Sunday, 4 December 2011

Suicide in the Disabled

Whenever I see news articles about court battles to allow the sick and disabled to have the right to terminate their own lives, with help from their loved ones, when they feel they can survive no more, I have mixed feelings.  On one hand, as someone who lives with daily pain I can understand when you are in constant pain, can't think because of the drugs you take, or communicate properly, when you are just a bundle of shrieking nerves trapped within your own body, I think everyone should have the right to decide if they can take no more.  On the other hand I get dreadfully worried, because once it becomes acceptable for the sick or disabled to terminate their lives it sets a terrible precedent. 

If it becomes acceptable for sick and disabled people to take their own lives because they can't suffer any longer, then is it acceptable to commit suicide because they are trapped in their own homes with no dignity, no heat and no food.  If there is no aspect of their lives that has worth and happiness because they are no longer getting the support they have been promised by the State and are having to lay in their own filth over-night because the local Council has decreed that it is not cost effective to have a care worker to assist them to the toilet, then do they become acceptable reasons for sick and disabled people to take their own lives?

Without the funds to pay for carers to help the sick and disabled to get out of bed in the morning, without the funds to pay for food and heat, without the funds to pay for mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs or taxis, what quality of life will be there?  I worry so much when I read blog posts like this one.  Where a disabled person bluntly and articulately states that when their DLA payments stop - because under PIP she won't be eligible, she will have so little quality of life she doesn't think she will be able to continue fighting through each day.

All over the internet are stories like Lisa's, blog posts and comments on campaigning websites about how, with the Welfare Reform Bill going through, they are scared that they will either die slowly, through lack of care, food and heat, or they can choose to end the suffering quickly, through suicide.  It is so wrong that these heartbreaking stories are flooding the internet and they don't seem to be heard.  Why does nobody care?  Being sick or disabled is something that can happen to ANYONE at ANY TIME.  Nobody knows when they, or a loved one, will become ill, or be in an accident.  I just can't comprehend why the public are being so short sighted, do they believe that if they had an incurable wasting disease they would be able to soldier on and perform a full week's work, every week, month after month?  No one knows how illness or disability will affect them.  Every illness and disability is different in the ways in which they affect the body, no one can predict how they will cope, until they suffer an awful tragedy, and that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

I can't understand why this petition to ask the Government to stop and review the Welfare Reform Bill before the affects harm sick and disabled people, and their families, more than they have done already, has not had more signatures.  Do the public genuinely not care how the vulnerable in society are treated so long as they get cheaper petrol?

If you do care, please sign the petition and get your friends and families to sign it too.  Please forward Lisa's post to explain how the sick and disabled community are feeling, and ask how they would feel if it were their best friend, sister or mother who was writing it.  It could be any one of us writing that post, because it could be any one of us who got sick.

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