Should we be giving doctors the right to end the lives of others by euthanasia or assisted suicide?
Fatal Flaws: Legalising Assisted Death is a thought-provoking journey through Europe and North America to find answers to this question.
Some 20 years after these laws were introduced, even
some of the most loyal supporters of assisted dying
are questioning where these laws are taking us.
The grandfather of euthanasia in the Netherlands, Dr. Boudewijn Chabot speaks of a ‘worrisome culture shift’ and that euthanasia is ‘getting out of hand’ – especially as it relates to patients with psychiatric issues.
The cost of ongoing treatment is putting pressure on an already fraught decision making process, and the many are questioning the motives of those tasked with making the decisions.
Meanwhile, the suicidal can simply ‘shop around’ until they find the decision they are looking for, or more worryingly – others can do the same for those they are tasked with caring for.
With powerful testimonies and expert opinion from both sides of the issue, Fatal Flaws: Legalising Assisted Death uncovers how these highly disputed laws affect society over time.
At the age of 52 and suffering from terrible chronic back pain, Victor D’Altorio decided to end his life.
Victor was a proud homosexual, a lover of life, honest, and outrageous. As an acting teacher of the Meisner technique for 20 years, he was committed to living in the moment, and accepting all that that had to offer, however painful it may be. But after fighting bone marrow cancer into remission he found himself with debilitating degenerative disc disorder in his neck and back, and he could not deny the pain that he was in or the dim prospects of relief. His personal commitment to truth and honesty made him despise the idea of suicide in the traditional sense. He simply could not cause that pain to the ones he loved. He decided to tell everyone (via his blog) that he was going to kill himself. This is the starting point for our story.
Over the next five months together we see Vic soaking in the tub in pain, making sex jokes, yelling at the cameraman, crying over his deceased partner, teaching eager new students, wavering on the big choice, and bonding with Brendan, the film maker. During this time, Brendan’s mission changes. He stops being simply the filmmaker asking why, and becomes a close friend trying to change Victor’s mind. Brendan puts together an acting class for Victor to teach to remind him of the life he once loved living, he teams with other students to produce the play that Victor had written, he does all he can to convince his new friend and mentor to stick around.