment loud and clear. I live in pain every day and night of my life. I am 67 years old and plan to live a lot longer. I promised my granddaughters 120 years. I also have a dog who lives in pain. He won't take medicine. When I think about putting him to sleep because of the pain, I also think that I would not want someone to think of ending my life because of my pain. A person who wishes to die can simply will themselves to die. They can stop eating and with pain meds from their doctor, can die with dignity.....

JayhawksandHerd 3 years ago

Who is forcing you to end your life according to their wishes? If the law were changed, you would be free to choose physician-assisted suicide, or not. Obviously you've made your choice, so, what's the problem?

bendover61 3 years ago

Will "doctors" be forced to kill people? Many in the medical community are forced to provide drugs they are opposed to. Will the "service" be covered by insurance? Will Obama care cover this? Once you have doctors killing people, is it a really big step to have doctors killing people at the orders of the government?

parrothead8 3 years ago

"Once you have doctors killing people, is it a really big step to have doctors killing people at the orders of the government?"

If the government wants you dead, they're not going to have a doctor do it.

KSense 3 years ago

What part of "Thou shall not kill" is not incontrovertible?

asixbury 3 years ago

The part in which the constitution guarantees separation of church and state. The government shall make no law based on religion. Your objection, instead of being solid in logic and reason, is merely based on your religion. My personal faith is not against this. So which of us should win out? Oh, I forgot, Christians only like personal choices and freedoms when it applies to them.

Enlightenment 3 years ago

But death in senseless wars is considered noble.

David Reynolds 3 years ago

I do not want the government involved with my end of life decisions. I believe this involvement would evolve to "elderfanticide" just like we have legalized "on demand" abortion. I do not want some bureaucrat making decisions at the end of my life.

This is currently handled with "Living Wills & Powers of Attorney".

We have government deciding if I will be born, if we get past that hurdle, they tax me & regulate me. Please just let me die on my own terms.

Thank you.

Katara 3 years ago

"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome." -Isaac Asimov

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