Euthanasia - good or bad?

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by S.J. Faerlind, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Soooooo TFF has been kinda dead lately and as a consequence I thought we might need some new threads. I don't think we've discussed this issue in debates yet.....?
    So what are your thoughts on euthanasia?
     
  2. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I'm all for it... obviously voluntary euthanasia that is not an annual cull like Logan's Run ;)

    If I was seriously ill, in awful pain, had no quality of life or my brain had gone to sponge (dementia) I'd want option to end my life with dignity or to have been able to leave instructions to that effect whilst mentally capable of doing so. I'm an atheist so I don't see why other peoples' religious or moral hang-ups should be forced on me or be allowed to restrict my personal choices for my own life. I'd have no issue signing my consent absolving others of any responsibility for the decision nor having to wait some sort of cooling-off period having taken decision before it's actioned... or cancelled.

    At the end of the day we have no choice being brought into being but once here we shouldn't be treated like a material object where others control how or when your life should be ended. We're all going in a box anyway at some point.
     
  3. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I am enthusiastically for Euthanasia.

    Not only as a personal choice; but beyond one's own life we should be able to end the lives of people who're useless or really annoying, or just too old. This was once done with reckless abandon in days gone by... I would like a return to the days of yesteryear when life wasn't so precious.:)
     
  4. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Having lost two grandparents and one great aunt to alzhiemers I'm very much for allowing there to be an option for people to choose death over a prolonged life of pain. We have no problem, indeed its considered very responsible to have pets or animals put to sleep if they are suffering from incurable pain or stress and we should extend that kindness to our own race too.

    Certainly such measures would need protections to avoid those who are of unsound mind and yet capable of recovery from opting in (highly depressed people for example).

    The biggest problem is avoiding problems with inheritance and gain via another persons demise. Whilst it can be argued that those prepared to kill will kill no matter the law; it can be said that euthanasia is not direct killing (the people won't do it, a doctor would) and that introduces the problem that as its not a direct involvement that more people might try to trick the system for their own gain. It's a concern but I think that its one that could be strongly limited via proper procedures and by studies of nations that already have euthanasia programs.
     
  5. jake1964

    jake1964 Old enough to be your dad

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    Perhaps.

    But who do you trust to make that kind of decision for yourself?
     
  6. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    That's certainly a hard question though a few thoughts:

    1) One can make a choice before anything happens; in the case of common ailments or conditions you could approach it much like people approach organ donation so that if you're put into a certain state there is already a choice made by yourself (error is then a question of the accuracy of diagnosis by the doctors).

    2) Pre-arranged policies in the medical profession - we already have some of these for things such as people on long term life support where there is already an established method for both continuation and cessation of the machines. Adding to that list with a selection of other medical conditions could be possible and would build upon already established concepts.

    In the end there is also a question of perspective, some people have lived with amazingly serious conditions or ailments; been in great pain or of serious disability and yet continued to live a fulfilling life without the desire to end it. So of course there has to be a weighting toward the person choosing not to end their life.
     
  7. jake1964

    jake1964 Old enough to be your dad

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    Very well thought out answers.

    I think for clarity's sake, S.J. should clarify whether she meant voluntary euthanasia (at the request of the patient) or non-voluntary euthanasia (the patient is unable to either give or withhold consent).

    Unlike Sparrow, I'm fairly certain she was not referring to involuntary euthanasia which occurs when euthanasia is performed on a person who is able to provide informed consent, but does not, either because they do not choose to die, or because they were not asked.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2013
  8. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    But as a society such as ours aren't we already deciding who lives and who dies?

    I don't know if any of you watched a documentary on this subject, it aired on PBS http://video.pbs.org/video/2304058290/... it was quite an eye-opener. With the religiosity in this country, and our lawsuit-happy culture, we've turned wanting to die into a ridiculous and humiliating process.
     
  9. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I'd also like to add... or I guess ask the question... if someone very close to you asked you to mercifully allow them to die, would you be able to do it?
     
  10. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    It's impossible to answer that without context and the answer depends a lot on the persons life and condition.

    If a perfectly (in body and mostly in mind) friend/family wanted to die I would most likely strongly oppose such a choice and strongly ensure they sought proper support. A healthy person should not be wanting to die nor seeking it out in such a direct manner.

    If that person were seriously suffering from an illness of the mind and/or body then, again, I'd do my best to ensure that they sought proper medical support and treatment before any such choice of ending life should come into the equation. As I said before things such as depression should be very strongly taken into account to protect people from themselves to a degree.

    In the end a loved one wanting to leave our lives is something we will nearly always resist against and to leave permanently through death is a very final leaving many will go to more extreme lengths to prevent. That said I've had relatives die to alzhiemers and there is a stage at which they are regressed into a terrible state where the body is living but the mind is utterly destroyed - in that specific case the person ends up being dead twice; once for the mind which is slow (typically) and once for the body (which can also be very slow). If such a person wished to die and their quality of life was significantly poor then yes I would approve such a choice. Yes I'd be very sad, but I'd rather let them die than force them to live beyond their minds limit and into a period of suffering repeat confusion, panic, fear and madness as their mind fails them.


    This is, however, not an easy subject and many of the terms used end up being very general since we don't exactly have specific guide lines. Quality of life is a very variable concept and whilst we can make some general guidelines I don't think we can make hard and fast rules as easily.

    I think, however, that providing the legal option would be a step in the right direction in allowing society to start accepting that concept in its thoughts. From there we might find that its a lot easier to consider where the boundaries are when we are accepting and thinking about it than when we remain much as many nations are which is almost in a state of denial about death - heck with media we are already in denial and fear of old age (all those anti-wrinkle creams etc...)
     
  11. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Jake is absolutely right. I never meant for this thread to discuss the ending of a life as a penalty for being old, useless, a criminal, or for being annoying. Anyone wishing to debate the death penalty should start another thread. I meant for everyone to discuss euthanasia as an act of compassion, done to ease another person's suffering when the quality of their life is poor. I think both voluntary and non-voluntary situations apply to the question.

    If their quality of life was a) terrible (as determined by them) b) unable to be improved under current circumstances and c) the method of euthanasia was humane, I think I would be able to authorize it or do it myself. I think we're very lucky that we can do this for our pets and spare them the end bit when their lives have deteriorated to the degree that they can't enjoy them anymore. They get to die with a lot more dignity and comfort than most of us do.

    I have to agree with Overread that there are serious roadblocks to human euthanasia though. I shudder to think that people might find ways to legally euthanize rich relatives so they can inherit sooner or as a conspiracy to commit murder. There's also the issue of mistakes.... mistakes in diagnosis and prognosis of medical conditions for example. Medicine is not an exact science and some people do beat the odds set against them, in spite of how impossible they must seem sometimes.
     
  12. jake1964

    jake1964 Old enough to be your dad

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    Such a penalty would pretty much wipe out this whole forum. ;)
     
  13. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Undoubtedly. In fact such a penalty would pretty much wipe out the whole world. Odds are there's someone out there who would find an excuse to exact the death penalty on every individual alive. I think we'd have to give up the idea of being a social species under such a regime. *rolls eyes*
     
  14. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm sure we had an extended debate thread on this topic already, but the search function sucks balls!

    I'm all for it, provided as Overread said, proper procedures, checks and balances are in place. If so, I see now reason to force anyone to live if they don't want to. I'd rather people had the choice to sip a chemical cocktail or take an injection that puts them to sleep, surrounded by their loved ones (or not as is their choice), rather than having someone find you hanging from the rafters or jumping in front of a train.

    As well as the very ill, I also believe that if an otherwise perfectly healthy happy person simply chooses to end their life, they should be allowed to. If they are not diagnosed as depressed or any other mental illness, they are just not interested in being alive any more, let them go.

    Once again, provided all checks and balances are accounted for to prove nobody is pressuring them to do so, they are of adult age, no mental illness is clouding their judgement etc - I see no harm in this. And realistically, it's not like there's going to be a flood of suicides from otherwise healthy happy people.
     
  15. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Ahh but there in lies a problem

    a) A normal healthy and mentally sane person should be able to choose to end their own life within the legally allowed system

    b) It is not normal to wish to end ones own life for no reason other than to end it; as a result the desire to end ones own life is often a very clear sign of not being of sound mental state
     
  16. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I am not about to remark on who or what sucks balls ...but it's not the search function

    http://www.thefantasyforum.com/show...de-patient-induced-death&highlight=Euthanasia
    Apparently you had the last word on it :p

    Also:
    http://www.thefantasyforum.com/showthread.php?7095-Terri-Schiavo&highlight=Euthanasia


    To be honest, I'd say that any country which obstructs the right of a person to take his or her own life is not a pure liberal, secular democracy. Euthanasia, being a part of this, is the (medical) service to those who are unable to help themselves, so to say. And, yes, I would say that medical reasons can be very compelling in that ultimate of decisions.

    That is not to say that euthanasia is not controversial. Think about it: you are asking a person, in this case a medical professional, to end your life. Another way to say this is that he is asked to kill, even though that might be in mercy and with permission. Now, doctors (a lot of them anyway) will see people die from time to time, but taking an active role in such, I can only imagine that's quite something else. I wouldn't envy anyone with administration of euthanasia in their job description, however much I am all for it.
     
  17. jake1964

    jake1964 Old enough to be your dad

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    I have had the experience of personally putting down a beloved pet.
    Even though it was necessary and the kindest thing to do, I felt like the lowest, most disgusting, piece of filth you can imagine.
    I cannot fathom how someone would cope with doing that to another human.
     
  18. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    Ok... so we haven't had a thread on this in quite awhile then :D


    I imagine that a medical professional would cope with it by changing the way they regard death.

    In western culture, we generally regard death as a bad thing. It's the end of life, a separation from those who are left alive and for many it's a great unknown. People often fear the unknown so it makes sense that they would fear death. Death also causes the living pain. As Jake pointed out, it's hard to watch loved ones die and it sucks to miss them after they're gone. The process of dying doesn't look all that comfortable either in my opinion. It's easy to see why people dread death so much.
    On the other hand, life is generally regarded as precious and full of enjoyment, opportunity, potential and promise.

    I think that sometimes the tables get turned however. Personally, I don't dread the state of being dead... I dread the last dregs of life. I had an experience once where I got some kind of flu bug or something. It was a high fever, flat on my back, couldn't do anything at all kind of illness. I was nowhere near death but I felt so awful that I really couldn't have cared less about anything at that point. I remember thinking at the time that I actually understood finally how someone could want to die. When your body has failed you and every moment of your existence is wracked with pain and it isn't ever going to get any better: life isn't precious anymore. It's a burden. In that case, death doesn't seem bad at all. In fact, it starts to look quite positive.
     
  19. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    If you have an hour, this documentary involving author Terry Pratchett is well worth a watch. Be warned, you will witness a man taking his last breath. However it is while holding hands with his wife at his side, so as sad as it is, it's not to me a tragic death. it is simply a death, with dignity, and self determination.



    From memory, only a very small percentage of people who contact the Dignitas clinic ever go through with voluntary suicide. But knowing that option is available to them if they feel they can't go on, seems to give them strength to keep fighting.
     
  20. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    That's an interesting observation and one that does make sense. Stress and worry can greatly exacerbate any condition or the suffering; so having an option to "escape" even if you don't take it can take a lot of pressure off the person.