One understands that people who are in the last stages of an inevitably fatal disease would prefer to die sooner. Some of them refuse further treatment, the better not to prolong their agony.
One understands that some people disagree with this view on the grounds that… once you legalize euthanasia, where do you draw the line?
In Belgium the law says that an individual can receive a lethal injection—which sounds rather similar to an execution—if he or she is in “intractable and unbearable pain.”
But, who knows whether your pain is intractable and unbearable? And, what if your pain is mental, thus, not associated with an identifiable physical illness.
Now,we have the answer. Doctors in that nation have decided to help a 24 year-old-woman to put an end to her life—under medical supervision—because she is suffering from … depression. Since she has often failed when attempting suicide, doctors want her now to be able to succeed. Do they think it will make her feel better?
Newsweek has the story:
Doctors in Belgium are granting a healthy 24-year-old woman who is suffering from depression the right to die, as she qualifies for euthanasia, even though she does not have a terminal or life-threatening illness.
The 24-year-old female, known simply as Laura, has been given the go ahead by health professionals in Belgium to receive a lethal injection after spending both her childhood and adult life suffering from "suicidal thoughts," she told local Belgian media.
Laura has been a patient of a psychiatric institution since the age of 21 and says she has previously tried to kill herself on several occasions. She told journalists: "Death feels to me not as a choice. If I had a choice, I would choose a bearable life, but I have done everything and that was unsuccessful." The date of Laura's death is yet to be decided.
Pay close attention: because just because it does not feel like a choice... that does not make it less of a choice. It’s almost as though Laura is saying that she is going to die anyway—doesn’t everyone?—why prolong the agony?
Besides, if this is what she really, really wants how can anyone deny her her heart’s desire?
How does one fail to note that she is wallowing in depressive thinking? Surely, there are treatments for such thinking. A dose of optimism might do wonders for her. Haven’t the latest cognitive and behavioral treatments for depression, to say nothing of the latest medical treatments reached Belgium.
Belgium, a nation that does not have the death penalty, is going to put Laura to death by lethal injection because she is depressed.
If Laura were an nonagenarian with terminal cancer, we would understand. Since she is a young woman with her life ahead of her, we do not understand why physicians would give up on treatment and allow her to be put to death.
Clearly, this sends the wrong message. It feels like a physician’s revenge, an effort to wipe a difficult patient off the books. It also looks like the kind of problem you encounter when you base medical decisions on a person’s beliefs and when you confuse a deeply held conviction (which used to be called a delusion) with reality.