The good death

3rd September 2015

The good death


One day you will die. That is a certainty. And so will I. And so will the 7.3-billion people currently living on planet Earth. The only certainty we have in life is that it will end. How it will end has been left to fate. You may choose how you will live, but society has decreed, until now, that you may not choose how you will die.

The debate around the right to die with dignity has been exhumed by a recent application in the Pretoria High Court. The Late Advocate Stransham-Ford wished to end his life with the assistance of a doctor. This was an unprecedented application dealing with active euthanasia, a seemingly controversial topic raising issues such as the sanctity of life, the uncertainty of death and the taboo of murder. As a lawyer and thus a contrarian by nature, I seek the counterargument: the difficult debate that sways you in both directions, leaving you dizzy. With issues of such emotional magnitude I have been on the edge of my seat waiting for the fierce debates to begin.

But to my surprise, the groundswell of popular opinion appears to be in favour of legalizing active euthanasia. I ask myself: where is the dumbfounding dilemma, the confounding conundrum, the perplexing paradox? Let us examine the concept of euthanasia and how it has been dealt with by the courts before coming to our own conclusions.

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Written by Patrick Wainwright

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