I just finished reading an article in the Montreal Gazette about the Quebec government’s forthcoming “act respecting end-of-life care”. If Bill 52 is adopted, it would allow doctors to end a terminally ill patient’s life by lethal injection, provided the patient specifically asks for it.
Eighty percent of Quebecers support some form of euthanasia or medically assisted dying. Roughly 2 million Quebecers currently state in their wills that they don’t want to be kept alive by extraordinary measures if there’s no hope they’ll recover.
The dilemma is between those who want to dictate morals and those who want to make their own choice. The proponents of “natural death” will argue until their last breath that no one has the right to choose to end their life earlier than whatever the life-clock determines. For them, any intervention in that process is murder.
For me, I want to make the call when I feel the time is appropriate without interference from those pushing their own morality. My family is long dead, so it’s not as if there’s going to be a family conference to discuss when to pull the plug. I want to set out the parameters for that long before the time arrives. I want to be sure the medical people have a clear “DNR” – do not resuscitate, on the documentation. Anything other than that is unacceptable.
As a society we have become so wrapped up in projecting our own values that we sometimes overlook the needs of others. We warehouse our elders, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on life support and insist that the final laborious breath be a natural one – often to assuage our own guilt and because we can’t let go. We’re scared of death and denying it postpones it for just a little longer.