Near End-of-Life

Back when I was in college, I was in a class discussing, no, it's more like debating, about euthanasia. I was a proponent of euthanasia rights, still am. I think it would be cruel for us to let someone we love who is in excruciating pain and have no chance in surviving is in life support. I believe if he or she can say something, he or she will ask us to let him or her go. Who wants to live in that way, anyway? When you're in a coma, you're in persistent vegetative state (PVS) or your brain is already dead, there's no way you're gonna get your cognitive function working again, and you're put in life support, with all of those tube feeding you. Or you know you're getting sick, Alzheimer's disease, advanced stage cancer, or any other diseases that will lead you to death eventually. 

Why suddenly I come up with this idea and write about it? Actually, I already thought about this such a long time ago, but after reading Decisions Making Near End-of-Life, I put into more serious thought about it. I become aware with Terry Schiavo's case. The case was a dispute between Terry's family and Terry's husband, Michael Schiavo. The Schindlers (Terry's parents) insisted their daughter should be put in life support, while her husband insisted to remove the feeding tube. The case lasted in 15 years (1990 - 2005) before finally the court granted Michael's appeal. 15 years to put Terry in suffering? Geez, I can't imagine how suffered she must be. 

From the book that I've read, there are definitely differences between America and Indonesia. In America it's common and open to talk about decisions to make near end-of-life, while here I don't often see it. I know in Indonesia we're not familiar with what to decide in near end-of-life. We're so religious and we leave every thing in God's hands. We grovel and pray to God may God cure our loved ones, even though we know deep in our hearts that's more unlikely. We're in false hope, yet we keep it. Unfortunately, euthanasia isn't allowed here.

If that happens to me (please, Heaven forbids that!), I would ask my family or my surrogate to act in behalf of my name to remove the life support and let me die with dignity. I'm not playing God, but what's the point of living if I can't properly use my brain? The thought I don't longer have cognitive function terrifies me. I can't think, read, write? No, I don't want that. It pains me. It's the same thing if I had to undergo another disease that had me lying in bed all the time, losing my consciousness, in miserable physical pain, or any other thing that made me lose my dignity. Definitely I would beg my family to let me die with the last thing that I have: my dignity. If Oregon already has Death with Dignity Act, when will Indonesia follow the same route?

By the way, I'm planning to discuss about this with my family. So, by the time that I don't have capacity to decide for my own sake, they'll know what to do. 


  1. I'm thinking about the same thing. Karena kalau kita dalam kondisi kayak gitu malah nyusahin keluarga. Gue maunya kalau saat-saat menjelang meninggal udah nggak nyusahin siapa-siapa gitu lagi.

  2. This is a very interesting topic, Kimi. To be honest, I don't know where I stand. In one hand, I follow my logic and euthanasia is the best way for people in this situation. But in the other hand... I believe in miracles.
    I say we must give some time... Maybe one or two years. If nothing changes then euthanasia is the answer.
    This topic was also in one of my college class' debate. =)

  3. Wiih... :O

    Dulu pas aku masih semester awal, sempat ada diskusi tentang masalah ini di kelas. Dan diskusi berlangsung hangat, bahkan panas.

    Salah satu referensinya adalah buku Filsafat Moral --mungkin Kimi juga udah baca, tulisan James Rachels, profesor filsafat yg nulis buku The End of Life: Euthanasia and Morality.

    Buku itu dulu membuatku terguncang. Di situ digambarkan betapa moralitas sangat relatif, padahal saat itu aku masih polos dan memandang segala sesuatu secara hitam putih, hehe....

  4. I don't quite understand the euthanasia debate, tho. On the arguments, I agree that it's painful to see our beloved one suffering, but on the other hand, what if, IF, s/he (the critical one) actually still desired to fight for their lives? There are many people who being stubborn on staying alive. I think euthanasia is supposed to be the sick's decision--when s/he could make any. And the family also need to considered the sick's hope and will, not only blinded by the family's painful emotion to see their beloved suffer.

    To give quite different view.

  5. Nah, itu. Saya juga gak mau nyusahin keluarga. Mudah-mudahan sih nanti saat-saat menjelang meninggal gak sampe nyusahin keluarga lah.

  6. That is okay. Because in the end the decision is in your hand, or your family. Just to make sure before you make decision you have to discuss it thoroughly with your physician and your family.

  7. Aku belum pernah baca bukunya. Nanti aku cari deh. Hehehehe... Btw, aku juga dulu seperti kamu melihat segala sesuatunya secara hitam dan putih. Tapi, sekarang mah sudah ngerti kalau warna itu tidak cuma hitam dan putih, thok. Ada abu-abu, merah, biru, kuning, dan lain-lain.

  8. I agree decision is should be based on with what the critical one really wants. If s/he still capables to make any decision, the family should act on it. S/he and families should find out more information about his/her illness and always consult with his/her physician, so s/he knows the worst case scenario and s/he can make decision what's best for him/her. That's my opinion.


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