Friday 11 July 2008

From despair to hope: The euthanasia petitioner who changed her mind

The story of Seema Sood, who petitioned the president of India for euthanasia, provides evidence of why euthanasia must be unceasingly resisted both politically and, sadly with increasing frequency, by the bedside. See my earlier post Resisting euthanasia at the bedside.

Alison Davis, who has spina bifida, and leads No Less Human, a division within SPUC, says:

"The story of Mrs. Seema Sood explains in a nutshell why allowing legalised killing of vulnerable people by euthanasia is wrong. Mrs. Sood, who is now 37, longed for death two years ago, and even petitioned the President of India for euthanasia. She had lost all movement of her limbs for 15 years following a severe attack of rheumatoid arthritis, and was in despair. Now two years later, after surgery paid for by the Government of her state and her university alumni association, she says 'I regret the letter to the President. Everything was so dark for me ealier, but I'm excited about my mobility now and I'm confident I will improve.'

"Euthanasia would have robbed Mrs. Sood of the chance to recover her love of life, and to benefit from the surgery which revolutionised her life, and no one would have known that life held something better for her in the future. She is not the only vulnerable person who has changed her mind about wanting to die. I've been through the same experience myself.

"But euthanasia allows for no changes of mind. It is the philosophy of despair. What sick and disabled people who want to die really need is the sort of help and support which Mrs. Sood received both from politicians and her friends. Note well, politicians. Your actions could save a life like Mrs. Sood's rather than condemning her and others to death."

And, readers, note also SPUC's service to those who want to protect their loved ones from euthanasia: Patients First Network. By supporting and advising the friends and relatives of patients who are at risk of euthanasia by neglect, Patients First Network is enabling ordinary people to mount a bedside resistance to a premature and distressing death for their loved ones.