Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Dutch woman sought medically assisted death because she could not live with the effects of child sex abuse

This is really a terrible story. A woman in Holland who had been raped (sexually attacked) as a child suffered daily psychological pain that was so severe that she requested euthanasia (when a doctor helps one to die).

Holland was the first European country to allow euthanasia (in 2002) and about 5,000 people, each year, choose this. Anyone over 12 years old can request euthanasia in Holland. You can read the article below and judge for yourself whether this person - in her 20s - should have been allowed to die.

I, personally, would say 'no'. They just gave up on this girl. What good is psychology or medicine if women like this cannot be helped? Also, many people in Holland who kill themselves through euthanasia seem to do so because they are lonely or socially isolated. 

It seems obvious that we all have to work to try to create more humane societies where people do not feel so isolated that they have to kill themselves. (Frankly, we also need to make sure that our children are as safe as possible and don't experience the type of situation that leaves them with incurable psychological pain.) 

I think each of us has to demonstrate a greater compassion and concern for others on a daily basis and really help others feel their lives are of value and meaningful. One of our social goals and values has to become compassion, instead of greed and competition. This story has challenged me to try to take a sense of compassion with me into the streets and in my every day dealings regardless of how rude, nasty and malicious others can be. 

The article:

Vocabulary from the article:

sought - seek, sought, sought (to seek - to look for)

Dutch - if you are from Holland you are called Dutch. Another term for Holland is The Netherlands...nether means 'under' - much of Holland is actually under sea level.

to euthanize, euthanasia - eu means good in ancient Greek; thanatos means death. So euthanasia means a good death or a merciful death. It is when medical professionals help a person who is suffering to die. There are 4 or 5 states in the USA which allow this...most states do not because the USA is a predominantly Christian country.

incurable - can't be cured, the person cannot be helped, the pain cannot be lessened or eliminated

post traumatic stress syndrome - post means after, trauma is something horrible that happens to a person, stress is psychological discomfort and pain, a syndrome is a group of symptoms or things that help to define a situation. So if a person has PTSS, the person has experienced something horrible and is suffering psychological pain from it.

competent - she had the ability to do this. To be mentally or psychologically competent to decide something means you have the ability to make a decision. I would argue that this woman was NOT competent to make this decision. She just wanted the terrible suffering to end and it was easier to do that than to help her. This story has made me feel so sad...

anorexia - when a person refuses to eat because he/she wants to appear attractive

chronic - it won't go away

mood swings - when one goes from one emotion to another very quickly and without any apparent reason

a tendency - something one does over and over again

hallucinations - seeing things which are not real

an obsession - a strong desire to do something over and over again, or a desire to do something that doesn't have to be done but one feels one needs to do it

a compulsion - basically the same thing as an obsession. If a person has obsessive-compulsive disorder, he/she might wash his/her hands 30 times a day, be worried about things nobody else worries about etc.

that lay at the root of the problem - that is causing the problem

lethal injection - a deadly shot, poison injected into one through a needle

paradoxically - this is a paradox because she chose to die when she wasn't feeling any pain or depression.

to decriminalize - to make something legal which had been illegal. For example, marijuana has been decriminalized in Colorado in the USA.

infamous - famous for the wrong reasons; famous because it was horrible

a precedent - something that comes before something else and inspires the new thing

dementia - an inability to remember or think clearly

advocating - to advocate for something or to advocate something means to believe it is good and to encourage it

to quadruple - to increase by four times

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