Euthanasia as Elder Abuse?

Over at ABC News is an interesting piece about the euthanasia of Belgian Laureate Christian de Duve. Michael Cook writes:

A man who had exhausted the best life had to offer decided in all lucidity and serenity that it was time to slip away, surrounded by those who loved him. Why shouldn’t everyone be able to depart like this? Don’t be fooled. De Duve’s death is no advertisement for euthanasia. We know that de Duve was very old and dependent but apparently not bed-ridden. He was fighting cancer but perhaps not terminally ill. Was he in unbearable pain? His death by euthanasia, therefore, raises uncomfortable questions: is being old and sick in Belgium reason enough for doctors to kill someone? Second, newspaper accounts suggest that he believed that he was a burden on his children. His beloved wife had died in 2008. His health was failing. Was anyone supporting him through his illness and ensuring he knew he was not a burden or urging him to keep living? The journalist from Le Soir, Béatrice Delvaux, seemed thrilled at the news that he would be euthanased. She made no effort to dissuade him. It appears that his children all agreed that it was best for him to go. This sounds to me like elder abuse. As one profane but perceptive comment on the Pharnygula blog put it, “He made the decision after taking a fall? This article makes it sound like if you break a hip you’re better off dead. It is the most insulting and dehumanising form of ableism imaginable.”


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