If the situation in this case is as it appears in this article, this is utterly horrifying. It raises certain ethical questions in my mind: In the absence of speech, how do you quantify pain and suffering (It’s difficult enough in a patient who can speak)?
How do you quantify quality of life in someone who’s manner of existence is different to your own (especially where that individual knows no other why to be)?
Where a court ruling is made in favour of euthanasia, should not a court ruling be made, at the same time, regarding the manner of death (withdrawal of fluids is not instantaneous or peaceful as I understand it)?
How can we be sure that any such decision is taken purely in the best interests of the patient, and not, at least partly, in the interests of the Carers, especially in cases where the patient has not, or is not able to, express a wish to die?
I think we in the DS community need to keep a keen eye on cases like this, and the debates surrounding euthanasia and abortion, as our loved ones with DS are so often erroneously viewed as having low quality of life, and may be dismissed by others as not having the capacity to know their own minds (quite wrongly). Where does the approval of cases like this, and the portrayal of such as a noble and selfless act of love, leave us? Where is the dividing line between ‘selfless and noble’ and ‘your responsible duty’?
Please note: the girl who is the main feature of the article did not have DS, the picture used is a stock photo.