Saturday, February 25, 2012

Back again: Euthanasia!

Black and white polka dots photo frame magnet - art by Anne Vis
Did I mention euthanasia back in my previous post, ever since a member of the Dutch royal family got into a coma with little chance of any recovery, the topic is back in the headlines once again (or did it never leave?).
It seems like there is no other country in the world where it is such a big issue than the Netherlands. Ironic for a people that claims to be one of the happiest nations around ... (but maybe that is because of the high number of people on anti-depression medication ... ).
I follow these discussions with interest, as sooner or later we are all faced with situations like these. The other day there was a desperate mother of an eighteen year old who was mentally retarded and had no quality of life whatsoever left ... just laying in bed like a vegetable, unable to do anything for herself. And of course this situation with this prince now gets a lot of attention, but let's face it: the 99% of us know someone in a situation like this or have known and it is sad beyond words.
I think that what people are forgetting is that many of these situations arise because of medical possibilities to treat. Without medical intervention, a lot of the people in situations that now evoke the euthanasia discussion, would have already died. But for the medical personnel this is very difficult (if not impossible) to assess in advance. The prince was reanimated for 50 minutes: if that would not have happened, he would already have passed away. So if you can take the decision to intervene to postpone death, are you also allowed to take the decision to terminate the life if you see there is no "quality" left after your intervention?
It is a very difficult decision to take and then: who is going to take it? Does the medical profession have a responsibility to refuse to continue treatment for "hopeless" cases?
In a time where medical care is becoming a luxury a lot of people cannot afford any more, it seems legitimate to ask these questions.
It is an entire different ball game to be in the position of the person who says, OK, lets pull out the plug now ... And I want to add here that my thoughts go out to everyone facing this and similar situations.
Not everyone has a reaction of sympathy though.
It seems that 20% of the people think that it was his own fault, so nobody should meow about it.
And one "very religious" woman: "He will go straight to hell!"
Personally I thought the very concept of hell was from another era, but apparently not ... so much for compassion.
After all: yes, he may have made a mistake, but isn't that just human ... ?
It is not all as black and white as my illustration today suggests ... (yes, I am still hooked to creating photo frame magnets for your own images, check them out at new products in Sunny Sites online art store!)

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