Sunday, September 4, 2011

Assisted Living and Suicide by Starvation

It sounds like the endura of the Cathars. From First Things:
The assisted suicide movement teaches people how to commit suicide by self starvation. To be clear, I am not talking about when people stop eating as a natural part of the natural dying process.  That isn’t suicide.  But rather, refusing food and water, not because one can’t eat, but because one wants to be dead. (The story discussed below conflates those two concepts, but I don’t want to belabor that issue here.)

In New Mexico, an elderly couple obtained the information they needed to kill themselves together in this way.  Their family approved (!!!) and the couple began to starve themselves. But when the assisted living facility management got wind of the plan, the couple was told, in effect, “Not here, you won’t,”  and sought their eviction.  Administrators also called 911 after the 4th day of self starvation. (Read entire article.)

(Via Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network.) Share


Divine Theatre said...

So now they are suffering, suicidal and homeless. If that is the type of compassion one receives from assisted living facilities I'll pass.

elena maria vidal said...

I think they have children, who don't seem to mind if they commit suicide. Really, it is for their children to get them help. I have to confess that I do see the point of view of the facility. I would not want anyone committing suicide in my house and would ask them to leave if they insisted.

Julygirl said...

The assisted living facility could be placed in jeapordy and lose their license and ability to operate for the benefit of their other clients if they allowed such a practice within their area of responsibility. Their function is to provide a pleasant and safe atmosphere for Senior Citizens; not to aid and abet a suicide pact.

Divine Theatre said...

If someone I loved was suffering with no chance of recovering I would help them find peace if I culd. There are other ways besides long, painful starvation.
Recently my beloved cat, Shenanigan, was diagnosed with bone cancer. She had been suffering long before I knew she was sick. The veterinarian injected phenobarbitol into her veins and her heart ceased to beat. I didn't want to do it. No one does. I want my loved ones here with me. That is selfish.
Which is more compassionate? Asking someone you love who is suffering to stay because YOU want them to or to help end their agony on this earth?
Insofar as the assisted living facility is concerned, how could they throw two people with dementia out into the streets? That is my question.

elena maria vidal said...

Julygirl, that is absolutely true. A cat is one thing and a human being is another. As a Christian I believe that to assist people to take their own lives is wrong. It is to participate in murder. If people are depressed or in pain, we work to alleviate their pain and depression; we don't kill them. We need to give life, not death, which comes when God sends it. And since I work with elderly people I know relieving pain and depression can be done. It is harder to work with people to heal them than giving an injection and killing them but we are called to do all we can to save the life of a human being. As for the elderly couple in the article, it sounds like they have family they could go to. Murder and assisted suicide are still against the law in many states, by the way.

Divine Theatre said...

No one expects the facility to aid in the suicide but if care was the primary goal why did they push them into the street? A bit of hypocrisy, methinks.
As a Christian I could not allow another to suffer needlessly with no hope of recovery. I would not ask them to live for my sake.
Ultimately we are sovereign individuals with rights over our own bodies. No one has the right to tell us what we can and cannot do with our own bodies as long as we are not hurting anyone else. Only the Lord knows our suffering fully and only He can judge our actions. My God is one of compassion and mercy so I will follow His ways.

elena maria vidal said...

The article says nothing about the couple being put on the street. A facility has every right to ask people to leave when they violate their policies. There are other facilities they could go to.

Rather than helping someone to kill themselves, don't you think it is MORE compassionate to help them spiritually and psychologically prepare to meet God, while giving them the medical care needed to deal with the pain? Suicide and murder are not part of any Christian creed, being forbidden by Scripture. Our bodies do not ultimately belong to us; they belong to God. In that case you must think Jesus should have taken a quick injection rather than die on the cross for us, one of the very worst deaths of all.