Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:50 AM
Question 2 is a tough one.
It's so emotionally charged and sometimes emotion trumps rational thought in life. Anyone who has an opinion on the subject probably has been witness to a loved one that suffered far too long before traveling on. There maybe others whose opinion is based off their own near death experience where they no longer had the will to go on themselves.
Two things that I think are of utmost importance to define are:
1. I have not read the bill in depth, but first and foremost I'd want to know the specifics as to who would be qualified to receive the prescription. There are people who a terminally ill who live for a very long time. Certain cancers are a death sentence for everyone who gets the diagnosis, but depending on their own body chemistry and the quality of care they receive their length of survival can vary drastically. Look at Steve Jobs. Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in 2004 and lived until 2011. I've had a friend get taken down from Pancreatic Cancer in six months. Then you get into even more grey area diagnoses such Diabetes. What about severe depression? What if the severe depression is because of Diabetes?
2. I don't particularly care for the idea of someone being able to receive the prescription from a doctor and go home and say good bye on their own or with family, whatever the case maybe. From a basic safety standpoint, I think a drug that is that lethal should only be available via direct oversight of a licensed medical professional. Doesn't need to be a doctor on a house call, but at least a nurse. Someone who has training, a license and a career on the line should those drugs be mishandled and end up in the wrong hands.
Back to the topic of emotion. I spent a little time in the Hospice ward at the hospital today. Had I walked out direct to the voting booth, I would've voted yes without even thinking about it. I bet most of those folks just want their journey in this life to end and pass on peacefully.
Then I think of my Grandpa. He died of Diabetes. He spent literally the last five years of his life having his lower extremities being hacked away as the disease progressed all the while losing his vision and hearing. Now, when he lost his first leg, he was in the nursing home a long, long time; depressed as hell, totally irrationally like talking divorce with my grandmother. I'm sure there would've been a point during that time where if he could end it all, he may have. Then he rehabbed, got well and came home. I can remember that Christmas with his new leg. If somebody needed something, he was the first out of the chair to go get it, so excited to be mobile and surrounded by family. Had he ended it when he was suffering through rehab, there's no question he would have regretted it given the further joy he got to experience in life; especially the marriage of his son.
He had another year and half or so of relative good health and happiness, then returned to the hospital to have his other leg taken. Same thing, battles with massive depression just like before, but now worse because he was faced with having no legs. He pulled through, actually was able to get around on two prosthetic legs for a short time and then a wheel chair. He eventually went back to the nursing home where he remained for good for about a year where the whole family prayed he passed on. He could have avoided about 9 months worth of suffering with assisted suicide. It was incredibly sad watching him waste away the last half year or so.
If the program would only be for people like my Grandpa in his final 9 months, then I guess I could go for it, but it's so vague to determine that finality.
I really don't know how I'd vote on Mass Question 2. If I were a resident, I'd want to vote Yes, but only if it meant not ending life too soon. I guess that's the crux of the matter. You don't want people to suffer and wait too long to die, but you also don't want people to die too soon.