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Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Schiavo Mess

While the senators, the president, the judges, the media, and the two families play power-games, while the religious right (neither religious nor right) and the neo-cons use the opportunity for furthering their political agenda, and while their opposite camps in this strange debate continue to confuse the Schiavo scenario with Euthanasia, a woman lies starving in the hospital, hopefully unaware of why she is being made to suffer.

Euthanasia, voluntary or under the decision of others (which others is a debate in itself), at least to my mind, has always meant allowing the ending of a life, quickly and painlessly, to save the patient from prolonged suffering and a severely deteriorating quality of life. 'Removal of tubes', in such a case, was understood by me and (as I understand from my recent discussions with friends) many others as the removal of life-support systems. We may have been wrong in our assumption. Food, I suppose, is technically a 'life-support system' (although I have never heard it referred to as such in everyday language). Deprivation of food and water in this particular case is expected to s-l-o-w-l-y starve Ms Schiavo to death over a period of 2-3 weeks!

Somehow that doesn't quite strike me as a benevolent and humane way to end a life. Surely starvation will be accompanied by hunger-pangs and a painfully parched throat, never mind that Ms Schiavo will not be able to express her feelings coherently. There is bound to be horror and dismay at this situation, muddied further by the oblique aspersions cast on her husband regarding the reasons for his insistence upon wanting her to die. This, in turn, can only swing a lot of people on the border-line of the argument from supporting Euthanasiaa in future.

In fact, the blurring of the lines between the present scenario and Euthanasia, as [mis?]understood even by some of its supporters, seems to be an almost purposeful effort to confuse the issue and to enlist support of the Pro-Lifers (who, strangely, had no conscience stopping them from murdering doctors who performed abortions).

Oh, and isn't it strange to see Bush's concern for the life of one woman while choreographing the killing of innocents around the world? One fallout of the Schiavo case may also be to allow the government - seemingly driven by humane reasons - to interfere even more with what are essentially personal decisions.

Is nothing sacred?

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Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

I am yet to make up my mind whether euthanasia should be allowed or not. Sometimes, I think that no effort should be spared to save a life. After all, miracles beyond the comprehension of medical science can and do happen and people are known to have come out of a vegetative state on their own after several years of remaining in a coma. This is the line of thought I am likely to go along with if a near and dear one's life was at stake in such a manner. However, if it was I who was at the receiving end, I might actually want to let go and move on to the next world.

25 December, 2006 17:31

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Thanks for visiting this old post, sidhusaaheb. Wonder if you read Case Closed (the follow-up post I did in April 2005).

Euthanasia is a strongly debatable problem, even without the religious implications that - as in all cases - only serve to muddy issues further. Morend's "Arguing Euthanasia" is a must-read collection of arguments and views on the subject.

Despite the fact that a loved one may "come out of a vegetative state on their own after several years of remaining in a coma", I would prefer to opt for euthanasia after a reasonable time (a couple of months?) had passed. I cannot imagine the pangs of having to bear the lack of communication with a loved one for years - nor the horror it would be for the person to wake up, after years of an irrecoverable lost life, to the diffculties of re-adjustment to the times, and the horror of knowing that s/he has lost many loved ones in the process.

31 December, 2006 04:16


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