Hari the Hadron

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

MERCY KILLING – SOUNDS MORE MERCILESS

A staunch optimist that I am, I have never considered death to be a solution to any problem. The biggest loser in death is the person dying himself. I would say, in most cases in today’s world, even the person closest to the dying person, may only stand to gain either by inheriting some wealth or atleast an end to the agony of having a troubled person close to him.

So of what use is a solution which only leaves you a loser that too with no second chance.

But what about mercy killing. At first, I am not able to give a rational explanation either in favour or against it. I always believed that our life started with a single cell and we should strive to live till the last cell in our body is alive. This applies as much to the physically and mentally challenged too.

When I read this case in Kolkata, where a father has made an application to the West Bengal Government to put an end to the life of his physically challenged daughters because he is too old and there is nobody to take care of them after his death and except for breathing, they require his help for everything, the foundation of my concept of right to live shook badly. I was suddenly forced to think , that like every law, should the right to live also have an exception clause attached to it.

In this said case the father feels that life has become more a punishment than a right to his daughters, but the daughters are not in a position to give their opinion. The West Bengal Government is undecided, may be, because if mercy killing is granted it will become a precedent for people without the determination to live to opt this rule and more for inhuman parents and siblings who do not want to accept the responsibility of such not so lucky people, to put an end to their life, may be much against the very persons will.

The question is how to prove the killing was out of mercy and not merciless as there is a definite possibility of misuse of this rule worldwide and more so in our country. How to ascertain the feelings of the person on whom the said mercy is to be bestowed, if he or she is not in a position to express. I am sure nobody in this world would accept death with total happiness and contentment.
In view of the dangerous implications of misuse of mercy killings, I am of the opinion that the Government should not grant it even in the exception of exceptional cases, though I understand a lot of people who live the life of a vegetable and their caretakers may admonish me for this thought. In the end, though a bit shaken, I have come back to strongly believe that life, in whatever quantity and form it is available to us, has to be LIVED completely, what cannot be cured has to be endured and never censured.

17 Comments:

  • Hi everybody,

    Please feel free to comment. even criticism would be a compliment.

    By Blogger hari, at 1:34 AM  

  • You're right that no govt would sanction mercy killing, the consequences would be unimaginable. Its more likely that the old guy made this petition with the hope that the publicity of his agony might bring in donors and philanthropists. If he were seriously considering death, all he had to do was to kill them himself and commit mass suicide. Why wait for the govt's approval???

    By Blogger gandalf_the_gay, at 2:56 AM  

  • It is easy for people to say that the severely handicapped MUST live on, no matter how difficult that life is for them and, to a lesser extent, for their family. Those who insist that all life is precious are not the ones who suffer the indignity of being totally dependent and/or mentally incapable. They are not the ones who are (very likely) financially crippled by medical expenses. All they have to do is say "life is precious" - an easy thing to do if there is no accompanying responsibility for that person or persons!

    Anybody who is capable of making a rational decision to end his/her life rather than suffer needlessly has the right to die with dignity, IMO.

    If euthanasia was legalised, of course there would need to be stringent checks and laws to ensure (as far as possible) that the "mercy killing" is not one for personal gain. To that end, I would say that people should make it clear in their living will what they want done in case of total mental or physical incapability. It's what responsible people would do. I have.

    By Blogger Shyam, at 4:12 AM  

  • this is a very sticky situation. a similar thing happened in the US recently (Terri Schiavo case). she was in a vegetated state for about 14 yrs. tehy recently removed her feeding tube so that she could die. It was sad, but on the other side look at the fact that she was like that for more than a decade. its hard to entirely ignore that side as well.

    but medical sciences may improve in the future to tell us if a person can come back to a reasonable life at all.

    until then we'll keep hearing such claims.

    By Blogger saranyan, at 9:38 AM  

  • Ah ! I dont care much for humans though.......Sound arrogant and stone hearted I may, but a wounded animal moves me more than a wounded man - reason men inflict misery upon themselves. Life is too complicated in human world - socierty, laws - Life is simple in an animal's world. Fight to survive, struggle to earn! I guess I'm way off the topic here....

    But the lesson is to fight.... But honestly I wldnt think too much about it. If there is nothing that can be done and not in a position to do, it does make some sense to KILL - yes, its me who says this who thinks hundred times before hurting an insect. We are in a situation where normal life is not possible for the girls. Life after their father's death would be pathetic - We do ahve SIX huge senses and talk about emotions and killing and how mercy killing is to be condemned but the system is helpless to take care of such suffering souls. Then why talk about all this.....Thats the complications of humans !!! We dont deserve our sixth sense !

    By Blogger P-H-A-N-T-O-M, at 11:15 AM  

  • You sound like my dad (or avar kitterndu rub off aanado, when you were talking to him?). I mean the last line which is a favorite of my father "what cannot be cured has to be endured" :-)

    By Blogger thennavan, at 3:53 PM  

  • Hi Hari, Yet another 'soch ne wala topic'. I, see all the reasons, yet cannot accept, that this kind of mercy can be called mercy at all.Mercy is what mother Teresa did. The giver and taker should benefit from mercy.If the girls can be transferred to an institution, paid for by donors...now that in my book is mercy.

    And if (as GTG says) it is a ploy to bring in donors and publicity...then we should be ashamed that a person has to go to such lengths for it and for the lack of a system that he could benefit from.

    By Blogger Vidhur, at 2:58 PM  

  • It is often overlooked that patients have the common law right to refuse any medical treatment. A doctor who treats a patient against his or her express wishes can be charged with assault. It would be wise to educate people as to their right to refuse treatment. There is no need to convert this well established legal principle into legislation.

    Regardless of the intention of "right to die" or "aid in dying" laws, they could very easily open the door to active euthanasia.

    In the present climate of opinion, it is easy to imagine a doctor giving a lethal dose of pain-killing drug and then claiming that death was the best way to eliminate physical suffering. If the doctor could also show that the patient had requested the lethal dosage, the court might well interpret the law in the doctor's favor.
    We need to think of the potential for abuse if mercy killing becomes legal. What if someone stands to inherit huge money when Aunt Mercy dies? Might the heir not find it tempting to nudge her in the direction of accepting a lethal injection? Or, if she didn't get the hint, to make her miserable enough to want it?

    If voluntary euthanasia is made legal for "persons of sound mind" there will inevitably be tremendous pressure to provide it for those who "would request it if they were able to" - the mentally ill or handicapped, the senile, etc.

    Finally, despite genuine compassion for the suffering of dying people, does there not also lurk in many hearts a less admirable motive? Few people are so tasteless as to link euthanasia and health care costs in the same breath, but there is a widespread few that medical care for the elderly costs more than we can afford. These financial pressures will multiply in the coming years as our population ages.
    Oh..Hari..So much to express..but...
    Totally a very nice post from your side!!!

    By Blogger Gangadhar, at 9:49 PM  

  • I am very very strongly opposed to application of death. Consider the opposed underlined three times. Whether it is war, murder or death penalty. I do not belive we have the right to decide anybody's fate. U are ordained to live, to try and make the most of whatever circumstances you have and get the better of it. There is no other way to live.There should'nt be.

    By Blogger van, at 3:11 AM  

  • Hi GTG,

    You may be right, may not be. But we are nobody to go against the nature. By the way, welcome to my blog and why is your blog dormant.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:10 PM  

  • Hi Shyam,
    I am sorry, preparation of such a will would not only be cowardice but very selfish too. God forbit such an event, but even mere physical presence of a versatile and strong personality like you would do a world of good to people near and dear to you and vice versa that serving you at those weak moments would be considered a blessing by them for the huge shelter that you are for them.

    Every person born in this world is with some purpose with whatever physical of mental ability he is born with. It is only that we must realise it and exploit it not only to make a life for ourselves but to others too.

    By Blogger hari, at 6:19 PM  

  • Hari, what I wanted to convey was this: People who do not wish to live as vegetables (on the off-chance of such a terrible thing happening to them) should indicate that in their wills and save their loved ones a terrible decision at some later point.

    Those who do not believe in euthanasia (for themselves or others) can state firmly that in case of some accident or bad circumstances, on no account should their life-support machine be turned off, nor should any mercy-killing take place, whatever their physical or mental condition. Again, that would prevent the sort of dilemma that we saw in the Terry Schiavo case.

    By Blogger Shyam, at 9:37 AM  

  • I think only if we are a part of such a situation can be understand whether or not it is right and not otherwise

    By Blogger vasanthi emmanuel, at 9:28 PM  

  • The biggest loser in death is the person dying himself
    it is always the ppl who love u that lose when u die

    it doesnt affect me at all if i die today
    but i still go on becoz i know it affects a lot to my near and dear ones

    By Blogger soumya, at 7:10 AM  

  • well u have to be there to understand their feelings, how many of u have seen a child with global palsy, with poor vision, no mobilty, no hearing, who cannot look after feeding, defacation or any of the pleasures of life. however what this father wants is murder. if he doesnt want the doctors to resussitste his children if they have life threatening problems, thats mercy killing. i dont support mercy killing or murder

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:01 AM  

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    By Blogger TheDevilIsInTheDetails, at 12:03 PM  

  • Wow what a touchy subject. Honesty I believe it all depends on who you ask. Has anyone here read 'Of Mice And Men' it has 2 really good examples of Euthenasia, not saying its good or bad, but if you haven't read it I greatly sudjest it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:23 AM  

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