Death with dignity must have consentBy Michael Kelly | 11/09/2014 9:04pm
The law should not rely on miracles. Miracles are, by definition, not to be expected. In the vast majority of cases, there is no unexplainable recovery or wonderful new treatment. Instead, people choose to fight their disease to its end and often endure horrific pain and indignities like being unable to eat, walk or use a toilet. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do that, but to force that path on a person who would rather end their suffering quickly and painlessly is tantamount to torture.
I don’t see how voluntary euthanasia will hurt cancer research. There will still be far too much death and misery caused by the disease – more than enough to maintain motivation for the monumental work toward cures. Freeing up medical resources used to care for some of those patients on death’s doorstep, however, could have an immediate and tangible effect on health care. When people elect to end their own lives before terminal diseases take them, they are also easing the burden on their families, who must watch their loved ones suffer while being left with enormous, crippling medical bills.
The true controversy with euthanasia is consent. The possibility of people with diminished mental capacity being pressured by doctors or their families into ending their own lives is an important cause for concern but may be addressed through careful safeguards and limitations. Denying the afflicted an opportunity to decide, however, is both unmerciful and disrespectful to their individual liberties.
Michael Kelly is a third-year law student.