The Absurdity of the Euthanasia Discussion in the Absence of Effective Medicine and Social Support for the Seriously Chronically Ill.

I cannot tell you how absurd it is to be seeking euthanasia as the final end to this awful Crohn’s journey when I’m not suicidal and I don’t want to die.  What I do want, all of which is illustrated brilliantly in this clip, is 1. effective medical treatment for my disease, or failing that, consistent access to effective pain and symptom relief, in my case medical marijuana which has been used successfully for thousands of years to ease specifically gut ailments and which use is supported in contemporary peer-reviewed medical literature particularly for Crohn’s; 2. social support with fulfilling basic tasks and the activities of daily living like shopping, cleaning, cooking and the like; and 3. to be relieved of external constraints that make existing as a chronically ill person a living fucking hell and a consistent nightmare, which constraints have nothing to do with being ill and everything to do with being an oppressed person and failed consumer/producer under capitalism and patriarchy.  Constraints like poverty.  Fear of (and actual) male violence.  Disability-based (and all) discrimination.  Things like that.

But I can’t have any of those things — effective medical treatment, social support, and freedom from oppression — because under the current system those things don’t actually exist so the easiest thing for everyone would be for me to simply disappear or to have never been born in the first place.  Failing that we have euthanasia otherwise known as assisted dying or medically assisted suicide.  Of course, poor and other unsupported “euthanasia candidates” — who likely don’t have $12,000 and the good health and social support needed to have their efforts rubber stamped/make it official — just know and experience this process as good old-fashioned suicide.  Who knows what Chris Rock really thinks about euthanasia for seriously ill and dying people but he’s not wrong to see the absurdity in it, at least under the current system.

Continue reading “The Absurdity of the Euthanasia Discussion in the Absence of Effective Medicine and Social Support for the Seriously Chronically Ill.”

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Crohn’s Disease and Euthanasia. Medically Assisted Suicide for Intractable Pain and Symptoms in “Nonterminal” Illness

This man, Jason (Jay) Franklin, has Hirschprung disease, a congenital birth defect in which the colon and possibly also the small intestine are not properly enervated causing bowel obstruction and inability to pass stool.  He had his first abdominal surgery at 14 days old which left him with a life-long colostomy bag and has had, in his estimation, 15-20 or more additional abdominal surgeries in his life to treat obstructions and iatrogenic illnesses from the treatments and surgeries themselves as abdominal surgery and manhandling the intestine actually cause bowel adhesions that require more surgery and so on.  At the time this footage was taken, he was on opiate pain relievers and Valium to dull the severe pain and physical and emotional distress of his disease which medications leave him cognitively impaired and he still has severe symptoms that leave him disabled from working and which prevent restful sleep.  He is also still unable to digest most food and is unable to care for himself and lives with his mother.  In this documentary, he is observed in his ordeal to apply for and be accepted to a Swiss euthanasia program called Dignitas where he intends to take his own life due to the intractable pain and incurable symptoms and progression of his disease.

While this man does not have Crohn’s disease, his condition is similar in many ways including severe intractable pain, gut issues leading to malnutrition, malabsorption and dehydration, and the incurable nature of his illness which Western medicine nevertheless does not consider terminal because there are “treatments” available when his bowel becomes obstructed, when fistulas open between his bowel and bladder causing him to urinate feces, and when he develops life threatening infections and sepsis.  Swiss euthanasia clinics appear to be the only such services available to nonterminal patients who suffer from intractable pain, and this video documents his attempts to navigate the financial and bureaucratic minefields standing between him and his chosen escape from his suffering: assisted dying, otherwise known as euthanasia or medically assisted suicide.

Continue reading “Crohn’s Disease and Euthanasia. Medically Assisted Suicide for Intractable Pain and Symptoms in “Nonterminal” Illness”