Tuesday, July 15, 2014


At our age, many of us would probably have seen death up close in people we know and love. We have seen the acute pain and intense discomfort they have to endure, hour after endless hour, week after torturous week.

The doctors tell us to pray and hope for the best, but prepare for the worse. They assure us they will do everything they can for our loved one. 

But is this what our loved one really wants?  The person we once spent happy times with is now a shadow of himself, emaciated and barely able to recognize us through the haze of pain. There are tubes and drips hanging above his bed. He is hooked to machines that monitor his vital signs. He knows his death is a matter of time - a few months if he is lucky, or a few years if he is not. For him, the end-of-life is slow and agonizing.

Most Canadian doctors oppose physician-assisted
suicide. (Click here for more.)
There is no quality of life for him. He wants the doctors to pull the plug on all the machines that are keeping him in this vegetative state. He doesn't want the doctors to prolong his suffering. He wants to exercise his right to die with dignity. It is his life after all.

But he can't do it himself. He needs the help of his doctors. Will they do it?

More views and videos at www.realdignitytas.com 

Doctors working in hospitals see hundreds of terminally ill patients. They know in their hearts when a patient has little chance of making it through. They know the terrible side effects some of the drugs have on the patients, especially the elderly. They know despite everything they do, it will all likely be in vain.

They have taken the Hippocrates oath to save lives, so their hands are legally and morally tied. They have to continue administering pain-killers and hope their patients respond positively to the new drugs or treatment.

Click here to read more.

For elderly patients with a terminal illness, it is like being sentenced to a living hell. They don't have the strength to fight the illness, nor the will to live anymore. They just want to be left in peace to die. 

But for the family, they want to hold on to their loved one, even when he begs to be released from this endless suffering. To stand by and watch someone dying without doing everything possible to save him is against all that they have been taught - that life is to be valued and preserved whatever the cost, especially the life of a dearly loved parent or child.

The family also knows that prolonging treatment may drain every cent from their life savings, and leave them in dire financial straits. There are families who have taken huge loans or sold their only home to pay for medical and hospitalization fees that could easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. And all for what? 

Euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide is illegal in most countries. Holland is one of a few countries that support euthanasia. No doctor would want to risk losing his license if found guilty of such 'mercy-killing'.

But this may soon change in the UK, if the Assisted Dying Bill is passed by Parliament. The Bill will be debated this week. Will other countries follow suit, and allow for debate on this controversial issue?

Desmond Tutu pleas for 'assisted dying' before historic Lords debate. Click here to read more.

Religious groups view life as sacrosanct. Only God has the power to take away life. However, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa supports a person's right to die with dignity. He views Nelson Mandala's prolonged final days as 'an affront to dignity'. Read his article in The Guardian "Desmond Tutu: a dignified death is our right – I am in favour of assisted dying".

For one doctor's personal views about death and dying, do read his article "Our unrealistic views of death, through a doctor’s eyes" published in the Washington Post. Highly recommended reading.

And finally, for both sides of the controversial issue, do read "Right-to-die: For and against assisted suicide" in the BBC News.

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