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Is assisted suicide the same as manslaughter?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
From our very own Slartibartfast:
Assistive suicide is still just a "PC" way of saying manslaughter BTW

Do you agree with this statement?

Assisted suicide is defined by the medical dictionary as 'Suicide being accomplished with the aid of another person'. So not necessarily someone who is medically trained..

Are there any instances where you think assisted suicide should be allowed/ not allowed? Would assisted suicide have the same implications if the person that 'assisted' was a doctor? Should there be limitations on who can legally assist?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Do you agree with this statement?

    I completely agree with him, man knows what he's talking about.
    Assisted suicide is defined by the medical dictionary as 'Suicide being accomplished with the aid of another person'.

    Manslaughter is defined as
    1. Law. the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought.
    2. the killing of a human being by another;

    So, legalise this form and you still have a form of manslaughter IMHO...

    By referring to the act as "assisted suicide" you take away some of the emotion at what is really happening and giving it some kind of "caring" label. Look after people, provide palliative care and decent nursing support is my approach, rather than making them feel like a burden and therefore that they *should* look towards suicide as the answer.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It sounds like a possible emotive argument that someone against assisted suicide might use.

    Suicide hasn't been a crime in this country for fifty years. Hopefully it won't take another fifty for that act to be amended so that folk who can't take their own lives should still be able to die with dignity, in their preferred manner, without someone else commiting an offence.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No I don't agree. I support assisted suicide
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    No, i don't.

    I've seen how people die of AIDS and i dont want to die like that, i dont want my mates to have to watch me die like that. I want someone to be able, if im not, to help me have a dignified, peaceful end with no pain and for them to not be prosecuted.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    If I was completely against it, I'd say it's more like murder than manslaughter.

    Before I begin to support it though, I'd need someone to explain (using logical arguments) why someone who wants to die because they're depressed because they're paralysed (for example) should be helped while someone who wants to die because they're depressed because their spouse cheated should be stopped.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't think assisted suicide should be the first option, obviously there needs to be support given before that decision is made, but if someone is truly suffering and unhappy then they should have the right to die.

    I think it's absolutely disgusting that the state deems it okay for someone to be so unhappy that they starve themselves to death and go through immense suffering, but it is not okay for a medical professional to painlessly end that persons life.

    Personally I think it should be a medical professional assisting the suicide, because that way it can be properly regulated/no one can use it as an excuse for a murder they've committed... but I definitely think family should be allowed to be present if that is the wish of the patient.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm going to disagree with you I'm afraid BA. Whilst I agree with the concept of assisted suicide, I don't want to see it being carried out by doctors, assuming you'd be able to find any doctors willing to do it.

    If it's going to be done, it needs to be administered by a family member or friend, watched and supervised by a lawyer/coroner to rule out foul play and recorded. The minimum needed in law should be that the person wanting to die is able to communicate, clearly what they want and for that to be witnessed and recorded.

    And, finally, it should only be available to people who are PHYSICALLY unable to do it themselves. I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say about someone who is unhappy, are they unhappy because they lost their job or are they unhappy because they've got a terminal illness that has left them paralysed?

    If it's the former, then I don't think assisted suicide should be allowed at all.

    To the OP's original question, in terms of definition as Slarti pointed out, assisted suicide and manslaughter are by definition the same thing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Essentially they are the same thing, but the key difference is whether you are depriving a person of a life that they want to live, or ending someone's suffering in a dignified way that they have chosen.

    I think assisted suicide should be legalised only for very extreme cases, administered by a family member or friend under strict legal and medical supervision. It should be available for people with terminal/degenerative illnesses, who are sound of mind and able to clearly communicate on separate occasions that they wish to be helped to die. A doctor should assess that they are suffering intolerably (or that such suffering is inevitable), that they have no chance of improvement or recovery, and that they are mentally competent enough to make the decision independently. A doctor/medic should also help set up the suicide (provide drugs/insert IV/advise dosages etc) but they should not be expected to actually administer the fatal dose.

    We put animals out of their misery, so I'm not sure why can't afford people the same dignity. Obviously I know that there is the whole ethical issue with people being pressured or feeling like a burden, but I think having a blanket policy on it is wrong.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Before I begin to support it though, I'd need someone to explain (using logical arguments) why someone who wants to die because they're depressed because they're paralysed (for example) should be helped while someone who wants to die because they're depressed because their spouse cheated should be stopped.

    I don't think either of those examples should be "allowed" to die, although obviously if they are capable of taking their own lives, they could.

    IMO, the only people who should be helped are people who are going to die anyway, but in a prolonged and horrific manner.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not sure how much weight the arguement that it's the same as manslaughter based on dictionary definitions holds.

    The dictionary definitions are based on how things stand currently - assissted suicide is agaisnt the law, and thus is manslaughter. Whether or not we think it should be is the interesting discussion. That it currently by definition is, is a pretty much cut and dried case.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Agree with Kaff's points.

    What do people think of the Liverpool Care Pathway? I think they are easily comparable when talking about assisted suicide for the terminally ill because both are designed to make the person dying as comfortable as possible.

    My otherwise healthy gran turned 92 last year and then was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. She was placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway and was able to die peacefully in her own bed with her daughters by her side.

    Sure she was placed on it because her death was seen as being imminent by doctors and she would have suffered a great deal of pain in her last moments had it not been for the morphine but isn't it more cruel to inflict a painful death on someone that is terminally ill, though whose death may not be 'imminent' will definitely be long and painful?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As with most things, I think it should be legalised and regulated.

    I'd rather someone was "shut down" comfortably, after a proper review and counselling than - say - jump of a motorway bridge and go through my cousin's windscreen.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »

    And, finally, it should only be available to people who are PHYSICALLY unable to do it themselves. I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say about someone who is unhappy, are they unhappy because they lost their job or are they unhappy because they've got a terminal illness that has left them paralysed?

    Sorry I didn't make it clear, I mean someone who is paralysed and unable to do it themselves. I totally agree that assisted suicide should only be for people who can't physically commit suicide.

    What's everyone's opinions on this story? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/9798778/Belgian-identical-twins-in-unique-mercy-killing.html
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you're going to kill someone by withdrawing feeding (technically not killing them) thus "condemning" them to a rather unpleasant couple of days of dehydration I see no reason not to give them an easier exit.

    If you're going to give someone enough pain relief that will kill them, but you don't kow exactly when it's going to happen, and in the mean time they are going to be in and out of conciousness, confused and feeling pretty crap I see no reason not to give them an easier exit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kaff what you say about Liverpool care. Pathway is interesting. When my dad had cancer he had a seizure which was really the beginning of the end where it was only going to get worse.

    They simply dosed him so high he would never be conscious again and waited for the cancer to do its job. It's basically euthanasia through the back door; indefinite induced coma until organ failure. That persons life is already over but they need to help the body beating until it goes 'naturally'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I dont think it should be classed as manslaughter.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What do people think of the Liverpool Care Pathway? I think they are easily comparable when talking about assisted suicide for the terminally ill because both are designed to make the person dying as comfortable as possible.

    Big difference. LCP is not designed to hasten or cause death (not matter what the Daily Mail says), and that is my issue with "Assisted Suicide". Palliative care is there to allow death with dignity and minimal pain, disability support is there to maintain dignity in life etc.

    It's not that I don't understand why someone would want to end their life, I just don't think that it is something which the state should support in law. Especially as, no matter what assurances you put in place, it will be abused, it will lead to charities and the health service reducing and withdrawing support for those areas I just mentioned and it is totally opening pandora's box.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But surely removing fluids and withdrawing treatment is hastening death? In the case of my gran she was given enough morphine so that she frequently slipped in and out of consciousness. Maybe I'm ignorent but surely after taking these types of measures it is highly unlikely that the person is going to come out of a drug induced coma.

    And I can definitely see your point about it opening pandora's box and the system being potentially abused by relatives/friends or the person being made to feel like they are a 'burden'. I don't think we'd ever be able to guarentee that this wouldn't happen but I think it's worth (for people like Tony Nicklinson) to aim for a legal 'way out'.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i feel conflicted on it. As MOK said, its pandoras box, but I think its a shame when someone has such poor quality of life that they not only want to die, but lack the ability to end their own life, and their loved ones risk murder charges for helping them on their way.
    I think it happens already and people turn a blind eye, but its still a huge risk
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