The Assisted Suicide Debate & Developing Countries
Is there anyone out there thinking on behalf of developing countries?
One more state in USA (Washington state) has followed Oregon in legalizing assisted suicide. In an article on its current status, the New York Times quotes Dr Ganzini, “Everybody thought this was going to be about pain. It turns out that pain is kind of irrelevant” – It was more about a desire to be in control and to die at home.
SEATTLE — Dr. Richard Wesley has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the incurable disease that lays waste to muscles while leaving the mind intact. He lives with the knowledge that an untimely death is chasing him down, but takes solace in knowing that he can decide exactly when, where and how he will die.
Under Washington State’s Death With Dignity Act, his physician has given him a prescription for a lethal dose of barbiturates. He would prefer to die naturally, but if dying becomes protracted and difficult, he plans to take the drugs and die peacefully within minutes.
“It’s like the definition of pornography,” Dr. Wesley, 67, said at his home here in Seattle, with Mount Rainier in the distance. “I’ll know it’s time to go when I see it.”
We are not surprised. In a country where pain is generally treated, is it not natural that it is not the main concern?
But the situation is so very different in countries in which most people do not have access to pain relief.
This underlines Pallium India’s argument to anyone who wishes to talk about euthanasia in India: Let us first offer palliative care to the masses, and then discuss euthanasia. True; it is easier and cheaper to end life than to care; but do we want to be as savage as to say,
“Sorry, we do not care enough to offer you available inexpensive pain-relieving medicines, but walk into our parlor; we can end your life?”