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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    I believe that in cases where consent is not in question, euthanasia is a kindness. I don't think it's humane to keep alive a human who is suffering pain that would induce us to put down an animal.

    The in-your-right-mind-to-give-informed-consent issue is the tricky part, because as soon as you say "people have the right to determine when they die," the flip side is that you're also saying it would be unethical to attempt to prevent the suicide of someone who is mentally ill. So: where do you draw the "in your right mind to make the decision" line?

    I don't have an answer to that.
    One of the very tough problems is that wishing to die has been considered a sign of insanity for a long time. So there are some desires one cannot have and be rational at the same time.... just by definition.

    But let me bet you guys a steak dinner that within the next half-century or so, we will change our ethics about this.

    IMO, that will happen when we run out of money and ration health care far more than we do now. When folks who "count"-- those who are well-off and articulate-- start pointing out the senseless financial destruction of families stemming from expensive medical care for loved ones who will die anyway and may suffer themselves in the process, this will change.

    Who's taking the bet?
    The armchair saddler
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    We allow both patients and families of the patients with health care directives to refuse medical care. I don't see that giving a person the wherewithal to end it is much different. Where the correct paperwork is in place setting out the conditions of his/her death from a time that a person IS in sound mind , I really don't see that it's any damn business of the greater society whether the person lives or dies by clearly expressed wishes.
    The "won't help you die but will withhold life support" is a fine line enjoyed by sissies. I don't see what there is to be proud of if you can say "Hey, I didn't do any killing today, but I did check in on my dying-slowly-of-dehydration patient whose 'care' cost another $1,200."

    Sadly, this puts the needs of the doctor above the needs of the patient who is arguably suffering more. WTF kind of ethics is that?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by starhorse View Post
    Just curious... what stops someone from giving the pills to someone else? Can you travel to Oregon to get this, or do you have to be a resident for a given period of time?

    This sounds like such a strange post, but I ask because I have a family member with Alzheimer's who has low quality of life. He is very confused to the point of frequent and violent panic, even just going from kitchen to bedroom. He often requires sedation to calm down, but has negative effects from it. He has a full-time in-home nurse and a hospice nurse one time per week, but I feel like he's being put through unnecessary pain every day. He can barely speak anymore.

    I am wondering about why more options aren't available for people like him.
    You do have to establish yourself as a resident of Oregon for what I believe is one year. HBO did a documentary on this a couple of years ago where they followed people who chose this path. The people were given a concoction to drink which apparently didn't taste very good. HBO did not film the death, but did show everything leading up to it. It was a very well made documentary.

    I'm sorry about your dad...
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    And another thing! A God who would consign me to suffering when there was another option that hurt no one but ended my life.... well, He ain't worth much to me. I can't believe anyone would argue for a God that did produce pointless suffering as "part of the deal."
    mvp, So well put, thank you!

    We have a friend who has a terminal illness and her doctor has told her that although her mind will always be as clear as it is now, her body will slowly fail. He said that eventually, she will suffocate to death. I don't know whether or not she is going to choose euthanasia, nor do I care as that is up to her. I do however believe that I should NOT be the one telling her (by voting against assisted suicide/euthanasia) that she has to basically drown in her own body while her mind is still perfectly intact. I just don't see where it's up to me to basically tell anyone that they have to suffer.
    "Be the change you want to see in the world."
    ~Mahatma Gandhi



  5. #25
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    Thanks so much for all of these posts. It is interesting to hear everyone's perspective, particularly in regards to mental soundness.

    Regarding God... the grandfather in question was a minister. He no longer knows God, he no longer understands religion (he lost all of that many months ago), he no longer recognizes his wife... heck, he no longer can walk to the bathroom alone.

    I think, if there is a God (which for me, jury's still out), he'd understand the desire for a peaceful and expedited death in this case.



  6. #26
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    OP, your mother should speak to a lawyer regarding the tricky legal aspects of what you are asking (e.g. difference between Power of Attorney and health directive, what they mean and what rights they confer).

    I'm sorry I can't give you any legal advice (I don't practice in your state) but my condolences to you & your family going through this.
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng



  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    That is, of course, if you believe in God. Otherwise, it's just cruel Nature at work.

    I'm all for suicide as an honorable way to meet an unforgiving future. Which is not quite the same as euthanasia. I do believe that every person should have an equivalent of the cyanide capsule at hand.
    I don't believe in God as taught by churches. I do believe in spirituality and within that the energy of the human mind creates what I refer to as God.

    Why the he!! would you give an alzheimer patient a cyanide capsule?
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by starhorse View Post
    Thanks so much for all of these posts. It is interesting to hear everyone's perspective, particularly in regards to mental soundness.

    Regarding God... the grandfather in question was a minister. He no longer knows God, he no longer understands religion (he lost all of that many months ago), he no longer recognizes his wife... heck, he no longer can walk to the bathroom alone.

    I think, if there is a God (which for me, jury's still out), he'd understand the desire for a peaceful and expedited death in this case.
    Starhorse, my father died from complications of alzheimers so I feel your pain.

    To the poster that has a friend dying and the outcome is a clear mind with a body ravaged by pain, why don't they look at another form of suicide? There are many ways to kill yourself that don't include using your doctor, family or friends as accomplices.

    Sorry I sound so riled up by this, I'm reeling from losing a friend. He was killed by a drunk driver. A driver that has multiple dui arrests on his record.
    "All top hat and no canter". *Graureiter*



  9. #29
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    Washington state also has a "Death With Dignity" law. There are requirements around it such as the person needs to ask their doctor a certain number of times in a certain time period, at least once in writing. It's also built into the law that the death certificate will list the person's condition, say "cancer" as the cause of death, not suicide.



  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    I don't believe in God as taught by churches. I do believe in spirituality and within that the energy of the human mind creates what I refer to as God.

    Why the he!! would you give an alzheimer patient a cyanide capsule?
    You misunderstand. I would not give an Alzheimer's patient a cyanide capsule. In my world the person would already have the capsule before the diagnosis and could use it when life became intolerable.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by vineyridge View Post
    If a person is so depressed they REALLY want to kill themselves and they are not delusional, why isn't living or dying a personal choice?
    A stream of disjointed pre-caffeinated thoughts:

    Because depression doesn't have to be a terminal illness.

    At the same time, a lot of conditions that kill people are treatable, but there comes a point where the treatment doesn't work. Or maybe it never did. Or maybe you can't afford treatment.

    I've never decided which is worse, having your brain rot in a healthy body, or being held prisoner in your body while it fails you. I know I'd put a bullet in my brain in the case of #2. So, do I have any right to tell someone what he or she can and cannot do in the case of #1? Does the neural misfiring give me that right, because if the brain isn't working right, that person can't decide for him or herself?

    I'll go and find the interview later, but if I recall correctly, every one of the people who a) survived the jump off the Golden Gate bridge (26 people?) and b) consented to be interviewed (7 people) realized in mid-air--not two seconds after jumping--that they didn't want to die.

    At first I thought the discussion of what I find an interesting ethical and psychological question was hijacky to this thread, but I'm not so sure.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
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  12. #32
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    I support it.

    Two years ago I watched my relatively young (52) Mom slip away and die from a horrifying auto immune disease. Once her and her doctors/nurses knew that the end was inevitable, they allowed her to take too much Morphine to slip into a coma. She knew what she was doing, they knew what they were doing. I'm sure it was pretty illegal but it was so peaceful for mom. I would hate to see someone kept around/alive for longer than they want to be, especially when they're in a lot of pain
    **Friend of bar.ka**

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  13. #33
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    Revising my theology a bit.

    I take seriously the folks who want to reconcile this issue with their religion or spirituality. It's impossible to ask anyone to consider a position they don't already hold if you start by glibly trashing theirs. As a sales friend put it to me, "You don't sell baby clothes by first telling them that you can help because their baby is just.so.ugly."

    So here's the Extended Dance Mix of what I said here:
    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    And another thing! A God who would consign me to suffering when there was another option that hurt no one but ended my life.... well, He ain't worth much to me. I can't believe anyone would argue for a God that did produce pointless suffering as "part of the deal."
    1. Looking for proof of God in anything-- from evolutionary adaptations to who lives and who dies according to our sensibilities-- isn't a sure-fire way to know much about God at all. Surely He is smarter than we and doesn't have to make Himself known to us "on our terms." That means that everyone needs to be a tad agnostic.

    2. On that basis, I'm willing to believe that God intervenes to determine who lives and who dies. We can find plenty of extraordinary measures taken to save lives that ultimately fail, and plenty of people who live through stuff predicted to kill them. So if you want to leave an acre of from for God to act in this huge chain of events, meh, that's fine with me.

    3. And that granted-- that God does actually flip that Life/Death switch-- doesn't matter much. We still have choices about what we want to do up to arriving at the edge of God's territory. He may control the Life/Death switch, but He also invented morphine and cyanide and frail human bodies that can't survive various things.

    So, leaving God his position at the Life/Death switch, you still can do stuff that points toward euthanasia without being immoral or stepping on His toes.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  14. #34
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  15. #35
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    While Gloria Taylor has died of her disease which was Lou Gherig's disease, her case is still going on, supported by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
    Euthanasia is not legal here, but Gloria's 85 year old mother is continuing her fight for her ... people should not have to go through this.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    Why the he!! would you give an alzheimer patient a cyanide capsule?
    Because he is suffering now and that will only get worse. Most likely, the family is, too. Reread the OP's post to appreciate what he is experiencing: The guy gets scared going from one room to another.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
    Starhorse, my father died from complications of alzheimers so I feel your pain.

    To the poster that has a friend dying and the outcome is a clear mind with a body ravaged by pain, why don't they look at another form of suicide? There are many ways to kill yourself that don't include using your doctor, family or friends as accomplices.

    Sorry I sound so riled up by this, I'm reeling from losing a friend. He was killed by a drunk driver. A driver that has multiple dui arrests on his record.
    What?

    The very bad death of your friend sucks.

    The suffering of terminally ill patients sucks, too.

    They are unrelated. In other words, why keep someone suffering alive so as to somehow "make up" for another's bad death? Doesn't that just insure suffering for all?

    To me, the same goes for assisted and unassisted suicide. What difference does it make if someone has to do it "the hard way" when "the easy way" is available? I get that no doctor (save, perhaps Jack Kevorkian) wants to make the dispatch of sick people his specialty. But why not? Why not make cultural room for self-euthanasia such that the doctors that provide it don't have to feel bad?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  18. #38
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    Such a difficult thing to regulate.

    My mom died of cancer. At the end she was heavily medicated and not give food or fluids. The "good" part was that the doctors and hospital were very realistic and compassionate. The family was united and she got enough pain management to render her unconcious when the pain would have been too much to bear. The bad part was that she had to linger in that state because they couldnt actively end her life.

    My dad has dementia/alzheimers. At this point he is all but mentally dead. There is no telling how much longer his body will hang on. For him, this part is not difficult. He is in a good facility with medication to keep him happy if he needs it. The difficult part was when he was aware enough to be anxious and upset. He would like to have ended it then, but it would have taken something very overt to end it at that point as his body was still working. Best we could do is authorize medications and wait for more deterioration...

    What is scary for me is that I am single, no kids with only older siblings. With father and grandmother having suffered from dementia, it is a frightening prospect to face with no sure advocate. Right now the methods are either awfully violent and traumatizing to whoever finds the person, or they are not very certain.

    * True Twilight Zone kind of story: Mom worked at a rehab hospital. One patient was recovering from a gunshot. Seems he was depressed and put a gun in his mouth and shot. In a horrible twist of fate, he did not kill himself but shot through his spinal cord and woke up a quadraplegic.



  19. #39
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    I've never understood why it's a 'kindness' to put an animal to death when it is severely ill or injured, but a person should suffer and languish in pain for who knows how long.

    I'm all for assisted suicide. If I were really sick with something terminal or was going to have no quality of life, I'd rather drink a concoction or take pills or whatever than suffer through.

    People have a ... I forgot what it's called. You fill it out and decide beforehand if you want to be saved if you go into cardiac arrest. Do not resuscitate order. Why can't a person fill something out that says, if i'm deathly ill or incapacitated, I wish to be terminated. Like a donor mark on your driver's license.



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by pal-o-mino View Post
    People have a ... I forgot what it's called. You fill it out and decide beforehand if you want to be saved if you go into cardiac arrest. Do not resuscitate order. Why can't a person fill something out that says, if i'm deathly ill or incapacitated, I wish to be terminated. Like a donor mark on your driver's license.
    I think the difference is that a DNR is meant for no heroics trying to save a life when the quality of life will be very poor if kept alive.

    As for making it legal, it could be in any state if a measure was approved in a general election.

    Even so, in Oregon it's not a simple process:

    Under the law, a competent adult Oregon resident who has been diagnosed, by a physician, with a terminal illness that will kill the patient within six months may request in writing, from his or her physician, a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of ending the patient's life. Exercise of the option under this law is voluntary and the patient must initiate the request. Any physician, pharmacist or healthcare provider who has moral objections may refuse to participate.

    The request must be confirmed by two witnesses, at least one of whom is not related to the patient, is not entitled to any portion of the patient's estate, is not the patient's physician, and is not employed by a health care facility caring for the patient. After the request is made, another physician must examine the patient's medical records and confirm the diagnosis. The patient must be determined to be free of a mental condition impairing judgment. If the request is authorized, the patient must wait at least fifteen days and make a second oral request before the prescription may be written. The patient has a right to rescind the request at any time. Should either physician have concerns about the patient's ability to make an informed decision, or feel the patient's request may be motivated by depression or coercion, the patient must be referred for a psychological evaluation.

    The law protects doctors from liability for providing a lethal prescription for a terminally ill, competent adult in compliance with the statute's restrictions. Participation by physicians, pharmacists, and health care providers is voluntary. The law also specifies a patient's decision to end his or her life shall not "have an effect upon a life, health, or accident insurance or annuity policy."


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