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Default Euthanasia - 11-09-2009, 10:29 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, 12:07 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, 12:25 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, 07:27 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 07:30 AM. Reason: Merging for it wouldn't let me edit.
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Default 11-10-2009, 01:54 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, 04:35 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, 09:34 PM

I wrote a paper on this when I was in high school. This is my personal outlook.
For many individuals the quality of life is more important than the length.
Personally, if I was in a vegetative state I would hope to be relieved from my life at that point in time. How I perceive all this is by looking at the quality in which a person lives their life and that it is what makes life a precious thing.There are many people who could live for many of years, but may have not experienced as much as a person who has not ived many years. Neither I nor my family and friends would be able to enjoy life involving me if I was in a vegetative state. Also, It would not only be painful for the person in that state, but also the family and friends that have to see some one like that.The person whom is suffering would no be the person you always knew.

If the body is past its duties, it may be the right thing to extricate the suffering. I know that sounds harsh, but I dont beleive in that kind of lifeless way of living.


Personally I have not experienced euthanasia acted out on anybody I know or was close to, but that still does not change that I believe euthanasia should not be punished. I have been to six funerals; four of the people who passed on died peacefully, one died in a car accident and the other of one of the most painful diseases being pulmonary fibrosis. It broke my heart to see my grandma gasp for air every day and she begged the doctor to relieve her from life as it was too painful to live and they denied her and instead she died in pain. Even people who are not in a vegetative state and are conscious; I would still stand by my beliefs on euthanasia. If the patient is mentally capable of deciding they want to end their life we should let them as it is their last wishes.Prolonging the life of someone who wishes to leave Earth and or is incapable of having a normal quality of life is very wrong and inhumane.


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Default 11-11-2009, 02:45 PM

It's ironic in a way that anyone who allowed an animal to suffer in that way would be charged with animal cruelty, but we still do it to our own kind. People need to realise that there reaches a point when it's cruel to force a loved one to suffer endless and continuous pain, and it's kinder to let them die with dignity.

Father withdraws legal plea over Baby RB's life support | Society | guardian.co.uk

This father fought his son's mother in court, cuz she wanted her son to be allowed to die with dignity, and he wanted him kept alive. He has finally come to the conclusion that his poor little son is suffering, and he should be finally allowed to die. To me, that shows great love; far more than would be shown by forcing life on someone who has no quality of life at all just cuz you can't bear to let them go.


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Default 11-23-2009, 11:08 PM

Man in ‘coma’ heard everything for 23 years - More health news- msnbc.com

Quick summary: Man was declared to be in a coma for 23 years, but was actually completely aware. They didn't realize it until recently when a modern brain scan was used and detected his brain activity.

Quoting some interesting parts:
Quote:
Despite the importance of diagnostic accuracy, the rate of misdiagnosis of vegetative state has not substantially changed in the past 15 years, the study said. Back then, studies found that up to 43 percent of patients with disorders of consciousness are erroneously assigned a diagnosis of vegetative state.
Certainly a case to mull over here. He is being diagnosed as having a form of "locked in" syndrome, where movement and speech doesn't occur, but there is thinking and reason. Definately helps to support Lovie with her decision to hang on for a change.


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Default 11-24-2009, 07:20 AM

But then again, wouldn't that promote the worst suffering? Being trapped in the prison of your own body, unable to do anything... most people would welcome death rather than an entire life like that. Baby RB was like that; he had brain function, but he suffered every day of his life. The decision to let him die was the correct one, and he peacefully passed away with his parents beside him.

The question here is; what is more important, life or quality of life? Or, the fact that a patient is suffering or the fact that their relatives can't bear to lose them? It's a lot like the dilemma that a lot of parents of premature babies go thru. Tho there is always someone who'll bleat out, "But I was a premi! I was born at 24 weeks and survived!", that just shows complete ignorance of the subject. A 20 weeker is a lot different to a 24 weeker; a month is a long time in a fetus's life.


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