Aging/Gerontology, End-of-Life, Health Conditions/Diseases

Assisted Suicide

An article in the Winnipeg Free Press states that Susan Griffiths, age 72 is heading to Switzerland and the Dignitas Clinic where she will end her life on her own terms in the next few weeks. She has Multiple System Atrophy, an incurable disease with Parkinson’s like symptoms; loss of balance, movement and control of virtually every bodily function. She does not want to suffer needlessly watching and waiting for her body to slowly wither away, being in pain and relying on medications to lessen the pain nor does she want to rely on machines to keep her body going. She has already suffered over the past year with these symptoms.

CBC News reports that friends of Susan Griffiths have taken this issue on and will continue to approach government officials about re-opening the assisted suicide topic. This week, although Ms. Griffiths has left for Europe, her friends will mail 286 letters written by Griffiths to MPs across the country, advocating for change.

This is a difficult issue for many and often personal values, as well as religious values will influence which side of the fence one is on. Perhaps one way to contemplate this issue is to think, “What would I do in a similar situation?”

The National Post has quite a few articles regarding assisted suicide and how the topic is being approached in British Columbia and Quebec, Canada along with the state of Oregon in the U.S. and the links within are worth reading.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Victoria Brewster, MSW

*First posted at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2013/04/18/assisted-suicide/