Earlier today an article over at al Jazeera caught my eye. Then an hour or two later I was wandering around in a forum I recently joined when I saw a post talking about the very same case, yet, from the likes of the Guardian. The source of the details are irrelevant.
But the ensuing discussion was much too tempting for me to leave be. But something happened, I have no idea what, and I couldn’t post my two cents.Â So, lucky you, here they are…
A woman in Italy, who is in a 17 year coma, as a result of a car accident, is having her “right to die” debated. For the record I’m not arguing any particular stance for or against said case. I understand both sides, especially from what I’ve managed to casually read on the debate, but if I was to have an opinion it would be to err on the side of caution.
Contrary the popular belief, the issue isn’t so black and white.
I understand wanting to end the perception of her suffering. And just because you perceive something doesn’t necessarily make it fact. Speaking from personal experience, I have no memory of time spent in my coma. It may have hurt. It may not have. Point is you’re not in any state to recognize or acknowledge any sort of feeling you need to be conscious to appreciate. So technically, even if you knew what she was experiencing, could it even be considered “suffering?”Â
Best case is everything she feels and thinks is on a subconscious level. Therefore it’s no more real to her than a dream. When or if she wakes will what she felt while in her coma be a detriment to her being? It very well could be. But at the same time it may not. Who’s to say anything?Â
But what is most concerning about this case, specifically, is it’s potential implications on the debate. If her Â family is granted the right to cut off her food and water where is the line to be drawn for the next case? Marta Russell argues this, quite extensively, in her book “Beyond Ramps.” And having been privy to what she wrote I’d say the family has no more right to decide her fate than that of her doctors, or a stranger off the street, for that matter.
It’s a slippery slope. One that could, however unlikely it may seem, lead to eugenics programs centred on “able-centric” thinking where someone is deciding a life isn’t worth living in some sort of small-minded “social-darwinist” vain. Never, you say? Exactly what happened in Nazi Germany with their obsession to exterminate the Jews, Gypsies, and “disabled” then?
My point is there’s quite aÂ myriadÂ of questions we don’t have answers to at this point. And may never have. I don’t envy the people appointed to decide what will happen to her. And that there is the sadest aspect of the whole case, the individual who is most affected by any decision, has zero influence on the debate.Â
Ever wonder why it is I’m a vegan?