It is, clearly, possible to have different attitudes towards euthanasia. Given that different people do have different attitudes this must be so. My own is based upon that logical error of the slippery slope. Once it is accepted that the hastening of death – rather than mere palliative care which might then tip over – is acceptable then death will be hastened without quite enough consideration.
As at Gosport Hospital, where at least 600 were tipped over the edge into their graves shows. Or the Liverpool Pathway did, where even a sip of water was to be denied in order to hasten death by dehydration. Or, where people are more enlightened on this subject, Holland.
We might recall that case from a couple of years back. A woman signed up for euthanasia if ever her mind went. It did. When the time came though she fought back against the injection. She had to be held down, screaming, and then that didn’t work. So, therefore, the doctor spiked her drink, she was then, umm, euthanised.
Yes, OK, compos mentis asked for death if not compos mentis and we can’t take her non-compos mentis feelings as being indicative of her considered thoughts. So, strap her down, or sedate, and kill.
The bit that we might need to consider being that the instinct for self-preservation is pretty hard wired into us, fairly instinctive. It’s very likely to be something that survives non-compos mentis-is. Actually, highly likely that it will survive such. There is also no switch that goes from compos to non-. It’s a process, a Sorites one. It’s actually likely that the considered decision is an early part of the mind to go, the unconsidered and instinctive the one that remains.
That is, the thing that gets killed is likely to be the version that doesn’t want to be killed – the very mental degradation being what causes that.
Anyway, so, the Dutch, given that case changed the law:
Doctors euthanising a patient with severe dementia may slip a sedative into their food or drink if there are concerns they will become “disturbed, agitated or aggressive”, under a change to the codes of practice in the Netherlands.
The review committee for cases of euthanasia refreshed its guidance in response to the case of a former nursing home doctor, Marinou Arends, who was prosecuted for murder and cleared after putting a sedative in her 74-year-old patient’s coffee before giving a lethal injection.
Leave aside my views on this whole process- that it’s an abomination – and consider what now happens. Those confused and degrading minds might well – I would say will but I’m an extremist – fixate upon someone doping their evening cocoa. To the detriment of their remaining lived experience of course – that concentration of the mind upon being hanged in the morning might become somewhat stressful if it lasts for months or years as that mind comes apart.
Which leads to that 16 year old story from Natalie Solent:
However, here is an anecdote, told to me first-hand, which demonstrates that legalised euthanasia on the Dutch model affects the quality of life of old people in ways that the “beautiful death” campaigners did not anticipate.
A decade or so ago a member of my family was living in Holland and working as a care assistant at a Dutch old people’s home. (She speaks Dutch.) She told me that when the time came to give some of the old men and women their medicine they would occasionally react with terror. “No, no,” they would cry, “not the pill!”
What some cried aloud many more, particularly those whose minds were failing, must have feared in silence.
The killing of those without minds creates a long lasting fear in those losing them. This is not a reduction in human suffering.