Dying to Be Seen

Friday, December 12, 2008


On Wednesday night, Sky TV's Real Lives channel in Great Britain aired a documentary that showed the final moments of Craig Ewert, a terminally ill man who committed suicide with the assistance of a doctor. Was it a ratings ploy or an important milestone for those who wish to die with dignity? The question has divided Britons and even forced a response by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
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Comments [5]

Sarah from Bethlehem, PA

I did not see the broadcast, but I can imagine it was painful to watch. Death, as Sherry pointed out above, is fearful to most people in some way or another -- myself included.

I can't say I've yet reached my opinion on the subject. I understand and respect the right of a person to choose whether their life is worth living in cases such as these (terminal illness, etc), but at the same time death is a final decision that cannot be reversed no matter how many second thoughts enter the argument once it's been set in motion.

The discussion about this issue is, I think, a very serious conversation that deserves some serious dialogue. If nothing else, this documentary appears to have accomplished that much.

And though -- as I said earlier -- I didn't see this broadcast, I don't think from what I've read and heard, that it was a sensationalized as claimed. It appears to have been an honest, human depiction of a horrific circumstance and the resulting decision of man and his family. Incredibly sad, but not worth dismissing.

Dec. 16 2008 06:47 PM
Sherry from Oregon

As a person with terminal cancer - I am grateful for the ability to choose how my life ends. This does not mean I won't live it to the fullest while I can, but I will also choose to die with dignity - not as a shell trapped in a machine. I have it in writing, my family knows my feelings and while my choice is to simply be sent back to nature, many laws will not allow it. This is why I will also be donating my whole body to research.

That this gentleman chose to show what true humanity is, is lost on those who fear death. Those of us who don't fear our mortality do not believe in forcing our belief system on another. If you want to spend eternity hooked up to machines - that is your choice. If I want to let nature finish what it started - that is my choice and NO ONE has a right to force me to their ideas.

Dec. 16 2008 12:11 AM
Matt from Arlington, Virginia

Soon this procedure will be as common as the Malthusian Drill... O' Brave New World with such people in it...

Dec. 15 2008 11:42 PM
Bridget Reidy MD from Kalamazoo

You state that Mr Ewert committed suicide with assistance as apparently he and his wife and friends were mistaken to believe. In fact what he did was not suicide, asssisted or not. From what you reported, he was merely ceasing ineffective and extraodinary treatment, while getting relief of symptoms through moderate to deep sedation. This is routinely done with physician assistance and is referred to as palliative terminal sedation. Ventilators are ineffective when they do not achieve the goal of bridging the patient to recovery of meaningful or tolerable life. Barbituates are routinely used during their withdrawal after they have been found ineffective.

Dec. 14 2008 08:10 PM
stephen Linton from lowell ma

What would drama be without the prerequisite death scene. Die Hard...Harder....Hardest. Of coarse it could be loving like Love Story, or culturally uplifting like Shakespeare which without death would be like Romeo without Juliet. Death can be anything, but proud.

Dec. 14 2008 10:33 AM

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