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Would you say ending treatment, for a chronic life threatening illness, that will end the life,...
is suicide or letting nature take its course?
We all die someday.
I think people should take all the help they can, treatment. spiritual, social and live to the best of their potential. Yes going off treatment, knowing that it is life threatening is like killing yourself.
I know a few people who in their terminal stages of the disease are actually being a great help to others. Their lives are so much more meaningful now.
I think this is a highly individual thing. I personally think that this is mainly a question about what life really is. If it were mere existence, then letting people hang on automats for a few years would be an act of grace and it would be worth the price. If it is (as I am convinced) all about experience, growth, learning and joy, then it is a crime to keep the body alive when the mind has already gone.
For myself I can say, I wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially over a longer period of time, if my mind doesn't recover from what it is, then I'd want to go. And no one, NOBODY should ever have the right to decide over my life, exept myself and God. Even suicide is my decision, and in my eyes, it is only so highly chastised as a means of suppression (how could you ever enslave someone if he could just kill himself?).
Most people with cronical, life threatening illnesses would be dead since a long time anyway, so if they cannot make it artificially, how could that be suicide? So, to answer your question precisely, for me it is certainly letting nature take its long overdue course.
I think it's letting nature take its course, and personally can't see how it can be considered a bad thing if people decide to opt for a couple years or months less left to live in order to enjoy that time free of side effects, doctor's visits, treatment monitoring, surgery, etc. etc. Many of the people who opt to try every treatment available are the ones that still have some hope of recovery, or that have a compelling reason to try to hang on for just a little while longer. For instance, I recently met a man with pancreatic cancer who was willing to die rather than go through one more surgery...until my husband asked him if he'd like to live to see his grandbaby born. Without the surgery he'd have died within the week, and the baby was due in two months...he lived to see the baby reach two weeks old, which he deemed worth all the added suffering the treatments caused him. That extra time was not really "life", this man had spent his entire life working outdoors and spent that last time bound to a hospital bed, but the reason made it worth it. No one will ever be able to convince me that it would have been a sin for him to opt out of additional treatment, if he'd stayed all-natural he would have died years before and by that point his body was just going into systemic failure. Every day I get to see people who are no longer capable of living on their own but are forced to continue existing because they no longer have the right to choose for themselves (most are in a nursing home), even when they still have the presence of mind to beg their adult children not to put them through another surgery or another treatment that will do nothing except prolong their misery.
Well put wychic. When I read the question, my answer was going to be along the lines of yours, but you got it right.
My opinion? There is a very big difference between ending treatment (when no hope for recovery is offered, and it is robbing a person of quality of life) and suicide.
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