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to sleep; perchance to dream?

By Mike Cunningham On October 2nd, 2011

So who has the right to decide when we die? Should it be a deeply personal decision; or should there be an input from medical or judicial sources. Gone are the days when suicide, or an attempt at suicide, was considered to be so contentious as to be a criminal matter. But there are serious possibilities, still upon the Statute books, of any person who has aided a suicide-intent person being hauled into Court, as this aid is still considered a criminal matter.

Chris Woodhead, a motor-neurone disease sufferer, makes the valid point that he is the only person qualified to decide when his own quality of life deteriorates past a certain point, and therefore he, and only he, should be able to make such decisions; as well as those he might ask to aid or help him in his decline!

A High Court judge has decided that he knows better than family members of a brain-damaged woman as to her ‘quality of life’, and thus states that the patient has ‘some positive experiences’ and that ‘ that there is a sufficient chance for these experiences to increase’. All I would say in comment upon this particular judge is that he must have ‘super-sensitive’ intuitive powers beneath that grey wig. How can an ordinary human being ‘know’ what someone else is feeling or thinking, especially since that person can neither sign, nor move, nor communicate in any acceptable manner?

It is all very well stating that the Law must protect those who cannot protect themselves, but who decides what protection is available, and who decides when the sufferer, or the family, cannot make those choices for themselves?

4 Responses to “to sleep; perchance to dream?”

  1. As a homeless, orphaned Protestant living in Northern Ireland, would you ask Gerry or Martin to make that decision on your behalf?? 🙂

  2. Of course Woodhead is right. We all have the right to die when we choose.

  3. Chris Woodhead rightly says that only he should decide if he wishes to die. The only problem is that, if he gets past a certain point, he will be unable either to carry out his wish himself, or communicate it to anyone else.

    This is the problem, you wake up one morning and find that you have deteriorated to a point where communication is impossible, what do you do?

  4. Roger that Peter.

    When I know it’s time nothing or nobody will be given the opportunity to stick their nose where it don’t belong. I, and I alone am the captain of my ship.

    Besides, old grouches never die………….They just fade away!

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