Assisted living – comments re Mr Nicklinson’s quality of life.

I’ve written before on assisted dying. I’m currently in the ‘Not Dead Yet’ camp. I’m the sort of disabled person people would easily say ‘would be better of dead’. This petrifies me. I’d rather people focused on getting me the things I need to live a good quality of life, personally.

The film shows the gentleman being cared for – dangled from his hoist, legs apart in full view of the camera virtually naked – with no covering to provide dignity. Based on this sort of film footage we heard, from both him and his family, why he wants to die. I would be horrified if any carer did that in the privacy of my own home never mind in front of a camera! No wonder he feels he has an undignified life if that’s the way things are done!

I’m not going into the issues for or against but what worries me about this (and what Mr Nicklinson didn’t seem to see as an issue) is the number of comments to these news stories from the public. e.g. “After watching this programme , could anyone explain to me the reason for keeping this man alive…”. That is the whole problem, people make judgements on the lives of severely disabled people based on ‘what they observe’ from a TV programme designed to portray life as intolerable!   For better or worse, nobody has clue about what life is really like – unless you are the one living it.  Even when you live with an impairment your judgement is often clouded by other factors that change from day to day – personal mental / physical health, pressure and opinion from other people / family / friends / public , self confidence and whether you have found something interesting to do with your day!

If someone saw me, laying in bed, unable to move, dependent on a ventilator and sometimes in considerable pain… they would probably say I should be put down like some pet dog?

A torrent of ‘I agree’ posts follow this story liking the lives of disabled people to those of pets who they would have put down. These are the same people who want a public vote on euthanasia issues and similar issues.  I am not a pet – I’m a human being with the right to life?

I fear that people would end their lives when there is still a lot of mental health and physical support that might have helped (for them and their families). How sad that those who have managed to end their lives, could not access that at a time they needed it 😦 . Maybe they would have had second thoughts? With budget /care cuts, cuts for equipment and things that would make life good (but you are denied unless you can pay for them privately) …. these are the things that push us to an early grave.

I wonder if we will ever find the right balance of allowing people to die (or be killed) versus protection to preserve the lives of those who prefer to live? How long do you give people to mentally and physically adjust to acquired impairment before you agree to kill them, as they may request? Better than expensive, long term rehab and counselling?

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