Right to die with dignity – NJ sees a new billboard campaign

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I read an article the other day about right to die groups and how they are getting out their message (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/07/national_campaign_guiding_ill.html).  Apparently, there are many groups that are taking Dr. Kevorkians message and putting their own spin on people being able to be allowed to die if the conditions warrant it.  In my opinion, many people die in hospitals, with tubes out their body in misery.  There have been many instances where these same people have been given an overdose of a medication to put them out of their misery, however, this is considered illegal.  I agree that is someone is terminal, and miserable, and has an extremely poor quality of life, they should have the option to end it.  Many religions oppose this because the value of life is too great.  In reality, many of these religions have been around for thousands of generations, long before we had the equipment to keep the near dead alive.  Statistics show that we consume at least 1/3 of all our health care costs at the end of life, with the end being the same.  When did it become ethical to torture the dying?  We not only torture them, but we drain them and their family financially, emotionally, without having a rational alternative unless a living will is present. The outcome, statistics show is the same;  death, which is a normal part of our lifecycle.  We should educate ourselves about how to prepare and take a healthier view during the emotional end of a loved one, rather than try things that decrease the quality of life at the end and worsen the suffering.

Without being morbid, I do believe in advanced directives, and I believe it is wrong to keep dying people alive artificially, to prolong their suffering.  We surely do not usually do this with our pets who may die with more dignity when the terminally ill pet is put to sleep painlessly. 

These groups have a valid point.  We should have the option if we are terminal and have poor quality of life to end our own suffering. That is my opinion because it is humane.  Regarding the use of billboards, this makes a big statement.  Sometimes these types of statements are offensive however, often if you have not offended someone, you really did not get your point across effectively.  BTW, the ensuing articles published by the newspaper on these signs is great marketing and PR.

What to you think? I always value your opinion.

Dr C