Human Exceptionalism

Alzheimer’s: To Love and Care or Kill?

Sometimes I get emotional whiplash.

On one hand, we see very prominent bioethicists say that we should starve Alzheimer’s patients to death if they asked to be killed in an advance directive.

Compassion and Choices teaches oldsters how to commit suicide by self-starvation.

People like Peter Singer claim we should be allowed to lethally inject Alzheimer’s patients non-persons even if they never asked–despite having cared very well for his so afflicted mother.

Then, there is the story of the man who gave his beloved wife, dying of Alzheimer’s, his last breath. Literally. From the KFOR story:

An elderly couple, who had been together for more than 60 years, was found dead inside their home. Investigators say Dave Molter died trying to give his wife, Corrine, CPR; giving his wife his last breath.

Brandy Williams broke down, talking about losing a couple she called best friends. “Just wonderful people. I’ve never met anybody like that in my life,” said Williams.

Williams was the caregiver for Dave and Corrine Molter.

Corrine had advanced Alzheimer’s and Dave waited on her hand and foot. “Just being there and seeing it with my own eyes, it’s like true love like no other. It’s the kind you see in movies, not the kind you see in real life,” she said

We used to take Mr. Molter’s kind of devotion, if not for granted, at least as more of a general expectation. 

Today, not so much: Far more media and societal attention–and validation–go to those who support their very ill loved ones in committing suicide. Indeed, sometimes I think the new ethic is to put the very sick out of our misery.

Change isn’t a synonym for progress. 

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