The “right-to-die” movement has just been set back five years by the case of Australian Nancy Crick. This older women had been suffering from bowel cancer for several years and wanted to end her life. Last week she did just that, surrounded by friends and family. Supporters (like me) were happy that she was able to go the way she wanted. Unfortunately it was revealed a few days later that she didn’t have cancer anymore (if at all). What a mess. Now the euthanasia activists are backpedaling, saying that her diagnosis doesn’t change the fact that she was in a lot of pain. Dr. Philip Nitschke, the Australia “Kevorkian”, is denying that his credibility has been damaged. His opponents are pointing out (quite rightly, I think) that this women received some bad counseling. I’m all for people with terminal illnesses having the right to terminate their lives, but Crick’s case pretty much demonstrates one of the worst case scenarios – that of a healthy person needlessly dying. It’s such a complicated situation…


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  1. Okay, she didn’t have cancer, but was she really healthy? If she was in so much pain, perhaps not. What she needed was a better diagnosis, clearly.

  2. Hi Avedon! Nice to hear from you. Actually now the news is saying that she KNEW she didn’t have cancer all along. Nitschke admitted it and said it was a mistake not to reveal that to the public. Personally I’m pretty ambivalent about the issue. I’d like to keep that choice available for me if – god forbid – I’m ever in a lot of pain, but I’d also like to know that I have a good doctor who could say, “You’re just having a migraine. It’ll go away. Don’t kill yourself.” Granted, Nancy Crick might still have been in incredible constant pain herself. (I have no idea what a “twisted bowel” is, but it doesn’t sound nice.) I still say she’s set the movement back, though, by not giving us full disclosure on her illness. Sure, intelligent people are going to reason that she might have still had a legitimate reason to do it. But I fear a lot of regular folks are just going to think that some raving wacko liberals talked a healthy old lady into killing herself. Which doesn’t help anything, really.

  3. Twisted bowels are very nasty according to my partner, who speaks out of personal experience.

    Bad enough to kill yourself? Maybe.

  4. Hello Martin! I take it your partner is now okay, right? So twisted bowels are normally fixable? I ask because all the Crick news stories are claiming that hers was “inoperable”. They also don’t state whether this was a side effect of her cancer treatment or whether this is an unrelated condition.

    It feels silly to discuss this woman’s problems in such detail, as if we could in any way judge whether or not she was in “enough” pain. Nevertheless, I still think it’s a relevant discussion. She and her supporters obviously wanted her death to be an important milestone in the right-to-die movement. They should’ve realized that her case would be scrutinized and that hiding her cancer-free status would look bad. It’s as if they were afraid to state “It doesn’t matter what disease you have. Anyone in pain should have the right to end their life.” It’s like they figured it would only be palatable to the public if they thought she had the dreaded C-word.

  5. My fiancee is right now under intensive therapy in a hospital in Austria. Twisted bowels. Extremely difficult operation. It is fixable but if it’s catched timely. It means if operation happens up to 2 hours since they are twisted, then no problem at all — they open the bally and get it all sorted. If it’s more, then they have to cut part of the bowels that died – it lives very short time without the blood. If it’s longer, then it goes further, like with my fiencee — the blood channels explode and the blood goes away to the abdomen. She’s lost already half of her blood when they opened the bally and I’m praying now that she came back to life. My fiancee is convinced that patient has to have a right to choose, I oppose it strongly.

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