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Monday, July 6, 2015

Godelieva De Troyer and the dirty deed

Because of Metro Vancouver issuing an air quality advisory because of the climate heat and the smoke in the air, I am staying in until the advisory is lifted.  I am seventy years old and I do not do well in the heat.  The last thing I need is tiny little microns penetrating my respiratory system.  The heat is very uncomfortable.

In The New Yorker there is a letter from Belgium in the June 22 2015 issue: The
Death Treatment.  When should people with a non-terminal illness be helped to die. by Rachel Aviv It tells of a death by euthanasia in which only the doctors knew and the family was not notified until after the dirty deed.  The tragedy of this death was that the woman was not terminally ill or in her nineties. 

The son (Tom Mortier) screamed at the doctor (Wim Distelmans) who did the dirty deed .  You went along with the madness of my mother.  You went along with her tunnel vision, her defeatism.  You have taken away the suffering of one person and transposed it to another.

Belgian law allows euthanasia for patients who suffer from severe and incurable distress including psychological disorders.

The laws seem to have created a new conception of suicide as a medical treatment, stripped of its tragic dimensions.  Patrick Wyffels, a Belgian family doctor, told Rachel Aviv that he sometimes worries about how his own values might influence a patients decision to die or to live.  Depending on communication techniques, Dr. Wyffeks said he might lead a patient one way or the other.


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