何毓琦
On Legal Assisted Suicide in the World
2023-9-24 20:14
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People all over the world committ suicide for a varied of reasons. The means for carrying this out are often brutal, desparate, and most probably very painful. Thus, a  practice had developed when the end of a life is clear due to terminal illness, physicians can step in to help so that the death can be managed with as little pain and suffering but peacefully as if going to sleep. Laws and regulations are instituted to guard against abuses. 

The other night during my regular listening to our local all news radio station, WBUR, I came across  the first segment of a program detailing the real life experience of a husband and wife couple in going through such a traumatic experience. The broadcast. is based on the diary entries of the wife from the beginning of the husband's Mild Cognitive Decline (MCD), diagnostic discovery of the beginning of alzheimer, and the decision to seek assisted suicide before the prolonged, predictable, and sad end of an alzheimer patirent. Subsequent segment of the broadcast will cover the aqctual death experience. 

Any way the story begins when the wife noticed changes in her husband's daily behavior change, loss of short term memory and change in mood.Such MCD symptons led them to seek further medical advice which confirmed the beginning of alzheimer disease.  Given the diagnose, the husband decided and the wife agreed that they do not wish to go through the inevtiable end which could last many years of anguish and suffering for both the patient and the caregiver. Thus, they begin to search for means to be given medically assisted suicide. When the wife begin the seqarch, there were six states in the US where such pratice are legal and allowed. However, for underatndible reasons to guard aginast abuse, the process are often difficult difficult and complex. For example, the patient are requied to be examined by three different doctors at three different time period to ascertain that they do not expect the patient to live beyond six months before death occurs. The patient muist mix the "toxic medicine" himself and drink it without help. The wife or caregiver with threat of criminal prosecution are not allowed to even help holding the cup/glass containing the toxic liquid while the patient drinks it. Needless to say, authorities must also be convinced that this is the free will of the patient and not forced or not understood by the patient as to what is taking place. Such rules are simply inoperable for an alkzheimer patient who is losing his entire mental capacity slowly. As a result they decided to seek help elsewhere and found that the country of Swtizerland offer a more quick and viable solution for her husband. The episode ends as the wive's diary record their arrival at the Swiss hotel. The next episode will follow in suceeding days. The entire episode is honestly recited from the entries in the diary of the wife. It is sad, poignant, and bit painful to listen. I am not even sure I want to listen to the broadcast of the next episode which cannot be pleasant and will only add to discomfort when and if my wife and I have to entertain the same experience. 

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