Art Caplan’s article raises very substantive ethical questions pertaining to one’s right to die when one chooses to die. SungEun Grace Lee wants to die due to in incurable tumor which is encroaching into her medulla or brain stem. She is lucid and completely alert and aware, but has lost control of all her bodily functions. Imagine being trapped in a bed unable to scratch or shift your body to a more comfortable position combined with pooping all over yourself and general incontinence. How long do you think you would want to live under those wretched conditions?
Yet the parents of Grace Lee perceive their daughter’s life as a gift from God and disconnecting the life support systems as a guarantee that Grace will be punished by Satan and burn in Hell. Her dad Man Ho Lee is the pastor of the Antioch Missionary Church in Flushing, N.Y. and is pursuing legal action to prevent Grace from ending her life.
Many religious types struggle with life ending decisions because of their indefensible, crass, view that human life is a gift from something we can not see, feel, or touch. Suicide and mercy killings are an easy choice for an atheist.
By Art Caplan, Ph.D.
When your time comes to die, you probably hope that you will be surrounded by loving family members and friends who will support you and help you leave this earth at peace with one another. Sadly, for 28 year-old SungEun Grace Lee, who is dying in a Long Island hospital, that is not happening.
Lee, who goes by the name Grace, is suffering from an incurable tumor boring into her brain stem. She’s paralyzed from the neck down, hooked up to a machine that breathes for her and is on a feeding tube. She’s fully conscious and cognitively alert, but has lost all control over her body and her basic bodily functions.