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Default Euthanasia - 11-09-2009, 11:29 PM

Or rather, "mercy killing"...

My co-worker and I debated about this a couple times. Dr. Jack Kevorkian was in jail for 8 years (off on good behaviour on a 10-25 year sentence) for assisted suicide - he was letting his "patients" use his "death machine", and helping them kill themselves to put them out of their misery.

All his patients went to him FOR this, and before you get the wrong idea, this isn't just for anyone who wants to die, it was for serious ill people that didn't want to live in pain anymore. He actually filmed himself talking to a lady who wanted to procedure... she had Alzheimer's, and though she was only in the early stages of it, she didn't want to die unhappy and unable to remember her family and life. (I understand that, kinda, because my great grandmother has real terrible Alzheimer's - she only speaks dutch, still thinks she lives in Holland, and most of the time doesn't even recognize my grandma. It's really bad...)

So, the patients go through and interviewing process, then he just hooks them up to this IV at a predetermined date and time, and makes them press a button that injects them with a deadly chemical that kills them in under a minute, and is completely painless.

Is this okay? On one hand, the patients are WILLING, right? And it ends their suffering. On the other hand, it makes us sound like pets, and if this were to be okay by-law, what would stop doctors from say, using it on UNWILLING patients? "Oh, they're going to die anyway, and they're using up a bed." or what about using it on people with mental disorders? Would THAT be okay? Opinions, anyone?
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Default 11-10-2009, 01:07 AM

I've felt that euthanasia for those who are terminally ill should be legal. I'm referring to people who have no chance of survival, such as with late-stage cancer. I actually remember reading a very moving article written by a physician who had a patient who declined treatment for her cancer(which would've been very rigorous and difficult since her's was discovered very late) and used assisted suicide(quite illegally of course). I've heard doctors will do it and even point you to the right books to research it, as well as knowingly prescribe pills they know will be used for suicide.

I must say though that you can't just be ill and opt for it. I think you need to be screened by a psychologist first who can get an appropriate idea of what your state of mind is. I also think there needs to be a required waiting period and even a form of counseling to allow the patient to properly review the decision. Overall, I think it needs to be informed and with proper precautions to prevent a mistake.

To take it a step further, I think doctors who offer these services should not be open to lawsuits either just because family members are disgruntled about someone choosing it. I know some people do not understand the decision not to fight and the one thing that would really prevent it from being pursued, even if legal, is the lack of protection. There needs to be federal and state protection of these doctors, who I believe need to be specially licensed to provide such services just like any other doctor, in order to prevent troubles. Obviously a lot of legal work would be involved in the decision to seek assisted suicide.

I feel though that the illness has to be terminal. You can't just have a mental illness and want to commit suicide(I'm hoping someone will jump up and argue this point, I find the issue very intriguing, especially when discussing if they are in treatment, yet still wish to die due to the implications of a mental illness); no, your life has to be drastically changed by the illness if it is going to be allowed. Basically, that means to me only illnesses resulting in certain(or close to certain) death or illnesses like dementia.

One thing about dementia and alzheimer's is I think the patient has to specify it will still lucid and its not far along or specify it in a legal document(which was created when they were of a right state of mind). I do not think family should have the right to decide when someone who has dementia should die. It is a completely individual choice to me. If that fail-safe is removed, I think its a slippery slope down to state-driven murder.

Though, if you think about it, family already has a role in it and assisted suicide does exist in a form. What about those in comas or on life support? Should we be allowed to "pull the plug" on them? Often those conditions are impossible to predict, meaning individual choice or feelings often would not have been discussed or legally documented. Should families be allowed to kill them, even though the individual may have wanted to live instead, or keep them alive when they take away tax dollars that could be used to patients that can be cured? I'm of the opinion that in these rare cases where there is no possibility of recovery that the state should step in then and require death of these individuals.

If that doesn't get someone jumping on me, I don't know what will.


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Default 11-10-2009, 01:25 AM

Well you're right Kitty, that last bit got to me, lol.

No. No way. The state has no say in my will to fight to live or in my fight to keep my husband living. If I want to wait for a miracle from God then that should be my desicion, stupid or not. In fact that's one of the topics going in my 'What My Family Should Know' book (so going to get one of those, lol).

I think Ethanasia is a good thing and should be legal. Given that I don't agree with Kitty's last bit, the rest makes total and 100% sense.
*Have to be terminally ill.
*They should be of steady mind.
*There should be a waiting time frame and mandatory counsoling.
*Family members should have no say.

The one bit I sort of dissagree with is the immunity to lawsuits. I think they should be immuned in all the right areas. Like being immune against family members who are only doing it because they were against it. But I think other lawsuits should be able to be brought up. Like if the doctor took a shortcut, or if he didn't follow proceedure or other malpractice things.


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Default 11-10-2009, 08:27 AM

What, so if your husband is in a state where his brain is liquid and there is no chance whatever of survival, you will insist on keeping him "alive"? Even if his parents want him to be at rest, and to pull the plug? I used brackets for "alive", simply cuz I believe that if you are in a state where it's only machines that are keeping you going, that is not life. That is existance, and condemning a person to that is cruelty in the extreme.

And yes, I am thinking of this case: Terri Schiavo case - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you're bringing God into it, then surely all medical intervention is going against God's wishes? I don't claim to be an expert, but the given story is that if He wants you to die, then you die. You can't take one side, ie saying you want your husband kept alive by machinery, and not the other, saying you want a miracle. Turn the machines off; if there is that miracle, it will happen then.



Last edited by Miranda_ : 11-10-2009 at 08:30 AM. Reason: Merging for it wouldn't let me edit.
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Default 11-10-2009, 02:54 PM

Aw the beauty of religion. So many things weren't put in that Bible, like machines that keep people alive. So that's up to interpretation. Some believe as you do, and some believe that He wouldn't make us sit back in agony if there was a chance. I just got off the phone with my MIL and she said if it were a coma she would wait for a miracle, but a veggitable and she would pull the plug. It would depend on that last bit for me, but I'll be talking to him tonight about it so I know, if there's ever a case, what he would want me to do.

It was a bit awkward talking to her about it, since the final decision no longer lies with her. But luckily we're both religious so if there's hope, we'll stick together, if there's none then we slightly dissagree.


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Default 11-10-2009, 05:35 PM

I like I how drove this semi-away from the traditional vision of euthanasia by the second post I count myself as successful just for that.

With lawsuits, I was referring only to protection from family. I wasn't clear enough there and should have been. I still believe they should be ope to malpractice suits, even if I'm of the opinion they cause more harm than good a lot because doctors will simply rely on older, outdated methods simply because they are popular since new methods aren't as supported through clinical practice yet(take, for example, the practice of doing an episiotomy during childbirth, despite the fact that new research has proven it does more harm than good for the average woman by causing more tearing. Random example, but still). On the flip side, no lawsuits mean doctors don't have the be careful and they will just pocket money like any human being would given the situation.

For me, pulling the plug on someone comes down to money and where its coming from. Its just one of those issues where I think economically. If the person is being kept alive through welfare or something like that, its a situation where I think the state should step in because I quite frankly don't care to pour my tax dollars into someone who will not live. I know, I just uttered the dreaded nightmare that will occur under Obama with socialism Joking aside, if it is their own money, they can go ahead and do it as long as there are still available services for those who need it.

Another major determining factor for me is whether or not recovery is possible. Let's take an actual medical condition, like internal decapitation(if you don't know what it is, I suggest looking it up). There can be a few outcomes, usually none pleasant. Paralysis, a coma, death, or a very weak chance of recovery(this rarely happens, but I did see a case on TV where a kid did recover from it, insanely enough) are the options. Given that usually death or a coma(usually vegetative) are common, I would say that is a moment where euthanasia or pulling the plug is the kindest course. Euthanasia should be an option if they are paralyzed since its from the neck down. What about the chance of recovery? Should we trust God to grace us with a cure or throw away every possibility by electing death? Interested to see the responses.


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Default 11-10-2009, 07:43 PM

I heard about that Terri Schiavo case. Really, it's all a matter of how one defines the word "alive". I agree with Miranda, if it's to the point where they're no longer thinking/breathing/doing anything on their own, is that really life? In my opinion, that's just torture and terribly selfish to keep them on that kind of support - especially if there is no hope of recovery. If anything were to happen to me like that, I wouldn't want to only be clinging on to life with the help of machines.

That was a problem with it that my coworker and I were talking about. Well, what if the patient can't think for themselves, and can't tell anyone what they want? Who should it be up to - the parents, or the spouse?

And money is a factor. As far as I know, they still have to pay for health care directly in America, right? So for the family deciding to keep this family member alive... it must cost thousands and thousands of dollars. In Canada it's paid through by our taxes and health insurance, so yeah. Technically, all us citizens are paying to keep some people alive that will never get better.

As for Kitty's question, I've talked to a lot of religious people (I'm not religious myself), and apparently, God has our lives all mapped out, so he's the real person in control. If that were true, he should already know what's going to happen either way or something. Besides, isn't death a good thing for religious people? They get to go to heaven, and what not. Though, like I said, why live on machines? That doesn't seem like much of a life, so may as well take the chance.
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Default 11-10-2009, 08:00 PM

That would be my idea of hell, to have my body kept going by machines. To my mind, the spirit, mind, soul... call it what you will, has already left by the time a person reaches a vegetable state. What made your loved one the person they are, no longer exists. It has already vanished, either to Heaven, to the spirit realm, to the air or whatever your beliefs are, and there is nothing whatsoever on earth that can ever bring it back. Therefore, keeping the shell going with machines is just prolonging the agony; best to switch the machines off, let the person die and be at peace, and finally allow yourself to grieve for them.


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Default 11-10-2009, 08:09 PM

Exactly. A lot of people just have a problem with the death of a family member, and they don't want to deal with it, so they're only really keeping them alive for their own reasons.
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Default 11-10-2009, 09:41 PM

I think that living through pain each day is hell and unfair. When you die, you die, and you don't have to live through pain. I agree that you would have to get a screening and be checked to see if you really need to die, if you state of mind is unhealthy you might be physcological problems. I would want to die slowly and very painfully, if I could just be killed harmlessly and quickly. Its unfair to the patient to be put thru torture then to be die peacefully and be put out of thier misery.


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