George is a successful attony in his mid-fifties.He is also a legal scholar,holding teaching post at the local university law school in Oregon.George is also actively involved in his teenage son’s basketballleague,coaching regularly for their team.Recently, George has experienced muscle weakness and unresponsive muscle cordination.He was forced to seek medical attention after he fell and injury his hip.After an examination at the local hospital following his fall,te attending physician suspected that George may be showing early symptoms for ALS (amynotrophic lateral esclerosis},a degenerative disease affecting the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.The week following the initial examination,further testing revealed a positive disgnosis of ALS.
ALS is progressive and gradually cause motor neuron deterioritation and muscle atrophy to the point of complete muscle control loss.There is currently no cure for ALS, and the median life expectancy is between three and five years,through it is not uncommon for some to live 10 or more years. The progressive muscle atrophy and deterioritation of motor neurons leads to the loss of the ability to speak,move,eat,and breathe.However,sight,touch,hearing,taste,and smell are not affected.Patients will be wheelchair bound and eventually need permanet ventilator support to assist with breathing.
George and his family are desvatated by the diagnosis.George knows that treatment options only attempt to slow down the degeneration,but the symptoms will eventually come.He will eventually be wheelchair bound,and be unable to move,eat,speak,or even brethe on his own.
In contemplating his future life with ALS.George beings to dread the prospect of losing his mobility and even speech.He imagines his life in comp[lete dependence upon others for basic everyday functions,and perceives the possibility of eventually degeneration to the point at wich hi is a prisioner in his own body.Would he be willing to undergo such tortuire,such loss of his own dignity and power? George thus begins inguiring about the possibility of voluntary euthanasia.