The Sea Inside The film The Sea Inside shares the heart warming real life story of a man named Ramon Sampedro. At the young age of twenty-six he suffered an accident while diving into shallow waters of the ocean that left him a quadriplegic. Now at the age of fifty-four, Ramon must depend on his family to survive. His older brother Jose, Jose’s wife, Manuela and their son Javi do their best to take care of Ramon and make him feel loved. Although Ramon is extremely grateful to his family and friends for their help all these years, he has come to see his life as aggravating and unsatisfying.
He wishes to die with the little dignity he has left in his life. However, Ramon’s family is dead set against the thought of assisted suicide and the laws of their country would incriminate anyone who helped Ramon end his on life. Through his friend Gene who works with a “Right to Die” organization, Ramon is introduced to Julia; a lawyer he hopes will help him persuade the courts to let him end his own life. Julia is dealing with her own degenerative disease of CADASIL syndrome, and Ramon hopes her condition will make her arguments more persuasive.
Ramon finds himself falling in love with Julia, but he still remains convinced that the greatest gift to him would be an end to his life. In the end, the courts did not rule in his favor, but Ramon was able to end his life by drinking potassium cyanide. Many people around the world suffer their whole lives without being able to live life to the fullest due to degenerative diseases or in cases like Ramon, an accident has left them bedridden and in need of constant outside care. Almost all of the people in these cases have at some point contemplated the ideas of assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Euthanasia Issue in the Movie
Euthanasia can be described as the act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness by lethal injection or medical treatment. Similarly, assisted suicide can be broadly defined as the process in which a physician provides a competent, terminally ill patient with the proper means to elicit fatality, upon the patient’s request. In other words euthanasia is intentionally causing the death of a person to relieve them from suffering or pain and assisted suicide is helping the person kill him or herself.
The main difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide is that in assisted suicide the patient is in complete control of the process that leads to death because he or she is the person who performs the act of suicide. The other person simply helps provide the means for carrying out the action. However, in euthanasia the patient is not causing his or her own death. I believe that the film, The Sea Inside, provides us with an example of assisted suicide. Ramon wanted it to be a case of euthanasia, but lost that battle when he took it to the courts.
So he was left with no choice but to find the means to end his own life. With the help of his friends, he was able to get a hold of potassium cyanide and by drinking it he was able to take his own life. The argument supporting assisted suicide often begins with the amount of pain and suffering that could be saved from conditions that complement a slow, deteriorating and agonizing prognosis. Although many people support the idea of the patients right to choose their fate, others argue that assisted suicide shamefully degrades the value we put on life.
But the question remains, when is it acceptable to support the patients’ wishes and when is it not? In the case of Larry McAfee, I believe that his wishes to end his life should have been granted. McAfee became a quadriplegic at a young age after a horrible motorcycle accident injured his C1 and C2 vertebrae. He lived in his quadriplegic condition for many years before deciding that he didn’t want to live life like this anymore. I believe that McAfee was completely competent enough to make that decision on his own after living in that state for so long and exhausting all the possibilities of living comfortably.
In the end, he was granted the permission for assisted suicide, and although he chose not to end his life, I believe that the choice should have always been his to make. However, in cases similar to Dax Cowart I do not think that assisted suicide should be granted. Cowart was a twenty nine year old that suffered third degree burns from a car accident. Immediately after his accident he want to kill himself because he could not bare the pain anymore, but his mother overruled that decision and forced him to fight for his life.
Although the recovery process was an unimaginably painful and grueling experience, Cowart fought through it and ended up becoming a lawyer, getting married and living a good life. In the initial moment of pain and suffering I do not think that one is capable or competent enough to make such decisions of ending his or her life. Therefore in cases like Cowarts’, I do not believe one should be granted such wishes, unless they have lived with the condition and have exhausted every possible way of living life to its full potential, like in the case of McAfee.
The case of Ramon Sampedro from the film is quite similar to the case of Larry McAfee. Both Ramon and Larry were involved in accidents at a young age that left them bedridden quadriplegics. After living life in such conditions for many years, I believe that Ramon, like Larry, was competent enough to make the decision of whether or not he wanted to take his own life and be free from suffering. Overall, I feel as though there is no good or right answer to the assisted suicide debate because of the subjective nature of the topic. However, I do believe that everyone has a right to freely make choices upon being deemed “competent”.
In cases like Larry Macafee and Ramon Sampedro from the film, the choice should be theirs since they are both clearly competent and have experienced life with their condition for many years. However, in cases such as Dax Cowart, competent decisions cannot be made immediately after such accidents because the person is in such pain that they are not thinking clearly. In the end, I believe the debate on assisted suicide is strictly personal and is dependent on many factors such as each person’s own morals, views on life and personal suffering experiences.