Being left to make the final decision on ending someone’s life to help end their suffering can be completely hard to imagine doing. Watching someone suffer so much can also be very hard to endure. I have never been put in this type of situation and I hope I never have to but I am going to put myself in Susan Wolf’s place and give my point of view of the situation she was put in on such a big decision of a loved one. There are a lot of people who would rather end their life than continue to go on living with the pain and suffering they are dealing with.
About three or four years ago, my father in law was suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis, a lung condition that the tissues deep in the lungs become thick or scarred over time and some people would describe the lungs looking like honeycombs. He was diagnosed in 2000 and was only given about three years to live but lived for six. There were times he would say he “wishes there was a switch to turn off because he cannot take anymore of the suffering. ” He was ready to end his life and the suffering but he kept going until November 15, 2008 when he passed away.
He made sure that there was a do not resuscitate in place because he did not want to continue to suffer. Susan’s father’s physical health was declining and it was affecting his mental capacity as well.. She describes him as “ a smart, savvy lawyer, the family patriarch. She could see his spark for life start to fade at the end when he could not even read or do the New York Times crossword puzzles he used to knock off in an hour, or even watch T. V. (Wolf, 2008) I would wonder how much worse this would become and how much longer he would have to live with the pain and the suffering of it all. It is not something I would want to endure myself. Susan’s father was ready to accelerate his departure and she wanted to consider the options and let him know his options as well.
I would have done the same thing. Discuss the options available to make sure he gets what he wants. She was watching her father’s health dwindle so fast that she could ot let him continue to suffer anymore. Her father was the man who insisted that “ he would want everything, even in a persistent vegetative state” (Wolf, 2008) was throwing in the towel and wanting to stop any more treatments and to further “accelerate” (Wolf, 2008) the process, had to be devastating reality that he had to face and something no one wants to face at all. There are a lot of people who think it is o. k. to assist with the ending of one’s life if the situation is right for it.
There really is no way to tell if anyone wants to end their suffering unless there is written proof that they want to do so and have it signed and notarized by the patient. Everyone should have a say when it comes to our bodies especially if we are dying and suffering really bad. It will take the people speaking up and having their concerns heard before something can ever take place for people who are suffering very badly and do not want to suffer anymore. What about someone on life support that is in a lot of pain but cannot speak for their self?
The decision is left to the families and sometimes the families opt to keep the person living even though that person may be in a world of pain but cannot speak for themselves. Then there are the ones that do take their loved one off of life support to stop the suffering. It is the same thing. Deciding what is right for the dying family member. It is a very tough decision to make just like it was for Susan Wolf in respecting her father and his wishes to just die and end the suffering.
I do not think Susan made a wrong decision she help decide for her father. He was able to go naturally which she justified on her own level of moral. Assisted suicide is not a wrong choice if someone can no longer live with the pain and suffering they are enduring. It would be better to have paper work to prove this is what the person wants rather than the person taking their own life. I for one suffer on a daily basis with chronic pain that I cannot get diagnosed.
There are days I am in more pain than I ever want to be and just want to end it for good but I am young and have four children and a husband I could not bear to leave behind. I deal with the pain and take medication to help keep it under control. I do hope that one day if it gets out of control, that I have the option to terminate my life if need be. The way I see it is no one should ever have to suffer. Everyone deserves to have peace and be peaceful in the end.
Wolf, S. M. (2008). Confronting Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia:My Father’s Death. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com