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Assisted Suicide, cruel and unusual?

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posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 06:38 AM
What's you stance on assisted suicide? Living wills (as in do not ressusitate) or turning off life support? Are they all related? Do you think Dr. Korvorkian (sp?) was an "angel of death" or a merciful serial killer?

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 07:23 AM
Mako, thanks for starting an intersting thread:

My take on Assisted suicide is based alot on my experiences as a Pediatric Critical Care Nurse. I fell that if a patient has no hope for meaningfull recovery and is not suffering from mental illness, he or she should be allowed to commit suicide with assistance. In my experience most terminal illnesses are very painful in the end. This is particulary true with most cancers. These poeple often live day in day out with agony. IF they want to end things they should be allowed to do so. Currently Oregon does have a law governing this:

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act
On October 27, 1997 physician-assisted suicide became a legal medical option for terminally ill Oregonians. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act requires that the Oregon Health Services (OHS) monitor compliance with the law, collect information about the patients and physicians who participate in legal physician-assisted suicide, and publish an annual statistical report.

The Oregon Death with Dignity Act, a citizens' initiative, was first passed by Oregon voters in November 1994 by a margin of 51% in favor and 49% opposed. Immediate implementation of the Act was delayed by a legal injunction. After multiple legal proceedings, including a petition that was denied by the United States Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction on October 27, 1997 and physician-assisted suicide then became a legal option for terminally ill patients in Oregon. In November 1997, Measure 51 (authorized by Oregon House Bill 2954) was placed on the general election ballot and asked Oregon voters to repeal the Death with Dignity Act. Voters chose to retain the Act by a margin of 60% to 40%.

The Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill Oregon residents to obtain from their physicians and use prescriptions for self-administered, lethal medications. The Act states that ending one's life in accordance with the law does not constitute suicide. However, we have used the term "physician-assisted suicide" rather than "Death with Dignity" to describe the provisions of this law because physician-assisted suicide is the term used by the public, and by the medical literature, to describe ending life through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose. The Death with Dignity Act legalizes physician-assisted suicide, but specifically prohibits euthanasia, where a physician or other person directly administers a medication to end another's life.

Oregon law which has been upheald in the courts is a well thought out, well implimented system and could be used as a template for other states wishing to enact such legislation.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 07:25 AM
i think people who are dying a painful death should be assisted in helping them on there way. i know id want to die a pleasent death rather than stringing it on and having to live with the pain x

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 07:30 AM
Been there. Glad the medical staff allowed my Grandfather to die with dignity and haste. There was NO hope.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 07:33 AM
I split my reply into two posts so as not to confuse the issues:

Taking of a patient from life support is somewhat different that a patient wanting to end things while still alive. I have taken more children off life support in my 10 year PICU careeer that i even care to remember. Medical science has gotten to a point where we can basically flog a body well beyond the point of recovery even though everything that made them a unique individual is gone. If a patient or thier family esp in pediatrics decide that they have reached the endpoint, I firmly believe that that is thier right, and in most instances it really is the humane thing to do.

I have an extensive living will that takes the burden off of my family and outlines conditions that I would want support removed.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 07:43 AM

Originally posted by intrepid
Been there. Glad the medical staff allowed my Grandfather to die with dignity and haste. There was NO hope.

Intrepid, sorry to probe, but I am curious. Was it a family decision? Or a medical one? Here the fact are presented to the family and options are presented. I was just wondering if the Canadian system was set up in a similar manner? Thanks..


posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 07:47 AM
I believe that it should be allowed, there is no point to keep someone alive if that person is in severe pain and there is no way of curing the disease for example. I am from the Netherlands (or Holland depending on what u like to call it) and here it is allowed to commit assisted suicide only in case they have a very good reason, like a lot of pain and no cure. I know a girl who's dad did it and she said that eventhough it was hard to lose here father , it was worse to keep him alive and see him suffer all that pain. I beleive that the person in question has to be sane and be able to decide for him/herself. I think i will do it if i someday end up in a bed and i wont ever be able to get out anymore and the pain doesnt stop.... but one can't look in the future and decide what one will do then.... let's hope we will never have to make that choice.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 08:57 AM
I think someone who has an incurable disease with no chance at all of getting better should have the freedom to die. I dont think anyone should have to suffer in pain unnessicarily, and it must be terribhle for the family to have to watch a loved one suffer and deteriate to the last breath when they could have gone with dignity.

I can also see why some people will assist illegally to see there partner not have to suffer, like in countrys were it is illegal!

Could anyone honesty say they would not do it if the person they love was crying out for you to please end there misery?

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 09:27 AM
This would never be a decision to take in anything but extreme circumstances, but I think most of us would chose not to watch those they love suffer in pain at the end of their lives. Its the last loving thing we can do for them. I only hope there's someone to make that choice for me when I'm in that situation.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 09:43 AM
To anyone who is really interested in the subject of euthanasia, I highly recommend Final Exit by Derek Humphry. Aside from being a self help book of sorts, it is a very enlightening read on the subject. I agree that it should be the right of every individual, suffering from incurable and painful diseases, to end their own life. Assisted suicide should be allowed for those lacking this capability. This notion should obviously not include individuals suffering from severe depressions and such, but incurable and painful physical conditions.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 09:44 AM

I have an extensive living will that takes the burden off of my family and outlines conditions that I would want support removed.

Having just been through this with my Father I want to make a few comments. He had a very extensive living will and yet we still stumbled on problems. After 2 weeks of being comatose they took him off life support. Much to everyone's shock, he pulled out of the coma and 'woke up'. At that point the Doctors ignored the advanced directive and put in a feeding tube saying we could opt to follow his directive and take it out at any time.
He was in the hospital for 3 months making no progress in therapy and being bombarded with one staph infection after another, not to mention the blood clots that moved to his lungs and should have killed him instantly but didn't.

After coming down with the Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infection (and getting it under control) we opted to bring him home under the care of hospice so that he could die in peace. We did not remove the feeding tube because starving to death would have been cruel and painful. Though his directive was clear that we could do it, it also was very clear that we should not do it if it would cause unnecessary pain.

My Father worked long and hard with his lawyers on his advanced directive thinking that we would be relieved of any burden in making decisions. Unfortunatly, that was not the case. We were in a horrible situation, partly because of the Doctors making choices without informing us, and partly because with brain injuries there is no way to predict what the recovery will be or how long it will take.

What was so terrible through the entire ordeal was that even before this tragic accident he had been miserable with his quality of life. He often talked about assisted suicide because he was so unhappy with the way his diabetes had progressed and how he was unable to do anything. This was a man who could do anything, fix anything, invented many of the things that we take for granted today (color t.v. for example), and was brilliant by anyone's standards, not just by his families.

Seeing him comatose, and then in a semi-vegatative state for almost 5 months, was seeing his worst nightmare come true. My Mom has since had to meet with lawyers about her advanced directive because she sees how my Dads failed to meet his needs and address the unpredictable when it was meant to be his final wishes.

I do feel blessed to have been able to have those 5 extra months with him. Had he passed at the beginning of this mess I would not have had the chance to say good bye to him, nor would I have had the chance to tell him all of the things that I loved and appreciated about him. I would not have had the opportunity to thank him, a million times, and to care for him the way he cared for me when I was a child. I feel like, in some small way, I was able to give back to him, and I am grateful for that. But I will always feel guilty and wonder if we should have/could have done things differently and done a better job of honoring his wishes. So, even if you have a bazillion dollars and enlist the help of $1,000 dollar an hour lawyers, sometimes advanced directives and living wills don't do a lick of good.

That being said, I do believe that assisted suicide SHOULD be allowed. Better to have a patient make that choice while they are still 'with it' than be in a situation where the advanced directive caused more harm than good!


posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 10:26 AM
It's been discussed here:

And here:

Here's where a lot of the controversy lies:

Active euthanasia: Actually providing the means by which someone dies - being the direct cause.
Passive euthanasia: Passively 'allowing' someone to die by not providing means of support and the disease or starvation becomes the direct cause of death.

Active euthanasia upsets a lot of folks for religious and moral reasons, but everyone seems to accept passive euthanasia. However, isn't the ACT of withholding treatment an action in itself? Doesn't passive euthanasia automatically become active?

Once the decision is made for someone to be "allowed" to die, why not do the humane thing and end the suffering right then and there? It is certain that the person will die - its only a matter of how fast, and how painfully. Why let the organs consume themselves as the body starves? THAT is cruel - not ending someones life because they lead an empty existance.

Euthanasia is humane. Somewhere i remember that Oregon allows it, and only 4 people have opted for it. It's such an extreme thing, but it should be allowed.l

Dr Kevorian is no better or worse than the people that simply unplug life support. It's euthanasia either way. He is just brave enough to put himself on the line for the suffering of others.

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 11:42 AM
This seems to be one of those gray areas.

If so many people are supportive of this, why were so many people against Korvorkian? Some people refered to him as a serial killer.

Wasn't he doing just that, helping people?

Isn't this man sitting in prison somehwere?

(I'll have to make some time to do some research later on today.

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