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Is SA Ready For Medical Assisted Deaths For Terminally ill Patients Like Some Countries do? Opinion

Being terminally sick and in excruciating pain isn't a child's play. More so when you know that there is no treatment or medication to controll the pain you have .

Losing a loved one is definitely not a pleasant thing to happen , but watching a loved one everday slowly deteriorating and in extreme pain , knowing fully well that he/she is beyond medical help, can make you feel helpless and sorry.

Disease such as Motor Neuron Disease (MND) can totally paralyse one's body , kbut even in that paralytic state you can still feel the pain that comes with the disease.

Two MND sufferers , Diethelm Harck and Suzanne Walters , who have multiple myeloma , are fighting for the legalization of Euthanasia in South Africa.

According to the 71 year old Harck , who was diagnosed in 2013 , " From what I have seen and heared , deathly MND is not peaceful at all , I have seen a number of colleagues and group members pass away. They had no way to communicate and breathing wasn't easy."

According to experts MND sufferers can't do basic things like buttoning up their short, or use handtools , they get out of breath very quickly. But most of all they are constantly in excruciating pain. Muscles also weakens continuously while the diaphram stops working at some point.

The two are fighting to develop a law in South Africa that will allow both Physician assisted suicide (PAS) and the physician assisted euthanasia (PAE). Regarding PAS , the doctor can prescribe and the patient will self administer , while with the PAE the doctors administers any life ending medicine.

Many people who suffer from motor neuron disease would like to decide when and how they depart this earth, but unfortunately there is no law in SA that allows terminally ill patients to make such decisions.

While in other countries , especially in Europe there are clinics that gives patients that choice .

Mr Harck said there will come à time when he will fear to live any longer , when that moment come , he expressed his wish of being assisted by a physician.

Meanwhile , the Health Proffessions of South Africa and the Ministers of Health, Justice and the National Director of Public Prosecution are opposing the application.

Do you think terminally sick people who have no hope of recovering should be allowed to decide when their suffering should end? Or should they wait for the nature to play its part?

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Diethelm Harck Harck MND South Suzanne Walters


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