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Should Euthanasia be legal?
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 08:22 AM
Moved to Debates by hummingbird (128773) on 2011-03-03 08:49:13 This really is a debate


MODS feel free to move to an appropriate place.

I am doing some research for university and wondered what your views on Euthanasia (assisted suicide) are? It would be great if you could answer these questions for me.

Should it be legal?

Should the person who is assisting the suidice be prosecuted?

Is it legal in your country? Please explain.

In England it is illegal for anyone to assist someone to commit suicide, but as of yet there have been no prosecutions for the same. In Scotland it is not illegal.
In the USA depending on which State you are in depends on the laws. Most European countries excepting Spain and Italy have legalised Euthanasia.

Thanks for your time!!

25 Replies to Should Euthanasia be legal?

re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By maureensiobhan
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 08:42 AM
I think it should be legal. If the patient is terminally ill and is in the final stages of the illness, or is in a coma and there is clearly no hope of the patient coming out of the coma, then yes, I think the ventilator and other life support equipment should be disconnected. Of course, doctors must, by law, inform the patient's family first of the patient's condition and prognosis. If the family gives consent, then, I think the equipment should be disconnected. If the patient is left quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury, I think that in that case, too, it shoiuld be legal. Though, again, the patient and the family must give consent.

I'm not sure if it's legal here in Ohio.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Lauretta
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 08:44 AM
Edited by Lauretta (114873) on 2011-03-03 08:46:57
I think that it is a terrible shame when someone has a condition serious enough to severely restrict their quality of life cannot make the choice to end their own life. This person will be faced with the prospect that their condition will continue to get worse up until they die, and I see nothing wrong with a person deciding that they don't want to disintegrate like that.

I actually found this quote on a debate about how many weeks a premature baby should be to make treatment a humane option, but I think it works well here too: Just because something is alive, doesn't mean that it necessarily should be. I think there is definitely a perception that life, even if it has virtually no quality to it, should be protected at any cost and I just don't think that this is the right attitude for everyone.

However, I know that making euthanasia legal brings up a whole load of issues and I think it is very, very important to minimise the potential for abuse as much as is possible. In my opinion, someone ending their lives out of perceived obligation to their family is just as big a tragedy as being forced to live when you no longer wish to.

So now that i've written an essay, i'll answer your questions specifically.

Should it be legal? Yes, but with restrictions to eliminate coercion as far as is humanly possible. I don't know how to do this, it looks like a very complex issue that a lot of groups will have opinions on that will have to be brought together.

Should the person who is assisting the suicide be prosecuted? If the person has freely made the choice to end their lives, no I do not believe the person assisting should be prosecuted.

I'm from England so I obviously don't need to tell you about my country :)
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By moara
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 09:45 AM
I think the ventilator and other life support equipment should be disconnected.

This is technically considered different than euthenasia. Removing medical interventions which are sustaining a life, and letting the person die naturally, is (as far as I know) not illegal anywhere. Euthenasia is administering something that will actively end someone's life.
Palliative care hospitals are quite common, and IMHO quite compassionate. It's where a do not recussitate order is given, and people are helped to their natural deaths.

I can see how some people would want to cut short the dying process, and save themselves some pain. But I have several stong concerns with assisted suicide.
How can you judge whether someone has truly come to the end of their precious life, and when they are undergoing a temporary bout of mental illness. I think most suicide-attempts are attempted by those who are mentally ill, and need help to see them through. How do you quantify that?
Suicide is, obviously, permanent. What if a cure for their condition is found just after their assisted suicide? What if a loved one misses a chance to be reconciled with them?
Also, the prevalence of unauthorized euthenasias, where a health worker decides to shorten a patient's life, without the authorization of the patient, or the family, is very concerning.

Comment #9470239 deleted
Removed by Sumayah (204191) on 2011-03-03 20:16:30 double post

re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:54 AM
My grandfather starved himself to death because nobody could help him. This took weeks. He had had a stroke in 1998 after being THE most active 70-odd year old in the world, and had several more strokes after that, and it ruined him. By the end of 2002 he and my nan were both living in a nursing home as caring for him had made her physically ill as well, and dementia had set in for him. He was taken to hospital but refused to eat or drink. He had a few sips of Ribena once to placate his wife but that's all. So yes, I think one of us should have been allowed to administer something to end his suffering without the risk of prosecution. Tim knows I'd want him to do it for me and I'd do it for him.

I've seen too many family members die after years of absolutely no quality of life. I don't want that for myself or anyone else where I have a say. I don't subscribe to the philosophy of "life at all costs". No life at all is better than a painful, miserable life.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 01:09 PM
Thanks guys for your opinions. I too am torn by the subject. I wouldn't want people to suffer and I believe that they have the own choices however I am also worried about abuse of the system if it was legalised.

Withdrawing treatment is not illegal - however I feel this can sometimes be a lot worse than helping someone to die. I don't know if anyone here is familiar with the Liverpool Pathway of Care for the Dying Patient? Its something that is used in the UK and basically is a care plan for those who are dying and puts into place certain criteria they have to meet before fluids and food can be stopped. It is usually set up when death is believed to be imminent in the next 24-48 hours. However I have seen a patient go onto the pathway and still be alive 5 days later. She was then took back off the pathway but she was still too ill to eat or drink and was refusing artificial feeding. 3 weeks later she died. She suffered. She basically starved to death and it was awful to watch her.

Surely it would have been better to continue with full medical support or to end her life quickly (of course with her permission) rather than let her die slowly like that and watch both her and her family suffer so much.

But as a nurse we are trained that every life is worth fighting for and that we must do everything we can to preserve life.

Its a really tough one.

I think it is open to a lot of abuse but then we have also had the likes of Harold Shipman who killed hundreds of patients anyway. The likes of him will kill regardless of the laws.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 07:04 PM
I absolutely believe it should be legal. We have patients come through the ER constantly in excruciating pain with Stage 4 cancer that is going to kill them no matter what - even if a cure to cancer is discovered tomorrow - and they should be allowed to die if they want to. Overdose on Ativan and Morphine? Sounds like an AWESOME way to die. Seriously.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By CheesePlusCakemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Mar 03, 2011 07:10 PM
I saw a movie that was "based on a true story" about a family whose baby was born very premature and was struggling to survive, and if it did survive it would likely have had so much brain damage it wouldn't be able to develop well. The parents eventually wanted to take the baby off of life support since it couldn't even breathe on its own, but the court intervened and wouldn't let them. If this is the case, would that mean that taking away life support would then be illegal, or was this maybe a special case?

As for euthanasia, I am very torn. I could see it as a viable option if the person signed something before they became ill saying they'd want that... I'm just unsure of how to gauge the mental state of someone who's been sick for so long, since I'd want to be sure that it was a fully rational decision on their part, since they can't take it back. I also don't know how I'd feel about doctors who are supposed to protect lives assisting in ending them, thinking about doctors poisoning people makes me nervous (isn't euthanasia usually an injection? I could be wrong). Also, would some doctors be forced to perform euthanasia if they didn't believe in it, or would they be able to dissent? I'm not really sure how hospitals work when it comes to things like that.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 02:20 AM
I'd wager that many people wouldn't want to be euthanised by a doctor. If they could kill themselves they would, they're just not fully capable of it. They just need a bit of help; some people only need a tiny bit of help. For some ill people it would simply be a case of someone passing them some pills and helping them take a drink of water to wash them down. People want control over their life/death and that will often come right down to the MO.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 03:59 AM
Edited by Helen (51009) on 2011-03-04 04:01:27
Can I add that I am sure it is illegal in Scotland, being that I live here.

It has never been contested in court here, but since a Scottish MSP Margo McDonald has Parkinsons it may change as a result of a Memeber's Bill.

Helen
re: Should Euthanasia be legal? (karma: 1)
By Odessamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 04:14 AM
Edited by Odessa (22571) on 2011-03-04 04:17:46
This is Angelique Flowers. She wanted to die with dignity.

Instead, she died vomiting up her own faeces.

I challenge anyone to read that and not agree that regulated, legalised, consensual euthanasia is the most merciful, humane way to manage the death of a person that sick.

It disgusts me that Angelique Flowers (and many, many thousands more) had to die in that (or similar) manner. I would NEVER expect one of my cats to suffer a death like that. We can euthanase our pets, but not our loved ones?

Erin.
::righteous babe::
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 05:24 AM
^Oh my, that story made me tear up. Perfect case in point of why I think euthanasia should be legal.

If the person in question was not terminally ill, they could commit suicide unassisted. However, they are too ill to end their lives, which are going to end soon anyway, why don't we let them die on their own terms? I mean they didn't pick to get their disease, or how awful/debilitating it'd be so they should at least get to choose how/when they go...
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By ChristinePremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 08:02 AM
I actually voted no, and then when I read Odessa's post I changed my mind.

Life and death decisions are so difficult. I guess that is why we refer to serious stuff as, "life and death".

Keep On Dancing*
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 08:53 AM
Helen - theres actually nothing defined in Scots Law with regards to suicide and assisted suicide and therefore it is not specifically illegal - however it has not been tried or tested and I am guessing they would actually use the English system and try for murder or manslaughter.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:56 AM
It should be legal, but IF AND ONLY IF:

-the patient is declared by a court of law to be in sound mind; the court of course consulting expert witnesses, for example, a panel of psychiatrists who specialize in this area
-the patient has voluntary and specifically requested it, OR has a living will stating the specific circumstances under which euthanasia should be administered
-the illness truly is terminal, not just unpleasant
-the patient has exhausted all other treatment options


The problem I have with removing a ventilator or feeding tube is that it causes EVEN MORE suffering. You suffocate or starve to death. THAT SUCKS. I'd go that route only if the person is knocked out and in a medically induced coma or on a ton of morphine or something.

The Angelique Flowers story is so freaking sad... if I was her, I would've jumped off a building. (Suicide, by the way, is also illegal. Sounds weird, but that is why police will show up if someone is threatening to harm themselves.)
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By ballerinabri
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:14 PM
^I agree

Even though the thought of allowing people to legally kill themselves is unsettling, the thought of basically being tortured to death is terrifying to me! If I had a loved one in Angelique Flowers position I think that I would risk the prosecution if they asked me to help them die peacefully.

If prisoners who receive the death penalty were killed in that manner, it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment and the outcry against it would be enormous. Yet these innocent suffering people are not allowed this same right to die quickly and with no pain. That is absolutely disgusting.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:40 PM
100% for. I think many groups of people get too hung up on the "all life is sacred and precious thing." We're not talking about doctors helping depressed people off themselves. We're talking about giving people the right to decide how they want to go, when it is for certain that the end is coming. Like Angelique pointed out, we put our freaking dogs and cats to sleep to spare them pain, but people don't deserve that? Surprise surprise, pain medicine often doesn't work on terminally ill patients and none of us can fathom what that must feel like.

I believe all individuals should have both a will and a living will in place, and that everyone should have to include detailed plans for end-of-life care in these situations. If that happens, I don't see it being abused. Most doctors aren't idiots and they're terrified of lawsuits.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By lux
On Sat Mar 05, 2011 01:31 AM
CheesePlusCake wrote:

Also, would some doctors be forced to perform euthanasia if they didn't believe in it, or would they be able to dissent? I'm not really sure how hospitals work when it comes to things like that.


I imagine a system similar to that authorising abortions could exist. In Australia, a woman requires the authorisation of two doctors before she can receive an abortion, which- I believe -is performed by a third doctor. However, doctors can refuse to sign these authorisations- my Dad is a GP and Catholic, and refers patients seeking abortions to other doctors.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Prima_ballerina5member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:31 AM
Edited by Prima_ballerina5 (131898) on 2011-03-17 00:32:39
Should it be legal?
Yes! A family member of mine died from Ovarian cancer two years ago and I will never forget what is was like watching her slowly dissappear. She was in a lot of pain for a long time. At the end of the day, we all knew what the result was going to be, so why should she be denied the last choice she had?


Should the person who is assisting the suidice be prosecuted?
No.


Is it legal in your country? Please explain.
It's illegal in Australia.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By izraehl
On Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:15 AM
What I find very interesting in this particular debate is how to interpret non-voluntary (NOT involuntary, that's murder) euthanasia's role on the patient's autonomy.

1) Should one even consider the patient's will, even if they are not autonomous, if the situation calls for none-voluntary euthanasia?

2) If euthanasia is enacted upon the patient it is generally because of what the acting agent for the patient believes it's what the patient would do themself. Given this circumstance:

- Would euthanasia then be considered a respect to the patient's autonomy? (as if they had it, because we tend to consider what they'd want even if they are currently incapable of 'wanting' anything, we aim to respect their humanity)

OR

- Is ending their life a disrespect to autonomy inherently because it violates something essential to the existence of autonomy: being alive? (if no, then obviously you wouldn't consider them living anyway and euthanasia is arbitrary.)
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Apr 08, 2011 01:10 PM
non-voluntary (NOT involuntary, that's murder)

...what? Non-voluntary (which is not a word) and involuntary mean the same thing.

Image hotlink - 'http://chanarchive.org/content/52_a/37361524/1278440692529.jpg'

You can voluntarily choose for someone to do something else for you. I didn't pierce my own ears, but I gave someone else permission to. Or for a better example, I was unconscious when I got my wisdom teeth out, but I voluntarily choose to have the operation done.

Anyway... I think you're referring to euthanasia being given to incapacitated patients who are unable to communicate their wishes. When this happens, medical power of attorney passes from the individual patient to their next-of-kin. Most people who've got two licks of sense in them get this taken care of by securing a medical proxy document, and certainly terminal patients have the sense to do so. (Such a document just says "If I am to become a vegetable, XYZ has the medical power of attorney for me.") One sincerely hopes that the patient has expressed their wishes to the proxy to act in their stead. Which is why I suggest euthanasia only be administered to patients who are able to voluntarily request it, or who have specifically stated their wishes in a living will or advanced directive.

I don't think anyone is suggesting we make euthanasia available for patients who have either not expressed an opinion either way (which, again, is a really bad idea) or have specifically stated that they want to be kept alive in a vegetable state. That would be straight-up killing someone. However, if no legal document exists, a la Terry Schaivo, the decision is up to whoever has the medical power of attorney.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By izraehl
On Fri Apr 08, 2011 04:36 PM
Edited by izraehl (234697) on 2011-04-08 16:38:50
First, are you a femanon?

Secondly,

Heart wrote:

non-voluntary (NOT involuntary, that's murder)

...what? Non-voluntary (which is not a word) and involuntary mean the same thing.

Image hotlink - 'http://chanarchive.org/content/52_a/37361524/1278440692529.jpg'



Stanford disagrees with you:

"Our concern will be with voluntary euthanasia — that is, with those instances of euthanasia in which a clearly competent person makes a voluntary and enduring request to be helped to die. There will be occasion to mention non-voluntary euthanasia -- instances of euthanasia where a person is either not competent to, or unable to, express a wish about euthanasia and there is no one authorised to make a substituted judgment (in which case a proxy tries to choose as the no-longer-competent patient would have chosen had she remained competent) — in the context of considering the claim that permitting voluntary euthanasia will lead via a slippery slope to permitting non-voluntary euthanasia. Nothing will be said here about involuntary euthanasia, where a competent person's life is brought to an end despite an explicit expression of opposition to euthanasia, beyond saying that, no matter how honourable the perpetrator's motive, such a death is, and ought to be, unlawful."

plato.stanford.edu . . .


here's an example of non voluntary euthanasia in law, if you're interested in such a thing:

www.nightingalealliance.org . . .

etc. etc. Terri Schiavo was a case of non-voluntary by the way.

Involuntary and non-voluntary are quite different indeed, unless that recently changed and invalidated years of law related and philosophical literature.

Involuntary euthanasia is when someone is killed against their will which is much different than non-voluntary.

Try to at least attempt to know what you're talking about if you're going to form opinions. This may have helped you:

tinyurl.com . . .

I didn't really consider anything else you wrote since you started it off so misinformed and then proceeded to include your cute little picture.

Please try again later.

Also, I will not acknowledge any response to this post. I will not, in fact, view this topic again.
re: Should Euthanasia be legal?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:58 PM
Also, I will not acknowledge any response to this post. I will not, in fact, view this topic again.

Maturity! I love it.
I also answered your question... but you were too busy quoting Stanford to notice. I would apologize about misunderstanding you, but you won't read it. Inigo Montoya frowns upon your lack of humor.

Comment #9520970 deleted
Removed by Heart (21721) on 2011-04-10 00:01:53 posting from Blackberry = doublepost

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