Aid in Dying

A recent article in the NY Times dealt with the trend in some states to allow terminally ill people to end their lives with dignity.  Indeed, I would expect this topic to gain increasing attention in coming years as the baby boomer generation ages.  Many of us in the “boomer” generation have seen parents linger on for months and even years with no quality of life often with debilitating illness.  It’s a horrible thing to witness and we have trouble dealing with the prospect that one day it may be us.  To be sure, I’m not advocating wholesale mercy killings but there has to be a point that if a person is terminally ill with no hope of a cure, and in terrible pain, they should be allowed the means to end their life with dignity. The cost to society of keeping many elderly people alive for just a few months when they are at death’s doorstep is horrendous.  It drives up medical costs and is a frightful burden on family and friends of the patient.  Some will argue that only God can determine when a person’s life is over, but what about those who don’t necessarily believe in a supreme being to make decisions for them?

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