Not Worthy To Live
Aruna Shaunbaug was a young Indian nurse working at a hospital in Mumbai, India when in 1973, she was brutally raped by a young Indian ward. To immobilize her during this act he twisted a chain around her neck. The asphyxiation cut off oxygen to her brain resulting in brain stem contusion injury and cervical cord injury apart from leaving her cortically blind.
Although she survived the attack she never fully recovered from the trauma with brain damage resulting from the assault and strangulation. She continued in a vegetative state for 42 years. She was never in a coma nor was she “Brain Dead”.
Aruna was 24 years old when this happened and planned to be married to a handsome doctor. Her fiancé stayed by her side for four years, visiting her every day, hoping that somehow her condition would improve. Eventually he moved on, married and moved to the United States.
Although Aruna was not aware of herself or her surroundings, she somehow recognized the presence of people around her and expressed her like or dislike by making certain types of sounds and waving her hands. She appeared to be happy when she received her favorite food like fish and chicken soup. She also enjoyed the devotional songs and music played in her room.
In 2009 Pinky Virani, a journalist, who has written a book about Aruna, requested the courts grant the removal of food from Aruna so she could starve to death, thinking it would be a peaceful death. (Contrary to what many people think, removal of food and liquids is not a peaceful death. Your organs literally dry up. Still not convinced, try going without food or liquid for 3 days and see how you feel.)
Over the years, student nurses were assigned to take care of Aruna; bathing, feeding, turning her physically and taking care of her personal needs. They all cared for Aruna and testified that they wanted her to live out her full life believing she still had quality of life. In 2011, the courts made the decision not to euthanize Aruna Shaunbaug. It turned into a pivotal case for India’s stance on euthanasia. India now grants passive euthanasia.
On May 18th 2015, Aruna Shaunbaug passed away from pneumonia after being in a vegetative state for 42 years. She was 67 years old.
My Opinion: When discussing, as in Aruna Shaunbaug’s case, the quality of someone’s life, who exactly is going to make that determination? Where does it stop? Today a woman in a vegetative state and perhaps tomorrow someone with “Down Syndrome or Blind or Crippled? Pro euthanasia advocates would argue, that would never happen. Really? Take a look at what goes on in Holland or the abortion issue. What was once an absolute argument that abortion on demand would never happen has evolved into not only abortion on demand but late-term abortions and in some cases post birth abortions (although illegal, it still happens)
Aruna Shaunbaug lived a horrible 42 years in our eyes but again which one of us can judge the quality of someone’s life. She died in her own time and with total dignity.
To be continues……………….