Assisted Suicide

Discussion in 'Politics' started by B_Doodleman, May 30, 2011.

  1. B_Doodleman

    B_Doodleman New Member

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    Spoiler Alert below!

    I saw the documentary How to Die in Oregon recently and was really moved by the film. The movie portrayed stories of Oregonians and a Washingtonian and their relations to Physician-Assisted Suicide.

    For those that don't know, Washington State and Oregon have laws that allow for people to die with certain prescribed drugs. Only the patient can administer the drugs, no one else can. However, in order to receive the drugs, a physician must sign onto it. Many insurance companies cover the fee.

    The movie followed mostly one woman who viewed it as a way for her die without being a burden to her family and to set the time of her own death. She created a checklist and enjoyed her final days. Another story within showed a cancer-ridden man who was incredibly upset that his insurance company offered to pay him for the Right-to-Die pills and not for continued chemotherapy. His chances were small but he wanted to die trying and felt that it was criminal for his company to offer him that option. They reversed their opinion when he went public and he died during therapy.

    I was just curious of what members' views were on Physician-Assisted Suicide and Human Euthanasia. Personally, I believe if a person's chances of survival are small and the pain is overbearing, then they should have a right to Physician-Assisted Suicide. I'm okay with Human Euthanasia as long as they left aside clear instructions and conditions for such a case. I don't believe insurance companies should give patients either of those as final available options but should continue paying for treatment as covered by the patient's plan if they desire it.

    *Not sure if this belongs in politics (because there are multiple movements in the US to put this into other state laws and politicians may be asked questions) or in et cetera
     
    #1 B_Doodleman, May 30, 2011
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  2. D_Rufus_D_Dufus

    D_Rufus_D_Dufus Account Disabled

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    In my personal opinion if what I had affected my quality of life and I was a burden to the people around me then I would do it.
     
  3. midlifebear

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    Keep the government and the insurance companies out of a person's right to die with dignity. Can't count on both hands anymore how many friends I've accompanied to Zurich (elective suicide is legal in Switzerland) and helped them check into a hospice where they were legally able to choose the day, and the method, of permanently going to sleep. Barbiturates seem to work best with a valium chaser.

    Supposedly, you need to be a Swiss citizen, but I've yet to have any hospice turn away any terminally ill friends from EU countries.
     
  4. B_jdunhill

    B_jdunhill New Member

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    I have looked into this some, and recently a Canadian news magazine looked into the new bylaws a municipality there is trying to implement due to the increase in the 'tourism' associated with this kind of compasionate care. My grandmother died of a slow bone/lung/brain cancer and was in unbearable pain, and more than likely died from the opiate toxicity from so many pain meds. My Grandfather is now 86 and I have had to put him in a facility to care for him as his strokes and dimensia just became too much for me to handle on my own. It is heartbreaking to see up close. Absolutely nothing frightens me anymore but...I wish Canada would give a hard look at this.
     
  5. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    So do I, jd ... but the Harperites will never look at this stuff.
     
  6. tamuning

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    As an Oregonian I am proud that our citizens enacted this law. It has been around for years, and despite all the naysayers it has been working as intended. As the maker of the film repeated, you don't know what you would do until you are there -- it is the ultimate personal freedom. But it is not exactly easy to set up, and that is one of the safeguards in place to ensure it is not misused.

    One of the reasons the law was enacted and is still necessary is the disgraceful way that the medical profession ignores the personal needs of patients, especially in the area of pain control, and the even more disgraceful performance of insurance companies.

    I have not seen the film yet, although much has been written about it and how well it was made, with a balanced and excruciatingly personal point of view about a topic that makes many otherwise thoughtful and intelligent people very squeamish. I look forward to being enlightened, and to better understand this most private of human passages.
     
  7. dandelion

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    I don't know if it has reached the US, but the author Terry Pratchett suffers from early onset dementia and has been particularly vocal in the UK publicising his condition and his desire to pick the moment to go before it leaves him as a vegetable. He did a tv program and a BBC lecture about it a year or so ago and I think tomorrow there is to be a TV program where he accompanied someone to Switzerland for their own suicide. Preview reviews of the program have been quite complimentary. They said that Pratchett's PA/assistant who accompanies him is quite upset about the whole idea which nicely illustrates the dilemma of the person concerned who is determined not to be stuck in what they regard as an intolerable position and those around them who might not agree.

    Especially difficult when your medical problem means that by the time it is so bad as to be intolerable you are no longer capable of doing anything about it, but this is by no means unusual. And then you have to drag yourself halfway across europe to prevent your relatives/loved ones being arrested for helping you out. Not to mention the hypocrisy that medically assisted suicide by way of excessive pain relief is well established if unspoken.

    Pratchett no doubt has the money for the care he needs and to ease the legalities when it comes to it, but he has chosen to do what he can to help others in the same position by campaigning for a change in the law so this could all take place in the UK. At the moment the authorities are shuffling their feet and declining to take action against elderly murderers who have assisted their loved ones. Some are beginning to get a bit militant that they should not have to face the threat of spending the rest of their lives in gaol for doing what is obviously right.
     
  8. arkfarmbear

    arkfarmbear New Member

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    No one can decide when it is the time to die other than the person. I've been in chronic pain for over 30 years and the thought of living another day is miserable. "We treat our animals better than we treat our loved ones" is now simply a cliche. Every day people attempt suicide and don't succeed. Their life becomes even more miserable afterwards. I think the drugs should be readily available to anyone who wants to buy them. We let people buy guns even though they are often used for suicide (and to kill others!). If we are okay with the latter we should also be okay with the former.
     
  9. dandelion

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    Well the program nicely highlighted MR Pratchett's own dilemma. Should he wish to avail himself of the facilities in switzerland he has to make sure he goes there while still of sufficiently sound mind to give informed consent and take an active part in his own death. He has no choice but to die before the disease makes his life unacceptably bad.

    There was a doctor assessing the people who came to die, who has to decided whether they fit the legal criteria. She said some 10% get sent away. In the case of one of the two brits who went there to die, she said that had he been swiss she would have sent him back home. However, taking into consideration the difficulty he might have coming back to switzerland in the future, she felt she had to let him go through with it there and then. Dignitas said that 70% of the people who come to see them and make arrangements for their future in fact never come back. There is a real difficulty in people feeling they have no choice but to die now because the risk of being stuck back home without being able to die when they choose is too great.
     
  10. Bbucko

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    The final months (if not years) of the lives of most of us living in The West are cruel and ghoulish. They are also full of extravagant waste of money and medical resources. I have been a loud and very consistent voice advocating one's right to choose how and when to die. As someone who has lived with HIV since 1984, this is not hypothetical for me; rather, it's a frank discussion of the inevitable.

    My immediate family and close friends are fully aware of how I stand on this. I have seen the lives of scores of friends and loved ones dragged on far beyond any notion of dignity or decency has been broached and have no interest in having such images be how I'm last seen.

    We are all (parents, sister and myself) very strict about DNR/heroic measures, though I am the only one who has voiced a desire to be the final arbiter of my last days (to the degree it's possible), and then only with my sister. This July, I'll be spending a week with my parents at their home in the Berkshires, I'll make my wishes about this very clear to them. Based on conversations we've had recently, I feel fairly certain that they feel the same way about that, as well.

    Ultimately, this is not about death: it's about life. For as long as has been possible, I've lived it by my own rules and standards, and have every intention of seeing it through the same way. If my criteria were merely chronic pain, debilitating depression and a diminution of sensory and cognitive function, I'd have opted out a long time ago. Pleasure and joy still dominate, despite impairments that are degenerative and slowly building, because I am still productive and have the ability to influence my environment (and those with whom it's shared) in a positive spirit.

    When those two elements of my life are no longer possible, but while I'm still capable of independent action and communication, I have every intention of a graceful, loving and dignified departure.
     
  11. D_Gunther Snotpole

    D_Gunther Snotpole Account Disabled

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    The pain, only you would know about, Bbucko.
    The depression? Well, it surprises me a bit. I would call you a mood lifter on many threads and, by reports, in life.
    And the cognitive function? I want to snort, B. You seem like one of the sharp ones on this board, and I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that. (That's not to say you weren't even sharper, say, two decades ago ... but I could say that myself.)

    But I have to take you at your word. And I want to say that I really admire your courage and your unflinching insistence on seeing things clearly, free from all wishful thinking. This quality marks just about every post you've ever written, it seems to me.

    Your wish to be the final arbiter of your final days is one I share for my own life.
    My health is good, but I come from a family in which the usual third act has one fine on Tuesday and gone on Wednesday.
    I believe very much in respect for life but, with you, I think that principle weighs in on the side of allowing each of us control over when life ends and not the contrary.
     
  12. Bbucko

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    The physical pain caused by my arthritic neck (and some strange neurological hijinks I won't get into right here) just sort of are. I can ignore it, and I can treat it (though I'm a zombie when full pain-suppression is achieved), but it's my constant companion.

    The depression ebbs and flows; I've yet to find a medication whose side-effects are warranted by any real results (and I've tried just about all of 'em). But there's been little real great joy in my life for many years, and a lot of frustration, certainly when compared with my life in other times. This might just really be an artifact of aging: it's certainly a common enough complaint I hear out there.

    The same could be said vis-a-vis cognitive function, I guess. I base it on my ability to focus, my short-term memory and my ability to stay reasonable instead of relying on emotionalism on my feet, at the spur of the moment. By those standards, I'm probably less than half as functional as I was, say, ten or eleven years ago. I can still pull off a verbal sleight-of-hand or some other parlor trick in a limited social situation, but am certain that any attempt to use that energy again in a full-time career position would lead to disaster for all concerned.

    It's different in writing, because it needn't all just flow, and I can write with assurance after having verified that everything is precisely as I intend to express it. I'll probably preview and edit this post three (or more) times before it gets posted. These aren't options IRL.

    I recently had a conversation with my parents about friends and one's network of support: they both claimed to have none of the former and precious little of the latter. This doesn't really surprise me, because growing up they had associates, but no real friends. I had no role models on how to structure friendship and no guidance from them, either.

    But I've always relied on friends, and my ability to cultivate friendship, to help shape perspective and keep focused on what's important in life. And at this moment, my life has never been richer in the support and care of friends. I couldn't survive without them.

    I really have no place left in my life for "magical realism": reality has squeezed all those tendencies out of my head. I still have an appalling taste in men, though, which accounts for my remaining single these past seven or so years. When I apply that regime of absolute realism to the men whom I find attractive (and vice versa), it really doesn't take too long to pass rather than continue playing in a futile game.

    It's really funny, I've found, that in life one inevitably finds that which one seeks the hardest. I've always chased adventure, and as a result live a life that is so insanely implausible that it wouldn't get past an hour's workshop for even the cheesiest movie or play. It's always been that way, and always will be. I can only imagine what I'd have achieved if longevity or material success had been genuinely-desired objectives.
     
  13. fldan1978

    fldan1978 Member

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    Yea I think that all states need to do this. I think one of the main reason that hospitals have life-support so they can milk more money out of the family. there's no reason for me to be a burden on my family. if I'm going to suffer please let me go! My family already knows if i reach the "end of life" stages I want no CPR or life support
     
  14. cruztbone

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    assisted suicide is neither evil nor a threat to sociey. thanks Dr. Kevorkian , for helping those in pain with a dignified alternative.
     
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