Monday, November 8, 2010

Elder Abuse - Euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I was reading through my emails and came upon an interesting article written by Dick Gross from the Sydney Morning Herald entitled: The Good Death

The article attempts to come to grips with either side of the euthanasia debate. His comment on elder abuse is particularly interesting. Gross states:
However, I am in two minds on euthanasia. My hesitation about this issue revolves around the nature of consent. There is much anecdotal evidence of elder abuse. While there is no real data, estimates I have heard are that about 5 per cent of families descend into elder abuse. The study of financial abuse of elders by Monash University for the State Trustees makes sobering reading. The elderly already get pressured to do things such as sell their homes. One could easily see that pressure become coercion to die. How do we ensure that intentions are made clear beforehand and are respected?
I think that Gross has hit the nail on the head. He understands that you cannot legalize euthanasia without experiencing collateral damage, meaning lives lost without request or consent. Euthanasia can become the ultimate form of elder abuse.

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