This isn’t an easy topic to talk about. But it’s one that definitely needs to be spread.
There are growing concerns that legislation regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia will be altered meaning that both of these will become legal. Certainly the calls for this to happen seem to be intensifying. Politicians from all the parties are calling for public services to be cut. Add in the current economic climate and you have the reason why this may happen.
A lot of disabled people and their families rely on such services. In fact, most do in some shape or form (for equipment, for care, for rehab etc). These services give independence, they give quality of life and they help people to be productive and contribute to society. Without them it would mean a huge loss of independence and become a case of survival only for a lot of people.
It’s very likely that if assisted suicide were legalised it could come to be seen as a valid form of treatment – and a huge amount of vitality and knowledge and experience would disappear from our culture.
To use an example, an old friend of mine who also has CP was in hospital some years ago for surgery. She was accidentally given an overdose of a medication, had breathing difficulties and ended up having to go on a ventilator. When she recovered the doctors suggested she might want a DNR (do not resuscitate order) in case it happened again.
At that stage she was 19, a competitive swimmer and thinking of going to uni. She had a lot to live for (and still does!) and what happened to her isn’t something you would expect to happen with CP which generally does not affect life expectancy. If the assisted suicide or euthanasia laws had been different my friend could have had a very different outcome. And we wouldn’t have met.
Not Dead Yet UK have set up a charter which they are asking all MPs to sign in order to reassure disabled and terminally ill people that this isn’t going to be the case.
You can do your bit by signing the petition which backs up NDY’s calls. There is also an option on the site which allows you to e-mail your MP and ask them to sign.
Please think about doing this. In fact, don’t think about it. Do it – and then pass this message on.