Dying With Dignity and Decisions
Death is a part of life, yet why are we so afraid to talk about it? For this reason, it’s perfect for this month’s edition of #theressomethingweneedtotalkabout. Now don’t get me wrong, death is certainly not something I think about every day, but you can’t deny that it is part of the human lifecycle and, therefore, it’s a pretty hard topic to avoid.
I like to keep up to date with the latest news so I can publish posts that are relevant to my readers and at the time of researching topics of this post, in later August (as I was trying to get some posts written before university work took over my life), euthanasia came up quite a bit. This topic has been around for ages, with both sides being passionate about it, but it recently came up in the news as the euthanasia law looked to be introduced in parliament.
Euthanasia is defined as the deliberate act of ending someone’s life and may also be referred to as assistive dying. It is currently only legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and in six US states (California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington State).
I’m going to be open from the start and say that I’m for euthanasia. I’m under the belief that a person should have the right to choose if they die, just as we are able to end the suffering of our pets. While a loved one is quite different from pets, we still don’t want to see them suffering.
With the amount of fighting that the other side as done, there are strict regulations with the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 that has just been introduced in Victoria. You can read the full list here and find the details about the act, but some restrictions include being over the age of 18, terminally ill and needing two independent doctors to sign off. So, as you can see, it’s not an easy process.
My biggest issue is that does everyone not deserve the right to end their life if they wish? Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to take that option too. For those worrying that some people will be taken advantage off/made to take this option, that’s what the safeguards are for. If religion is the reason politicians aren’t passing the bill either, I’d be concerned that the personal views of our politicians are affecting the job they do as nearly 9 in 10 Australians agree that euthanasia should be legal.
So, what about after we die? Well while we’re on this topic, let’s kill (no pun intended) two birds with one stone and talk about organ donation.
Surprising only half of the Australian population has talked to their family about whether they want to be an organ donor and with one person having the ability to transform the lives of up to 10 people, that’s an important conversation that needs to be had. Like euthanasia, I assume people are afraid of talking about organ donation because it means talking about death, but once you’ve passed you’re family needs to know your decision so they can give the go-ahead for your organs to be donated.
When researching statistics for this post (because I like to make my posts are accurate as possible) I was shocked that there were only 554 deceased donors last year. These people did help over 1,500 people lives. Now I don’t know how many people die every year, but the number of people donating seems pretty low.
Fun fact, kidneys had the highest number of donations last year, which is to be expected given the number of people on dialysis and that you can donate two kidneys, unlike one heart.
Now, this is harsh but also the reality; there’s not much you can do once you’re dead! It’s not like you are going to need your organs so why not give them to someone who does? In situations like this, I always like to put myself in the position of someone else’s shoes. If I needed a lifesaving transplant, then I would want someone else to donate. It goes back to the old saying, treat others the way you would like to be treated! However, if you are against organ donations, for whatever reason, perhaps donate your body to science instead, as that can still help save lives.
So, we’ve come to the end of one of my more deeper posts, but I hope it starts the conversation, especially regarding the right to make your own life choices and organ donation. We must also always remember the impact our choices have on others, whether that be saving a life or helping another dye peacefully.