(Washington Post) Mars Cramer–Euthanasia was the right decision for my wife

As a rule, the family doctor who has known the patient for years is the best judge of her condition and of the earnestness and independence of her request. But he must also consult another doctor, an outsider, for an independent assessment; that doctor must also put his views in writing. Afterward, both reports are submitted to a monitoring committee, which may ask for further explanation and can refer problematic cases to the Inspector of Health and the Public Prosecutor. But their annual reports show that the monitoring committees do this only very rarely ”” in 2010, at the rate of one in every 300 reported cases.

We called for the consulting doctor, who spent the better part of an hour with Mathilde. Afterward, he called our family doctor and said he was not sure she was suffering enough.

What is unbearable suffering? It is an impossible question. The monitoring committees have given up trying to define it and adopted the view that the patient’s own judgment is decisive, provided the acting doctor is convinced of its earnestness and sincerity….

Read it all.


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6 comments on “(Washington Post) Mars Cramer–Euthanasia was the right decision for my wife

  1. drummie says:

    I understand much of what this man went through. My wife died in 1999 from breast cancer. What I can not understand is euthanasia. My wife went through chemo, a high intensity high potency chemo. At the last part of the chemo she had to be hospitalized in reverse isolation because her immune system was destroyed by the chemo. They harvested her own stem cells before the chemo knowing this would happen so they could jump start her immune system. From the time of her diagnosis until death was almost three years to the day. During that time, she was the best Christian witness that I have ever seen. We both suffered emotionally but were also drawn closer by this suffering. Luckily I was a corpsman and knew how to start IV medications and take care of much of her needs. When she was getting closer to the end, she was in pain which required IV pain meds. The doctor worked it out with hospice so that I was able to take care of most of her needs in pain control. She was able to be kept comfortable up until the end. Was this a good life, NO. But this is what God had prepared for us to go through together. When she knew that her end was near she asked to be moved to the hospice center. They told her on Thursday that they did not have any rooms but would on Monday. On Monday we went to the hospital for a radiation treatment that was helping keep a tumor from causing breathing problems. The cancer had metasticised to her lungs, blood and bones. When we got to the hospice center, I checked her in and got her settled. I had to go to the bank and take care of other similar necessities. When I finished, I went back to the hospice center. She had lapsed into unconsciousness and died three days later. She never once complained. She told me many times that God would take care of her and me and that everything would be OK. We knew she would not survive the cancer but still that everything would be OK accoding to Gods plan. Never once was euthanasia considered. We were in God’s hands and did not need to play “god” or intervene. Her witness brought me to where I am today. I went back to school, to seminary. Having been a police officer for much of my life, I am now a chaplain for the police department, not serving in a parish or congregation. My parish is the just over 300 men and women of the department and their families. I don’t have a schedule that many would like, but it is where I am supposed to be. That would not have happend without the Christian witness of my wife that showed me that with God, it will be “OK” and I thank God and her for that. I do not know if euthanasia can ever be an answer, it apparently is for some, but do they know Christ and have faith that with His help it will be OK? I am glad that God carried us both through a very trying time in our lives and thank God that we went throught that together and that it helped me grow into a postion to help others find the peace we knew and I know through God.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    Great witness. God takes us in His own good time.

  3. WestJ says:

    I agree, an outstanding witness.
    As a physician, I deal with death on a consistent basis (fortunately, not too frequently!). There is a huge difference between dying well and euthanasia. We in medicine have become adept at delaying death and frequently it is to the detriment to the patient. I believe that is a major thrust of the euthanasia movement, the thought of “dying with dignity”, so that they choose the time of death. I strongly believe that that is not right. God uses us in our weakness. Suicide is man’s attempt at being God. It is just wrong.

    That being said, I do not advocate trying every possible medical therapy (intubation/ventilation, PEG tubes, dialysis, etc.) to try to cling to life in the case of terminal illness. There is a time to say enough, let me die at home. Hospice is excellent for this and I try to encourage it for my patients who are reaching the end of their life.

  4. Karen B. says:

    What a wonderful testimony, Drummie. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  5. The Lakeland Two says:

    Thank you, Drummie, for sharing. We thank God for both you and your wife’s faith and committment to each other. May God bless you and your ministry.

  6. Kendall Harmon says:

    Deeply touching and powerful, Drummie. Many thanks.