Right to Die

Euthanasia

You may have seen across social media that in the news a judge in the UK ruled that a man could exercise his right to “control the end of his life” if he needed to have a stoma. I will include both links to the news stories and I can only speak from my own opinion on this matter and euthanasia which you are completely entitled to disagree or agree in part with.

Nobody wants to just merely exist and for many of us that was how it felt before we had our ostomies, but there are those of us who genuinely don’t like their stoma and have issues and as sad as it is it shows it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. The news broke in two parts and seemed to divide the ostomy community some what; not through anger as such but sadness. The first article to be shared talked about how this man months before his surgery had decided that he wouldn’t want to live with another stoma. Please take note of the word another; this wasn’t his first and many people that have had multiple stomas have a love/hate relationship but we also know this can change. I personally worry at how I will adjust to my next stoma when I have more surgery in the future.

The second article discussed how the judge ruled in favour of the man’s right if the only option was a stoma as he consistently conveyed the same message. Although many ostomates see this as an absolute blow to the hard work we all do to raise positive awareness and how our lives still have quality and meaning; I do think that maybe this is a step in the right direction for euthanasia. I personally am a huge believer in choosing how and when you die; but as long as you have the capacity to do so even if it is done in advance. That is obviously good news for those with progressive dengenerative diseases that aren’t curable and have thought about how they would end their lives and were worried if would loved ones get in trouble for assisting in their death.

Euthanasia – is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. Different countries have different euthanasia laws. – Wikipedia

I remember at school learning about euthanasia and feeling like it was the most important decision anyone can make about their own life and people should be allowed to die on their own terms surrounded with loved ones and not suffering. Although I do feel like it has to be the last case scenario; treatments failing and running out of options, you lose control of your body that sort of thing and I feel you need to have enough mental capacity to make the decision yourself.

I feel that it should be a persons decision and should be taken with more weight from professionals across the board as it is your life than for instance when that choice has been taken away and it is left to your family to decide. That is where you find sentiments can sometimes outweigh what the patients wishes would have been – I have seen many different versions of that over the years I have worked in care and some are taken with lots of consideration and others not so much. It doesn’t have to just do with end of life but anything that the person can no longer voice for themselves and their best interests need to be kept at the centre of all times.

I know that we don’t know why or how this gentleman got to this decision and even though I wish I could talk to him as somebody who wanted to die rather than have a stoma with my first surgery and that it is different with each scenario. I hated my life with a jpouch without a stoma and often wonder how different my life would have been if I had just had a temporary one. I also now know from listening to many peoples experiences that the differences between having a temporary and a permanant ostomy are pretty life changing. One big thing people mention is how much better they feel when they no longer have mucus build up to pass as your bowel produces mucus as a lubricant whether it is passing stool or not.

That aside it is really sad that this gentleman would just prefer to end his life than give it another shot as there is a chance it wouldn’t be the same as last time but that isn’t a given. In our “Let’s Be OstoMATES” series Paul had an extremely hard time but muddled on as best as he could.

What are your thoughts on this subject baring in mind euthanasia is obviously a touchy subject regardless of the reasons behind it.