Assisted suicide should be a choice

About twenty years ago my great aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was in her early seventies. Up to that diagnoses, she was a very active senior. She was still driving her own car, picking up my grandmother almost every day so they could go to afternoon bingo, a favourite activity of theirs. The cancer diagnoses was not good. My aunt soon started treatment, but it took a toll on her and with no one at home to help her, it became obvious to her immediate family that she could no longer care for herself. It wasn’t long before she ended up in hospital.

My aunt was admitted to the Henderson General Hospital now the Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton. As time went by, it became obvious that my aunt was not getting better. On one of my visits to see her, my grandmother, and uncle were already there when I entered the room. I knew things were not right, my grandmother, as gently as she could, told me, my aunt, her sister had had a stroke, and lost her ability to speak and eat.

I continued with my daily visits, but her condition worsened. She had difficulties swallowing, so I would give her mouth moisture using one of the sponges meant for brushing teeth. Then one day, I noticed her i.v. was gone, her children along with doctors had decided a course of action. It was a course that many of us did not approve of, the i.v. was back but was not doing anything, it was there for appearances only. My aunt was soon moved to a room by herself, it seemed some thought she would only last a few days without nourishment. That didn’t happen, and she was moved back to a ward. It took over a week for my great aunt to die.

Now I cannot say whether or not my great aunt would have chosen assisted suicide, but it should be a choice. It’s time for our government to talk about it. What do you think?

9 Replies to “Assisted suicide should be a choice”

  1. The topic is about human dignity, not religion … which is why the discussion won’t take place … and if it does, I doubt it will go anywhere.

    Just wanted to say hi as I’ve returned from break … thanks for dropping by while I was gone.

  2. Wow, a very difficult subject to approach. A lot to think about here. I definitely agree that we should be able to control our own lives and situations, but there would also be those people who get a grave diagnosis and give up too quickly. I met a man 2 days ago who was told by American doctors that he had less than 5 years to live, then he came to Vietnam and was cured. Definitely something the government needs to discuss further. Western medicine is not the be-all end-all. Hmm…interesting topic, thank you for raising it, Catherine!

    1. I agree that Western medicine is not the be-all-end-all, yet ultimately our end life decisions should be our own. I am not entirely convinced that someone who was given a grave diagnosis then goes to another country and is cured. On the other hand, doctors do make mistakes, thus the reason for second and sometimes third opinions.

  3. I totally agree. I watched my father-in-law suffer a slow, painful death over a 2 year timespan. It has always amazed me that it’s perfectly legal to euthanize a beloved pet because we don’t want them to suffer physically when they become sick, yet somehow our government feels that as consenting adults, we should not be allowed to decide if we want to suffer ourselves. Good thought-provoking post on a difficult subject.

  4. I agree. Our government needs to discuss this issue. I believe assisted suicide should be a medical choice. It seems the only humane option for some people who are really suffering.

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