All over the world, hundreds and thousands of people are in coma’s, on life support, or suffering in pain in hospital beds. Recently, as in the last 10 years or so, there have been many stories published in international newspapers, about terminal ill people and the choices they make along with their family and religious advisors, on how their life should end.
It is interesting that these stories are travelling so fast, and from around the world. Most North American papers are publishing stories that have taken place in Europe or Australia, about an individual’s fight to die. Most recently, on November 13, 2008 in The Toronto Star, we see such a story.
This story was titled ‘Woman in Vegetative State Allowed to Die’ and is the story of a comatose woman in Rome, and her family’s struggle to give her what she wanted, a peaceful death…16 years ago.
“Courts, politicians and the Vatican have weighed in on the fate of Eluana Englaro, who fell into a vegetative state following a car accident in 1992, when she was 20. The Court of Cassation said it had rejected an appeal by prosecutors against a lower court ruling in July in favour of Beppino Englaro. The father had said his daughter visited a friend in a coma shortly before her accident and expressed the will to refuse treatment in the same situation.”
Italy does not allow a living will, and although a patient can refuse treatment, it has to be voiced directly from the patient. In this case, Eluana’s father was pleading to be her voice, and he tried very hard. Beppino Englaro had fought a decade-long court battle to disconnect his daughter's feeding tube.
Catholic and anti-euthanasia groups had protested the ruling. Conservative politicians reacted angrily to the ruling as well, saying that the courts had overstepped their bounds. Some had even voiced their opinions in comparing it to a death sentence.
This article was also compared to a separate American case as well. Throughout our entire blog we have presented many cases that touch on people’s will to choose their own destiny. We also see how the legal systems in each country/state, do not grant this freedom and there have been countless trials and appeals. The amount of money, time, pain and stress that go into making personal choices has been outstanding.
There are so many levels, sides and perspectives in discussing euthanasia. There are several situations where one would see it as appropriate or inappropriate. It’s hard to generalize the issue of euthanasia, and so it is important to see it as a personal choice, in a personal circumstance.