(Closed) Assisted suicide and euthanasia…thoughts??

posted 7 years ago in The Lounge
  • poll: For or against assisted suicide?

    I am for it

    I am against it

    I am undecided

    I am for it but only with strict guidelines

  • Post # 77
    Member
    1470 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    I’ve actually published research in this field. It is 1 am and my little one finally fell asleep, so I’m mostly commenting to (try) to remember to come back and post tomorrow.

    Feel free to remind me if you are interested.  

    Post # 78
    Member
    2268 posts
    Buzzing bee

    Yes, I believe there should be assisted suicide. I was actually planning on creating a post about assisted suicide as it’s been a hot issue in Australia recently.

    @Ruby-Redshoes:  “I’m definitely for it, with strict legal guidelines. People sometimes say that suicide is a selfish thing, but what’s more selfish than keeping someone alive in constant suffering because you’re not ready to let go yet? I find it weird that other people can decide if you die or not by taking you off life support, but you can’t make that decision for yourself.

    +1.

    Post # 79
    Member
    8437 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    View original reply
    @soontobemrsm11:  I guess it looks like that whole “separation of church and state” thing is going well lol

    Post # 80
    Member
    125 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    @sparky263:  I did an informative presentation on this topic for a communications class in college. I live in the US and here it is only legal in a few states, and within those states the person has to undergo psych evals to determine if they can make that decision (similar to before one undergoes gender reassignment surgery). Basically, the premise of people who are for it is that it is their right to die with dignity. Although there are medical miracles, those who are terminally ill often have a fairly predictable timeline of how their health will deteriorate and what suffering will ensue. Assisted suicide allows them to “die with dignity” where they do not reach the point of extreme suffering, they do not become a vegetable and unable to care for themselves. I recently read an article about a woman who wanted to have das in order to have her organs donated to those in need before hers were destroyed by her illness. People want to go out with meaning to their lives and be able to come to terms and said goodbye before it is a more painful exit.

    Those who are against das believe that it is always murder, and that the dr is in violation of the hippocratic oath which first and foremost states “do no harm.” There is concern about how humane the euthanasia is, as well as whether or not the patient can make a sound decision about their own life. There is concern that those who are critically ill may become curable before they perish from the illness due to advances in modern medicine and pain management. The greatest concern is the patient’s ability to make this decision, which is why in the few states in the US that allow it, the patient take a lot of time to undergo evaluation to determine if they can make the decision and that they do understand the consequences of their actions.

    Post # 81
    Member
    205 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    We’re kinder to our pets than our people. I’ve watched so many terminally ill family members truly suffer and I think it’s needless. 

    Post # 82
    Member
    6361 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @sparky263:  I’m for it. I think that people should have the right to end their life if they are suffering provided they are sound of mind and not being pressured into it by anyone. Personally, I feel that forcing someone with a terminal or severely debilitating illness to suffer is inhumane; we wouldn’t allow an animal to suffer like that, so why are we fine with it when it comes to humans?

    My best friend’s aunt had MS, and, in the last years of her life, desperately wanted to be able to have the choice as to when and how she died. She was in extreme pain all the time, and she was completely unable to look after herself. This very proud woman was made to endure being bathed by others, and having her bottom wiped by others, and her condition ultimately destroyed her mental health and well-being as well as her physical health. Had she had the option to choose to die peacefully and to end her suffering, she would have taken it; instead, she was forced to suffer for years and years before finally dying.

    Cases like this have made me fully supported voluntary euthanasia.

    Post # 83
    Member
    525 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: April 2014

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    @Ruby-Redshoes:  I’m a big fan of his books too.  The documentary will definitely make you cry, but it is also very informative.  It interviews a couple different people.  Some who are choosing to take their life, the widow of a writer who committed suicide and a person with the same disease as another person (who wants to end their life) who chose to live in hospice. So it shows you different points of view. Pratchett also discusses his diagnosis and the problems he has been having. 

    Post # 84
    Member
    9082 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2012

    I’m for it. We did not have an option to choose to come into this world. I feel that if someone truly, deeply and honestly wants to leave it, they should have a “safe” (As opposed to jumping off a bridge, electrocution, gunshot, etc), secure option to do so.

    I am not ready to leave this world, but if I was ever in the state that I wanted to (For example, an incurable, painful disorder, terminal cancer, whatever) I should have the option to go peacefully as opposed to in pain and distraught.

    I do think there should be an exception for those with some mental disorders and mood altering ailments. If someone is depressed, they might think they want to die. But if they “come out of the fog” so to speak, they probably will not think that way. So mental and emotional disorders should be diagnosed (Potentially, provided they have one) and treated before any form of euthenasia is administered.

    I’m not saying we should set up suicide booths a-la Futureama, but we should definitely have something for the people who would like to go painlessly and peacefully.

    Post # 85
    Member
    1470 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    Ok, I think I have a few minutes.

    So, this is a super loaded question. You’ve asked about two (very different, in my opinion) things, and people are answering as if you’ve asked only one question. So, let’s define terms:

    Physician-assisted suicide (aka physician-assisted death, aid-in-dying): When a patient is allowed to take drugs (must be physicially capable of taking the drugs themself) prescribed by a doctor with the express purpose of taking their own life. This is legal (with safeguards) in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont and “not illegal” (but also not regulated) in Montana. 

    Active euthanasia: Doing something to speed up the dying process (administering drugs, etc). The agent is someone other than the person dying. (This is by far the most ethically problematic).

    Passive euthanasia: “Letting die”, or “withholding life-sustaining measures”–this is when life-saving measures are stopped. This can include food and water (although a dying patient doesn’t experience food and water like most of the rest of us do). 

    Okay, you may already have known that, but a lot of people in this conversation are talking past one another, so I thought this might be helpful for everyone.

    I’ve done quite a bit of research in this realm, both from a religious standpoint (my undergraduate thesis) and a philosophical/empirical one (in my graduate/published work). Most of my really helpful work is on my old computer, but OP if you’re really interested, I could dig it up for you. (In particular, I have a short paper arguing that active and passive euthanasia are not as different as they appear).

    My published work examined how hospices in Oregon (which are often seen as an “alternative” to PAS) have responded to Oregon’s Death with Dignity act 10 years down the line. The answer is not very well. It’s not super relevant here, but if you’re interested let me know.

    So here are some arguments against PAS (I’m going to only address PAS here, because I think that’s more the question you’re asking, but if you’re interested in my ideas about euthanasia, let me know). Also, PPs have covered the arguments FOR very well so I’m going to address (non-religious) arguments against PAS only. LMK if you’re looking for more info from a different angle.

    Arguments against PAS:

    1. It’s not fair. This is a super compelling argument when you really dig deep. Basically, PAS as it’s defined (the person dying must physically administer the drugs themself) allows only those patients with certain conditions the ability to use the law (and all three laws are pretty uniform). It also means that people must sometimes use the drugs before they would want to if that weren’t the case. For example, someone with Lou Gherig’s disease who is losing the ability to use their body might take the drug earlier (perhaps even want to take it outside the 6-month window, which is illegal) or risk not being able to use it at all. Basically, what this adds up to is an argument for passive (or even active) euthanasia. 

    2. Inaccurate. Doctors are often wrong about how long patients have to live. 6 months is arbitrary, and patients might live for years.

    3. Devaluing of life. This doesn’t have to be a religious argument. The argument goes that you are basically telling terminal patients that their last days don’t have value, and therefore you might as well end it. I think the argument for compassion on the other side is really strong (and this isn’t quite the same as a typical slippery slope argument), but basically, if you allow PAS, there is the chance that you send the message to dying patients that their life is “not worth living.”

    4. Similarly, you run the risk of people committing suicide because they feel like they are a burden to their loved ones. True or not, I’d feel terrible if a loved one used PAS because they felt like they were a burden to me.

    5. Doctors simply shouldn’t be in the business of killing. Their oath requires that they “first do no harm” and PAS certainly isn’t “doing no harm.”

    Okay, I hope that was helpful. These aren’t necessarily my own thoughts (although I find all of those arguments compelling.) I think, as Oregon has seen, a large number of patients ask for and obtain the prescription without ever using it. It’s a sense of autonomy and control when they are losing both at the end of their life. I have a hard time arguing strongly either way, and basically have the same stance as I have about abortion: I personally wouldn’t do it because I feel it is objectionable to my religious beliefs, but I’m not in the business of forcing my religious beliefs on others and believe they both should be legal (with strict guidelines).

    Okay, I can’t help myself, sorry this is so long. A couple arguments FOR PAS that people haven’t mentioned: 

    1. Many doctors in states where PAS is illegal have admitted basically passive euthanasia (which happens all the time) out of compassion for their patients. I think PAS is a more ethically sound response to this situation, as well as being highly regulated. I think it also protects doctors.

    2. I think it’s really important that the safeguards include an examination about one’s mental state. I think just having a conversation with someone can really help at the end of life, especially for those not in hospice care. I think the conversation itself can help patients, and also help caregivers to more fully address the needs of patients perhaps as an alternative to PAS.

    I don’t want to out my identity on the board, but if you’re interested in seeing the published research, I can PM you a link.

    Ok, I have to stop now, because this is getting a bit ridiculous, but feel free to ask questions if you have any. 

    Post # 86
    Member
    1646 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

    @sparky263:  I support it, but I do think there need to be some guidelines. I think the last thing anyone wants is for someone to end their own life in a manner that puts other people into harm’s way (whether that means physically or emotionally). I don’t think its that likely and that most people would want to choose something more personal and private, but still.

    Post # 88
    Member
    1470 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    View original reply
    @sparky263:  I’ll PM you the link to the article. 

    I’m against active euthanasia. I rarely find the “slippery slope” argument compelling, but I think allowing other people to make decisions about actively ending the life of someone else isn’t ethically sound, and I don’t think doctors should be in the position of actively killing someone. I think in theory, I could support it in some cases (and I think occasionally active euthanasia is more compassionate than “letting someone die”), but with the element of human error, it’s just too difficult to do. At the same time, I think passive euthanasia can be really compassionate, but like I said, the distinctions get pretty fuzzy. I only think it should be allowed with express written directions recently made by someone (I think everyone who wouldn’t want to be “in such a state” should write and update an advance directive every year–opinions change, and holding me to something at 60 that I wrote at 20 probably doesn’t actively reflect my current views). It’s not an argument I’d ever publish, haha, too many holes. If you’re interested in the active/passive distinction, you should read this argument by philosopher James Rachels. I think it’s fascinating: http://www.jamesrachels.org/killing.pdf

    also: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/socialSciences/ppecorino/DeathandDying_TEXT/Active%20and%20Passive%20Euthanasia.pdf

    I don’t necessarily agree with Rachels, but he is certainly a compelling philosopher.

    I don’t mind digging up some of my old stuff, but I’ll have to do it later today 😉 

    ETA: While finding a live link to my article, I ran across this article. Just skimmed it (my 1 year-old is reaching his tolerance level for mommy on the computer), but I think it’s really interesting. http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Bioethicsforum/Post.aspx?id=2514&blogid=140

    Post # 90
    Member
    1344 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013 - Vine Street Church

    I’m a cancer research nurse, and my experiences with patients and with my own family members make me 110% for assisted suicide. There is a point hit with terminal illness where it is simply cruel to prolong someone’s suffering despite the fact that there are no more treatments available to them. People should be able to determine their own fate when their illness is going to take their lives away anyway.

    Post # 91
    Member
    1798 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I have done a lot of research on this topic in the past for a class in college, and I am 100% for assisted suicide as long as there are guidelines for it.

    I am so against regular suicide in most cases just because the person committing suicide doesn’t realize what they are leaving their loved ones to deal with, but I feel like it is something that is almost understood in the case of a terminally ill patient. In those cases, it’s going to happen at some point or another, so why not prepare both the terminally ill and the family/friends for what’s going to happen and when? 

    When people become ill so many things are out of their control. A lot of the time their lives are just put on hold and revolve around fighting the disease or succumbing to it. They can’t work anymore, some can’t drive, they don’t get to go out and do the things they enjoy as often if at all. Life revolves around the next appointment, the next dose of medication, the next trip to the hospital, etc. and that sucks. Why not give the ill person one last bit of control over what happens in his or her life? 

    Letting someone suffer until they are at the end and can’t do anything for themselves (eating, bathing, using the bathroom, etc.) and suddenly they die with no dignity at all.

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