Lemonade Chronicles

Life; Gently Squeezed

Deciding when to Die


Brittany Maynard is a young 29-year-old woman suffering with brain cancer. Brittany MaynardHer story is hard to read about without having some level of sympathy for her and some level of agreement with her wanting the choice to choose when she will die by her own hands.

Read her story here.

I cannot imagine being in her position and having to decide these sorts of things–her family, her pain, the cost to her family, etc…

This has sparked a serious debate on human euthanasia — giving one the option of when to choose to die. This is NOT considered suicide as the method of death as it is usually decided on after medical consultation.

While I have trouble with the idea of choosing when do die, I am not in Brittany’s shoes.

We are presented with a significant challenge with this debate and here are my thoughts on those challenges.

Who decides on the applicable age at which someone can make this decision for themselves? Do we let doctors decide? The Supreme Court? The family of the affected person?

What happens with a ‘minor’ who has a terminal disease and will probably suffer before dying from this disease — who has not yet reached the age decided on above? Does that person not have this option? Do we give this option to the parents to decide for those minors? Do we let the courts decide if they can exercise this option? Is it discrimination if we don’t let a minor exercise this option?

What about people stricken with any level of dementia? They too will suffer, but who decides if they can be offered human euthanasia?

Nearly 40 years ago I watched my mother die of lung cancer. It was physically and emotionally painful for her and emotionally painful for us (my dad and our 10 siblings). I think back on that time and wonder if she would’ve wanted this option?

There is no easy answer on this, but I think before we rush to enact laws to allow it we need to consider the impact to the issues I raised above.

What do you think?