Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Pro-Choice (and no, it is not the topic you think)

Dr. Donald Low, a leading light in the field of public health, left an impassioned plea for physician-assisted suicide as part of his legacy in death. Dying of a brain tumour, he worried about the manner in which he would die - a feeling that I can certainly identify with at this stage of the game. My specialist and others have told me in many ways I am lucky - given many alternatives, they say dying of kidney failure is not particularly painful - they describe it almost like a descent into hibernation - you grow sleepier and sleepier, until the final deeper sleep. But I still feel the need to believe I will have some control over that - that we all deserve the opportunity to decide how the story ends. In saying this I know some people may have strong and valid arguments why this concept is untenable. For religious or other reasons that may include people taking advantage of this freedom to choose. I know for anyone who has followed this blog, my feelings on the topic are not a secret and yes, they are clouded by my own self-interest - but it shouldn't take the moment when a leading physician is staring death in the face - looking into it's cold eyes - to start waking up to this conversation. I know that I can have a care plan that lays out when and if medical intervention will take place - and maybe that sounds like expediting the process - but it is only focused on the extraordinary measures that would be taken to keep me alive - not those that might ease me into the light. Our discomfort with this topic is understandable - but I think it is all past time we got over it - and accepted that at a minimum, it is time to talk.


  1. I read a New Yorker piece several years ago in which the writer, a doctor, looked at the issue. He noted that all the physicians he interviewed had a personal plan to allow them to determine the time and method of their deaths should it come to that. It's long past time for a real discussion and a structure that allows people freedom of choice.