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Physician Assisted Death


Audrey
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Physician Assisted Death  

317 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you agree that physician assisted death should be an option for terminally ill patients?

    • Yes.
      125
    • No.
      90
    • More yes than no, but I have reservations.
      64
    • More no than yes, but I am open to discussion on the topic.
      29
    • I don't know.
      9


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This is something that has come up in the news.  I'm not really looking to start any debate on this.  I am looking to gauge overall receptiveness to the idea, though.  So, I've made an anonymous poll.  You can choose to explain your thoughts if you like, but again... I'm not looking for debate, so I won't argue anything, but I'm curious to read anyway. 

 

Here is a link to the article explaining the situation I am referencing. The poll is about the idea in general, though. There is no "other" category in the poll, but as I said above, feel free to explain.

 

http://cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/right-to-die-legislation-canada-calgary-sheilah-martin-supreme-court-1.3471363

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I voted yes, but I don't really think one ought to need a physician to be honest.

 

When one's life is over (or soon over) why does one need anyone else to agree or assist?  I sure wouldn't need it, unless, of course, I were unable to move (paralyzed or similar).  Then it ought to be optional to be requested or put into an Advanced Directive.

 

 

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I have very strong feelings against assisted suicide, because of concerns about the way it impacts people with disabilities. 

 

I'm not sure what I am allowed to link here, so I will suggest that people go to the website Not Dead Yet Dot O R G and read about some of the issues with assisted suicide from the perspective of self advocates with disabilities. 

 

 

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Let me put it this way. I do not think it is immoral for people to do what they like with their own bodies, provided they minimize harm to others. So suicide isn't inherently immoral, so long as you don't leave behind helpless minor children or give a train driver PTSD or something like that. And certainly, whatever issues of morality might come up are strongly mitigated with a painful, terminal disease - after all, you'll be gone soon anyway, so your kids are going to have to cope, right?

 

However, I have grave concerns about the issue of coercion. In our world today it is not unheard of for people to kill their disabled dependents and then get away with it because they were 'so loving' and after all, their loved one didn't want to be a 'burden'. In our world today, there are business that kick up huge fusses over why they shouldn't have to be ADA-compliant - and that law's only been in place longer than I've been alive! It's 40 years old, when are they going to get it together?

 

So even though I understand the compassionate basis behind physician assisted suicide, and quite agree that people shouldn't be forced to suffer extreme pain when the end is nigh anyway, I feel justified in having some doubts about the real-world applications of these procedures. I would want to make extremely sure that there's no way to co-opt this in order to push people who don't want to die into taking an easier way out. I also feel justified in being concerned that a push for this sort of suicide may cause people to put less work into fixing society to make life better/easier/less painful for people with disabilities or terminal illnesses.

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I have become more open to the thought in recent years. I have a hard time imagining choosing it for myself. However, when I started seeing a couple of elderly relatives slip away due to Alzheimer's, and had an acquaintance die of cancer, I began to see how it could be a viable option.

 

I also had a great uncle who was dying, although I'm not sure how much time he had left. He shot himself in the head in his bedroom. It was awful. Had he had the opportunity to take care of things in a more peaceful way, well, it would have been better for sure.

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I am overall not for physician assisted suicide etc as it can become a very slippery slope...esp for the disabled.

 

That said when FIL was on his last day, I was the one that went to the nurse and said to give him all the pain meds needed to keep him pain free.....I knew that this would hasten his death by hours or maybe days but he had no hope of recovery and we didn't want him to suffer at all.

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I think it is a human right. It is cruel to be kept alive against one's wishes so another person's idea of morality is not threatened.

Plus, there's billions of people on this earth. I would feel like I've consumed sufficient resources and it's time to move it along :)

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I said No because I don't like the burden it puts on doctors. I do not like the idea that doctors will be put in the position of doing irreversible harm to patients, even with the patients consent. There is no going back from Dead to get a second opinion.

 

Now, if they had the termination centers (read about it in a story somewhere) where people could check themselves in and quietly terminate their own lives with no suffering after a 3 day wait, I would be on board with that.

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I said No because I don't like the burden it puts on doctors.

 

I don't think anyone needs to be in a position of ending another's life - esp if they may not agree with it personally.

 

But overall, I still voted yes since I agree with the concept.  I just don't think - in most cases - doctors need to be involved.

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I have become more open to the thought in recent years. I have a hard time imagining choosing it for myself. However, when I started seeing a couple of elderly relatives slip away due to Alzheimer's, and had an acquaintance die of cancer, I began to see how it could be a viable option.

 

I also had a great uncle who was dying, although I'm not sure how much time he had left. He shot himself in the head in his bedroom. It was awful. Had he had the opportunity to take care of things in a more peaceful way, well, it would have been better for sure.

Sorry about your great-uncle. It does sound awful :(
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I am in favor of it with reservations. My toddler neighbor died of cancer and her last weeks were horrible. She was allergic to morphine and they basically could not get her comfortable. They kept thinking the end was any hour and she lived a few more weeks. Absolutely horrendous. I wish someone could have ended it sooner.

 

My grandma also died of cancer. In her case, it seemed pretty peaceful. She died a few weeks after Christmas and she was still ok enough at Christmas to enjoy it. She never appeared to be in awful pain.

 

I wouldn't want anyone pressured into it or for it to become the norm for those with terminal illness. But for those at the end of life and in extreme pain, I think it is the compassionate choice.

 

I don't know that I would have felt the same way if I wouldn't have watched my neighbors horrible passing. I probably would have been against it previously, but no one should have to suffer or watch their child suffer like that.

Edited by lovinmyboys
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I had the privilege of growing up knowing 4 grandparents, 6 great grandparents, and 10 great aunts and uncles. The flip side to having lots of family who are your elders is having lots of elderly family and experiencing more than the average amount of death rituals at a young age.

 

I have watched death come easily and death be a torturous process. I've seen family find comfort and closure in the time given for goodbyes and people ripped apart at the pain or indignity of a loved one's final days.

 

It is not a black and white issue. And it is not an issue of violating the sixth commandment since we are not discussing murder.

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Let me put it this way. I do not think it is immoral for people to do what they like with their own bodies, provided they minimize harm to others. So suicide isn't inherently immoral, so long as you don't leave behind helpless minor children or give a train driver PTSD or something like that. And certainly, whatever issues of morality might come up are strongly mitigated with a painful, terminal disease - after all, you'll be gone soon anyway, so your kids are going to have to cope, right?

 

However, I have grave concerns about the issue of coercion. In our world today it is not unheard of for people to kill their disabled dependents and then get away with it because they were 'so loving' and after all, their loved one didn't want to be a 'burden'. In our world today, there are business that kick up huge fusses over why they shouldn't have to be ADA-compliant - and that law's only been in place longer than I've been alive! It's 40 years old, when are they going to get it together?

 

So even though I understand the compassionate basis behind physician assisted suicide, and quite agree that people shouldn't be forced to suffer extreme pain when the end is nigh anyway, I feel justified in having some doubts about the real-world applications of these procedures. I would want to make extremely sure that there's no way to co-opt this in order to push people who don't want to die into taking an easier way out. I also feel justified in being concerned that a push for this sort of suicide may cause people to put less work into fixing society to make life better/easier/less painful for people with disabilities or terminal illnesses.

These are almost my same issues. All questionable morality aside, which would be the other half.

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I voted yes, but of course it's important that safe guards are put into place, such as the confirmation of a terminal diagnosis by at least three specialists, and that the person is considered by at least three psychologists to be of a sound enough mind to make such a decision. Coercion is certainly a concern.

 

I don't believe suicide is inherently wrong, but when doctors are involved in the process, the issue becomes more complicated, for obvious reasons.

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It is not a black and white issue. And it is not an issue of violating the sixth commandment since we are not discussing murder.

 

Half of the people that Kevorkian killed were people who did not have terminal illness.  They had disabilities that did not limit their life expectancies. 

 

If you want to know about how assisted suicide impacts people with disabilities, read the story of David Rivlin.  David Rivlin had a physical disability, quadriplegia.  He had a medical disability, he was dependent on a ventilator to breathe. He also had a life in the community, and was pursuing a degree at University.  

 

What he didn't have was the support he needed to stay in the community.  In order to stay, he needed access to personal care, and he had no means to pay for it.  The money the state gave him for nursing care didn't cover enough hours.  Without that support he got sick repeatedly, and he ended in a nursing home.  A nursing home that cost 23 times as much as the nursing care the state was willing to pay when he lived in the community.

 

David Rivlin sought a way to escape that nursing home for 3 years.  For 3 years, no one heard his voice.  So he changed his request, and asked to be allowed to die, because the nursing home was intolerable.  That request was heard, and granted by the state. 

 

If I took an adult without a disability, and locked them away, with little stimulation and no access to the outside world, for 3 years, until they begged me to let them die, and then I killed them, I'd be held culpable in their death.  Everyone would agree that what I did was terrible, and many people would call it murder.  But when the state does the same thing to a person with a disability, it's called "assisted suicide" and justified on the grounds of "quality of life".  

 

David Rivlin didn't have a quality of life issue due to his disability.  He had a quality of life issue due to the messed up society we live in.  The solution to quality of life issues needs to be to fix the issues that cause the poor quality of life, whether that's better pain management, or access to community living.   

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I watched my aunt suffer with ALS for 17 long years and become completely trapped in her body. Physician assisted suicide was a blessed relief for her. She literally could not have done it herself. She was patient and graceful in her suffering for so long, but eventually she was done, done, done. Still, I have mixed feelings about the practice, generally.

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I have mixed feelings. I don't know that it's ever something I would choose for myself but I think it's horrible what some resort to when there is a better alternative. I do think it should be reserved for a small minority of cases and should be heavily scrutinized. I know they say pushing morphine/drugs doesn't really do anything but I've watched medical professionals do it twice in my life for terminal patients. One was my grandmother and one was my dad. It did seem to hasten their deaths (within hours) but also minimize what we viewed as suffering. No one should have to painfully suffer when there is something, if they choose, that would make it less painful.

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Half of the people that Kevorkian killed were people who did not have terminal illness.  They had disabilities that did not limit their life expectancies. 

 

If you want to know about how assisted suicide impacts people with disabilities, read the story of David Rivlin.  David Rivlin had a physical disability, quadriplegia.  He had a medical disability, he was dependent on a ventilator to breathe. He also had a life in the community, and was pursuing a degree at University.  

 

What he didn't have was the support he needed to stay in the community.  In order to stay, he needed access to personal care, and he had no means to pay for it.  The money the state gave him for nursing care didn't cover enough hours.  Without that support he got sick repeatedly, and he ended in a nursing home.  A nursing home that cost 23 times as much as the nursing care the state was willing to pay when he lived in the community.

 

David Rivlin sought a way to escape that nursing home for 3 years.  For 3 years, no one heard his voice.  So he changed his request, and asked to be allowed to die, because the nursing home was intolerable.  That request was heard, and granted by the state. 

 

If I took an adult without a disability, and locked them away, with little stimulation and no access to the outside world, for 3 years, until they begged me to let them die, and then I killed them, I'd be held culpable in their death.  Everyone would agree that what I did was terrible, and many people would call it murder.  But when the state does the same thing to a person with a disability, it's called "assisted suicide" and justified on the grounds of "quality of life".  

 

David Rivlin didn't have a quality of life issue due to his disability.  He had a quality of life issue due to the messed up society we live in.  The solution to quality of life issues needs to be to fix the issues that cause the poor quality of life, whether that's better pain management, or access to community living.   

 

This seems like more of an issue with accessibility to appropriate health care than with assisted suicide. If he'd been able to receive the care he needed in the first place, none of the rest would have happened. 

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David Rivlin didn't have a quality of life issue due to his disability.  He had a quality of life issue due to the messed up society we live in.  The solution to quality of life issues needs to be to fix the issues that cause the poor quality of life, whether that's better pain management, or access to community living. 

 

Agreed. The social model of disability is generally the better approach than the medical model, and your story truly exemplifies it.

 

Unfortunately, as I said, I agree with you that our society is bad in ways that would probably harm a lot of people rather than helping them if we accepted assisted suicide.

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This seems like more of an issue with accessibility to appropriate health care than with assisted suicide. If he'd been able to receive the care he needed in the first place, none of the rest would have happened.

 

Yeah, but that's the thing - society is always willing to take the easier way out when it comes to disabilities. Until we fix those issues, the easier way out would overwhelmingly be "sure, suicide, it's neat and clean and now they're gone".

 

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Yes, I think it should be an option, and not just for people who are terminal and going to die in the near future in pain. If someone wants to die, why are we so desperate to force them to live, even against their will, even if their quality of life will be horrific? I have an extensive family history of Alzheimer's- we all seem to get it, every one of us- and believe me, I'm not living like that. When I get to the point where I can't take care of myself, I'd rather die peacefully in my home with my loved ones there to say goodbye while I still know who they are. Sure, I could live maybe decades longer. But what would those years be like? Alone and afraid because I don't recognize anyone, living in some godawful nursing home while my brain dies? No thank you. I'll happily trade those decades for a peaceful end, and anyone should be able to make that choice.

 

 

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Yeah, but that's the thing - society is always willing to take the easier way out when it comes to disabilities. Until we fix those issues, the easier way out would overwhelmingly be "sure, suicide, it's neat and clean and now they're gone".

 

If assisted suicide became legal for the entire country, I think we could manage to put safeguards in place that would prevent society from essentially lining up and executing disabled people. I also don't think people are going to start sticking their disabled loved ones into crappy nursing homes, hoping they'll opt for assisted suicide. 

 

And if a disabled person chooses assisted suicide because they have a shitty quality of life, is it really my place or your place to tell them they aren't allowed to make that choice because they're disabled? (And I say this as a person with a disability, so I'm thinking about myself here, too.) Take the story about the quadriplegic man, for example. Yes, he was in that situation because health care in this country sucks. But if I was in his place, paralyzed and stuck in a nursing home, I'd probably go for assisted suicide too. No one should have to live like that. I'm not going to tell him, "If we lived in a perfect world you wouldn't be in this situation right now, so you aren't allowed to end your life."

 

And it's not like people can't take their own lives now. This just gives them a way to do it that's painless and peaceful.

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I am overall not for physician assisted suicide etc as it can become a very slippery slope...esp for the disabled.

 

That said when FIL was on his last day, I was the one that went to the nurse and said to give him all the pain meds needed to keep him pain free.....I knew that this would hasten his death by hours or maybe days but he had no hope of recovery and we didn't want him to suffer at all.

 

I do think it's a slippery slope.  For whatever reason, it seems impossible to limit it to terminably ill patients.  Here in Canada we're already had a parliamentary committee recommend: "That medical assistance in dying be available to individuals with terminal and non-terminal grievous and irremediable medical conditions that cause enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition."

 

So, that would include mentally ill patients, disabled patients and even children. 

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I do think it's a slippery slope. For whatever reason, it seems impossible to limit it to terminably ill patients. Here in Canada we're already had a parliamentary committee recommend: "That medical assistance in dying be available to individuals with terminal and non-terminal grievous and irremediable medical conditions that cause enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition."

 

So, that would include mentally ill patients, disabled patients and even children.

This is where I worry as I work as a substitute teacher at a special school for the most physically and mentally impaired children in the county. I could soon see it slipping to where those that are total care with limited cognitive abilities would be on the " ok" list. Then what about the severely autistic, etc.

 

I am not for heroics for the elderly who are ready to go. I am fine with DNRs, not doing the feeding tubes, etc....just keep them comfortable and let them die with dignity.

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Half of the people that Kevorkian killed were people who did not have terminal illness.  They had disabilities that did not limit their life expectancies.    

 

For some of us, disabilities - mental or physical - are enough to consider life effectively over.  Technically, all of us are heading toward death, but not all of us care to wait until some professional (esp not three or more!) agree that we're terminal.

 

No one should have their moral issues shoved onto others.  

 

No one should be forced to die if they don't want to.  In a similar way, no one should be forced to live if they don't want to - esp if it's pretty darn obvious it's not merely depression due to break up of a relationship or something.

 

 

Yes, I think it should be an option, and not just for people who are terminal and going to die in the near future in pain. If someone wants to die, why are we so desperate to force them to live, even against their will, even if their quality of life will be horrific? I have an extensive family history of Alzheimer's- we all seem to get it, every one of us- and believe me, I'm not living like that. When I get to the point where I can't take care of myself, I'd rather die peacefully in my home with my loved ones there to say goodbye while I still know who they are. Sure, I could live maybe decades longer. But what would those years be like? Alone and afraid because I don't recognize anyone, living in some godawful nursing home while my brain dies? No thank you. I'll happily trade those decades for a peaceful end, and anyone should be able to make that choice.

 

:iagree:   This is exactly what I'm talking about.  I don't have Alzheimer's in my family, but if I were to get that, or not be able to travel/hike or generally do things I enjoy, I sure don't care to sit somewhere and watch day in and day out come while others take care of my needs.

 

It's my decision - not someone else's.  I'll admit even the thought of someone feeling they need to "control" that decision for me - just because of what they believe - even if they don't know me angers me.

 

Everyone makes their own decisions - for or against.  I'd support someone I loved either way.

Edited by creekland
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After watching my dad's last few years of life deteriorate, I have expanded my view on this. He absolutely resented the impact on his quality of life (and he enjoyed sitting around watching TV) and declined a surgery that might have extended his life, which my mother and I supported his decision. He did have some quality of life at the end, and was driving on the day of his death, but he had the beginnings of Alzheimer's and other issues that were starting to affect him and would never improve. 

 

I think about that in my elder years, I would prefer to not let my quality of life deteriorate beyond a certain point. One side of my family tends to lose their mental faculties first, the other physical. Aside from elder years, I have some reservations.

 

I worked for a vet, it was heart  wrenching and empowering to help clients end the life of their pets. After a few years, I had in a mind good boundaries with pets whether it was too soon, too late. The vet I worked for once told off a client because she wanted her pet euthanized because of some petty reason, so there were pretty strict moral boundaries in place. 

 

We are finite beings and as technology improves to help us live longer, we need to openly discuss QUALITY of life with our family, not just quantity. 

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I do think it's a slippery slope.  For whatever reason, it seems impossible to limit it to terminably ill patients.  Here in Canada we're already had a parliamentary committee recommend: "That medical assistance in dying be available to individuals with terminal and non-terminal grievous and irremediable medical conditions that cause enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition."

 

So, that would include mentally ill patients, disabled patients and even children

 

One of the scariest parts for me about having children is not the possibility of them dying, but the possibility of them suffering for prolonged periods of time on their way to dying.  I firmly believe there are cases where "forcing" a terminally ill child to live out their final days or weeks or months weak, scared, drugged, in pain, with tubes in their veins and down their throats is akin to abuse.

 

In some ways I think assisted suicide would be most beneficial for children and adults who are mentally child-like at the end.  An adult dying of cancer may be in horrible pain, but mentally they know what is happening, understand that there is an end in sight and can cling to memories of better days.  An infant or toddler doesn't even have those small mercies.

 

Wendy

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One of the scariest parts for me about having children is not the possibility of them dying, but the possibility of them suffering for prolonged periods of time on their way to dying. I firmly believe there are cases where "forcing" a terminally ill child to live out their final days or weeks or months weak, scared, drugged, in pain, with tubes in their veins and down their throats is akin to abuse.

 

See, I see this more as ALLOWING them to die with dignity vs. an assisted procedure. In the above case where recovery was not possible I would not keep adding tubes and machines but rather work with hospice to keep them absolutely as comfortable as possible....again realizing that the best paineds in these situations might hasten death. Put a DNR in place, don't add a feeding tube, etc...unless.of course the person in question wants it.

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One of the scariest parts for me about having children is not the possibility of them dying, but the possibility of them suffering for prolonged periods of time on their way to dying.  I firmly believe there are cases where "forcing" a terminally ill child to live out their final days or weeks or months weak, scared, drugged, in pain, with tubes in their veins and down their throats is akin to abuse.

 

In some ways I think assisted suicide would be most beneficial for children and adults who are mentally child-like at the end.  An adult dying of cancer may be in horrible pain, but mentally they know what is happening, understand that there is an end in sight and can cling to memories of better days.  An infant or toddler doesn't even have those small mercies.

 

Wendy

 

For adults I think it's very important for family to know what their wishes are and to follow them.  If they want to live until they take their last breath, then help them do that.  If not, follow their wishes, not ours.

 

For young kids it's a lot tougher.  I think parents need to make their decision based upon their best thoughts - same as we do now with kids/decisions.

 

That's very literally what I have to do with ponies (and sometimes cats/dogs) since they can't speak to us.  The vet is usually involved with the decision - esp if I'm unsure.

 

It's also important for all to remember life ends for everyone.  We all are going to die (short of the rapture coming anyway).  In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if it's days, weeks, months, or in some cases, a few years sooner when there is no hope for a cure/fix and the person has no desire to keep living?

 

It can be easy for those not having the issues to say "tough luck" keep breathing in pain or not (mentally or physically)... but that's honestly not fair at all.

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One of the scariest parts for me about having children is not the possibility of them dying, but the possibility of them suffering for prolonged periods of time on their way to dying.  I firmly believe there are cases where "forcing" a terminally ill child to live out their final days or weeks or months weak, scared, drugged, in pain, with tubes in their veins and down their throats is akin to abuse.

 

In some ways I think assisted suicide would be most beneficial for children and adults who are mentally child-like at the end.  An adult dying of cancer may be in horrible pain, but mentally they know what is happening, understand that there is an end in sight and can cling to memories of better days.  An infant or toddler doesn't even have those small mercies.

 

Wendy

You shouldn't judge till you have been there. 

 

I have been there. I would give ANYTHING to have my daughter back and I don't regret a single second I had with my daughter. SHE wanted to live. HER life wasn't torture. MY life since she died (along with her brothers that passed) is something NO parent should EVER have to live through. 

 

My child had severe prematurity. My aunt had a child that was in a tragic accident and was ultimately in the same spot my daughter was. He died 18 months older then she was, but the result was the same. I don't think either of us regret what we did to save our children. 

 

So until you have been there, you really shouldn't judge. Your thinking honestly baffles me. 

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See, I see this more as ALLOWING them to die with dignity vs. an assisted procedure. In the above case where recovery was not possible I would not keep adding tubes and machines but rather work with hospice to keep them absolutely as comfortable as possible....again realizing that the best paineds in these situations might hasten death. Put a DNR in place, don't add a feeding tube, etc...unless.of course the person in question wants it.

 

I see it more as a catch 22.  Do you leave the small child who is unable to swallow in pain or do you inject pain meds or insert an IV?  What if they have had so many IVs that their tiny veins are breaking down, do you leave them in pain or traumatize them further by invasively inserting a central line?  If they can't ingest nutrition on their own, do you insert a feeding tube or let them starve?  

 

In what universe is letting a small child starve to death the more humane option?!?!

 

Wendy

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Let me put it this way. I do not think it is immoral for people to do what they like with their own bodies, provided they minimize harm to others. So suicide isn't inherently immoral, so long as you don't leave behind helpless minor children or give a train driver PTSD or something like that. And certainly, whatever issues of morality might come up are strongly mitigated with a painful, terminal disease - after all, you'll be gone soon anyway, so your kids are going to have to cope, right?

 

However, I have grave concerns about the issue of coercion. In our world today it is not unheard of for people to kill their disabled dependents and then get away with it because they were 'so loving' and after all, their loved one didn't want to be a 'burden'. In our world today, there are business that kick up huge fusses over why they shouldn't have to be ADA-compliant - and that law's only been in place longer than I've been alive! It's 40 years old, when are they going to get it together?

 

So even though I understand the compassionate basis behind physician assisted suicide, and quite agree that people shouldn't be forced to suffer extreme pain when the end is nigh anyway, I feel justified in having some doubts about the real-world applications of these procedures. I would want to make extremely sure that there's no way to co-opt this in order to push people who don't want to die into taking an easier way out. I also feel justified in being concerned that a push for this sort of suicide may cause people to put less work into fixing society to make life better/easier/less painful for people with disabilities or terminal illnesses.

 

You put into words what I was having difficulty saying. Despite whatever "good" allowing assisted suicide might do (and I don't deny there are cases where it seems the compassionate choice) does anyone really believe that there would not be abuse--possibly flagrant abuse--of any safeguards? If so, I guess you have more faith in people than I do.

 

Edited by Reluctant Homeschooler
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You shouldn't judge till you have been there. 

 

I have been there. I would give ANYTHING to have my daughter back and I don't regret a single second I had with my daughter. SHE wanted to live. HER life wasn't torture. MY life since she died (along with her brothers that passed) is something NO parent should EVER have to live through. 

 

My child had severe prematurity. My aunt had a child that was in a tragic accident and was ultimately in the same spot my daughter was. He died 18 months older then she was, but the result was the same. I don't think either of us regret what we did to save our children. 

 

So until you have been there, you really shouldn't judge. Your thinking honestly baffles me. 

 

:grouphug:

 

I see a major difference in your case.  Your daughter was premature.  Saving her was possible (sorry it didn't happen) and is worth trying.  The same thing is true in most accident situations.

 

It's a totally different situation when it's a terminal situation and everyone knows the infant/child has no other future but death relatively soon.  The only question is when.

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I voted more no than yes. 

 

My reservations are similar to many of the others.  I think it's a problem for how doctors and medicine - not just on an individual level but for the profession.

 

I think that while we might like to confine it to a very limited group of terminally ill people, that is quite difficult to do.  Once we accept certain principles around rights, it is not easy to deny the right to die or to end suffering to others - people who might be mentally ill, or who will recover, or children.

 

I think that it is almost impossible to ensure that the practice does not in itself affect our attitudes to the disabled, and I think we are really fooling ourselves if we think it won't.  In most of the west, even in places where there is good public healthcare and relatively good support for disabilities, Downs syndrome is considered a good reason to abort - disability which has some health issues associated but where most of the people who have it are generally happy and good citizens leading productive lives. And yet a common reasons given are that it is too stressful for families or that the QOL for such people will be less than desirable. 

 

I have pretty much no faith in our ability to make judgements about whose life is worth living.

 

I also think that there is a tendency to think our attitudes at the present will remain fixed, but I don't think that is shown in practice.  I've been reading a book recently and one of the things it mentions is that it really takes three or four generations to see how a new belief integrates itself into people's understanding.  A new idea in a new generation comes out but most people - even those who hold it, still have the basic structures of thought and value judgements of the old ideas.  But three generations or so later, the new idea is the assumption that underlies the thinking.  In this case, the new assumption is that some kinds lives are not worth living, and that will be the lens through which other problems - what is it to be human, what do we consider kindness to others - will be viewed.

 

Concretely, looking at the way euthanasia laws have developed over time in other countries, and also how the discussion of abortion has changed significantly in the last 50 years, both lead me to think that this is not a good road to set foot upon.

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I chose yes,  I think every person has the right to do to their body what ever they want and if a Doctor wants to help those in pain that's his/her choice.  

 

I personally don't think suicide of any type is the right thing to do, there's always hope and even when all hope is gone there still might be another day to hug my kids. But that's for me, I don't have the right to determine how any one else lives or dies.

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I see it more as a catch 22. Do you leave the small child who is unable to swallow in pain or do you inject pain meds or insert an IV? What if they have had so many IVs that their tiny veins are breaking down, do you leave them in pain or traumatize them further by invasively inserting a central line? If they can't ingest nutrition on their own, do you insert a feeding tube or let them starve?

 

In what universe is letting a small child starve to death the more humane option?!?!

 

Wendy

Those are what I want to avoid. I have seen cases where heroics are used to "save" someone but then they live for weeks, months or more suffering even more. People whose hearts have stopped and are resuscitated over and over again and then put on a vent with more tubes and meds with the same outcome just delayed.

 

I am all for keeping the individual as comfortable as possible.

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Those are what I want to avoid. I have seen cases where heroics are used to "save" someone but then they live for weeks, months or more suffering even more. People whose hearts have stopped and are resuscitated over and over again and then put on a vent with more tubes and meds with the same outcome just delayed.

 

I am all for keeping the individual as comfortable as possible.

 

I agree. Our knowledge and ability to prolong life has changed so much, so fast, that we focused on if we could rather than if we should.

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The problem I have with this is that it is hard to tell who is really deciding or influencing the decision.  Is it the "loved one" who doesn't want the hassle of caring for an incapacitated person, or who wants to get at the inheritance before it gets eaten up by medical bills, or who is honestly trying to help the ill person but doesn't really truly know what that person wants?  It seems to me that this is too easy to influence.  Even in a room with lawyers and witnesses and everyone smiling, there could be some coercion going on behind the scenes.

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