Monday, October 27, 2003

France: Euthanasia debate (re)ignited

You have to read this story. It's about a case in France that has (re)ignited the euthanasia debate.

Three years ago, 21-year-old Vincent Humbert was in a car accident .... it left him a quadriplegic, blind, unable to speak, and without a sense of smell or taste.

A month ago, his mom injected him with something that put him into a deep coma ... she was arrested. And a couple of days later, the doctor in charge switched off the artificial respirator. He is quoted saying that he is therefore the one responsible for taking Vincent's life.

Here is a detail from the article that I can't get out of my head.
"The life I am forced to lead is a shit life. It is not a life, it is not my life. I can lead it no longer; I will lead it no longer," he [Vincent] wrote in a book, I Ask For the Right to Die, that was published the day after his death.

To write it, he indicated what he wanted to say, letter by letter, by squeezing a journalist's palm with his right thumb - the only part of his body he could move - while the man repeatedly recited the alphabet. It has since sold 300,000 copies, and is at number two on the French non-fiction bestseller list.
I am still struggling with the whole issue of euthanasia. The case of Terri Schiavo down in Florida would count as my worst nightmare. Humbert at least stated that he wanted to die and there is official record of it. In Schiavo's case, it's her husband's word ... and if this story is to be believed, he may have monetary/personal reasons to want her feeding tube removed (story found via Kaus).