Compassion

One rose does not make a summer.  Especially if the subject is death with dignity.  Never the less, there was a rose seen yesterday even during sub-freezing temperatures near Philadelphia.  A Schuylkill County judge threw out an assisted suicide case against a nurse-daughter.  The Judge said there were not enough facts sufficient to ask a jury to determine guilt.  Hmmm.

Certain facts, actually, are not in dispute.  The nurse-daughter did in fact obtain a 90 day supply of morphine at her father’s request.  It is also not disputed that the nurse-daughter gave the morphine to her father as requested.  And, it is not disputed that her elderly father was suffering and a hospice patient.

Further facts are that the hospice nurse found the father unconscious, saw the morphine bottle, and called for medical assistance despite the nurse-daughters request not to invoke heroic means.  Lastly, the father did not regain consciousness and died.

Assisted suicide is still a debated issue.  Various groups feel strongly about an individual’s right to choose death when life means further suffering and there is no hope of regaining a normal life.  Other groups profess there is always hope and with medication, the last days can be made pain free.  But is that what dignity is made of?

I am pretty sure we would all rise up against a law that said when one is diagnosed terminal due some disease, a lethal dose of something would be administered within 48 hours (enough time to say ones good-byes).  On the other hand, when someone has lived a full life and is now terminally ill, why must that person suffer the indignities of needles, tubes, and monitoring machines?

I am also sure that we would choose to prosecute someone who, for their personal convenience or gain, chose to end another’s life.  If American society could let this assisted suicide demon out of the closet and provide sun light through legal grounds for assisting suicide (for example with an end of life directive attesting the person wishes and certifying that they were mentally fit) is acceptable, human compassion would be fostered,

Showing compassion towards those dying is not easy or anxiety free.  No one should be made or encouraged to end their life unnaturally but those who prefer this option deserve our compassion.

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