The University of Warwick
Closed: November 17, 2018
4 Nov 2018 38 Respondents
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Should Euthanasia Be Permitted For A Limited Life?

Should Euthanasia Be Permitted For A Limited Life?

Pierre was a vigorous, active retiree; at age 68 he loved going for long walks in the countryside to take photographs of the landscape and wildlife. He also enjoyed walking to the center of his village to meet friends for a drink at the end of the afternoon. His lifelong companion spent frequent time with him, although they did not live together, as Pierre was always fiercely independent.

However, late one night he suffered a massive stroke in his home. Unable to call for help he remained on the floor until he was discovered the next day by his son, by which time the impact of the stroke had caused extensive and irreparable damage. He was hospitalized for three months and finally returned home, completely paralyzed on the right side of his body (he is right-handed), and with partial paralysis on the left. Unable to walk, incontinent, and unable to care for himself, his companion Charlotte has moved in to care for him. His life is now restricted to transfers between the hospital bed in his living room and his wheelchair a few feet away. Although he is able to feed himself, he is cannot write, handle a television remote or even maintain his attention on a task for longer than 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

Charlotte has severe back problems (she was in two very serious accidents previously) which have been greatly exacerbated by the strain of moving him several times a day, and her physical and mental health is rapidly deteriorating as she cares for him 24/24, 7/7.  They both resent the situation but they do not have the means to pay for home care and both are reluctant for him to go to a State care home, she out of guilt, he out of reticence at what his life there would be. Pierre's health has now stabilized and for the foreseeable future his situation will remain unchanged, while their remaining savings disappear in various therapies which seem to bring no benefit other than activity to break up the day.

He wishes to consider euthanasia, and Charlotte supports him, although this is currently illegal for him in France given his stable health. Do you think he should be permitted to make such a choice?

It is proposed that he be offered the option of euthanasia.
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