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the right to die

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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    I think it's important we get something straight. He isn't asking someone to turn off life support, or assist him. He is asking a doctor to physically kill him, ie pick up a syringe and stick it in his arm. It isn't a suicide he's asking to be made legal, it's a murder.

    This.

    The argument isn't about self determination, it's about the right for someone to kill you (if you wish them to).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    I think it's important we get something straight. He isn't asking someone to turn off life support, or assist him. He is asking a doctor to physically kill him, ie pick up a syringe and stick it in his arm. It isn't a suicide he's asking to be made legal, it's a murder..

    But it isn't murder, as it's with the person's consent and so it's assisted suicide. I don't see much difference physically between turning off a life support machine and using a syringe to administer a lethal dose. Both are done with the understanding and intention that it will end a life.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you guys know about Tony Bland?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/19/newsid_2520000/2520581.stm

    On my phone now so will add a more detailed response later if I remember ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    I bet it wouldn't be all that hard to find a willing doctor. And it's not murder, is euthanasia.
    .

    At this very moment, killing another human being deliberately is murder. You might be right, might be quite easy to find a doctor willing to kill people, but I'd question the mind of a doctor who would actually kill people although I hope it isn't quite as easy as it sounds.

    You've also got the morality thing to consider. Whilst there will be doctors who don't believe in God, it will still be difficult to shake that niggling feeling that once you've "euthanised" the patient you'll be damning your soul to an eternity in hell..........
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you guys know about Tony Bland?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/november/19/newsid_2520000/2520581.stm

    On my phone now so will add a more detailed response later if I remember ;)


    Very tragic, also very different. He was left to die, the doctor's simply stopped treating him, I have a close friend who is going through something similar.
    It's still not the same thing as the doctor's killing you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    You've also got the morality thing to consider. Whilst there will be doctors who don't believe in God, it will still be difficult to shake that niggling feeling that once you've "euthanised" the patient you'll be damning your soul to an eternity in hell..........

    I personally wouldn't have any such niggle. And I can't be the only person who wouldn't.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You keep coming back to the same problem surely?

    Currently - if you've got the motor skills to do it yourself, then you can chose to end your life in a reasonably dignified and pain free faishon. If you don't - then anyone who helps you carry out your wish is potentially implicit in your murder.

    I'm not sure how calling it murder really helps the discussion - as to me part of the discussion is really should helping someone achieve their aim to end their life really be classed as murder?

    Yes, there's another issue of would any doctor be willing to do it but at the moment we don't give them, or carers, or family members that choice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You keep coming back to the same problem surely?

    Currently - if you've got the motor skills to do it yourself, then you can chose to end your life in a reasonably dignified and pain free faishon. If you don't - then anyone who helps you carry out your wish is potentially implicit in your murder.

    I was about to call it disability discrimination but I don't think it is.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was about to call it disability discrimination but I don't think it is.

    It almost is though. For other aspects of living with a disability society is legally required to make allowances i.e. working dogs allowed inside restaurants, ramps for wheelchairs, t-loops for the hard of hearing etc.

    It's only on this that there are no allowances made for those that can't act themselves to do what they want to do.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    It almost is though. For other aspects of living with a disability society is legally required to make allowances i.e. working dogs allowed inside restaurants, ramps for wheelchairs, t-loops for the hard of hearing etc.

    It's only on this that there are no allowances made for those that can't act themselves to do what they want to do.

    The difference being that those are allowances for things that people could legally and reasonably be expected to want to do in day-to-day life. To reduce the argument to the somewhat absurd, but still highlighting the point: if you had no arms you couldn't poke yourself in the eye. Is it reasonable to expect society (or another person) to make the provision for someone else to poke you in the eye if such is your want?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Not that a person would be legally compelled to poke an armless gentleman in the eye, but that a person would be protected from assault for poking an armless gentleman in the eye at said gentleman's request.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    Not that a person would be legally compelled to poke an armless gentleman in the eye, but that a person would be protected from assault for poking an armless gentleman in the eye at said gentleman's request.

    But both acts would presumably be illegal in the eyes of the law? If I asked you poke me in the eye, even though I had the ability to poke myself in the eye, it would still be illegal for you to do so - if it were illegal to poke people in the eye in general.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's what is being asked to changed though isn't it. Person A desperately wants to be poked in the eye but has no arms, person B has arms but won't poke person A until they are protected from the 1498 anti-eyepoking laws. So, change the law to make it legal to poke people in the eye if they can't do it themselves but really want to be poked in the eye.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Terry Pratchett (who, as I'm sure you know, has early-onset Alzheimer's) made a fascinating documentary for the BBC last year about people travelling to Dignitas, and what the process involves.

    I don't honestly know what my thoughts are; I studied medical ethics last year but all that did was convince me that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and I think he conveys that really well. It's also fascinating to hear him discuss how the process is affected by progressive illnesses such as Motor Neurone Disease and Alzheimer's, because the sufferer wants to live as much life as possible but can't afford to wait until they're too ill to be declared competent.

    Whatever you think, you should watch this.

    Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    That's what is being asked to changed though isn't it. Person A desperately wants to be poked in the eye but has no arms, person B has arms but won't poke person A until they are protected from the 1498 anti-eyepoking laws. So, change the law to make it legal to poke people in the eye if they can't do it themselves but really want to be poked in the eye.

    Now you're discriminating against people who can poke themselves in the eye but want someone else to do it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I couldn't help but laugh at that. Yes I suppose one could argue that, but then if one is able, one should do.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    I couldn't help but laugh at that. Yes I suppose one could argue that, but then if one is able, one should do.

    :D

    I'm not sure how much I but into my own analogy, to be honest.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The poking in the eye analogy is making me smile but it's a good analogy. Still confused! Gonna watch the documentary you posted Piccolo :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    Terry Pratchett (who, as I'm sure you know, has early-onset Alzheimer's) made a fascinating documentary for the BBC last year about people travelling to Dignitas, and what the process involves.

    I don't honestly know what my thoughts are; I studied medical ethics last year but all that did was convince me that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and I think he conveys that really well. It's also fascinating to hear him discuss how the process is affected by progressive illnesses such as Motor Neurone Disease and Alzheimer's, because the sufferer wants to live as much life as possible but can't afford to wait until they're too ill to be declared competent.

    Whatever you think, you should watch this.

    Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die

    just watched it. a really respectful and well made doc. thanks for sharing
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    I don't honestly know what my thoughts are; I studied medical ethics last year but all that did was convince me that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and I think he conveys that really well.

    He does, pretty effectively.

    There isn't a single answer for everyone and it's why I sit on the fence to an extent - although I currently look at the sanctity of life side rather than euthanasia. As a society we spend much effort and funding in trying to extend lives, life expectancy is increasing and we see outrage when cancer drugs aren't automatically available (even though there's often no evidence of their effectiveness)... Yet here we are talking about killing someone.

    It isn't suicide so let's not pretend it is. "Assisted Suicide" is just a nice way of saying "Killing Someone". It's legalised manslaughter.

    There will be doctors who will be willing, I'm sure. They already remove treatment or increase morphine doses as palliative measures. I am very confident though that we will see a reduction in funding for palliative care drugs, homes, hospices etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ...see a reduction in funding for palliative care drugs, homes, hospices etc.

    Part of me wonders if that wouldn't be a good thing... My mum was dying for a long time, not sick, dying. Maybe it would have been better for her if it had been shorter under a new system... Just a bit of a negative brain fart thought, but I do wonder what she would have thought.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Out of interest, to the people who are against assisted suicide or maybe sitting on the fence. Is it the idea of euthanasia in general or having someone else complete the last step when a person is unable to do so? Or both?

    I find it difficult to get my head around because assisted suicide in the *formalised* sense as seen in the Terry Pratchett documentary definitely requires assistance in some way. The staff from Dignitas could be argued to take an important role by mixing the poison in the first place and handing it to the guy wishing to die.

    Sure, he took the final step by drinking it but again couldn't it be understood that in providing the poison and mixing it then handing it to him she was to a great degree assisting him? Also by implication, the people in the room present knew what he was doing and so by not taking measures to prevent it from happening are also implicated?

    I guess that's why I wanted to ask and to differintiate between the two and ask are they really so different?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is such a big topic and I've really struggled to put my views across in a (like piccolo mentioned) a one-size-fits-all sort of way.

    Yes - I think Tony should be allowed to die.
    -He wants to - he can consent
    -Just because he is disabled - this shouldn't stop him
    -Morally - if he is going to starve himself anyway, isn't it the lesser of two evils to make it less painful?

    However, do I think a law should be passed to allow him and others help to do it? Not necessarily, and this is where I find it really tricky... I am probably completely on the fence, I wish there was a third (middle) option but there's not.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Out of interest, to the people who are against assisted suicide or maybe sitting on the fence. Is it the idea of euthanasia in general or having someone else complete the last step when a person is unable to do so? Or both?

    It's both.

    Euthanasia, by definition, means that society accepts that *some* lives are "not worth" fighting for, or living. No matter what the reasons behind it, that's a pretty troubling step. I have no doubt that, with this acceptance, pressure would be put on those not wishing to end their own lives to do so. The "you're being selfish" argument.

    Expecting someone else to do the deed for you actually is selfish (to an extent), although I understand the reasons why this may be the only option. I actually, honestly, believe that people in Pratchett's position shouldn't wait until they are incapabale themselves. If they don't want to live to the 'natural' end then they should do it themselves while they still can.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I disagree. I think that euthanasia is society accepting that people have the right to die when they can't take their own life
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fiend_85 wrote: »
    I disagree. I think that euthanasia is society accepting that people have the right to die when they can't take their own life

    They are accepting that it's okay to kill someone, in certain circumstances. Those circumstances being disability, terminal illness etc. There are very few circumstances where someone is completely incapable of killing themselves just like everyone else.

    Like I said, where it is predictable - i.e. degenerative disease, then why not take your life whilst you still can? Why wait? You know what's coming...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What about the guy who had a sudden stroke and is now paralised from the neck down. He didn't know it was coming. Degenerative illnesses can be unpredictable as well. You can plan to take your own life at a certain point, but fine yourself suddenly taken ill and unable to act...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Out of interest, to the people who are against assisted suicide or maybe sitting on the fence. Is it the idea of euthanasia in general or having someone else complete the last step when a person is unable to do so? Or both?

    I'm not against the whole thing per se, I'm against a doctor adminstering a poison to another person. Why can't his family do it? If they're so keen for someone to legally be allowed to kill him, then why bring a 3rd party into it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    I'm not against the whole thing per se, I'm against a doctor adminstering a poison to another person. Why can't his family do it? If they're so keen for someone to legally be allowed to kill him, then why bring a 3rd party into it?

    In the instance of Tony Nicklinson I listened to one of his daughters and his wife be interviewed on R4 and his wife said that she thought she would be able to kill him. But what if the person wanting to die doesn't have any adult family?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    I'm not against the whole thing per se, I'm against a doctor adminstering a poison to another person. Why can't his family do it? If they're so keen for someone to legally be allowed to kill him, then why bring a 3rd party into it?

    It wasn't actually a doctor, it was a lady from Dignitas. Terry Pratchett actually commended her for the compassion and support she showed. It's obviously her job but I think it'd be really disturbing if she was desensitised to the entire thing.

    It's personal choice. My mum/brother/cat might want to be there for the moment I slip away but they might not actually be too keen to measure out the drug or administer an injection. Would really reccomend that documentary, if you can watch the last part in which you actually see a man take the dose. It's hard to watch but really, really peaceful.
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