Saturday, February 20, 2010

An undignified death?

British TV presenter Ray Gosling confessed on TV earlier last week that he helped a terminally ill lover of his end the suffering by smothering him to death. The confession followed a documentary about mortality and end of life decisions on BBC East Midland's Inside Out which Gosling presented. During the documentary, he interviewed a number of people on the subject and felt motivated to contribute his own experience on the matter.

(Unfortunately, the entire documentary is not available on the BBC website.)

Needless to say, the confession stirred a hornets' nest resulting in heated moral discussions and legal action. Nottingham police arrested and questioned Gosling, later releasing him on bail. Here is what the "suspect" had to say in a TV interview following the controversial broadcast.

Another interview here.

I don't intend to make a hero out of Ray Gosling; for all we know it might have been murder - an act conducted without the friend's consent; nonetheless, it does not change the fact that there are few places in the world where a suffering man or woman can choose to go without resorting to covert pacts or criminal acts.

Newspaper commentator Donald MacLeod argues in this piece that suffocating someone with a pillow is not a dignified death. That's an absurd argument. Till every person does not have control over when to end her own life, deaths of this nature will be undignified regardless of whether they are administered via a stealthy overdose of morphine or a pillow over one's face.

More on death: 1, 2

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