Thursday, January 6, 2011

Man charged in father's suicide (There's something wrong with this headline.)

Father's suicide: Man charged in father's suicide -
Bruce Brodigan, 46, a teacher from Somerville, Mass., is accused of assisting in the overdose of the elder Brodigan, a Timberwood Road resident who had been a prominent area attorney and one-time interim Superior Court judge, but in recent years had Alzheimer's disease.
As a society, we need to be able to talk reasonably, responsibly, and candidly about allowing people die with dignity. I don't know the details of this situation, but if it's a case of sick, old man begging to be allowed to die, then what's criminal here is that he wasn't allowed to make those arrangements with his lawyer, doctor, and family.

I've watched family members die long, miserable deaths after being turned into bitter, frightened, raging fragments of their former selves by a terrible disease. My family history tells me there's a fair chance that, if I live into my 80s, I may have several years of dementia at the end of my life to look forward to. I'd rather suffer a living nightmare for as long as it takes than put my children through the agony of risking their livelihoods to help me die on my terms; but, rather than that, I'd like my doctor to understand my wishes and follow my instructions if the worst did come to pass. I'd prefer it if my fellow citizens would stop electing religious zealots determined to make the state the entity that gets to make the decisions about my end of life care.
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