Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Physician Assisted Suicide Debate

Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

The idea of doctor-assisted suicide has been in the forefront for years.  There are excellent arguments on both sides and in many cases, both sides are accurate – there is no easy answer, and it is quite possible there is no right or wrong answer.  There are times when someone believes it is their only way to find peace, to stop the pain, to save their families from watching them waste away.  Why suffer when we don’t have too? 
The debate I am sure will go on for years to come, but what is it really about?  On one side, we have the doctors who believe they know what is best for you.  While they have the textbook  knowledge and research on their side, can they be 100 percent sure what they are predicting and telling you is right?  If you have a diagnosis of terminal cancer and are given three months to live, should it be their choice to keep you in the hospital hooked up to machines and doped up on pain pills for your last days? On the other hand, should we be able to say how and when we would like to leave this world.  
It is true that a diagnosis of any terminal illness will send your mind spinning and there are some who may think taking the “easy way out” is the best way, but is that wrong?  I do not think that it should be the first choice, there should be some parameters put into place.  A diagnosis is not always correct, many have been told they have only weeks to live and go on to live five or six years. 
Assisted suicide should be considered when there are no options, when it is known the person will not recover and is spending their days in the hospital on pain medication and breathing only with machines.  That is not quality of life.  That is what the focus should be.
Quality of life, in the patient’s eyes, is what needs to be considered.  Before the final decision is made and medication administered, there should be counseling and the understanding that this is a last decision for both the patient and the family that is left behind.  
For me, I am not sure what I would choose.  I have thought about suicide many times and have attempted it once.  Could I actually do it?  I don’t know.  
Do you know what you would do?

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