Thursday, September 07, 2017

Right to Die?

It's one thing to sit in the living room and debate living wills, assisted suicide, and medical treatment at the end of life.

It's one thing to recognize that medical technology can extend life when it ought not do so.

But how do we avoid "assisted suicide" (aka, murder) while also avoiding unnecessarily prolonging the life of someone who is suffering and dying?  Sometimes it's very hard for those who value life to make sense of when to stop providing life-prolonging treatment for a loved one.

Lutherans for Life has a page about "advance directives."  One statement is especially helpful:
The problem we see in the so-called "right to die" movement is that there is a shift in the discussion.  Instead of discussing whether a treatment is excessively burdensome to a person -- that is, whether it is doing more harm than good -- more and more people are discussing whether the person is a burden.  They advocate removing or stopping treatment with the intent of killing the person.
That's the crux of it.
Is the treatment excessively burdensome to the patient?
Or is the patient a burden to the caregivers and society?

Furthermore, "burdensome to the patient" is not about quality of life so much as it is about whether the treatment "does more harm than good."