Will I Go To Hell If I Kill Myself?
Someone once emailed
me this question: "I am depressed and
want to kill myself. Will I have to go to
hell or reincarnate if I do?" My short
answer to this question is that every action
has many possible karmic implications resulting
from that action. I believe the main
factor related to this kind of question
is: what is your motive for killing yourself?
In this case, the motive is depression.
Having suffered from bipolar disorder and
extreme suicidal impulses all my life, I
am aware of medications which can immediately
treat these symptoms. Is the person facing
a hopeless terminal illness and tremendous
physical and financial devastation? Then
I would say gaining control of your end-of-life
situation to spare you and your family of
unnecessary suffering might be worth looking
into. There are certainly more factors to
consider which should be evaluated on a
personal and individual basis rather than
on a general basis. The obvious reason suicide
is regarded as having horrible karmic consequences
is because of the tremendous grief inflicted
upon surviving loved ones resulting from
the suicide. On the other hand, sacrificing
your life so that others will not suffer
has much positive karma. Good examples of
this type of suicide include Jesus volunteering
to sacrifice his life on the cross or a
soldier falling on a grenade to save his
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The Possible Injustice of Suicide
Some people commit suicide
out of hatred and anger in order to inflict pain
and suffering on others. Such actions do have serious
negative karma associated with them. The person
committing the suicide will probably find themselves
in a hellish condition in the afterlife. As the
saying goes: hellish life, hellish afterlife. In
such cases the person has created a hellish condition
within themselves and within others by their act.
At death, the suicidal person merely "steps into"
this hellish spiritual condition they created during
All too often, people kill
themselves without thinking how it will affect others.
For example, my sister's father-in-law was bipolar
and in a serious depression when he killed himself
with a gun blast to his chest. My sister was one
of the persons who found him. The bloody horror
she discovered inflicted great psychological harm
to her which still affects her to this day decades
years later. I once saw a documentary about a crime
scene clean-up business where they dealt with the
aftermath of suicides. It is often not a pretty
sight to say the least. From my experience, the
consequence of suicide causing the most damage occurs
to the person who finds the body - especially if
they are a loved one. The horrible "fallout" from
such suicides need not happen if the person who
wants to end their life (for justifiable reasons
that is) first thinks very carefully of the consequences of
doing so and prepares an end-of-life plan to create
an outcome that does not traumatize people. The
problem with this is that people who commit suicide
often do it on impulse or, because of a severe mental
illness, are too impaired or too desperate to think
straight enough to create a successful plan.
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An Individual's Right To Life and Death
It is not illegal to
commit suicide; but it is illegal to actively help
a person do so. For those people who are suffering
from a terminal illness or advanced old age and
who want to spare themselves and their family from
tremendous pain and suffering, there is a right-to-die
organization called the
Compassion and Choices
which has educational resources for people to plan
and carry out their wishes. In states where voluntary
physician-assisted suicide is illegal (i.e., every
state but Oregon) they promote a method of suicide
(which they call "self-deliverance") that
is painless and humane. Their method involves using
over-the-counter sleeping pills and a plastic bag.
Although it may sound bizarre, this method is not
only painless and humane, it is 100% effective if
one follows the instructions properly. The result
does not create a horrible mess for someone to be
traumatized over for the rest of their life. It
is not a crime to be with someone who kills themself
as long as they are not caught actively helping
the person do it. Having a friend or family member
present can also discreetly ensure the process is
carried out successfully. Compassion and Choices
also offers the service of having someone present
to observe the process. Currently, right-to-die
organizations advocate voluntary suicide only for
people facing a hopeless and incurable terminal
illness or advanced old age where extreme suffering
is involved; but not for people with severe mental
illnesses. As a person with bipolar disorder who
has a psychiatrist that informed me how my condition
may get worse and out of control as I grow older,
I disagree with such discrimination against people
with mental illness by the right-to-die organizations.
However, I also understand how very controversial
the whole right-to-die movement is politically and
how providing help for the mentally ill conjures
up "Nazi euthanasia" - especially among religious
From some reports of
near-death experiences I have read concerning the
future, humanity will eventually be able to live
long lives and die whenever they desire. This suggests
to me that medical breakthroughs to help reverse
the aging process may someday become available.
It might even be possible that death by natural
causes will someday be eradicated as polio was.
If this type of utopia does occur someday - one
where people have absolutely control over their
life and death - I suppose then people will need
a method to end their lives when they desire such
as voluntary physical-assisted suicide.
It is Compassion and
Choices' mission to have voluntary physician-assisted
suicide legally be available to people facing a
terminal situation. In such cases, a physician can
prescribe the necessary dose of a barbiturate (usually
Seconal) that causes the person to fall asleep
and die. This is what is called "death with dignity."
It is the same dignity society gives even to suffering
pets when their owners have them euthanized. Of
course, although pets are not euthanized voluntarily,
many animals in the animal kingdom do voluntarily
kill themselves under certain natural conditions.
Self-destructive behavior is widely reported in
nature for some animals under conditions of acute
stress-isolation, overcrowding, confinement, or
alteration in habitat. Such behavior has been observed
in zoo animals including a variety of primate species.
You can read more about studies on animal suicide
in this article entitled
Animal Models of Self-Destructive
Behavior and Suicide
(Crawley JN, Sutton ME, Pickar D. Psychological
Clinics of North America 8:299-310, 1985). Such
research proves conclusively how suicide is a natural
act evident in nature.
If you believe you qualify
for making end-of-life decisions (i.e., have a hopeless
terminal illness) and you would like to die with
dignity, you can become a member of Compassion and
Choices online from their website. After you have
been a member for several months, they will allow
you to have access to their published information
including the suggested end-of-life method.
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Questions and Answers About the Right To Die
The following are some questions
on this topic and my answers to them:
long explanation of a method for committing suicide
leads me to believe you may belong to this organization
for other reasons than helping the terminally ill
achieve a peaceful death."
"There are several reason I decided many years ago
to post on the NDE mailing list the right-to-die
organization's suggested method for ending one's
life. My primary motive for doing this was to help
anyone who was thinking about ending their lives
get information on how best to do it. I have since
learned this is considered unethical because it
might provide an incentive for someone who is thinking
about ending their life to do so without thinking
about other options such as seeking help from a
physician and receiving treatment. However, anyone
who wants to end their life strong enough will do
so anyway without the method suggested by right-to-die
organizations. However, not knowing the 'time honored
and tested' method to ending your life can result
in absolute disaster and make your situation much
worse. I also wanted people to become aware of right-to-die
issues and to generate discussion about them such
as we are having now.
"Some time ago, I heard that you were very depressed
and had suicidal thoughts."
"Yes, you are right. I have bipolar disorder which
'runs in my family.' Along with this illness, suicide
also 'runs in my family' as well. I have had severe
episodes of depression resulting in long stays in
psych wards. Such incidents not only caused me much
suffering, it also caused my family a tremendous
amount of pain as well. I want to be sure I have
as many options to me as possible for the future.
My psychiatrist informed me my illness will probably
get worse as I get older and shock treatments may
be the only effective treatment. This is what happened
to my grandmother who had bipolar disorder and lived
into her 90's with severe regular depressions and
shock treatments with frequent stays in mental institutions.
She eventually developed dementia - a horrible illness
for those who go through the last stages of it.
Judging from her experience, I have concluded I
never want to live so long to develop dementia and
put myself and my family through such pain. Ironically,
just knowing the suggested method for ending my
life has given me more confidence about facing the
end and has given me a feeling of having more control
over my life and death. This has resulted in my
having more hope in facing end-of-life choices which
has given me more incentive NOT to end my life.
"I lived and took care
of my grandmother for seven years before we sadly
had to put her in a nursing home against her wishes.
Her life in a nursing home was horrific. Anyone
who has ever visited a nursing home can testify
how some of them are nothing short of a warehouse
for tormented old people. Many of these people,
if in their proper state of mind, would probably
rather be dead. I know this was the case with my
grandmother. People with dementia are slowly reduced
to losing their minds, memories and personalities,
becoming permanently bedridden and mumbling incoherently.
I was horrified as I watched my beloved grandmother
go through this process.
"My grandmother lived
in the nursing home for over a year before she died.
Her death was not a pleasant one either. The bipolar
disorder that tormented her all her life became
worse with the dementia. She told me many times
she wished she was dead. Ironically, she was a devout
Christian all her life, taught Sunday School to
children for over 30 years and led Sunday services
for seniors at nursing homes as an adult. It seems
to me the last years of her life of torture was
incredibly unjust. In my mind, no amount of karma
justified the torture she went through - especially
because I suspect this injustice originated from
the inhumane laws of society preventing people from
voluntarily having the right to die with dignity.
Even my grandfather (who I was also taking care
of) - a devout Christian all his life - lost some
of his faith in divine justice and the laws of society
which prevents people from having the right to live
and die as they choose to. As a postscript,
when the time came for my grandfather to go into
a nursing home, he absolutely loved it. However,
he didn't suffer from a severe mental illness, thank
God! He especially loved all the attention from
"The last years of my
grandmother's life was a living hell for us all
- but mostly for her. Taking care of her also contributed
to my developing a major depression which resulted
in losing my high-paying job and spending time in
the psych ward. And her unimaginable suffering was
absolutely unnecessary in my view. My grandmother's
father, also a manic depressive, shot and killed
himself in front of her when she was in her teens.
All her life she was well aware of what mental illness
and suicide can do to people and families.
day I believe voluntarily helping her end her life
would have been justifiably merciful. Throughout
her time in the nursing home, we would pray God
would take her away from it all. I even asked her
physician if he could prescribe something to end
it for her - something right-to-die organizations
suggest doing. He replied to me in a holier than
thou attitude, 'We don't do that kind of thing in
this country.' To many physicians, death is the
enemy. Death means defeat. To many of them (especially
those with a 'God complex') death is to be avoided
no matter what the cost. And I mean this literally.
I read a recent study how 40% of all hospital costs
go to extending the lives of people in their final
years. In the olden days, death was something to
be glorified as a "graduation" partly due to religious
influences. Death was well understood by most people
because most people died at home surrounded by family
and friends. Sex was the taboo subject - not death.
In today's society it has completely reversed. Sex
is no longer a taboo subject - but death is."
"Tell me more
about this right-to-die organization."
"I initially joined the right-to-die organization
because of my own mental illness to have control
over my life and death. The years I spent watching
my grandmother suffer needlessly in old age made
me even more convinced that such people should be
allowed to have the option of ending their lives
if they choose to do so. I know my grandmother would
have chosen death over dementia and the nursing
home because she was a Christian and knew death
meant being in heaven. I have vowed to never lose
control of my life and death as my grandmother had.
I also want to have this option available should
I ever be diagnosed with a hopeless terminal illness.
I see no advantage in living to an advanced age
when life becomes a living hell for you and/or your
I don't believe depression, in of itself, is a justifiable
reason for ending one's life, I do believe there
are some people who are hopelessly suffering from
a mental illness and who should be allowed to end
their life if they choose to. I have also observed
people in psych wards with much worse mental problems
than mine (such as schizophrenia) who have tried
to end their life. Because of this, they are kept
in institutions for very long periods of time -
some for the rest of their lives. Mental institutions
are filled with schizophrenics who are hopelessly
unable to get relief from medical treatment.
ever have a valid reason to take control of my life
by ending it, I will do so without any reservations.
I have already informed my entire family of the
possibility that someday I may decide to end my
life. Right-to-die organizations recommend doing
this many times because it prepares loved ones well
beforehand so it would not come as no surprise (or
horror) if it happened. I keep my loved ones informed
of right-to-die issues when I can. Some members
of my family are strongly opposed to this because
of their religious affiliation and their right-to-life
beliefs. Some people might conclude that by ending
my life when I chose to do so, I will be throwing
away an opportunity to pay some karmic debt of mine
or may be giving up an opportunity to help others
spiritually because of my diminished capacity. To
this I say: I know of better ways to pay karmic
debts which do not involve this kind of suffering
on my or my loved ones' part. Because I am not perfect
yet (i.e., I cannot walk on water or raise the dead),
I know I will eventually have to reincarnate anyway
like most people until I am perfect. I can choose
to pay such karmic debts some lifetime in the future.
We have this power as sons and daughters of God."
wonder if there are not degrees to which suicide
is justifiable in this world and in the afterlife.
For example, if someone does it to avoid the pain
of a terminal illness - or to end depression - or
even to prevent themselves from having to spend
a lengthy term in prison. Does the right-to-die
organizations look at these moral/ethical issues
or does it focus more on technique?"
"Right-to-die organizations do not advocate voluntary
physician-assisted suicide for any reason. Their
foremost mission is to change current laws to allow
only people who want to die as a result of a hopeless
terminal illness or advanced old age to have the
right to have a physician prescribe the proper medicine
to end their life. Ending one's life with medicine
such as Nembutal or Seconal is far more preferable
than over-the-counter sleeping pills and a plastic
bag. As the current law exists today (except in
the State of Oregon where physicians do prescribe
Nembutal and Seconal) all other methods for people
to end their lives fall short of physician-assisted
suicide. If someone wants to end their life strong
enough, they will use whatever method have available
- even if it is a very bad method such as hanging
or shooting oneself. Currently, right-to-die organizations
will provide educational material to anyone who
joins; but they will not provide any other services
such as having another member witness the process.
Only people who meet their criteria are allowed
that service. But it is the goal of right-to-die
organizations to never have people use their method
of over-the-counter sleeping pills and a plastic
bag anymore. Voluntary physician-assisted suicide
is preferred. Despite what some people claim, right-to-die
organizations do not advocate involuntary 'euthanasia,'
involuntary 'mercy killing,' or any other 'Nazi
"I also don't believe
there is a 'one size fits all' karmic consequence
for people who end their lives. Everyone's particular
situation, physical condition and spirituality is
unique. The notion that everyone who kills themself
goes to hell is about as absurd as believing only
those who pledge allegiance to Jesus' name go to
heaven. While right-to-die organizations do not
officially sanction physician-assisted suicide for
the mentally ill, there are a large number of members
who believe it should. Again, I believe the organization
must take this position mostly for political rather
than ethical reasons. Currently, right-to-die organizations
are the only advocate for people who are facing
a hopelessly terminal situation and want to end
it before their situation gets worse."
people have lived lives of horrible suffering and
hellish conditions. Why should people facing a terminal
situation have special rights? Shouldn't this fact
make all suicide unjustified and forbidden? I didn't
realize there are some suicides which might be justified
and should be made legal."
"It is the duty of society in general to help
people overcome adversity and suffering. Anyone
who has visited parts of Mexico, for example, can find poor children
begging for food and in need of medical attention.
It should be the duty of the Mexican government,
religious organizations and aid-workers to help
these people. In the same way, it is the duty of
society in general to help anyone suffering - whether
it is to feed and cloth the poor or to help those
with terminal illness who have chosen to end their
life. Unfortunately, society in general is mostly
ignorant about end-of-life issues (until it 'hits
them in the face') and are not in favor of physician-assisted
suicide for those who need it. Ironically, this
ignorant position is mostly held by religious organizations
whose duty is to help those who suffer. As I mentioned before,
a strong case can be made that Jesus himself
chose "suicide by cop" to further his message.
 Right-to-die organizations only seek
legalization for people who have absolutely no
hope in an end-of-life situation and want a way
out. Some people have many other options to
ease their suffering. Others have no choice but to live out the rest
of their life in hopeless and unnecessary suffering.
Many physicians today
already help people in their
final stage of their terminal illness with pain
by giving them a massive dose of morphine called
The primary purpose is to ease pain but it also
has the secondary benefit of hastening death. This
is what happened to my father when he was dying of
an infection related to lymphoma. The morphine kept
him in a coma to the very end and certainly hastened
his death which is what everyone wanted."
accounts of near-death experiences describe people
being told that it is not their right to decide
when their life is to be over. This is a right that
should only God's."
"Yes, I have read some of these reports. In fact,
a great number of experiencers are told, "It is
not your time yet to die" or some variation of this.
On the face of it, it does appear that our days
are numbered by God and the time of our deaths are
predestined by God. However, this is not how I interpret
it. First of all, many people are given a
choice to stay in the afterlife or return to
life. I believe there are very
few things in life that are predetermined and the
time of our death is not always one of them. I believe
people are told, 'It is not your time to die yet'
because their mission in life is not complete. It
would be safe to assume that people facing a hopeless
terminal illness have probably finished their mission.
Even if you believe otherwise, should a person kill
themself, they would probably be told in the afterlife
their mission is not finished and they are
returned. But because so many suicides by terminal
people are successful, it could be safely assumed
that indeed their missions were finished. But again,
applying a 'one size fits all' answer to this question
is probably not right."
there ever been an NDE where they were told suicide
"There are many reports of NDEs involving suicide
that are heavenly and where no condemnation is given.
Nevertheless, many successful suicides result in
horror, grief, confusion, and shame by family and
friends. This situation can occur if the suicide
act was not planned and carried out correctly according
to recommendations by the right-to-die organizations
or if it was committed for less than justifiable
reasons. Suicides resulting from NDEs obviously
are rejected because they were told to return. Also,
this does not necessarily mean all such NDEs are
Angie Fenimore's NDE was. Suicides resulting
in irreversible death probably mean the suicide's
mission was completed. It may also mean their suicide
was planned even before they were born. In other
words, part of their mission may have included death
by suicide. After all, Christian scriptures state
clearly how Jesus himself was on a "suicide mission"
from the day he was born. He also voluntarily submitted
himself to death even though he could have prevented
it. It is also true that suicide experiencers are
sometimes told that suicide is not the answer. However,
I don't interpret this as applying to everyone. Even the Bible
there is a season, and a time for every
matter under heaven: a time to be born,
and a time to die." (Ecclesiastes
"This certainly is true
according to a large percentage of NDEs where they
are told, 'It is not your time to die yet' or 'your
mission is not complete' etc. So, I believe the
time for us to die is not entirely in our hands.
This suggests to me that if a person successfully
commits suicide, then it was indeed their time to
die. Otherwise, it will only end up as an NDE.
Many NDEs from suicide
have been documented which are very positive. Here
are some links:
Eileen's positive suicide NDE
Chris Carson's positive suicide NDE
Helen's positive suicide NDE
Dr. Kenneth Ring's
NDE suicide research and
Dr. Peter Fenwick's
NDE suicide research
are suicide near-death scenarios
hell-like. Contrary to popular notions,
most suicide NDEs are positive,
or at least illustrative of the
importance of life and its living.
Although I have yet to find a suicide
experience that was in any way transcendent
or in-depth, just to have something
happen, anything that affirms that
he or she is loved and special,
seems miracle enough for the one
involved. Near-death survivors from
suicide attempts can and often do
return with the same sense of mission
that any other experiencer of the
phenomenon reports." (P.M.H.
Association for Near-Death Studies
it may be tempting to conclude that
people who attempt suicide are being
punished for trying to induce their
own deaths, we must avoid this temptation,
as the following paragraph will
"People who are
in a distressed frame of mind at
the time of their near-death episode
and those who were raised to expect
distress during death may be more
prone to distressing NDEs.
People who attempt suicide are almost
always in a distressed frame of
mind. Usually they are attempting
suicide because they feel themselves
to be in unendurable and unending
emotional or physical pain.
In addition, they are almost certainly
aware of the widely held belief
that suicide is cowardly and/or
the wrong way to escape the pain
of life. Although they hope
for relief from their pain, they
may also consciously or unconsciously
fear punishment. In a heightened
state of pain, as well as of fear
and/or guilt, they are highly distressed
and, consequently, may be somewhat
more prone to having an NDE.
"However, the facts remain that
the overall majority of distressing
NDEs did not occur in the context
of attempted suicide, Many pleasurable
NDEs were the result of attempted
suicide, and many people who were
in a distressed frame of mind and/or
who expected judgment and punishment
during death had a pleasurable NDE."
According to "Recollections
of Death" by Dr. Michael Sabom,
p. 51, the following NDE resulted from a
arrived at some place where all
my relatives had gathered: my grandmother,
my grandfather, my father, my uncle
who had recently committed suicide.
They all came to me and greeted
describes an uncle who committed
suicide who was not in a hellish
From Dr. Kenneth Ring's book "Heading
Toward Omega" (page 44-45):
At Death' I compared the NDEs
of three categories of people who
differed chiefly in the circumstances
that had brought them close to death:
illness victims, accident victims,
and suicide attempters. On the basis
of my own findings, I then proposed
what I called the invariance hypothesis
to indicate how situations such
as how one nearly dies affect the
NDE. What the invariance hypothesis
states is that there are no relationship:
However one nearly dies, the NDE,
if it occurs, is much the same.
"Research published since 'Life
At Death' has tended to lend strong
support to the invariance hypothesis.
We now have cases on file of almost
every mode of near-death circumstance
that you can imagine: combat situations,
attempted rape and murder, electrocution,
near-drownings, hangings, etc.,
as well as a great range of strictly
medical conditions - and none of
these seems to influence the form
and content of the NDE itself. Rather
it appears that whatever the condition
that brings a person close to death
may be, once the NDE begins to unfold
it is essentially invariant and
has the form I have earlier indicated.
"Subsequent research on suicide-related
NDEs by Stephen Franklin and myself
and by Bruce Greyson has also confirmed
my earlier tentative findings that
NDEs following suicide attempts,
however induced, conform to the
so far at least, situations covering
a wide range of near-death conditions
appear to have a negligible effect
on the experience."
"Were the people who jumped out of the New York
City Twin Towers when the terrorists attacked
justified for doing so?"
"I believe they were justified. They were doomed
and faced a horrible death if they decided to remain
in the Towers. It reminds me of the Jewish people
at Masada who heroically took their own lives instead
of being captured by the Romans.
"The lesson to be learned
here is probably this: Don't commit suicide unless
there is absolutely no hope at all and your mission
is not complete. If you don't meet this criteria,
your suicide may only results in an NDE which means
your mission is not completed. If a person is in
the process of dying because of a terminal illness,
it can be safely assumed their mission is complete.
If a person finds themself in combat and falls on
a grenade to save the lives of others, we can probably
assume their mission is complete as well. If you
are a 91 years old invalid facing senility or a
terminal illness, you can probably safely assume
your mission is complete.
"As a side
note, the rebuttal that nursing home caregivers
are receiving good karma from people who may owe
them a karmic debt, doesn't hold water to me. There
will always be a great number of needy people who
can generate karmic goodness for toward caregivers.
"If a person is killed
while defending their children from being raped
and murdered, for example, we can probably assume
their sacrifice for their children is good karma
and their mission is probably complete. If a person
is terminal and ending their life will spare their
loved ones a tremendous amount of needless suffering
and financial ruin, we can probably assume their
mission is complete. Animals such as beached whales,
lemmings, ants, bees and a number of other critters
including insects chose to end their lives under
certain conditions which suggests suicide in
many cases is simply a part of the natural order.
If a person commits suicide before their mission
is completed, it may only result in an NDE.
"People often get killed
while doing risky things that often appear to 'fly
in the face of God' such as mountain climbing, sky
diving, hang gliding, etc. These people put their
lives in their own hands when doing such things.
Aren't accidents involving these type of sports
a form of suicide? I believe so. Where is the line
drawn? It would be difficult for me to believe that
people who die while sky diving have not fulfilled
their mission. Reports of NDEs reveal there are
no accidents and there is a reason for everything.
This is not to say everything is predestined. Life
is filled with risks which have the ability to end
our lives. Just breathing the air in some cities
is enough to cause our deaths. Isn't this a type
of suicide? I believe it is. Isn't even the act
of being born, knowing it will result in death,
itself a form of suicide? I think so. What about
my fast food habit? Even this would have to be considered
a type of suicide. Where is the line drawn?"
"I just can't assume there is any reason for someone
to kill themselves."
"You are certainly entitled to have this opinion.
The problem exists when people other than the person
facing such end-of-life decisions (usually a faceless
bureaucrat) decides to deny others the right to control
their own life and death. There are many well-intentioned
people who actively seek to deprive others from
having a good death -- see
the case of Terry Schiiavo. As mentioned earlier, such
people often belong to religious right-to-life
They constantly fight right-to-die organizations
and seek to overturn laws passed by people who want
right-to-die laws in place. I am referring to the
State of Oregon where a majority of the voting people
(with major help right-to-die organizations) passed
a right-to-die law. But it took one unelected politician, Attorney
General Ashcroft, who decided to go against the
will of the people in Oregon by attempting to overthrow
their law. Fortunately, Ashcroft's edict was overturned
by the Supreme Court.
organizations want to educate the general public
into changing laws which prevent heroic physicians
such as Jack Kevorkian from going to prison for
helping the terminally ill."
"So, when life gets difficult for some, they should
be legally allowed to end it?"
"Everyone's life is difficult for various degrees.
I don't know of anyone who is not facing difficulties
in one form or another. It's just that some people
are facing much more difficulties than others. Many
near-death experiencers become so disappointed of
having to return they often fall into a depression.
In fact, one study revealed 4% of all near-death
experiencers commit suicide because of this disappointment.
The most difficult cases whom right-to-die
organizations support for voluntary physician-assisted suicide
are the hopelessly terminally ill and the very elderly.
"I have never had an
NDE, but after reading thousands of beautiful NDE
testimonials, I have concluded that if I were to have
a massive heart attack - for example - I do not
want to be resuscitated. Several decades ago, a
women by the name of
was thrown from her car during an automobile accident.
It took about 13 minutes before the EMTs came and
resuscitated her. Unfortunately, she never regained
consciousness and was in a 'persistent
vegetative state.' Her family knew Nancy's
wishes were not to be hooked up to a machine to be artificially
kept alive. And it was only after a painful seven-year
court fight that her parents were allowed to legally
remove the feeding tubes allowing her to die. This
event was the 'spark' which led many people to join
the right-to-die movement.
"For people who do not
want to be hooked up to a machine for the rest of
their lives and want to refuse resuscitation, there
are ways to prevent such things from happening.
Most states allow people to have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)
order in their living wills. Such DNR order mean
that if you are in a supermarket, for example, and
your heart stops beating, you will not be resuscitated.
But this will only happen if you have a DNR order
easily identified by medics. The problem with DNR
orders is medics do not look for them when
trying to resuscitate people. Fortunately, eleven
states (including Colorado and California) permit
DNR identification on jewelry obtained through the
Foundation in California. Once a person has a placed
a DNR order in their living will, they can join
MedicAlert for a small fee. Then you mail them the
last sheet of your DNR order. They will then inform
you about your choice of necklace or bracelet which
clearly states your wishes to "Do Not Resuscitate."
In some states, this jewelry and/or official papers
are the ONLY methods honored by emergency medics.
If such a notification is not present, you WILL
be resuscitated. DNR orders can be obtained by any
physician and are available upon demand.
"A tremendous number
of NDE testimonies I come across involve the near-death
experiencer becoming extremely upset of their being
resuscitated and begin brought back to life by physicians.
Such cases are another example where some 'faceless
second-party' person in power decides when someone
else must live and die.
"In conclusion, there
are no easy answers to such end-of-life questions.
Each person should follow their own heart. What
I have explained in this article is my own personal
opinion. You can take it or leave it."
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