Euthanasia – would you?

I know this is a bit of a grim topic for a Tuesday as we are all probably feeling a bit grim anyway having to be back at work after the holidays, but I read this article about twins that decided to have themselves Euthanised and thought WTF?

In a nutshell (and I quote):

The (deaf) twins had lived and worked together their whole lives. They worked as cobblers, suffered spinal and heart disease, and were about to lose their vision from glaucoma.


Many will wonder why my brothers have opted for euthanasia because there are plenty of deaf and blind that have a ‘normal’ life,” he said. “But my brothers trudged from one disease to another. They were really worn out.”

“They lived together, did their own cooking and cleaning. You could eat off the floor. Blindness would have made them completely dependent. They did not want to be in an institution,” said Mr Verbessem.

It could be that I’m super sensitive to the fact that twins decided to have themselves Euthanised because I have twins, but this just strikes me as very, very wrong.

Dying is not really something I spend a lot of time thinking about and I have wondered on occasion under what circumstances I would choose to have myself Euthanised. I have thought maybe if I had dementia or Alzheimer’s, but at which point do you draw the line, because generally speaking when you are ready to draw the line you wouldn’t care anyway.

Terminal illness? No thanks, I would want to suck those last few days/minutes/hours out of life and spend them with my family.

If you knew were you going to die on a certain day you could probably plan things properly and book your funeral in advance and choose your own casket etc, but in my heart of Calvinistic upbringing hearts I can’t get my head around it.  It just seems very cold and calculated. Maybe I just like the fact of NOT knowing when I’m going to die, I prefer the element of surprise, if you know what I mean. Or am I very old school and narrowminded in my thinking?

What do you think, would you choose to have yourself taken out of the gene pool and if so, under which circumstances? 




20 thoughts on “Euthanasia – would you?”

  1. I read that article and personally I think they were wrong. They were not terminal, they were not in pain. Then again, who knows what constitutes pain for someone else. That they could never hear or see each other again might be worse than dying.

    As for myself, if I was terminal and my suffering caused the suffering of the ones I love I would ask them to help me die. I have been the one watching a loved one suffer unspeakable pain, and I would never want to cause my family the anguish I went through. Then again, I may get to that point and decide that one more moment, one more breath is worth all the pain.

    Also, I have a living will, my mom and my husband know about it. If I am in an accident or something similar and they have to put me on life support indefinitely just to keep me alive then I don’t want it. If I’m not going to be able to talk and reason and feed myself then Do Not Resuscitate!

    P.s. love your blog theme!!

  2. I read a poem last night that sort of fits this perfectly:
    Death. The only thing inevitable in life.
    People don’t like to talk about death because it makes them sad.
    They don’t want to imagine how life will go on without them, all the people they love will briefly grieve but continue to breathe.
    They don’t want to imagine how life will go on without them.
    Their children will still grow, get married, get old…
    They don’t want to imagine how life will continue to go on without them.
    Their material things will be sold, their medical files stamped “closed”

    Okay so it’s a really long poem so won’t bore you with the whole thing, the point of it being that we fear death so much that we refuse to think of it. We treat each day as if tomorrow we’ll have another but the truth is that we never know how long we have and only those who accept that death is inevitable are able to concentrate on LIFE cause that’s the emphasis here. These twins had an amazing life, they survived the inevitable and lived it well together, they have accepted death and that life will continue with or without them, they have made the decision and lived.

    Would I consider Euthanasia? I don’t know because I’m not in their situation. But I would rather not be around than be a burden on everyone which is why I my family is very aware of my wishes never to be kept alive with machines if anything happens.

    *gets off soapbox*

  3. Thank you for posting this.

    My personal views: Every individual has his/her own life circumstances – call it dharma, karma, destiny, life purpose, whatever you wish. Every individual needs to complete their life in the physical body until it naturally ends – whether by illness, accident, or some other way they cannot control.

    Assisted suicide is therefore not an option. It is transferring one’s own life/death responsibility to another person. That other party is willingly also affecting their own karma too.

    Inbuilt into every human being is the urge for survival and self-preservation until the physical life naturally comes to an end at its own time. To do otherwise amounts to stepping outside ‘natural law’. In religious terms, that would be to ‘sin’. But that’s a term I prefer not to use, because it has a whole lot of mixed-up connotations. It simply means to think or act contrary to natural law.

    So, in my view, both parties appear to have taken natural law into their own hands and I feel it is side-stepping their respective life responsibilities. However, that decision is their own, and it is not possible to know what their individual life-contracts with themselves were before they came into physical bodies. One can only feel what is right for one’s own self.

    Like you, my own desire would be to deal with what I have to deal with, in the hope that I would fond the strength to do so.

    When it comes to stopping life-support systems that unnaturally prolong a life that would otherwise end, I see that as a different issue altogether.

    You may have seen videos of Nick Vujicic who has no limbs. In case you or any of your readers haven’t, he is a must-watch person. Here’s one of them:

    ~ Gavin

  4. I am going to go with the twins. Being deaf as well as blind would finish it for me. I have known either deaf or blind people and it’s a struggle already, but both cuts you off from the world and independence in a way that for me would be enough to contemplate exercising a choice to end my life. i say that, and of course if I were in that situation I might react completely differently.

  5. If I was terminal with whatever disease and knew at some point that everything that makes me the person I am would fly out of the window and inevitably I would be a burden on my loved ones, I would take the assisted suicide route. I would rather have my better half remember me going quietly while I was still “me” than have him remember the months of anguish, pain and indignity that I would have gone through otherwise.

  6. Dont think I would choose this,but then I am not in their situation.They are in a way also ‘semi lucky ‘ to get the choice in their country.
    So I guess I am pro choice and it is your own life for you to make your own decisions about-but then the Anglican/Catholic upbringing tells me its wrong too.

  7. I am not in the situation of the twins but I think that I would do the same. I know a number of deaf and blind people. It’s not an easy existence. Would I request Euthanasia? I don’t know. It’s easy to be black or white when the situation is a hypothetical one. Such a tricky one. I just don’t know.

  8. Can’t type lots cos am on ipad but fully support twins decision and am in full support of euthanasia. I have a living will that states that I do not want to be kep alive artificially. If I could state that I want the option of euthanasia I would.

    1. Etienne and I have the same agreement, but only if there is no quality of life whatsoever and death is imminent.

  9. What an interesting debate. What my little 40 years have taught me is that it’s not what you stand for that matters, it’s what you fall for. That old cliche – never say never – has bitten me on the bum many times so I don’t know what I would do until I am faced with it. I don’t think their decision was wrong. I think it’s quite brave. Whether or not I would do it, hopefully I never have to face that choice.

  10. Really, I don’t know. To me they still had much to live for. Do yourself a favour – buy the book “me before you” by Jojo Moyes, read and then think about the topic again. I am not going to leave any comment as it will spoil the read for you, but chat to me when you you’ve finished reading it. Apart from the fact that it deals with the exact topic it is also a fantastic sensitive and riveting read.

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