An individual with a terminal disorder should have the right to die. Remember that movement. Enter Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
I have always had issues with this topic. I made quite the name for myself on this issue. In many cases I was not at all popular, but I stood my ground, and did what I felt that I had to do. There were far too many questions.
Basically it came down to this. There was a State Representative whose Grandfather passed away with a terminal disorder, but the dyeing process was long and painful. He understandably, was determined to stop long-suffering death in Michigan. I understood his pain. I even might concur that no one should suffer a long dying process. But, that is not life. Life is reality, and all too often some of us get the raw end of the deal. There is no easy way out. That is just the way it is. Establishing right to die legislation as a way to avoid long dying processes is not the way to deal with the issue.
Basically, in Michigan at that time there was no proposal by the Representative to assist someone in dying. He was not proposing euthanasia. He was however saying that the family, or appointed agent would have the authority to cease medical treatment, including medications and feeding as well as water, to allow a patient to die with dignity.
However, we had issues with this. It was all too easy. This perception of humane treatment, had all kinds of issues attached, and I could see the complications arising with every page of the legislation and analysis that I read. However, my cousin put the cap on it for me. It came right down to this. With the ever-growing cost of medical care, and people living longer, as well as the advances in the ability to keep one alive for long periods of time. also a point of consideration was there is the ever-growing population, and of course that means eventual over population. Now comes the problem of just feeding everyone.
Couple that with rich vs. poor, and who will get and not get adequate medical care. The question sooner or later becomes “When will an individuals right to die….become an individuals obligation to die”.
In a sense we are already seeing signs of this very concept. Restrictions on medical care, committees that consider the justification of extraordinary medical care, based on age, individual worth, and social economic status. Former Vice President Dick Cheney for example might get a heart transplant in his late 70’s. You or myself though, wouldn’t have a chance at that age. First of all we are too old. Second there is the question of individual worth; What have I to offer overall society? Is my life worth saving? and of course there is Social Economic Status. Them that has, gets, them that don’t, get nothing. Case Closed!
Any legislation therefore, that would garner physician assisted injections to terminate ones life for cause, ie; terminal medical conditions, is nothing more than euthanasia.
Today it might be just for terminal end life issues. But what about tomorrow? What about the legislation that would in effect allow the State Social Service Agency to act as the agent for a patient considered as homeless, or without family, alone in the world. The State petitions the court, and the court appoints the State as agent, and the no treatment order is placed or for that matter the physician is ordered to assist the dying process. For that matter, suppose the decision to end the patients life is based solely on the patients economic status. Terminal illness is not even a factor because the patient is in fact not dying. The Department has decided that they are not going to pay for any further treatment. It is just a simple matter of twiking (amending), legislation.
A similar question was posed to a State Senator during the course of the legislation known as Michigan’s Right to Die proposal almost thirty years ago. I asked the Senator “What’s to stop the State of Michigan, in this case The Dept. of Social Services from becoming the agent”? He said “Don’t be silly, there is nothing in this Bill that permits the State to act as an agent”. I replied to the good Senator “There is nothing in the Bill that stops it either. His careful review led to his introducing an amendment that clarified that the State or any employee of the State, or any person acting on behalf of the State could not be appointed to act as agent for any recipient of Social Services or Medicaid.
What led me to this rant? Well, I was listening to the radio this morning and apparently there is legislation being considered that would allow assisted treatment by a physician designed to end the life of a patient who has chosen that he/she no longer wants to live. I am not sure if this is a Michigan Bill or what, I just heard it on a news report, more or less in passing and it’s been on my mind ever since. Takes me back to near 30 years ago when Right to Die Legislation was the big thing here in Michigan. Considering the economic situation in Michigan today. Considering the economy of The United States, and the world for that matter, I can only imagine what this concept would lead to.
I can see it now, on a given date in time, by some computer generated program based on a combination of factors unknown, up to and including ones economic status, as well as social worth, one receives a letter from the State that on a given date they are to report to the nearest sanitarium for final evaluation of end life. There is no need to bring a tooth-brush.
So my friends I ask again, 30 years later, “When will an individuals right to die….become an individuals obligation to die”? A little food for thought!
That’s my point of view……..I look forward to you insights on the issue. Have a good night and as usual…………God Bless America!