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经济学人:死亡的权力--安乐死(1)

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Books & arts

文艺板块

Book review

书评

The right to die

死亡的权力

Going gently

安乐死

The Inevitable. By Katie Engelhart.

《不可避免》。作者:凯蒂·恩格哈特

If it is humane to put down a dog in unbearable and incurable pain, why not extend the same right to humans if they want it? That question echoes through “ The Inevitable” as it follows four people in search of a good death—and in fear of a bad one.

如果杀死一只沉浸在难以忍受且无法治愈的痛苦之中的狗狗是人道的,那为什么想要得到解脱的人类却无法拥有同样的权力?《不可避免》对这一问题给出了答案,书中讲述了畏惧痛苦死亡而寻求安乐死的4个人。

Katie Engelhart’s deeply researched and beautifully reported book raises familiar quandaries. Do people have a right to die on their own terms? Should doctors help? Do motivations matter? And might a right become a duty for everyone who grows old, dependent or demented? It also considers less publicised problems, such as: how do people actually die? Advances in medicine and technology that have made pills and appliances safer have made it harder to achieve an “ easy” or “peaceful” death for those who seek one.

凯蒂·恩格哈特的这本研究深入、内容精妙的书引发了人们熟悉的困惑。人们有权按照自己的方式死去吗?医生应该帮忙吗?动机重要吗?安乐死的这项权利是否会成为每一个老人、被赡养人或痴呆病人的义务?书中还考虑了一些不太公开的问题,例如:人们实际上是如何死亡的?药物和技术上的进步使药片和医疗器械更加安全可靠,也使得寻求安乐死的人更难轻松平和地死亡。

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As policymakers and ethicists ponder these moral conundrums, around the world people are taking matters into their own hands, a trend that gives Ms Engelhart’s book its urgency. Faced with intolerable suffering, her subjects have largely given up on laws and doctors and instead turn to strangers on the internet for help. For instance, Avril Henry, a British octogenarian, spent her nights “marinating in her pain” and considered eating lethal fungi from her garden to end it. But “death by mushroom could be slow, messy, painful. The Nembutal would work better.” The “Peaceful Pill Handbook” suggested buying that drug from either a vet-supply store in Mexico or the Chinese black market. Doubtful about Chinese merchandise, Henry settled on Mexico.

当政策制定者和伦理学家思考其中的道德难题时,世界各地的人们选择用自己的方式解决,这一趋势使恩格哈特的书充斥着紧迫感。面对无法忍受的痛苦折磨,她的研究对象大多放弃了法律,对医生也不再抱有希望,他们转而求助互联网上的陌生人。例如,英国八旬老人艾薇儿·亨利夜间常疼痛难耐,她考虑吃下花园里的致命真菌来结束痛苦。但是“蘑菇引发的死亡可能缓慢、混乱、痛苦。戊巴比妥钠的效果更好。”《和平药丸手册》建议从墨西哥的宠物用品店或中国黑市购买这种药。但亨利对中国黑市的药品存疑,最后选定从墨西哥购买。

Over several years, Ms Engelhart’s main characters meticulously plan their escapes from old age, dementia and chronic or mental illness. She also follows two doctors, one of whom lost his licence for teaching people how to “exit” via “DIY death seminars”.

恩格哈特书中的主人公用多年时间精心策划了他们从老年、痴呆和慢性病或精神疾病中解脱出来的过程。她还描绘了两位医生的经历,其中一名医生因通过“DIY死亡研讨会”教人们如何“解脱”而失去了执照。

译文由可可原创,仅供学习交流使用,未经许可请勿转载。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
octogenarian [.ɔktəudʒi'neəriən]

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n. 八旬老人(八十到八十九岁间)

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dependent [di'pendənt]

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adj. 依靠的,依赖的,从属的
n.

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inevitable [in'evitəbl]

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adj. 不可避免的,必然(发生)的

 
doubtful ['dautfəl]

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adj. 可疑的,疑心的,不确定的

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lethal ['li:θəl]

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adj. 致命的,毁灭性的,有效的
n. 基因

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trend [trend]

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n. 趋势,倾向,方位
vi. 倾向,转向

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mushroom ['mʌʃrum]

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n. 蘑菇,菌菇状物,暴发户
vi. 扩张,迅

 
achieve [ə'tʃi:v]

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v. 完成,达到,实现

 
extend [iks'tend]

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v. 扩充,延伸,伸展,扩展

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mental ['mentl]

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adj. 精神的,脑力的,精神错乱的
n. 精

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