Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Page's death puts spotlight on euthanasia

An article from New Zealand that is written by Emma Joliff sadly reminds us of the tragedy that occurred five years ago with the death of Terri Schiavo, who like Margaret Page, died of dehydration.

The difference between Page and Schiavo is that Terri could not have chosen to die by dehydration whereas sadly, Margaret Page willingly dehydrated herself to death.

The article states:
There is fresh debate around euthanasia following the death of Margaret Page, who had refused food for more than two weeks.

The 60-year-old suffered a disabling haemorrhage 19 years ago, and euthanasia supporters say her decision should never have been made public.

Ms Page led an active, outdoor life before suffering her crippling brain haemorrhage.

A euthanasia advocate says starvation is a painful and distressing death, and there should have been a more humane alternative.

It should be noted that Margaret Page did not die of starvation but rather dehydration, nonetheless, the tragedy is not that Page did not have the option of being killed by lethal injection but rather that she felt that dying by dehydration was preferable to living with the care that was available to her.

Lesley Martin leader of pro-euthanasia group Dignity NZ stated:
While starving yourself is ethically challenging, it's not illegal.

Margaret Page was admitted to disability facility St John of God four years ago

St John of God commented by saying:
"Food and water had been offered to Mrs Page by staff members whenever they went into her room and at regular intervals. Mrs Page maintained her resolve to refuse food until the very end of her life."

Sadly, Margaret Page felt that her life was not worth living. The reality is that she refused food and fluids, an situation which is different than Terri Schiavo who was denied food and fluids.

The Page story is not a reason to consider legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide but rather to provide greater care for people who live with debilitating conditions as well as the need for greater mental health services.

Link to the article:

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