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pinketamine
1st Dec 2010, 1:02 AM
This came to my mind after knowing yesterday from the news that Mario Monicelli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Monicelli) (an italian film director) died at the age of 95. At first I was not shocked, he was an old man. Then, I discovered that he had suicided, he had jumped through the Hospital's window because he didn't want to continue suffering (he had been diagnosed cancer).

Do you think this is fair? Do you think there should be a legal way for people to die when they want to end their lives?

I would like to know your opinions about euthanasia, so feel free to elaborate your ideas as much as you want and don't limit yourself to replying the questions.

el_flel
1st Dec 2010, 2:29 AM
I think that people should be able to die the way they want to so I do support euthanasia, however I realise that it's incredibly difficult to put into practice because there are so many issues to take into account.

dutch
1st Dec 2010, 2:42 AM
It could be pretty iffy when it comes to euthanasia too. Some people are in a coma, and the painful decision is made by someone else in the case of non-voluntary euthanasia. Now we can't know for sure whether these people would have wanted their lives to end or anything, so there will always be arguments. Some people call euthanasia mercy killing while opponents call it murder.

From my point of view, the most acceptable form of euthanasia is the voluntary one where a patient is in too much suffering and wants to be put out of misery while there is no other way out. But other than that, it's a tough thing to think about. I could sit around all day weighing my own arguments for and against euthanasia without being able to make a personal statement in the end.

PuddleJumper
1st Dec 2010, 2:44 AM
Not really. What if the next day you would have found out the diagnosis was wrong, or you got better quickly?
Maybe it's just me, but I would rather take my chances. :)

dutch
1st Dec 2010, 2:47 AM
Yeah, that would be ideal of course. :) I mean I'm saying if euthanasia has to be carried out then that would be the most reasonable case for it to be put into practice, imo.

wickedblue
1st Dec 2010, 3:52 AM
People should be allowed to die with dignity. If they are chronically ill and would rather die now, on their terms, than continue to suffer with a quality of life that is abysmal then they should be allowed to make that choice.

Yes, it's really hard to let go of a person that you love and you want them to hang on and you hope and pray and fight for a cure but it's so much worse, actually, to watch the person you love fade into a shell of who they once were.

I'm not suggesting we start letting people kill themselves as soon as they are diagnosed with a disease that has the potential to be cured but for those whose quality of life really cannot be improved? Let them go on their terms.

kattenijin
1st Dec 2010, 4:54 AM
Anyone who suicides on the basis of one diagnosis is an idiot, and well... kind of "deserves it". Not the most PC way to put it I know, but I'm not feeling very PC lately.

As to the topic, I believe that wickedblue put it best:
People should be allowed to die with dignity. If they are chronically ill and would rather die now, on their terms, than continue to suffer with a quality of life that is abysmal then they should be allowed to make that choice.
One thing I've mentioned elsewhere, and deserves re-iteration, is that everyone should have what is commonly refered to as a "living will". This is a document in which the signer indicates preferences or directions for the administration and/or the withdrawal/withholding of life-sustaining medical treatment in the event of terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness.

Lance
1st Dec 2010, 6:52 AM
I support euthanasia. There is many diseases which make you suffer without *any* break. I would not want to spend like three years in unending, unbearable pain.
I always want to ask people who says "life is so valuable, it is better to live with pain than die" whether they felt the pain in their life for more than ten minutes.
When it goes to people who is in the state of... well, I do not know the right english word. There is people whose brain is damaged so severely that they will never return to conscious state. I think if relatives take them home and care for them, everything is all right. If nobody wants them, there goes euthanasia. I would not want my body to lie for several years somewhere among strange (is it the right word?) people while I, my personality is dead already. Human body is not valuable by itself, it is the personhood that differ human from animal.

Lance
1st Dec 2010, 6:56 AM
Anyone who suicides on the basis of one diagnosis is an idiot, and well... kind of "deserves it".
Everyone should be allowed to be idiots. This is what democracy exist for :lol:
(I support democracy though.)

x-tashi-x
1st Dec 2010, 7:39 AM
I support it, but in a way it can sort of condone suicide, and certainly make suicide easier.
In a world where depression is common, that definitley does not help.
However, we put our animals down, to stop there suffereing (usually.) One of my dogs, was put down last year due to the fact she was 16 and had an awful eye absys type thing. She was going to die, we were just making it peaceful and reducing her suffering.

If human euthanasia is introduced, there will have to be careful rules and regulations surrounding it.

Lance
1st Dec 2010, 8:36 AM
I support it, but in a way it can sort of condone suicide, and certainly make suicide easier.
In a world where depression is common, that definitley does not help.
Why? Why do you think suicide is bad? Why people do not have right to choose death, since it do not affect anyone else' right to choose life?

Rawra
1st Dec 2010, 10:30 AM
Lance, by committing suicide, you hurt your family, your friends, your acquaintances. In my view, people who do this are jerks, whom never think about the consequences. I completely DISAGREE with euthanasia, and that's how it'll always be. It's pure suicide.

And, concerning animals, it's the biggest mistake someone could do. It's like making someone shoot your animal.

In conclusion, no. I didn't, don't and will never agree with euthanasia.

HystericalParoxysm
1st Dec 2010, 10:42 AM
I agree with euthanasia in cases of serious chronic illness, especially degenerative illness. If I knew that I was sick with a disease that would take my mind and turn it to mush and make my body a useless prison, making me nothing but a burden to my family and loved ones who would have to see me like that... yeah, I would definitely want to work out something that, once I was past a certain point, I could be put out of my misery. Living a life with no quality of life is no life at all, and benefits nobody.

TheCreeper - So if someone in your family was sick with a chronic illness and would likely die soon anyway, and was in horrible pain, unable to even get out of bed, and would never recover, you think it would still be a selfish act for them to have someone help them die, to end their suffering? Euthanasia isn't usually just random suicide because you're depressed and don't want to go on, but to end a life that is otherwise not worth living.

Lance
1st Dec 2010, 11:41 AM
Lance, by committing suicide, you hurt your family, your friends, your acquaintances. In my view, people who do this are jerks, whom never think about the consequences. I completely DISAGREE with euthanasia, and that's how it'll always be. It's pure suicide.
Concerning euthanasia.
So you prefer to watch your parent/wife/brother unending suffering until they finally die? That's sadistic.
Concerning suicide.
People do not commit suicide just to annoy their neighbors. They commit suicide when they have serious problems and cannot overcome those problems on their own.

Nysha
1st Dec 2010, 12:25 PM
Euthanasia is such a complex issue... in principle, I support it: people who are of sound mind, and who have a disease - a confirmed disease with no chance of the diagnosis being wrong - which is chronic and incurable should indeed be able to choose to die. Having experienced both, I know exactly how hard it is to go through the death of a family member; and I also know how hard it is to see a family member waste away, unable to physically do anything for themselves, unable to communicate and unable to remember any of their life, living completely devoid of the life and personality that their loved ones loved about them. Now, I would never suggest euthanasia to anyone - but if someone wishes to avoid the latter by opting for the former, then I absolutely can't fault that choice. The end of one's life is always going to be painful and upsetting: whether it is painful and upsetting now, or painful and upsetting over the course of the next five years, is a personal decision, which should be taken with those closest to the person.

On the other hand - the practical problems are overwhelming. How do we ensure that no euthanasia is performed under pressure from others? How do we ensure that only those of sound mind may be euthanised? What do we do about those not of sound mind, who would want euthanasia if they were not impaired? How do we do it in practical terms? How do we ensure that we don't end up with horrible failures and foul instances of a person taking hours to die, in pain all the while, as we see in US executions? I do, however, believe that tackling all these problems is a necessity in a truly liberal or caring society.

If you haven't already, I strongly suggest you (general, anyone, you) watch Terry Pratchett's Dimbleby Lecture (http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1C4243D406099A2A&feature=bf-title). It's a very eloquent (obviously) and moving exploration of the issue, and it's very interesting to see what exactly the issues are in the eyes of someone who's facing a long and devastating illness - there are a lot of things which, I guess, you or I don't really think of when we're looking at the issue theoretically. (Start at 3/6 if you want to skip the Alzheimers section, though it's useful background info)

HystericalParoxysm
1st Dec 2010, 1:04 PM
That's because they don't love life enough, which proves they have real mental problems.

We're talking about euthanasia, not general suicides due to depression. How is someone who is sick with an incurable illness that has them in constant pain and misery supposed to love life? If someone will never get better and is near the end of their life, and their quality of life is horrible, why shouldn't they be allowed to end it a bit early to end their suffering?

wickedblue
1st Dec 2010, 1:32 PM
That's because they don't love life enough, which proves they have real mental problems.

Two things:
We're discussing euthanasia which is entirely a different thing than suicide.

You're being insensitive to those who suffer mental illness. Also, incredibly short sighted. It's not as black and white as that.

Lance
1st Dec 2010, 1:38 PM
wickedblue, why do you think suffering from emotional pain is something completely different?

jooxis
1st Dec 2010, 2:57 PM
Lance, I assume that emotional pain is usually temporary, no matter how tough it can be to go through. And people committing suicide out of emotional pain, well, might have committed suicide over a temporary problem that would have eventually solved itself (if not with the help of friends and family).

However if you're physically sick and incapable of living a comfortable life and there is no known cure- you're pretty much at the end of the road. You can KNOW it won't ever get better.

So ending your life because your girlfriend dumped you and ending your life because you have to live in a hospital attached to a feeding tube forever is not really the same thing in my eyes.

Still, to say that people who commit suicide are "jerks" is just... hateful and silly.

Oaktree
1st Dec 2010, 3:59 PM
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about euthanasia. Many people on this thread have mentioned cases of letting someone die who would die without life support, which I don't think of as euthanasia. I think that there is nothing wrong with removing someone from life support. It's causing someone, who would otherwise live, to die that I'm not sure about. On a purely practical level, I want to be a doctor and I don't think that I would be allowed to perform assisted suicide because it is illegal in most places. The Hippocratic Oath is generally interpreted very strictly and it says "do no harm". Taking a life, even one lived miserably, is generally considered harmful.

On a philosophical level, I'm stumped. I think of rationality as the core component of personhood, the quality that defines us as humans, so I'm not as bothered by allowing a braindead person to die, because that person likely does not feel a thing and will never be able to communicate or think again. If a family wants to keep their braindead relative alive, though, it is their choice. For people who still have their rational mind, I think it is a shame to throw it away. It seems a shame to cut short the time you have to learn and experience, even if that time is full of pain and looming death. Further, to have someone else help you commit suicide seems a lot like well-meaning murder. I think it is a little selfish to put the responsibility for your death in the hands of another. I do realize that not all terminal patients are able to take their own lives, though.

On the other hand, I think that people should generally have control over their own lives. I think that people should be able to choose the course of their own lives, within the best of their ability because no one else has more right to that life. In theory, there shouldn't be a problem with choosing suicide; it is the particular situation in which a person requires the choice of another in order to carry out their wishes that is problematic.

wickedblue
1st Dec 2010, 5:17 PM
Oaktree, I understand your view and agree. I just think this: "I think it is a shame to throw it away. It seems a shame to cut short the time you have to learn and experience, even if that time is full of pain and looming death" is different than what we're discussing. A person who is still capable of experiencing life while managing pain is not a person that would be a good candidate for euthanasia. There are patients who continue to live for many years but have no quality of life to speak of. There is no experiencing life from a bed, unable to move or speak or interact with the people they love. Not only is death certain in that case but I see it as cruel to say they must continue to live. That's not living.

Lance, I don't really know how to answer your question. Mental illness is hard to live with and for some, it really doesn't ever get better and while I have a lot of sympathy for people that take their own life because they don't see a way out of it, I don't see it as the answer. It's different than euthanasia, though. Suicide is a private, secretive act that is done out of desperation and fear and it's safe to assume that the person is not of sound mind when they made that choice. Euthanasia would be performed only if it could be proven that the person choosing it is of sound mind. This is a really tough subject and there are a lot of shades of gray, so many that I don't think we could possibly discuss them all. In both cases, a life is being ended and the people that love them are going to suffer but I see euthanasia as an act of compassion for a person who has no quality of life.

Sunbee
1st Dec 2010, 7:00 PM
I disagree with euthanasia for much the same reasons as I disagree with the death penalty. Great in theory, but where exactly is the incorruptible person who will make sure it is never abused? I know people, unfortunately, who were perfectly happy to encourage elderly relatives to check out early in order to access what they mistakenly supposed was a huge estate. (They failed, fortunately, but they didn't have any medical professionals on their side, either.)
I also would like to point out to you the rate of medical advances. What was an incurable condition with a likely death two decades ago frequently isn't now. I have a relative who has been fortunate enough to receive a lot of cutting edge and in testing treatments that have extended his life. He's made it to double what the docs told him they thought he'd have to live, and his quality of life is a lot better than what anyone would have supposed at diagnosis.

Mistermook
1st Dec 2010, 8:04 PM
Lance, by committing suicide, you hurt your family, your friends, your acquaintances. In my view, people who do this are jerks, whom never think about the consequences.
People are normally allowed to be jerks when what they're doing essentially only harms people's feelings too.

Ledgo
1st Dec 2010, 9:05 PM
It's a tough call. I think if someone wants to end on their own terms, it's completely fine. The issue lies in if they don't know their survival chances, how the family reacts to the news, ect.

It also depends what you call euthanasia. You could say it is someone denying treatment such as dialysis. You could also say it is letting someone go after a accident rather than them recovering because they don't want to.

So, I guess as the end statement of my post, I feel if someone is facing death or pain/complications/ect, I guess I am fine if they don't want to go on.

fakepeeps7
1st Dec 2010, 9:16 PM
We've reached the point where it's possible (with modern medicine) to prolong life long past its normal course, causing pain and suffering. This is a new problem that we've created. We need new points of view to deal with it.

Years ago, when someone got a deadly disease, they'd die fairly swiftly. Now, they can linger for years, suffering from diseases for which there is no cure... only life-prolonging treatments. We need to have serious discussions on quality of life. It's not just about quantity anymore.

pinketamine
1st Dec 2010, 9:48 PM
Anyone who suicides on the basis of one diagnosis is an idiot, and well... kind of "deserves it". Not the most PC way to put it I know, but I'm not feeling very PC lately.

In the case I shared with you, I worded it in a bad way. He knew it as cancer, and was being treated of it.

Lance, by committing suicide, you hurt your family, your friends, your acquaintances. In my view, people who do this are jerks, whom never think about the consequences. I completely DISAGREE with euthanasia, and that's how it'll always be. It's pure suicide.

And, concerning animals, it's the biggest mistake someone could do. It's like making someone shoot your animal.

In conclusion, no. I didn't, don't and will never agree with euthanasia.
I think that wanting a loved one to live in horrid pain just because you don't want them to die is something extremely selfish. Personally, if someone I loved had a chronic disease which can't be cured and makes them suffer horrible pains... I would let them die if that is their desire.

About animals it is the same. Some years ago, my cousin had to let his dog die, because he got a disease which had not cure and was going to make the poor dog die from starvation.

I disagree with euthanasia for much the same reasons as I disagree with the death penalty. Great in theory, but where exactly is the incorruptible person who will make sure it is never abused?
I don't think death penalty and euthanasia have anything in common. Death penalty is about killing someone as a punishment for their actions, while euthanasia is (or should be) a personal decision to end your life.

I support euthanasia in some cases:
The person has a disease which can't be cured. This disease will cause them pain or make them live a life which does not have any quality, like being your whole life in a bed without being able to move at all or something like that.
The decision must come from them, I don't agree with decided by others euthanasia unless the person who is ill gave specific instructions about what to do.

el_flel
1st Dec 2010, 10:21 PM
Lance, by committing suicide, you hurt your family, your friends, your acquaintances. In my view, people who do this are jerks, whom never think about the consequences. I completely DISAGREE with euthanasia, and that's how it'll always be. It's pure suicide. This might be the case with 'regular' suicide, but there is a massive difference between that and euthanasia which I think you aren't getting. In cases of euthanasia the person is already dying. Their family and friends are already hurting. These two things are inevitable. So saying that they are a jerk or aren't thinking of the consequences doesn't make any sense. You've obviously never had to watch a loved one die slowly, painfully and without any sense of dignity, because if you had then you might actually understand this issue.

I disagree with euthanasia for much the same reasons as I disagree with the death penalty. Great in theory, but where exactly is the incorruptible person who will make sure it is never abused? This is one of the problems I see with putting it into practice - how easy would it be to obtain consent either under duress or fraudulently? There's also the issue of when a person makes the decision to end their life: if they do it when they're still mentally stable there's the possibility of changing their mind when it actually comes to it, but if they do it when they're not mentally stable then their consent would probably not even be legal and there's the chance they don't really understand what they're consenting to.

I also would like to point out to you the rate of medical advances. What was an incurable condition with a likely death two decades ago frequently isn't now.Whilst this may be the case for some ailments it certainly isn't for others. My grandad died three years ago of pancreatic cancer and there was literally nothing that could be done about it. It was the same situation with my boyfriend's grandmother last month. Keep them comfortable for however long it takes.

I don't think death penalty and euthanasia have anything in common. Death penalty is about killing someone as a punishment for their actions, while euthanasia is (or should be) a personal decision to end your life.I don't think Sunbee was comparing euthanasia with the death penalty, but merely pointing out that they share some of the same difficulties, such as corrupt people working within the system

pinketamine
1st Dec 2010, 10:30 PM
I don't think Sunbee was comparing euthanasia with the death penalty, but merely pointing out that they share some of the same difficulties, such as corrupt people working within the system

Then I agree with you, Sunbee.

socherish
1st Dec 2010, 10:48 PM
That's because they don't love life enough, which proves they have real mental problems.

Sure. So when you're in agony 24/7 with no hope for recovery, let someone ask you if you love life. Of course if you don't, you must be insane. :rolleyes: And if you commit suicide, you're selfish. Your aunt and your neighbors should hate you for what you did to them. :/

fakepeeps7
2nd Dec 2010, 12:37 AM
There's also the issue of when a person makes the decision to end their life: if they do it when they're still mentally stable there's the possibility of changing their mind when it actually comes to it, but if they do it when they're not mentally stable then their consent would probably not even be legal and there's the chance they don't really understand what they're consenting to.

That's why it's so important to make your wishes known while you're still of sound mind. I don't think it would be legal (or ethical) to abide by the wishes expressed when the person is no longer of sound mind... especially if those wishes override those expressed earlier when there was more mental stability.

el_flel
2nd Dec 2010, 12:47 AM
^ Agreed. I do definitely see the problem of having a change of heart as well though. When something isn't 'real' or close to us we think of it differently. It's all very well for me now, as a healthy 25 year old, to say that if I ever develop X that I want to bow out early than suffer, but if I did ever develop X in however many years I might feel completely differently. And that can happen to people no matter how old they are and no matter how far after saying they'd opt for assisted suicide (or whatever phrase is appropriate) that they develop something.

Oaktree
2nd Dec 2010, 1:20 AM
We've reached the point where it's possible (with modern medicine) to prolong life long past its normal course, causing pain and suffering. This is a new problem that we've created. We need new points of view to deal with it.

Years ago, when someone got a deadly disease, they'd die fairly swiftly. Now, they can linger for years, suffering from diseases for which there is no cure... only life-prolonging treatments. We need to have serious discussions on quality of life. It's not just about quantity anymore.

It's unfair to present medicine as only increasing the length of life. It certainly improves the quality of life, as well. Sanitation in combination with antibiotics has made us less susceptible to deadly infections, improving the quality of life. People with leprosy, or cancer, or syphilis, or a variety of other wasting diseases have a much better quality of life during the progression of the disease than they ever did. My aunt had brain cancer for ten years and was outwardly healthy for the majority of that time. In decades and centuries past, that would not be the case. Amputations and other forms of mutilation are far less common now than they were in the past. People are overall living long and healthy lives, so long as they take care of their bodies.

Medicine improves the quality of life, very much so; the problem is that people are reluctant to let go of a dying family member, so they prolong life past the point where it is enjoyable to live. The possibility of a medical breakthrough happening shortly after your relative dies is one of the reasons people often give for prolonging the lives of their dying relatives. This is not a very rational reason to do so. Yes, there is always the possibility, and it is good to have hope, but compassion and rationality must kick in at some point. On the flipside, sometimes it takes time for a relative to get proper treatment, or organ donation, or what-have-you. In those cases, you shouldn't just take them off of life support as soon as things look grim. There has to be a point of moderation in choosing how long to keep someone past their natural life span.

HystericalParoxysm
2nd Dec 2010, 10:07 AM
Well, it's the kind of thing that can't be left up to the family only - as someone said upthread, there's too much potential for it to be abused, since the relatives may gain monetarily from the death of their relative. It has to be something that is overseen by doctors who are experts in the condition the patient has - people who would know if there's an amazing miracle treatment just about to be available.

I think it's most appropriate for people who are already dying, and will die soon anyway. For example, I read a heartbreaking story of a woman whose mother-in-law was dying... She had been diagnosed with end-stage stomach cancer, and it was completely incurable. The poor woman was in horrible pain, unable to sleep, unable to eat, vomiting constantly, couldn't get out of bed, delirious... She didn't want to see her grandson anymore, as she didn't want him to see her like that. After seeing various doctors, looking into treatment options, and her just getting weaker and worse, they decided on the merciful option, which they were given by the hospice. They increased her pain and sleeping medication every hour until she finally drifted off into a pain-free sleep, and kept increasing it bit by bit until she passed.

After seeing her family members talking about what was going on - from the first "what the heck is wrong with her, she's so sick and they're not taking her seriously" to her death and funeral, I can't see how any option would have been better for her. Anything they could have done otherwise would only have prolonged her suffering, keeping her trapped in a useless and broken body that had her in agony, unable even to rest. It's cases like that which I think are very appropriate for euthanasia, and I can't see how anyone could think otherwise in a case like that... Euthanasia is appropriate when death is a mercy.

appelsapgodin
2nd Dec 2010, 12:59 PM
My uncle died a few years ago by having the docters help him with euthanasia. He made this decision because he was very ill. Because he went blind, deaf, his kidneys stopped working, liver failure, both his feet and left leg had to be amputated.

He loved life. He adored it. He enjoyed it fully. He would have gone on living if he could.

He did not want to live his life blind, deaf, in a wheelchair, on dialysis, in excruciating pain. Live his life as a shadow of the man he once was.

He was one of my best friends, a hero in my eyes even. I basically have the same disease he died of. I did not want him to die, but I also did not want to see him wither away because everything he ever loved in life (art, music, travelling, and most important independancy) was getting out of his reach.

He died with dignity. Choosing quality over quantity, because that was the man he was.

I don't know if I will ever have to make the choice he did. I hope not. I have the chronical disease in a later generation. Treatment now is far different from the one he got as a kid. I live my life differently. But I will be the person who decides that for myself when it gets that far. I will be the one who decides if I think my life still has enough quality for me to enjoy it. I have the right to be selfish.

longears15
6th Dec 2010, 10:35 AM
This is a very personal topic for me. As some people here know, I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which although not a terminal illness, is a terribly painful, incurable neuropathic pain condition. Mine is somewhat unusual - it's thought now to be a problem of the central nervous system, but the pain and other signs (extreme swelling, poor circulation amongst many others) usually only appear in the limbs. Mine affects my whole body and messes around with my internal organs as well, to the point that it has nearly killed me.

At the moment, I'm in a hell of a lot of pain and I've already exhausted nearly all of my treatment options, but I'm coping. If my pain gets to a point where it becomes unmanageable and intolerable as it may well do, or if I become to ill from my complications that I have no quality of life then yeah - I want the option of euthanasia. If I reach that point, suicide wouldn't be an option because I'd just be too incapacitated by pain - as it is on a bad day now, I can barely move - and I couldn't ask my family to help me, couldn't do that to them.

My only reservation is that with severe pain and illness comes depression, which affects your state of mind horribly - I've been there too. I've had nights where I've been alone and the pain is so bad that I want to die. Luckily for me I have a supportive family, good friends and a good medical team. I think though, that if someone in my situation lacked that sort of support they would be at risk of suggestion from an unscrupulous relative, or just a carer tired out and getting to the end of their tether. The other problem is that you start to feel a burden. If you need a family member to wait on you, help you to the loo, help prepare your meals, or even just take you out to appointments and such, you begin to feel as though you are an enormous burden on then.

Euthanasia is, I think the sort of thing that needs to be considered much like DNR requests, wills, PoAs and other medico-legal documentation - something done when a person is of SOUND mind. Along the lines of "...these are my wishes in situation XYZ..." and then if that situation does arise in the future the now patient can be assessed by relevant medical professionals, psychiatrist, etc. Hopefully that makes sense...

Greyhound_Girl07
8th Dec 2010, 2:24 AM
This is an incredibly sensitive topic. Anyone who is interested in this debate should watch the movie, "You Don't Know Jack" about Dr. Death (Jack Kevorkian) and his life. The movie is very poignant and tells a fabulous story about Doctor Assisted Suicide.

Personally, I think euthanasia should be legal and people should be able to decide for themselves. I live with a genetic disorder called Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia, or HHT. My grandmother essentially committed suicide in her early 60's. She was receiving a full 8 pints of blood every two weeks in order to stay alive. She stopped receiving blood transfusions, and bled to death over the course of a week or so. Her and my grandfather made the decision because she was suffering so much.

Had they had the option of Doctor Assisted Suicide, I imagine that she wouldr have taken that route. Much less painful, IMHO.

Although, legalizing euthanasia opens a can of worms. How do you set a protocol for something so situational? Do you encompass mental disorders? To me it's quite obvious that a physical disability would be much easier to allow euthanasia for than something mental. There are large grey areas that would be very hard to define.

Generally I believe that things should be legalized and that people should have the right to make decisions for themselves, which is also my general stance on euthanasia.

jrhk72
8th Dec 2010, 11:06 AM
OK. I don't usually balls up to give an opinion on these debate threads but this time I'm compelled. I am ABSOLUTELY for euthanasia. When a person makes the decision them self!! Even though "technically" "suicide" is against my beliefs. Here's why... I spent 4 1/2 years taking care of my father-in-law (who died last year) while he fought like hell to beat cancer. He was butchered (repeatedly), medicated into a stupor, and could not so much as brush his own teeth. He was badly deformed by the surgeries, and by the end had BARELY held on to any sense of dignity. All the while in excruciating pain that made him scream out at all hours. It was the most horrible process that I have ever seen. He refused a care home (which was fine by me cause I refused to have him die in one) so I got the full experience. We had MANY talks about how he would prefer to just let go so the pain would stop. He was ready. He wouldn't go through with it because in his eyes it would dishonor his children & the all the work & care I gave (his words, not mine). I find myself actually wishing that he had. I don't mean that in a nasty way, I love the man with all my heart. What I mean is that I think that some of the previous posters are correct.... If a person who is going to die anyway, choses to die before that last thread of dignity is lost we should respect that. It is, after all....their life. I personally, because of the experience have had my living will...etc....drawn up. NOBODY will make that choice for me. It's already made :up:

longears15
9th Dec 2010, 9:46 AM
/\ /\ I'm really sorry for what you went through with your FIL. I really can't begin to imagine what that must have been like for you, he and the rest of your family.

There was an article in The Age (one of our main newspapers here) recently about euthanasia, and how its legalisation would almost certainly see a fall in the suicide rate - the reason being that there are a significant number of terminally and chronically ill people who commit suicide while still relatively healthy, because they are so fearful of ending up in a state where they are unable to end their lives and forced to live through those excruciating final days, weeks or months.

pinketamine
10th Dec 2010, 5:42 PM
I would like to thank all of you who had shared your personal experiences with us, it must be really painful to go through such a situation, and I feel grateful to you because you gave us a more "humane" view on euthanasia.
I think that it should be legal, as long as, as other people have said, the person decides it when having all their mental capacities. I guess it is very difficult to take it to practice, but people should be allowed to decide how they want to live and die.
I find it pretty sad when someone has to commit suicide due to their illness.

SuicidiaParasidia
10th Dec 2010, 9:49 PM
well folks, i dont know about you, but if every day i felt like someone was rotating a knife in my leg/heart/belly/head for months on end, i probably wouldnt want it to go on for as long as possible. its really a case of 'easier said than done' when it comes to the 'death should be the last thing to consider' talk.

terminally ill people... well, they simply arent like 'us normal folk'. we cant imagine going to sleep in pain, waking up in pain, never being comfortable, not having anything to look forward to the next day.
pain is exhausting. pain is depressing. pain is debilitating; how many cancer patients do you see spending their last day on a roller coaster, or even just at a movie theater?

my father was on 7 different medications before cancer took him.
he couldnt find the strength to eat more than half a piece of celery w/peanut butter on it.

he was suffering, but so was his family. it hurt more to watch him slowly decay inside his living coffin, than it hurt to see him finally be at peace in his final resting place.

if he had the option of euthanasia, he could have been spared all that. he could have left us knowing he'd done his best, and been able to keep his dignity, knowing he couldve at least fed himself one last time.
death hurts either way. but its just plain sadistic and evil to expect someone to 'keep on goin' and 'love life' when life loses its sensation, its color, its taste, its joy. when every day you spend sleeping or restricted to a chair, or struggling to help yourself to the bathroom.

im callous.
but im not that callous.

Mistermook
11th Dec 2010, 12:19 AM
its just plain sadistic and evil to expect someone to 'keep on goin' and 'love life' when life loses its sensation, its color, its taste, its joy. when every day you spend sleeping or restricted to a chair, or struggling to help yourself to the bathroom.
Pfft, like a little sadism and evil has ever stopped anyone from knowing how better to live (or end) someone else's life. Seriously, there are whole organizations devoted to that stuff.

longears15
11th Dec 2010, 11:32 AM
well folks, i dont know about you, but if every day i felt like someone was rotating a knife in my leg/heart/belly/head for months on end, i probably wouldnt want it to go on for as long as possible. its really a case of 'easier said than done' when it comes to the 'death should be the last thing to consider' talk.

terminally ill people... well, they simply arent like 'us normal folk'. we cant imagine going to sleep in pain, waking up in pain, never being comfortable, not having anything to look forward to the next day.
pain is exhausting. pain is depressing. pain is debilitating; how many cancer patients do you see spending their last day on a roller coaster, or even just at a movie theater?

my father was on 7 different medications before cancer took him.
he couldnt find the strength to eat more than half a piece of celery w/peanut butter on it.
SP - I'm sorry about your father. Your post made me consider something else too - you mention the number of medications your father was on. I take three different painkillers, four other sorts of tablets besides, and have two other drugs going directly into my spinal fluid via an implanted pump. They start to affect your mental capabilities pretty badly... I've chosen to take mine at relatively low doses and to stay in pretty serious pain, because increasing them to a high dose a./ doesn't make that much more difference to the pain and b./ has major side effects. Whether the illness is terminal, or a very serious chronic illness like mine though, those side effects are these and do affect how you think. Trying to think clearly with a hefty dose of narcotic in your system is the mental equivalent of trying to walk across a paddock waist deep in thick, sticky mud - it takes a hell of a lot of energy and effort, and you can't do it decisively. That's not a state of mind in which anyone is fit to be making a choice for the first time in their life about whether they should want to be alive or not - and is another reason why I think that an indication of feelings about euthanasia should be recorded in a legal document while a person is still of fit mind.

SuicidiaParasidia
11th Dec 2010, 2:26 PM
SP - I'm sorry about your father. Your post made me consider something else too - you mention the number of medications your father was on. I take three different painkillers, four other sorts of tablets besides, and have two other drugs going directly into my spinal fluid via an implanted pump. They start to affect your mental capabilities pretty badly... I've chosen to take mine at relatively low doses and to stay in pretty serious pain, because increasing them to a high dose a./ doesn't make that much more difference to the pain and b./ has major side effects. Whether the illness is terminal, or a very serious chronic illness like mine though, those side effects are these and do affect how you think. Trying to think clearly with a hefty dose of narcotic in your system is the mental equivalent of trying to walk across a paddock waist deep in thick, sticky mud - it takes a hell of a lot of energy and effort, and you can't do it decisively. That's not a state of mind in which anyone is fit to be making a choice for the first time in their life about whether they should want to be alive or not - and is another reason why I think that an indication of feelings about euthanasia should be recorded in a legal document while a person is still of fit mind.

bolding the last part because while i DID read everything you said, i only have a response to that last part.

the point i was trying to make is that existing with a terminal illness and being forced to see it to the end is not something that people should take lightly. its not like when we have a cold, and just stiff up yer lip. its misery, and its not going to get better.

i think he first learned of his cancer a couple of months before he really needed the medication, but by then it was so far along that they couldnt do anything to help him; just delay the inevitable.
but even then he was not given the option of euthanasia. i know that he wouldve first checked with everyone in the family about it first, regardless of what he wanted, but overall it wouldve led to the same decision; that it just wasnt worth it to drag it out as long as possible. as his family, we loved him dearly, and none of us would have a big enough problem with euthanasia (including my father) to decide against it.
we had already discussed with him about his wishes pertaining to if he were in a coma or vegetative state, before. bottom line was that he would rather die than remain a prisoner in his own body, unable to do the things he loved (including providing for his family; he couldnt work, those last 3-4 months, the pain kept him from doing anything).

but then, i dont know anyone who could stand to watch someone they truly love, die a slow and painful death.

longears15
11th Dec 2010, 3:42 PM
Oh yes...I know what you're saying. My illness isn't terminal - life threatening, but not terminal - and that's misery enough. I have days and weeks at a time where the pain is so bad that I can barely move, can't eat, can't think...just want to die. Yesterday was a really good day for me and I still had 5/10 pain with enough narcotic to have most people on their backsides.

I agree with you 100% about those with terminal cancer being given the option of euthanasia, but as I also said - think that there should be some formal discussion and record of the person's wishes along the same lines as what happens if they do enter a coma. It was merely your mention of medications, and me trying to think clearly through the fog cause by my own that made me add the post above.

el_flel
11th Dec 2010, 4:33 PM
I still believe that death isn't an option.This doesn't make sense. If someone is already dying and they are in pain and just want it to end then death is the only way to make that happen.

My grandfather had terminal stage cancer and he didn't even THINK about euthanasia. He loved life too much, and enjoyed every single bit of it.But this isn't the case for everyone which is the crucial point I think you're missing.

longears15
12th Dec 2010, 2:36 AM
I still believe that death isn't an option. My grandfather had terminal stage cancer and he didn't even THINK about euthanasia. He loved life too much, and enjoyed every single bit of it.

But this isn't the case for everyone which is the crucial point I think you're missing.

Exactly. When pain gets too much to bear, it's not always possible to enjoy life. You might have a good hour, or a good day, but life on the whole is just shite.

My story is already well and truly in the public domain - has been on tv, in the paper and on the net for years, so I'll post it here. To really illustrate why I think that euthanasia MUST be an option for very severe chronic illnesses as well as terminal ones - this (http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2621515.htm) is my life. That was filmed on bad day, but nowhere near the worst. As I said earlier, at the moment I am handling it okay - but I'm only in my mid-20's. If it gets worse, I can't face another 40, 50 or 60 years with this sort of pain. I don't want to be so heavily drugged that I can't think, can't communicate properly, can't be a real person. Living med-free with the pain isn't an option - a broken bone is absolutely nothing in comparison to this - which leaves suicide while I'm still 'healthy'...and I don't want to go there.

pinketamine
12th Dec 2010, 3:11 AM
Reading about it is shocking, longlears. I sometimes suffer intense migraines, and I can't imagine living with that pain during my whole life. You are really a strong woman.
I don't want to be so heavily drugged that I can't think, can't communicate properly, can't be a real person. Living med-free with the pain isn't an option - a broken bone is absolutely nothing in comparison to this - which leaves suicide while I'm still 'healthy'...and I don't want to go there.
I understand you, I think that living a life that makes you feel you are not a person anymore is really cruel. For these reasons I would like euthanasia to be legal.

No one has pointed it, I guess because it is "bad taste", but (at least in Spain) if you have a Life Insurance and you suicide, your family members don't get any money. Some people continue their lives in horrible pain because they don't want their family to lose this money. That is pretty sad too.

el_flel
12th Dec 2010, 3:36 AM
Wow, Laura, you are very brave and very inspirational. It really puts things in perspective hearing about situations like yours. Thanks so much for posting that link. I don't have anything else to constructive add so shall just send e-hugs your way (((((hugs))))). I'm certainly not pretending to understand what you go through on a daily basis, but I can understand the mentality of not wanting to live if that is what life is going to be like. I have agoraphobia and an anxiety disorder, and when it was bad I was really anxious constantly for weeks. Couldn't eat or sleep, couldn't get out of bed or relax at all, I shan't bore everyone with the details buy suffice to say, it was bad. I didn't contemplate suicide in the sense of actually wanting to do it, but I knew I couldn't live like that and that if nothing would work to alleviate it I didn't want to live like that.

People who love life don't want to end theirs. It's the people whose conditions are making them hate life and there is no other way out besides death that want to end it.

sayyadina
16th Mar 2011, 1:21 PM
After being told your entire life that you are responsible for everything in it and that you have to make your own descisions, also the difficult ones - I think the same rule should apply in death, its only logical :D

TUN3R
16th Mar 2011, 1:48 PM
Yeah they should, in fact the government (I hope it's obvious that I'm talking about the US government, since Europeans are too busy democratically electing their dictators) should offer (paid) services for such things, such as lethal injection. We reduce global population and make money at the same time...

After all it's not exactly democratic if a person can't choice what to do with their life.

pinketamine
16th Mar 2011, 7:23 PM
Yeah they should, in fact the government (I hope it's obvious that I'm talking about the US government, since Europeans are too busy democratically electing their dictators) should offer (paid) services for such things, such as lethal injection. We reduce global population and make money at the same time...

After all it's not exactly democratic if a person can't choice what to do with their life.

Could you enlighten us about what do you mean with the bolded part?

Nysha
16th Mar 2011, 7:53 PM
It is an interesting statement, given that the US, unlike most European countries, doesn't allow the executive to be removed at the discretion of the elected legislature. :)

TUN3R
16th Mar 2011, 8:14 PM
Could you enlighten us about what do you mean with the bolded part?

Yes. What I meant was that the difference between totalitarianism (did I spell that right) and European democracy is the fact that the 2nd let's us choice our dictator... but it's going off topic, bottom line, in Europe allowing people to kill themselves will never happen.

pinketamine
16th Mar 2011, 8:27 PM
It happens, in fact (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_the_Netherlands).
I don't agree with what you said, but this isn't the topic of the discussion, so I won't add anything.

Nysha
16th Mar 2011, 9:13 PM
European countries in which euthanasia is legal (legislation titles are translated, you can look up the original texts but, well, they may not be in English...):
Belgium (Euthanasia Act 2002)
Albania (Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995)
Germany (Federal Court Case 2 StR 454/09) (passive only)
Ireland (not expressly allowed - but there is a lack of ban. Passive only)
Luxembourg (Law on the Right to Die with Dignity 2008)
Netherlands (Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act 2002)
Switzerland (Article 115, Swiss penal code, enacted 1942)

"Passive only" refers to passive euthanasia - it's illegal to, for example, give someone a lethal injection; but it is legal to disconnect a ventilator, feeding tube, or other life supporting equipment.

In addition, euthanasia is illegal in the United Kingdom, however the public prosecutor (chief of criminal convictions) has said that family members won't be prosecuted for assisting a terminally ill person to kill themselves - doctors, however, have no such protection.


You were saying?

TUN3R
16th Mar 2011, 10:18 PM
Disconnecting them when they are barely breathing and euthanasia aren't the same thing to my knowledge...

Honeywell
16th Mar 2011, 10:26 PM
to my knowledge...Good job identifying the problem. Now to fix it...

TUN3R
16th Mar 2011, 10:35 PM
Good job identifying the problem. Now to fix it...

Ha ha :wtf:

longears15
17th Mar 2011, 1:03 PM
TUN3R, disconnecting a ventilator is euthanasia by definition, because it's still a deliberate act that will ultimately result in the person's death - the important point being that it is passive euthanasia rather than active euthanasia, which of course would be lethal injection, or overdose of other medication.

TUN3R
17th Mar 2011, 2:42 PM
TUN3R, disconnecting a ventilator is euthanasia by definition, because it's still a deliberate act that will ultimately result in the person's death - the important point being that it is passive euthanasia rather than active euthanasia, which of course would be lethal injection, or overdose of other medication.

Mmm I don't know, people who get disconnected usually don't have consciousness anymore.

el_flel
17th Mar 2011, 9:34 PM
Mmm I don't know, people who get disconnected usually don't have consciousness anymore.What's that got to do with anything? They're still alive.

TUN3R
17th Mar 2011, 10:19 PM
What's that got to do with anything? They're still alive.

If you say so...

Robodl95
17th Mar 2011, 10:46 PM
For people suffering from conditions that WILL kill them and they are not conscious then I support euthanasia. I've heard of some people dragging dying relatives along for a couple more days when it is already very clear that they're not waking up. I find it selfish of the family to prolong the suffering, I know it's hard to let them go but if it's a hopeless cause then you have to let them go...

el_flel
17th Mar 2011, 10:47 PM
Consciousness =/= alive.

Oaktree
17th Mar 2011, 11:12 PM
Consciousness =/= alive.

Consciousness is part of being human. A brain dead individual isn't really human anymore, and certainly not the same person that friends and family knew. While I don't think that it's right to kill animals that lack consciousness (sea sponges, for example) just for the sake of it, brain dead humans generally can't live without life support. I think that in cases where there is nothing that can be done medically to aid an individual and that individual is brain dead and unable to live without life support, it's perfectly reasonable to remove that individual from life support. I do want to emphasize the part about being brain dead, though. I'm not advocating taking coma patients off of life support.

el_flel
17th Mar 2011, 11:17 PM
I agree Oaktree. Like longears said, it technically is euthanasia to remove someone from life support so saying, "yeah but they're not conscious anyway" is irrelevant because the person is still alive. I was saying that being brain dead isn't the same as being proper dead.

Mistermook
18th Mar 2011, 12:27 AM
A brain dead individual isn't really human anymore.
I support this notion as long as we extend it to include willfully stupid people. I'll go around the world and interview people, and if they refuse education I say we make lawn mulch out of them.

TUN3R
18th Mar 2011, 5:19 PM
Consciousness is part of being human. A brain dead individual isn't really human anymore, and certainly not the same person that friends and family knew. While I don't think that it's right to kill animals that lack consciousness (sea sponges, for example) just for the sake of it, brain dead humans generally can't live without life support. I think that in cases where there is nothing that can be done medically to aid an individual and that individual is brain dead and unable to live without life support, it's perfectly reasonable to remove that individual from life support. I do want to emphasize the part about being brain dead, though. I'm not advocating taking coma patients off of life support.

What he said.

Mistermook
19th Mar 2011, 8:20 AM
Unfortunately though, "brain dead" still isn't awfully, really, completely dead. Just as injuries and diseases that would be death sentences years ago are trivial or treatable today, you're always going to have a "yes, but maybe someday..." for just about any condition that doesn't involve "dead in fire, only ashes remaining." I think it's unlikely and impractical too, and I support the government's right to cut people off from resources when they're footing some of the bill (death panels? whatever...I'd rather it be a public reviewed legislature doing the deciding than a "our shareholders decided to cut you off" corporation) and I support the right of the very wealthy to go "What the hell, I only live once and I'm going to blow my fortune on keeping Gramma alive dammit."

Because honestly, I think it could go either way. Maybe Brain Dead Bill stirs Doctor Dave to perform a cutting edge operation worthy of Frankenstein, and science is advanced, someone gets Bill back, and suddenly "brain dead" is something of a less degree of dead than before. Sometimes we're wrong.

I don't think it makes much sense, but not everything has to make much logical sense as long as it's a personal decision and not one done by committee. Those I think should be practical and as logical as possible.

TUN3R
19th Mar 2011, 9:47 AM
It does mean you're completely dead, after your brain dies you're just organic matter, flesh.

Purity4
19th Mar 2011, 7:46 PM
It does mean you're completely dead, after your brain dies you're just organic matter, flesh.

And if without a machine, he/she would be dead, then yeah, that's dead.

Oaktree
20th Mar 2011, 7:09 AM
Unfortunately though, "brain dead" still isn't awfully, really, completely dead. Just as injuries and diseases that would be death sentences years ago are trivial or treatable today, you're always going to have a "yes, but maybe someday..." for just about any condition that doesn't involve "dead in fire, only ashes remaining."

Neurons can't be regenerated with modern technology or any technology foreseeable in the reasonably distant future. Even if neurons could be replaced, assuming that mind is entirely physical in it's basis, the person who comes out of such a procedure would not be the same as he/she was before. Yes, that person would be capable of living and continuing on, but any section of the brain that was damaged would be regenerated blank, without memories and knowledge.

In short, brain death means that the person is irreversibly dead.

TheCrossfireX
7th May 2011, 8:15 PM
I think this question can only ever be truly answered if you look at it from the viewpoint of the person ending the others life. It's easy to say that if a person is going through extreme pain, ending their life is the only fair way to go. However, it's a completely different story if you're the person pulling the plug or giving the injection. Imagine if the family members turned around, regretting the decision and you suddenly found yourself accountable. As unfair as that may seem, it happens and even a very strong minded person who felt comfortable with the decision, would struggle with huge guilt. All in all, I don't think euthansia is acceptable. I appreciate the pain people may be experiencing who consider it, but there are far too many human and moral implications. Life can be extremely unfair, and it's an awful thing to spend you're final days or year s in a great amount of pain. but hopefully, a great support system can at least provide people with the dignity to go knowing that they were greatly loved, and that they're family felt they were too precious to let go, regardless of the pain. :)

rcranger9
8th May 2011, 2:16 AM
i think it should be allowed. if you don't want to live with pain and suffering for the rest of your life, you should be allowed to stop it. if the doctor can't handle it, they shouldn't be a doctor. this is like people who have DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on their health card. if they can get away with dieing, why can't people in extreme pain that is unlikely to end? to my knowledge, the only state in America that allows this is Oregon under a doctors supervision. BUT i think there should be an age limit. if you are over 21 you should be allowed to choose for your self. under that age, it should be up to the parents/family. if someone is in a coma and very unlikely to wake up ever, the family can pull the plug. why can't a conscious person make the decision?

Oaktree
9th May 2011, 12:31 AM
A doctor's job is to heal, not to kill. It's not unreasonable for a doctor to feel it is an ethical violation to take a life, even if the patient wanted to die. Removing a patient from life support is a matter of removing oneself from the situation and ceasing to treat a dying patient; euthanasia involves taking an active hand in someone's demise.

I'm not saying that euthanasia should be ruled out out of hand, but I think that, if it is to be legal, it should be up to the individual doctor. There are other scenarios in which I think that a doctor should give a treatment regardless of personal feelings, but those are cases in which it is a life-saving treatment supported by medical literature; it's an entirely different scenario when the purpose of the 'treatment' is to kill the patient.

Mistermook
9th May 2011, 12:47 AM
What doctor's job and ethics might be are already dictated to some extent by the profession already. If someone doesn't believe in antibiotics and drugs because they're "against God's will" or similar nonsense, I don't see how they'd get through medical school. And no matter what a doctor's personal opinions on race and gender, refusing to treat someone simply because they're black or homosexual would be a big professional no no. Even if you had strong personal convictions against personal contact with females who weren't your wife, I doubt it would be considered a legitimate excuse in court for not aiding a woman having a complicated, unexpected childbirth. So if the professional expectations and ethical obligations are already determined by the profession, not the personal notions of the doctor, then I don't see why euthanasia would be any different if it came to pass that it was, for instance, up to less than the attending physician and more to the patient's desires.

Nysha
9th May 2011, 12:11 PM
Pragmatically, though, it will be much easier to introduce euthanasia if those doctors - who may be perfectly competent, and in fact excellent, in any other area of medicine - who feel uncomfortable with it, are allowed to choose not to participate. It's one thing to say "You must try to heal every person you come across, for the sake of mercy"; it's quite another thing to say "You must be willing to destroy any person you come across, for the sake of mercy". Ignoring the fact that professionals are also humans does no good at all.

~Dee~
11th May 2011, 4:15 AM
If I were a patient with a terminal illness and in terrible pain and knowing I wouldn't recover, I would hope I could say to my doctor " Help me die."
What kind of life is it laying in bed with horrible pain day in, day out, might as well be dead. I know I wouldn't want to live like that.
I think it should be up to the patient to say if they want to end it and not the family, and the patients wish should be respected.

What kind of mercy is it to keep someone alive who is suffering so much, we should have the right to decide for ourselves.
What doctor can watch his patient waste away knowing he can't do anymore then what has been done already.
How can we watch our loved ones vegetate like that!

We are told not to be so selfish when we have to have a pet euthanized, to think of the pets suffering and to do the right thing.

I think ever person should have the right to die with dignity if they so wish.

SuicidiaParasidia
11th May 2011, 8:30 AM
Pragmatically, though, it will be much easier to introduce euthanasia if those doctors - who may be perfectly competent, and in fact excellent, in any other area of medicine - who feel uncomfortable with it, are allowed to choose not to participate. It's one thing to say "You must try to heal every person you come across, for the sake of mercy"; it's quite another thing to say "You must be willing to destroy any person you come across, for the sake of mercy". Ignoring the fact that professionals are also humans does no good at all.

and then there's the example of doctor kevorkian, who i think put it perfectly:

"My intent was to carry out my duty as a doctor, to end their suffering. Unfortunately, that entailed, in their cases, ending of the life."


as well as:

"I gambled and I lost. I failed in securing my options for this choice for myself, but I succeeded in verifying the Dark Age is still with us. "

and there are already medical procedures that destroy people in the name of mercy. chemotherapy, failed drug rehabilitation, misdiagnosis, radiation poisoning from medical machines. you cant go into the doctor business without being prepared to deal with death, in general.
im not trying to say that they should be forced to conduct a mercy killing, but it does say something about if someone should choose to do a job that they cant perform. and if euthanasia is ever legalized, should doctors who refuse to partake be paid as well as doctors who dont refuse to partake?

HystericalParoxysm
11th May 2011, 8:38 AM
SuicidiaParadisia - There are plenty of areas of medicine one can go into if they don't wish to deal with death. I daresay a podiatrist doesn't have people dropping dead on them very often. Even a GP probably isn't going to be dealing with anything too serious, but if they are they'll usually refer the patient to a specialist.

We already have facilities and such that deal with end-of-life care. It would be the doctors in those facilities who would likely be dealing with euthanasia, and I daresay someone who is used to seeing people in horrible pain and suffering would welcome being able to legally help those people end their lives rather than continue suffering unnecessarily.

SuicidiaParasidia
11th May 2011, 8:48 AM
SuicidiaParadisia - There are plenty of areas of medicine one can go into if they don't wish to deal with death. I daresay a podiatrist doesn't have people dropping dead on them very often. Even a GP probably isn't going to be dealing with anything too serious, but if they are they'll usually refer the patient to a specialist.

We already have facilities and such that deal with end-of-life care. It would be the doctors in those facilities who would likely be dealing with euthanasia, and I daresay someone who is used to seeing people in horrible pain and suffering would welcome being able to legally help those people end their lives rather than continue suffering unnecessarily.

i was talking more garden-variety doctors (ER docs, maybe? i dont know, its nearly midnight here--but generally doctors who deal with the terminally ill/very low chance of recuperation, such as waiting for organs. plenty of people die every year just waiting for a new organ.), but you do have a point. specifics do matter.

and i wholly agree to all you have to add. (:

rcranger9
11th May 2011, 1:13 PM
If I were a patient with a terminal illness and in terrible pain and knowing I wouldn't recover, I would hope I could say to my doctor " Help me die."
What kind of life is it laying in bed with horrible pain day in, day out, might as well be dead. I know I wouldn't want to live like that.
I think it should be up to the patient to say if they want to end it and not the family, and the patients wish should be respected.


i agree with you but what if you are in a coma and very unlikely to wake up? i think that if you are able to make the decision yourself then go ahead, but if you are unable to and its very unlikely you will be able to, then your family can choose for you. (your family can already pull the plug on you if your in a coma you'll never wake up from.)

~Dee~
12th May 2011, 2:55 AM
i agree with you but what if you are in a coma and very unlikely to wake up? i think that if you are able to make the decision yourself then go ahead, but if you are unable to and its very unlikely you will be able to, then your family can choose for you. (your family can already pull the plug on you if your in a coma you'll never wake up from.)

If I'm terminal ill and in a coma obviously I can't make that decision, but my family knows my wishes and I would hope they would respect them and pull the plug. :)

Julieryc
31st May 2011, 4:33 PM
I don't actually have a definitive yes-or-no opinion. I'd just like to point out that there's a whole big gray area between being completely brain-dead and fully conscious, just as there's a semi-gray-area between euthanasia and withdrawal of care. (I'd say that withdrawal of care, even if it eventually causes death, isn't euthanasia; on the other hand, there are people who will argue that withdrawing care knowing that it will lead to death is euthanasia. There's also the debate of, if you choose to withdraw a feeding tube, is slowly starving a person to death "better" than euthanasia?)

If you're comatose/heavily brain damaged from a massive stroke/brain bleed/traumatic injury, even if you're not terminally ill, your family can still opt to pull the feeding tube and ventilator (or opt not to put the patient through procedures that require a more permanent kind of feeding tube and ventilator, something that happens after a few weeks in the ICU.) However, it's an incredibly difficult decision, especially because there's so much we don't know about the brain. Even the best neurologists can't always tell a patient's prospects for recovery; healing can take months to years, or it could never happen at all. If we're not certain about how much awareness a patient really has, do you go all-out, even if in the end their family's going to put them in a nursing facility, never visit, and you know the patient will probably die a lingering death from ventilator-related pneumonia in 6 months or a year? (In real life, this is pretty much whatever the family decides, though doctors try to provide the most realistic information they can.)

Do you put a heavily brain-damaged patient on full code status (meaning you'll do full defibrillation, CPR, etc. even though the patient's likelihood of recovery is already astronomically small?) What about a patient who has multiple drug-resistant infections, multi-system organ failure, and a chronic disease? Technically, if you fix the infections, a patient can live with heart failure, kidney failure (dialysis), and a chronic disease - but when do you decide to quit? After 50 days in the ICU? 100? 365? What if the drug you need to treat the infection is causing more damage to the organs that are failing? Just because a person *can* be kept alive doesn't mean they should be, but nobody wants to give up.

A living will is a must, or at least discussing your wishes with family is; the main problem is that situations aren't usually as cut-and-dried as "brain-dead" and "cheerfully talking." People think of comatose patients as looking like they're quietly asleep, but that's not always the case. In fact, at least some movement/response is pretty normal. I've seen families completely torn apart over what to do - half the family wants to keep a patient on life support indefinitely, while the other half thinks that the patient wouldn't have wanted to be kept alive by machines with little to no quality of life. It's very difficult for a family to decide to pull life support when a patient looks like they're sleeping, or when a patient's eyes will move and they'll react to pain or make sounds, even though it's just reflexive. Some families go into denial about a person already being gone if there's still a body they can keep alive; some people will opt to hope for a miracle.

As for the euthanasia/doctor's duty debate, I believe that anti-abortion doctors can already opt out of that part of their rotation; they're not required to perform abortions as part of their training (at least, in order to obtain their basic MD/DO; I'm not sure about residents specializing in OB/GYN.) I can see where euthanasia would fall under the same sort of rule. I would imagine that doctors would be horribly leery of euthanasia just because of the medical liability involved. Say they performed euthanasia at one relative's request, only to have their pants sued off by the relatives who disagreed - or even if they performed euthanasia at the patient's own request, getting sued by family who claim the person wasn't competent at the time they made the request. I have no idea how Oregon is handling this; presumably by requiring strict psych evals. I'd be concerned about a non-terminally-ill patient being clinically depressed at the time they requested assisted suicide; I've seen a patient who's been suddenly and catastrophically disabled express a wish to die, but wouldn't want euthanasia to be legal in that case, because their quality of life had the possibility of improving over time. Also, there are studies showing that patients with locked-in syndrome (i.e. are so totally paralyzed they can only blink) actually eventually come to express that they're happy with their lives. While I have difficulty believing that I'd feel the same way if I was locked-in, it's enough to make me think twice before saying "oh, it would be kinder to euthanize everyone if they were in that condition."

For euthanasia being legal, I'd definitely be concerned about the possibility of misuse and/or pressure to commit suicide put on patients. ICU care can easily cost thousands of dollars per day (and chemo drugs can be crazy expensive, as are the therapies for a lot of the painful chronic disease states I can think of), and I'd be worried about all the possible abuses that could go on. (Insurance might preferentially pay for suicide over expensive treatment, or a patient without adequate insurance might feel like they're bankrupting their family and might choose to commit suicide to relieve the financial burden, instead of because of any real desire to die.)

****
Edit: Has nothing to do with my original post, but might contribute something more to the discussion at hand:

Dr. Kevorkian died today. (I think it was sometime during the night, because the dead-tree version of my hometown paper today contained a news blurb about "Kevorkian improving, headed towards discharge, according to lawyer" but the Yahoo headline this morning was "Kevorkian dead at 83." Presumably the paper went to press before he died - still, must be embarrassing for both the newspaper and his lawyer.)

Shadowside
14th Jun 2011, 2:51 AM
As someone who's actually chronically ill and literally always in pain, I think that there would be less of a need to worry about euthanasia if doctors would be more aggressive with pain management.

On a more personal note, I wouldn't choose the option because of my family members, who would rather see me alive and suffering than dead. Also, as someone who is chronically and badly ill but not terminally so, I don't think it would be possible for someone in a position like mine to choose euthanasia - I'm fairly sure that if I expressed a wish to die, I would automatically be labeled as clinically depressed and therefore mentally incompetent to make my own decisions. (Also, during the times when I'm in extreme pain, have been for days, have no sense that it's going to relent - I'm fairly sure that a lot of those times, I am depressed, because of the whole excruciating pain for days on end, with losing my ability to do anything. In the middle of a bad month or months, it's hard to have a sense that the pain is ever going to get better.)

Kisatsu
17th Jun 2011, 12:04 AM
euthenasia is legal here in The Netherlands and in fact I'm really, REALLY glad it is.

A few years back my aunt got diagnosed with cancer. It was everywhere. They started treating her, the process took the life out of her. After all those treatments she still wasn't cured but she was exhausted, a shadow of her former self. She didn't want it anymore, she was in so much pain. She opted for death and we were all there standing at her bedside when she died. It was her decision, we all respected that.

As for those who are otherwise brain dead or otherwise unable to chose for themselves.. I do believe it is more difficult. But neither do I see the merit in 'keeping him/her' comfortable because 'you never know'. Indeed, you don't.. Why go through so much suffering hoping for something that may or may not come?

I suppose the last strongly depends on said person's diagnostic. But I hope that, if I ever get brain damage with no positive recover and am comatized or whatsoever, that my family and friends will let me go.