Again to Marta and Doyle wasRe: Replying to Marta was re: Holland: thenew killing fields

Marta Russell ap888 at
Fri Dec 8 18:32:37 MST 2000

All I can say is that many people who start out with your
feelings don't necessarily stick to that position when faced with
a disabilty.  For instance I know many quadriplegics who first
felt suicidal when they were injured, but they adjusted and
decided life was better than no life.  Chris Reeves is one and
there are hundreds of others.  People transcend their inner
stereotypes of what disability is and means and they go on to do
things in this world.  They even adopt pride around their
condition -- this is called the disability movement.

I know of another who wrote a living will requesting life
supports be removed and changed her mind upon disablement -- but
was killed anyway cause relatives were told to carry out her
original wish and doctors were all too willing to starve her to
death.  Be careful of being so stuck in one position for yourself
on this one.  Leave room for adapting.


Gary MacLennan wrote:
> Marta,
> I had not intended saying more on this issue.  But Doyle and yourself have
> replied and I do not want to be seen ignoring what you both have had to
> say. You say, Marta, that fear of dependency is behind most people's
> support for euthanasia.  That seems right to me.  However you say it is
> sad.  I cannot agree.  Look I have nothing to say against people who can
> cope with dependence.  That is their choice and I respect it absolutely and
> agree with you that the care they get should be of the highest.  I am also
> aware of those who need care and who have had no choice in the matter. I
> think here of the wife of a good friend who was disabled by a massive
> stroke and has spent the rest of here life in a chair unable to
> speak.   Also the Down Syndrome son of a very good friend comes to mind.  I
> am absolutely not for the elimination of these people by the state or the
> medical profession. They have not had many choices and should not be
> punished for this.
> But I do have choices.  I do not want to be dependent.  I do not want to
> end up in diapers, drooling in a chair.  My old friend does not want to end
> up like that either. Why cannot you accept that?  Why do you have to see it
> as somehow pathological rather than a cold hard look at the probabilities?
> I cannot say how I will be when death is approaching,  that is if I have a
> chance to weigh it all up.  But I hope to approach it with courage and
> dignity, and above all I will be thinking of what the quality of my life
> will be.  There are much worse things than death.
> regards
> Gary
> At 10:07  8/12/00 -0800, you wrote:
> >Doyle Saylor wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > Where James puts forward that this is a health issue ultimately to make
> > sure
> > > people who have a right to die will get the right support I think he misses
> > > the point that Marta makes that we ought not to turn over the decision to
> > > die to health professionals, but think of the deeper issues that make
> > people
> > > abhor interdependence.  The decision is not something experts in health
> > have
> > > any more say so than do cops.  But cops are now making mental health
> > > decisions concerning arresting mentally disabled people on the
> > streets.  The
> > > point is that the decision is not about one segment of society in some
> > > profession ought to decide but that such things impact the whole system and
> > > appear in the concept of dependence upon another person.
> > >
> >
> >Recent studies about those in Oregon who have used the assisted
> >suicide law show that fear of dependency weights as a primary
> >reason for wanting to die.  These people have probably never been
> >familiarized with the concept of in home personal assistance or
> >spoken with disabled persons who could show them the way.  They
> >just seem to shrink in fear and not explore the possibilities.
> >It is very common amongst elderly people and really sad.
> >
> >A national personal assitance services program could go a long
> >way to preserving people's independence in a dependent condition.
> >  although ADAPT has been working on this hard for years, there
> >has been much opposition in Washington because the nursing homes
> >have the political muscle (money) to keep the current system in
> >place  that warehouses (and often abuses) disabled bodies to make
> >their profits.
> >
> >No one wants to go into a nursing home -- everyone on this list
> >needs to be advocating for the MiCASSA bill sponsored by Sen.
> >Harkin which would redirect the funding bias from
> >institutionalization to in home supportive services.  This would
> >take the pressure off the family members who feel burdened by a
> >situation -- particularly women who seem to be the main
> >caretakers.  It would alleviate lots of family hostilities that
> >develop over who is providing help -- because services would be
> >provided by someone who gets paid for it.
> >
> >In home services should be as readily available as running water.
> >
> >Doyle thanks for putting these issues in context.
> >
> >marta

Marta Russell
author, Los Angeles, CA
Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract

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