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Switzerland Decides on Assisted Suicide for Mentally Ill

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posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 11:02 PM
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The highest court in Switzerland has ruled that the mentally ill may commit suicide with the assistance of a doctor if 1) the disorder is an incurable, permanent, serious mental disorder and 2) the death wish is based on an autonomous decision which takes all circumstances into account.
 



www.msnbc.msn.com
A ruling by Switzerland’s highest court released Friday has opened up the possibility that people with serious mental illnesses could be helped by doctors to take their own lives.

“If the death wish is based on an autonomous decision which takes all circumstances into account, then a mentally ill person can be prescribed sodium-pentobarbital and thereby assisted in suicide,” it added.

“A distinction has to be made between a death wish which is an expression of a curable, psychiatric disorder and which requires treatment, and (a death wish) which is based on a person of sound judgment’s own well-considered and permanent decision, which must be respected,” they said.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I am not necessarily a fan of slippery-slope arguments, because I think they're too easy to make and too difficult to substantiate. However, this case raises my shackles. It opens a door that seems prone at least to abuse, and in the extreme an open-door for those looking to expand the right to die to include more invidious circumstances.

There seems to me to be a fundamental contradiction here. Do we not treat people with mental illnesses so that they do not commit suicide on their own? Could one argue that a person who has chosen to commit suicide has done so based on a solemn consideration of their perceived situation? For those who have been close to suicide and are glad that they did not do it, would they have made the right decision in the moment? Is this a ruling based on a consideration of the person's suffering, or is it really based on their emotional anguish that psychiatry tries to fix? If the latter, how do we uncouple the suffering from the emotional anguish?

The courts must insist on holding the line; it would be a dangerous day if there was no clear-minded intent requirement. They would open the door to doctors making the decision for patients who can't make the decision for themselves.

[edit on 2/2/2007 by Togetic]




posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 01:01 AM
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Well I personally applaud the Siss courts for deciding this.
However, when it comes to mental illn ess, I think it is something that
each case needs to be looked at, to make sure that the doctors are'nt
trying to just get rid of 'burdensome' patients.

I am looking forward to seeing the day that any kind of suicide is not
against any law or considered something that should be 'preveneted
at all costs', as it's my opinion that it's your body/life, and if you want
to end it, for whatever reason, than you should, and that no one has
the right to disallow you to.



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 01:40 AM
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To the OP:

I have rarely read such a concise and profound expression of opinion here on ATS than the author's personal comments. You have asked some excellent questions. I have voted this entry to be included as an ATSNN item.



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 01:47 AM
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So, should suicide be the ultimate expression of personal choice? Should the law be involved in that choice? Should those who would assist, such as doctors, be culpable if they help a person that wants to die?

Whose life is it, anyway? Our own,or the governments?



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 01:50 AM
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I think this is something the rest of the world needs to embrace.
Enough religous BS being brought into humans existence.

If someone is struck down by sevre illness, or disabilty, that will ensure there life is one of suffering/pain/misery.. if they WANT to end their life then they should.
There should not be a law MAKING someone HAVE to live, if they do not want to due to suffering.

Obviously there needs to be a limit.
You cant just walk in, high as a kite and go

''end my life im miserable, no one likes me ''

If needs be , have a PANEL, that decides wether someones case is legit, and they honestly do not want to live, due to a illness/disability.

If I have the right, to live.. I have the right to die.
and no one should keep me from having that right.

Plus, if im albe bodied, id just pay the money, go to the empire state building, be amazed from the view... then jump!



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 01:55 AM
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How does someone with a serious mental illness make an autonomous decision, taking into account all circumstances?




posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 01:58 AM
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thats a good question.
Maybe if your that sevrely disabled, try testing there perceptions.
simple flash card and button tests.
see if they understand 'anything' around them.
If so, give them a simple yes or no question

'' are you happy, are you suffering ''



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 02:03 AM
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Originally posted by Agit8dChop
I think this is something the rest of the world needs to embrace.

If someone is struck down by sevre illness, or disabilty, that will ensure there life is one of suffering/pain/misery.. if they WANT to end their life then they should.
There should not be a law MAKING someone HAVE to live, if they do not want to due to suffering.

I love your expression "MAKING someone HAVE to live', because after all that is said and done, that is really what what we are telling people to do.



Obviously there needs to be a limit.
You cant just walk in, high as a kite and go

''end my life im miserable, no one likes me ''

If needs be , have a PANEL, that decides wether someones case is legit, and they honestly do not want to live, due to a illness/disability.

Another good point. If someone is toxic, we should de-toxify them and counsel them. But after all that fails, then.... let God's will be done.



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 02:09 AM
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There is a certain segment of the population that needs to be addressed. Those are the severely mentally handicapped.

How can we know their wishes? How can we make a decision to end life for them?

If the decision were in my hands, my answer would be NO! We will not end their life.

[edit on 3-2-2007 by jsobecky]



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 08:54 AM
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Originally posted by Agit8dChop
I think this is something the rest of the world needs to embrace.
Enough religous BS being brought into humans existence.

If someone is struck down by sevre illness, or disabilty, that will ensure there life is one of suffering/pain/misery.. if they WANT to end their life then they should.
There should not be a law MAKING someone HAVE to live, if they do not want to due to suffering.

Obviously there needs to be a limit.
You cant just walk in, high as a kite and go

''end my life im miserable, no one likes me ''

This is not a matter of Christian ethics, in my opinion. The question in my mind is how far we are from the point where doctors will make the decision to terminate a patient's life without the express, carefully considered decision of the patient. What if a patient is too mentally ill to clearly make the decision, but at some time in the far past expressed their wish that they wouldn't want to live that way? Who should make the choice? And shouldn't the fact that we are presented with that scenario give us all pause?

Also, as a matter of societal stability, it gives me pause to think that everyone should have the unmitigated right to take their own life. One of the arguments environmentalists make with regards to clear-cutting and the like is "what if one of those plants had the properties to cure cancer?" In a similar vein, what if someone who takes their life could have been saved given proper mental health treatment, and then gone on to have cured cancer? Even less than that, what if they go on to just have a happy life?

Don't we owe it to each other to try and make it the best existence possible for each other? That's why we argue about politics and other temporal concerns. I am not saying that people who are terminally ill should not necessarily have the choice. I am saying that the choice needs to be made with more deliberate caution than the court her requires.



If needs be , have a PANEL, that decides wether someones case is legit, and they honestly do not want to live, due to a illness/disability.

If I have the right, to live.. I have the right to die.
and no one should keep me from having that right.

Plus, if im albe bodied, id just pay the money, go to the empire state building, be amazed from the view... then jump!


I find the panel idea frightening. On what basis do we allow other humans to decide who lives and who dies? There are a couple problems that I see with this approach.


  1. Knowledge. How are we to ensure that the panelists actually know the wishes of the person for whom they are making this decision? What do we do if they are wrong?
  2. Practicality. Naturally, any panel of "experts" making life-and-death decisions will be required to use objective metrics to determine whether death is the correct option. What are these metrics to be? The health of the patient? The wishes of the family? Or will they really be measuring the cost and burden to themselves and the state? They may unconsciously be making decisions based on factors that we would find barbaric but they don't even realize are erroneous. That, in my mind, is enough to prevent the existence of a panel like this.
  3. Fallibility. As a hypothetical, let's say that I am in a country going through a depression. I then attempt to murder someone, but I don't quite get it. Then, I bribe the panel and convince them that pulling the plug is in everyone's best interest. The panel is willing to take the bribe, and pulls the plug. Is this possible? The odds are probably low. But even though they are so low, the cost is incredibly high, and isn't that a risk we don't want to take?


    Because these things are so complicated and so mutable, that is why, as a matter of policy, I believe that we should err on the side of life, if for no other reason than if you get it wrong, you get it really wrong.

    [edit on 2/3/2007 by Togetic]



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