Saturday, 27 June 2009

Al and Ad's animadversions

'Al and Ad' have made a very cogent and thoughtful comment on last Sunday's blog, The Final Result. Al, I suspect, talking from experience in hospitals, makes two major points: 1. That protecting the vulnerable is only achieved by assisted suicide being illegal; and 2. That suicide is a form of murder. Even the terribly ill bear God's image and are therefore valuable. Oddly, some might think, he concedes that 'no Christian would condemn someone who did commit suicide'. Anyway, read his comment for a clearly presented and thoughtful view.

Whether my exchange with Debbie Purdy in tomorrow's Independent will come across as well, I'm not sure. The journalist wanted us to cover a lot of ground and of course they aren't sound-bite issues. Nina Lakhani the journalist did a good balanced job, but in the event, the editor, I think, wanted our exchange shortened by about half, and so although you get more of me than on TV (wouldn't be hard!) you won't get the full discussion, or probably my most important sentence: "Actually I don't find my dignity in fighting MND. I find it in the love I receive from those around me and their valuing me just because I'm me. I don't fear that as I lose control and become more and more dependent that will change. And so it may be hard but it will be all right."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Uncle Michael,

    Having read your post of Saturday 27th June (‘Al & Ad’s animadversions’) , I can see that it might seem contradictory to state both that ‘suicide is wrong’ and that Christians would not ‘condemn’ those who commit suicide. I used the word ‘condemn’ in a narrow sense, meaning that true Christians would not personally seek to punish those who tried or succeeded in committing suicide (bearing in mind that it is possible to ‘punish’ those who are dead by denying them burial or inheritance rights, for example). One can say without contradiction that it is wrong to personally punish those who commit suicide and, at the same time, to state that suicide is wrong and accept that governing institutions should apply sanctions to prevent suicide and protect people, particularly the vulnerable. I hope that is a bit clearer.

    You are quite right that my post was informed in part by my experience of work within hospitals. I regularly saw serious abuses of power by doctors, some of which were due to ignorance of the rules but a lot of which were due to indifference to these rules and because it was easier for staff (working in a stressful environment) not to comply. My role was to help patients in such situations and, although patients had a right to see us, often they were denied access to representation and we did not find out about abuse until after it had happen. These stories did not reach the newspapers; we dealt with cases every day. If people were aware of the regularity with which power was abused within certain sectors of our hospital system, they would be very frightened by the idea of legalising assisted suicide. We cannot bring back to life those who have been assisted to die and right wrong.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Love Al