I often say that I feel disabled lives are not valued by society as a whole. We are discriminated against, undervalued, not found as worthy, belittled, ignored, not accommodated for… and the list goes on and on. A society should be rated on how it treats its most vulnerable in it. And what does it say about Your culture and society by how they treat the most vulnerable?
Chronic pain, suffering and opiates
One example I have used is the opiate crisis. And how it has affected those of us with chronic pain. The result being many people with chronic pain or even terminal cancer being taken off necessary pain management medication. It has resulted in suicides. We have all heard of many, many suicides as a result of this. Not that these make the headlines, eh? Not much of a story is it compared to the addiction crisis. The pain and suffering of so many people and then the suicides of those that could not take that pain anymore… not newsworthy really.
Is it because the quality of life of disabled people does not matter? Is it because the death of someone suffering due to some changes in the rules is just not a big deal? Or is it because it is easier to label everyone who takes pain medication as addicts? Just easier. Because no one likes to think about being disabled by pain.
Disability care and assisted death: What is a disabled life Worth?
And if the deaths of people with chronic pain do not make the radar then what does? What about this story: Chronically ill man releases audio of hospital staff offering assisted death
Roger Foley, 42, who earlier this year launched a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government, alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death.
He claims that he has been denied the right to self-directed care, which allows certain patients to take a central role in planning and receiving personal and medical services from the comfort of their own homes.
He is now sharing audio recordings of separate conversations he had with two health care workers at London Health Sciences Centre, where he has been stuck in a hospital bed for more than two years.
In one audio recording from September 2017, Foley is heard speaking to a man about what he has described as attempts at a “forced discharge,” with threats of a hefty hospital bill.
When Foley asks the man how much he’d have to pay to remain in hospital, the man replies, “I don’t know what the exact number is, but it is north of $1,500 a day.”
Foley expresses shock at the figure and tells the man that he’d just read an article that quoted the Ontario health minister saying it’s “not legal” for hospitals to coerce patients like that.
I should say I am not against assisted death. Not by a long shot. If someone is terminally suffering they have a right to choose their death. Rather than having it illegal and having a family member being punished for helping them die in a peaceful manner. They deserve a death they choose with their families. I believe this.
But the abuse of this is vile. It makes me want to vomit.
Offering people with disability euthanasia is no act of equality. It’s a cruel one-way exit when we’re locked out of basic healthcare The Guardian
It suggests we have a certain monetary value put on our disabled lives. That… some of us are just… better off dead. So it should be ‘suggested repeatedly’ that they should Really consider assisted death because no one wants to pay for their existence. The existence They Choose to Have. Murder by cost-saving.
people with disability debate euthanasia with many views, but a number of us are genuinely concerned that legalised suicide will encroach on our rights and see the vulnerable among us subjected to financial, social, emotional and other pressures to take our own lives. The Guardian
In some countries where it has been introduced euthanasia has been offered to people with mental illness, people with dementia, twin brothers who were deaf, and even a woman with severe tinnitus.
So what is a life worth? Your life? A loved one’s life? My life.
A question you should ask about the society you live in.
A question you should ask because we are not immortal and we all get sick. And we should all die with dignity. Therefore we should have options to have proper medical care at home. Proper palliative care. And, yes, if the person brings it up, the option for assisted death.
This is not about what is Cheaper for the System. It is about what the person wants to have for their quality of life for the entirety of their lives.
You cannot dictate the value of a disabled person’s life.
You cannot dictate if their life is worth living.
You cannot dictate if their life has value.
This is not a cost/benefit equation. This is not about balancing a budget. This is about fucking human lives.
Now the case has not been settled in court so who is to say what is what yet. But the very thought of someone being pressured to choose death over life for cost factors makes me sick to my very soul. When people starting committing suicide due to lack of pain killers that made their lives bearable I was rightfully enraged. The government was responsible for every single one of those deaths, in my mind. Every one of them. That was a life snuffed out forever when it shouldn’t have been because their quality of life had been Stolen from them. What right does anyone have to do that to a person? And this, now? Are you now going to weight the lives of disabled people in pennies and dollars… and whoever care costs too much… well, maybe it should be heavily recommended they should just die.
So don’t become disabled… or you may just find out the true value your life has in this world to this society we have.
I would be shocked if not for all the discrimination I have faced from chronic illness, chronic pain, and disability. It makes one feel deep inside one has less value and worth. And it took a long time for a psychologist to convince me otherwise when society itself was telling me it was true in So many ways.
I have had someone tell me there is no such thing as mental illness stigma.
And then soon after someone told me one just needs to pray and get rid of it
And then someone told me mental illness does not exist… just making a fuss about nothing. And we all just needed to stop bitching and moaning about normal things. And if we stopped talking about it, it would be fine.
So, yeah, no stigma at ALL. And that is what we face with all disabilities. People who are healthy are all there is no stigma and look at all the special accommodations you get. And we face serious stigma all the time. And fight for accommodation and sometimes do not even get it. Accommodation seems to be some sort of privilege to be handed out that we should like thank people for. Maybe we should thank them for letting us live too?
No one has a right to judge a life they do not live. No one. We have worth and value. We have a right to accommodation, quality of life, treatment and care.
Here was a poll in Britain:
The report, “Independent. Confident. Connected.” polled 2000 working age disabled people in Britain. It found that 41% don’t feel valued, and only 42% feel the UK is a good place for disabled people to live.
Just 23% of respondents feel valued by society, one third experience prejudice in their day to day lives, and two thirds say they have stopped doing something in the past year because of other people’s attitudes.
The report outlines key steps that could substantially improve the lives of disabled people, including changing people’s attitudes. Other important steps include ensuring that disabled people can get into work and stay in work, have the right care and social connections, be able to access and use digital technology, and be able to travel on public transport how and when they want. Human Rights News
Back in 2003 a community advocacy group, Access for All Alliance, undertook a survey of all general practices around Australia to identify which provided access to adjustable-height examination beds. The survey showed that of the 3,553 response there were just over 14,000 fixed-height examination beds and only 719 adjustable-height examination beds. An open letter from the Human Rights Commission found that in many situations patients, particularly women with disability, do not get a service at allbecause of the inaccessibility of fixed-height examination beds. One woman had not had a pap smear for 10 years because her doctor could not transfer her on to the fixed-height examination bed.
Sitting in Tina’s wheels people with disability are entitled to ask members of parliament: why are you hurrying to grant us the “choice” to die when you never lifted a finger to fix the barriers that made our lives miserable or gave us equal access to preventative health?
Until every person with disability has equal access to screening, prevention and treatment in our health system, suicide prevention resources, and meaningful alternatives to ending it all, offering us euthanasia isn’t an act of generous equality. It’s our Hobson’s choice – a fake, cruel one-way exit for vulnerable people locked out of basic healthcare and other social and community infrastructure that others take for granted.
And that sums it up, doesn’t it?
If you do not have the structures in place to take care of disabled people… then disabled people will be pressured to take assisted death. And that is a twisted, abuse, of that law. And what does it say about your society, my society, that we do not have the structures in place to properly care for our disabled and chronically ill when they need it most? What sort of healthcare system fails in that way?
Reflection: Self-imposed self-hate from being disabled
To the healthy: this could be you
Living wage vs. disability income