Ethics Alarms master commenter Mrs. Q has the highest ratio of Comments of the Day to comments of any of the erudite participants here. If she would consider it, I’d love to feature her ethical musings in a regular column on the blog. This is the first of two Mrs. Q compositions you will see this weekend; it concerns the issues of euthanasia and consent, which were explored in twoposts this week, and a poll. Regarding that: here is the still live survey regarding the hypothetical I posed in this follow-up to the one about the Dutch doctor:
As you can see, those supporting the opposite position of Mrs. Q (and me) are in a distinct minority.
Here is Mrs. Q’s Comment of the Day, a reply to another commenter, on the post, “The Euthanasia Slippery Slope: A Case Study.”
My God fearing Catholic grandma had the opposite response to yours. She was 102 & 7mo. and after breaking her hip it was too late to even think of surgery. She continued to weaken & lose weight yet she fought by drinking milkshakes & trying to greet her many family/visitors.
Before she got to this point a few years prior, her care coordinator somehow changed her directive to DNR, which as a Catholic she wouldn’t have agreed to, yet this person tried to convince the family that my grandma said yes to the change. If my family hadn’t checked the paperwork, my grandma’s incorrect and unauthorized change would have remained; however our family changed it back. My understanding is such acts are not uncommon in these facilities.
Fast forward to her last days. She was increasingly given higher doses of morphine & we weren’t allowed to even give her sips of water, though she was clearly thirsty. Her last words ever spoken while she gripped onto me, and heard by everyone in the room were “I don’t want to die.” She didn’t want to go and the nursing home was killing her and she knew it.
I still feel complicit in her death, as I tried to “go along” with staff who I assumed knew best.
Yes, it’s sad to see our loved ones suffer but it’s also wrong to kill them off so we can avoid the suffering of watching them suffer. Such a concept seems like the ultimate in dehumanizing our vulnerable citizens because suffering is part of being human. Denying that makes our society increasing prone to relying on “happiness indexes” to determine whether someone lives or dies. And in the hands of those who desire technocratic medical control over the rest of us (take a gander at Google’s medical device patents for a frightening example) it will only become easier to kill us in the name of comfort and convenience.
When you have a society that deems it acceptable to abort a preborn because the child was a result of rape or may be potentially abused, then you have a society that believes their lives are inherently less valuable. When you have a society that believes it’s acceptable for an 8 year old to have the “right” to be permanently sterilized with hormones, & at 12 years old is ready to have a double mastectomy, then you have a society where bodily dismemberment is tolerated & even celebrated. When you have a society that is okay with snuffing out the sick and elderly because it sucks to watch them in pain, then you have a culture that is pro-death and anti-human.
A society of comfort nihilism is one that will eventually eat itself.
My grandmother’s end of life wasn’t marginal. And taking away anyone’s right to life isn’t either.