Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The New Reality TV: Assisted Suicide is "Love"

Well Jack Kervorkian must be proud, as must the 58% of Washingtonians that celebrated their win in making assisted suicide legal in their state barely a month ago.

You’ll recall that Kervorkian started a trend in making suicide a living room experience when he filmed killing Thomas Youk in 1998, and paraded the grisly deed on CBS’ 60 Minutes a few weeks later.

It’s baaack!!

Britain’s newspapers are all abuzz today over the planned screening on the Sky Real Lives channel tomorrow night of the documentary Right To Die - The Suicide Tourist, which shows, in part, the assisted suicide of 59 year-old Craig Ewert.

Ewert, from Britain, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease a while back and given a few years to live. The disease progressed fairly quickly to where he was confined to a wheelchair. 

(Sidebar, my good friend in South Africa, Tony, who also has motor neuron disease, and is in much worse shape than Ewert was, has a vastly different opinion than Ewert).

No worries, mate, Switzerland’s Dignitas can help. For a £3000 fee, of course.

Ewert made the decision to end his life before he was in a position where he couldn’t kill himself. As he put it:

Once I become completely paralysed then I am nothing more than a living tomb that takes in nutrients through a tube in the stomach - it's painful. . . . Let's face it, when you're completely paralysed and cannot talk how do you let somebody know you are suffering?

To avoid this difficult situation, he travelled to Switzerland accompanied by his wife.  (Assisted suicide is illegal in Britain). The documentary shows Ewert, his wife at his side, drinking a fatal dose of drugs and using his lips to press the button (helpfully held to his lips by his loving wife) that stopped his ventilator.

He was dead in less than an hour. Just ike that.

Two points among many, if I may:

One: All the buzz is about Ewert’s suicide on TV, there, for all to see, rather than the act of suicide itself, which the British media regularly, and fawningly, presents as a perfectly reasonable thing for people to do. Methinks they protesteth too much.

Two: As with the Dan James case a few weeks ago (courtesy of the same diligent, deadly, Dignitas) the spin of the media is this:

What a shame that this poor man had to kill himself so far from his home and the comfort of his surroundings, without his whole loving family by his side to hold his hand and hug him as he slipped away from his pain and torment. What kind of barbaric society is Britain that it still has laws outlawing this ultimate act of loving sacrifice?

Bad, bad, naughty law. Needs to be changed.

OK, maybe it’s just me, but we’ve obviously moved to seeing assisted suicide as a good thing, and laws and people that oppose it as those nasty intolerants.

Interesting, very interesting.


Anonymous said...
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Jude said...

I just wanted to say that although I have not commented on your blog I do read it every time you post something new and I do look to you (and some others) to stay updated on this issue.

I believe in staying aware of the horrors, as opposed to the "ignorance is bliss" idea.

My daughter, who is 13, is DD, has Spina Bifida (paralysis from waist down), & Bi-Polar - just to name a few. I wrote a letter to the editor of our local disability newspaper when my daughter was little. It was on the topic of "suffering". It was in response to a woman who wrote an article and was getting an abortion because her baby had the same disability that her (living) daughter already had. She talked about how they were "pitching" it to their daughter. They were telling her that they didn't want anyone to suffer the way she was so that's why they were aborting.
I felt like this was wrong on so many levels, of course. I was especially horrified by the message this woman was sending to her daughter.

This is the same concern I have about all these people killing themselves........and they have the same disability as someone else who is living a normal life!!!!! (notice I did not put the word normal in italics)

I hear from our adult friends who have disabilities about how our daughter has such a better opportunity growing up now then they did so many years ago. Now I feel like this idea of killing yourself, if you can't deal with your disability, is going to derail all the hard work everyone has done to get everyone to this point.

!!!!! I AM TERRIFIED!!!!

I could go on about this forever. It is just so sad and scary. I don't know how to fix it......except to continue to speak up and portray my daughter and anyone else with a disability, as a REAL person, who deserves to be viewed as a valued (and important) part of society, instead of someone who may or may not have value based on whatever criteria someone happens to come up with.


Oh ya, and you can visit my blog too (shameless I know :) )

Dr Mark said...

Jude, I seriously appreciate your stopping by.

You're right, what can we do? You're especially right, we must continue to speak up.

Letters to the editor.

Bug your elected representatives. Never let an opportunity go by that you don't communicate the message.

Telling your story every time there's even half a chance.

Always, everywhere.

Keep stopping by.

email me off blog (markpmostert@gmail.com) and let's continue the conversation).

I'll check out your (unashamed plug) blog!!! :)

Thanks again, Mark

william Peace said...

Mark, What can we do? This is the big question. Deaths such as Daniel James and his parents actions are not an isolated event. The assisted suicide movement is gaining momentum nation wide and advocacy groups have deep pockets to push for new legislation. I have thought about this at length and have no insight as to how to effectively oppose assisted suicide. Perhaps a post about this subject is worthwhile--spread the word and ask others what can be done.