"Dying with Dignity" Assisted Suicide

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by wrinkster22, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    A late doctor, Dr. Donald Low Asks for the legalization of assisted suicide. Link
    BACKGROUND Low was a microbiologist who guided us through the SARS epidemic. His last plea was to legalize assisted suicide.
  2. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030


    Feb 9, 2010
    Good for him. Dying with dignity should be a right for everyone. We treat animals with more compassion than we do people when it comes to death.
  3. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    About 12 years ago I was given the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, and told I had 6 months to llve, at best. Even after some pain in the ass surgery (Whipple procedure, for them that knows), and even after walking around inside me for several hours, the surgeon still said it was cancer. About 6 weeks later it was determined that I had had pancreatitis, as wasn't circling the drain, as I thought.

    During that lovely 6 week period, knowing that eventually I would be unable to care for myself and end up in some situation I could not tolerate...I contacted several friends to find someone who would prescribe sufficient barbiturates for me to end my life with whatever dignity I had available to me. It was extremely difficult to ask someone to put their freedom on the line for me, as they could face criminal charges in the absence of an assisted suicide law.I really was not up for the idea of blowing my brains all over the walls with a shotgun...one of the only other solutions available.

    Although I am aware that there are many complex ethical and practical issues involved in assisted suicide, I am a very strong supporter of the concept. The very complex problems can, with some serious effort, be worked out.
  4. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Man I hope you feel better!
  5. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Thanks for your concern.:D

    Aside from some residual GI problems...I'm fine!
  6. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    Yes, yes, and more yes.
  7. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    Number of Dutch killed by euthanasia rises by 13 per cent
    The number of Dutch people killed by medical euthanasia has more than doubled in the 10 years since legislation was changed to permit it, rising 13 per cent last year to 4,188. The netherlands has a population of 18,000,000.

    Voluntary euthanasia or physician assisted suicide, where a doctor is present while a patient kills themselves, usually by drinking a strong barbiturate potion, has been legal in the Netherlands since 2002.
    Requests have risen steadily since 2003 when 1,626 people applied for medically administered euthanasia, in most cases by a lethal injection, or assisted suicide.
    As previously controversial "mercy killings" have become socially and medically acceptable, the number of cases, the vast majority of medical euthanasia, have more than doubled over the decade to 2012.
    One explanation for the steep rise of Dutch cases is the introduction last year of mobile euthanasia units allowing patients to be killed by volunatry lethal injection when family doctors refused.
    Around 80 per cent of people who request euthanasia die at home and are killed by doctors on the grounds that they are suffering unbearable pain and are making an informed choice. The opinion of a second doctor is also required.

    Euthanasia carried out by doctors is only legal in three European countries, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
    Both Holland and Belgium changed the law to permit it 10 years ago. Using figures for 2012 and based on per capita rates, the Netherlands kills twice as many people by euthanasia as Belgium.
    Euthanasia is lowest in Luxembourg, where it has been legal since 2009, between 2011 and end 2012, 14 people were killed, a per capita rate a tenth of that in the Netherlands.
    Most, 78 per cent or 3,251, of the euthanasia requests last year came from people with cancer, new statistics showed on Tuesday.
    Those suffering from nervous system disorders were in second place, 257, followed by the euthanasia of 156 people suffering from cardiovascular disease.
    Forty two people with dementia and 13 patients suffering severe psychiatric problems were medically killed in cases that are rarer and still generate concern over the competence of individuals to request death.
    Medical review committees, that oversee euthanasia after the event, ruled that doctors had failed to meet legal requirements in 10 cases, with two incidents involving the difficulty of informed consent by people suffering from severe dementia.
    It is not known whether or how often a decision to prosecute doctors was taken.
    In one case, approved by the review committee, euthanasia was carried out on an unnamed woman aged between 80 and 90 who was in an advanced stage of dementia.
    The elderly woman was suffering from back pain after a fall and was plagued by delusions caused by her dementia.
    Medication for pain helped, but made her confused and, clinching the case, she had an advance directive requesting euthanasia in the event of her unbearable suffering. During a lucid moment, she was able to tell her doctor, "Yes, I want euthanasia".
    Highlighting the role of doctors in euthanasia or assisted suicide, Dutch prosecutors demanded a suspended sentence for Albert Heringa, 71, who helped his 99-year kill herself in 2008.
    Prosecutors, while accepting that he acted out of compassion,
    have pressed for a conviction because Mr Heringa did not look for the legal alternative of seeking medical assistance to kill his mother.

    Even when people get the system wrong the courts still have compassion.
  8. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    I'm a proponent. I don't see why people shouldn't be able to choose what to do with their lives. Apart from assuring that people are in their right mental state when they make such a commitment, is there any other reasons for it not being legal?

    Apart from the legal issues, I wouldn't mind helping a good friend or family in this case either, if they really wanted it.
  9. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Sep 9, 2010
    Glad to hear it.:)
  10. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502


    Apr 14, 2013
    "Think of the impression that would be made upon you by the news that some one you know had committed the crime, say, of murder or theft, or been guilty of some act of cruelty or deception; and compare it with your feelings when you hear that he has met a voluntary death. While in the one case a lively sense of indignation and extreme resentment will be aroused, and you will call loudly for punishment or revenge, in the other you will be moved to grief and sympathy; and mingled with your thoughts will be admiration for his courage, rather than the moral disapproval which follows upon a wicked action. Who has not had acquaintances, friends, relations, who of their own free will have left this world; and are these to be thought of with horror as criminals? Most emphatically, No! I am rather of opinion that the clergy should be challenged to explain what right they have to go into the pulpit, or take up their pens, and stamp as a crime an action which many men whom we hold in affection and honor have committed; and to refuse an honorable burial to those who relinquish this world voluntarily." Arthur Schopenhauer

    He goes on to quote Pliny "Life is not so desirable a thing as to be protracted at any cost. Whoever you are, you are sure to die, even though your life has been full of abomination and crime. The chief of all remedies for a troubled mind is the feeling that among the blessings which Nature gives to man, there is none greater than an opportune death; and the best of it is that every one can avail himself of it"
  11. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I have seen three people close to me die of protracted, painful diseases: my grandfather (multiple major strokes), mother (cancer, including metastases in the brain and skull), and father (multi-infarct dementia).

    To the uninitiated, it might seem loving to help somebody until the very end, but there comes a point when wiping somebody's backside in the middle of the night because they cannot do it for themselves becomes a brusk mechanical act for you and a humiliating event for them.

    I could not bear to subject my children to what I experienced with my parents and grandfather. Whether or not assisted suicide becomes legal, I'm out of here, so to speak, when I reach the conclusion that I am so infirm that I risk losing the ability to end my own life on my own terms. Failing to legalize assisted suicide simply means that people like me will be forced to take less reliable ways of ending life when the time comes. I do not see how that benefits anybody.

    If you want people to avoid feeling social pressure to end their life when they have a progressive major illness, then provide them socialized medical care so they never feel like they are a burden to the family. At least then any decision they make regarding suicide will be about their own quality of life and not those of others.
  12. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    For those who might be interested, this book addresses some important issues.

    Please understand, I'm not recommending anything to anybody...just offering the book as something of interest.
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    I am all for Dying with Dignity, and this is the main reason I want this. I know I don't want this at all and I hope to god it never comes to that point. But if it does I know I don't want to be around and I am hoping there is an option other than the bullet.
  14. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    You put a cat or a dog to sleep when it is best for them, and we have clearly done so in the past with people, so why not have legal euthanasia? It sounds much better than being a massive (and expensive) burden on others and having no life satisfaction.
  15. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    I don't know how it works in other countries, but in the US, most life insurance policies won't pay if the cause of death is a suicide, so if you had a policy and your intentions were to leave it to your children, killing yourself may hurt them.

    Clearly this is something that needs to be re-examined, especially in cases of legally assisted suicide. If you have a terminal illness, what difference does it make to the insurer if you die today or two months from now?
  16. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    Maybe in some cases, as a poster commented above, they don't die. Or they survive longer (years) of what doctor believed. I think the part of insurance would be a complicated one to manage with the insurance companies.


    I'm a little divided in this topic.

    I for one dislike when people are left in a vegetal state connected with the "hope" that they might one day come back. I guess waiting some months would be OK, but years of waiting is almost cruel to the family and the patient.

    For people that after an accident or severe health issues lose their ability to survive by themselves, I'm not against letting them die by disconnecting them from external help (machines, etc.), and helping them suffer less in the time from disconnecting them and dying.

    But then I also think about how difficult it would be to draw this "line" of what is a situation deserving assisted suicide, and which don't deserve it. I think laws regarding this topic must be either:

    1. Anyone who wants to commit assisted suicide, from whatever medical cause no matter how serious, can do so.
    2. No one can commit assisted suicide.

    I personally opt for the second, I don't like the idea of letting people decide when and how they want to die.
  17. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    The reality is that assisted suicide has been done, and is done all the time. It is just not discussed or labelled as such.

    My father in law (at the time) was dying, slowly and horribly, from respiratory illness. He was being given small doses of morphine to calm him and reduce his struggle to breathe (standard treatment).

    My wife (at the time) and I spoke with his doc. At the time, I was consulting at the respiratory care hospital where my father in law was in patient. We asked the doc to increase his dose, in full knowledge that it would cause his death. He asked if my wife understood what she was asking, and she completely understood, and wanted to end her dad's suffering. Since morphine was standard treatment for his situation, a small increase would not cause the doc any legal problems.

    Standard procedure was to have the nurse who was caring for him to give dose...but she understood what would happen and indicated her discomfort in administering the fatal shot, so the doc did it himself.

    My father-in-law died quietly and peacefully. Instead of suffering for three or four more days...he died well.

    This kind of stuff goes on all the time...it's just not labelled assisted suicide.
  18. Moyank24 macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2009
    in a New York State of mind
    For a different perspective, I suggest watching the documentary, "How To Die In Oregon". It's absolutely heartbreaking but it does give amazing insight into the decision making process and the effect it has on the individual and their families.
  19. DollaTwentyFive macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2010
    Parts Unknown
    This is an interesting question for me.

    I am self-employed and I have no access to employer-provided health insurance. I'm not looking to get into a political conversation but my understanding was that the Affordable Care Act would allow me to purchase health insurance at a reasonable cost and not rule me out for a pre existing condition (I have a bad knee from an awful football injury in college)

    Nothing has yet panned out for me. Anytime I look to purchase insurance for myself, it is more than my monthly mortgage payment. I feel like I have done fairly well for myself but, sadly, I feel like I cannot afford healthcare.

    As such, the assisted suicide question looms large. If I were to develop cancer tomorrow, I certainly would not have the financial ability to pay for surgeries and chemotherapy, radiation, etc. . . I know that great strides have been made in the fight against cancer, but I feel like I am not able to experience those advancements. I'm not limiting my concern to cancer - there is heart disease at a young age in my family.

    In light if all of this - were I to be afflicted with a fatal ailment, I would not want to suffer and leave enormous medical bills behind because I could not afford treatment. I would rather be given the option of assisted suicide. Even as I type this, I realize how awful this sounds.

    I would be happy to pay for insurance if I felt it was affordable. So far, that has not been the case. I can only hope it will change in the near future.
  20. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Plans under the Affordable Care Act will not be available until Oct 1 and coverage starts Jan 1st. Open enrollment starts in five days.

    Check www.healthcare.gov, and in the meantime, there are a few things you can do. I've also read of people having good results from using the Live Chat feature on the Contact Us page.
  21. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    So you don't like people having control over their own life?
  22. jeremy h macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2008
    I think this is an excellent point.

    I have experience of looking after someone who was otherwise very strong and fit but who had cancer. My abiding memory is that of a body that seemed capable of confounding the medics prognosis and continuing to fight way beyond the persons capacity to endure. My biggest regret is that I didn't push harder for more and more morphine. I just didn't know that that was the way it's done. Afterwards - talking to other people it began to dawn on me what we could have done. I now know for the future.

    At the moment there is assisted dying / suicide (call it what you will) available but it's arbitrary and 'under the counter' and restricted to those 'in the know' or those with a sympathetic doctor. That's not fair or just.
  23. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    There should be no laws regarding what you can do to yourself.

    If you really want to take your own life, it should be legal for others to enable yo to do so, but I do think there needs to be certain criteria fulfilled before hand...

    You dont want people offing spouses etc under the guise of "assisted suicide"
  24. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2009
    I'll take note and watch it later.

    Wrong question. I don't like the idea of people having control over their own death.

    As someone above said, "assisted suicides" will continue happening privately. This way at least it is truly just implemented in very special cases, were the patient really is dying already.

    The other way, anyone who fits a criteria will be able to commit suicide. And as I said above, defining this "imaginary line" is, IMO, impossible.
  25. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Their life, their choice on when to end it?
    People also do drugs, rob banks, rape women. Some things needs laws, others doesn't. If I want to end my life, am fully aware of what it means, why should I not be allowed to?

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