Thursday, March 20, 2008

Legalizing The Right To Die

Chantal Sebire

This news, out of France, was gut-wrenching to read--even more so when you view the above before and after photos.

It is the story of 52-year old Chantal Sebire, a teacher, mother of 3 and stricken cancer-patient; who asked a French court for the right to end her life, by means of physician-assisted euthanasia. She wanted to finally end the 8 years of pain and agony she'd endured, caused by the cancer that had ravaged her with horrific facial disfiguring tumors. That court denied her assisted-suicide appeal, and Sebire was found dead just two days later, having taken her own life. However, authorities are labeling her death "suspicious."

According to reports, Sebire suffered from esthesioneuroblastoma, a rare, incurable--terminal form of cancer--that attacks the nasal and sinus passages with painful, aggressive and disfiguring tumors. Sebire's tumors distorted her face and caused her eyes to bulge. She also described the pain as excruciating, the type of pain that drugs were totally ineffective at relieving.

French law only permits what is described as passive euthanasia--meaning the removal of feeding and hydration tubes from a comatose patient. It does not allow physician-assisted or active euthanasia. Sabire's attorney tried unsuccessfully to convince a French court that it was "barbaric" to put her through the ordeal of dying slowly in either a natural or an artificially induced coma, that could take up to as long as two weeks.

Sabire's case drew the attention of those on both sides of the euthanasia debate, across the nation in France. The public debate was heightened when it was learned that Sebire, who had also taken her appeal to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was dead.

A heartbreaking look at where and how the laws of ethics are applied--and who benefits in the end.

Read the full CNN article here.
Also see this from

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