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Old 08-22-2012, 09:38 AM   #46
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R.I.P.

At least wherever he is now, he is free to talk, to move...
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:33 PM   #47
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Tony Nicklinson, 58, had been refusing food since last week, contracted pneumonia over the weekend, and "went downhill rapidly," said his lawyer, Saimo Chahal.
.............
Police in the county of Wiltshire, where he lived, said that a doctor had been seeing Nicklinson over the past week, and that they were not investigating the death.
So he did it himself in the end after all, then. And when you live at home and have your family's support I guess you can do that. Well, good for him.
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Old 08-22-2012, 01:47 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by yolland
So he did it himself in the end after all, then. And when you live at home and have your family's support I guess you can do that. Well, good for him.
It would've been better to receive an injection rather than suffering to the end. But hey, like I said, he is free now.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:03 PM   #49
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^ It would unquestionably have been better for him, I don't doubt that for a minute. I was mostly thinking about the issue I'd raised in my earlier post, where I pointed out that for Nicklinson's co-petitioner "Martin," even the option of refusing food was denied by the court. But it also seemed clear from the article that "Martin" did not have the support of his family in that aim, and I'm not sure whether he lived at home or not. So perhaps that's the difference. And as far as it goes, I actually found the British court's ruling in "Martin's" case more consistent than the American rulings I cited--if you're going to refuse to grant a patient's death wish (through lethal injection) because carrying it out would implicate the doctor, then I don't see how you can then turn around and say "However, you can ask the doctor to look the other way and do nothing while you preventably starve yourself to death."
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That's not really what makes it complicated IMO, because you are never forcing anyone to perform an act. You will always be able to find medical professionals who are in favour of euthanasia to treat those patients. If you take the view that the involvement of third parties is what complicates matters, then why not take that view in respect of abortion?
I have the same reservation Irvine does with active euthanasia, and often make the latter argument (re: abortion) to myself when arguing the issue in my own head. But I have to say I've never found it a fully convincing counter, since it seems to me that--if anything, especially from a pro-choice perspective--it's problematic analogizing the conflict between a doctor's obligation to honor a pregnant woman's autonomy vs. his/her obligation to provide sound prenatal care, to the conflict between a doctor's obligation to honor the autonomy of a mentally competent patient who wishes to die vs. his/her obligation not to knowingly inflict harm on the patient. In the former case (again, from a pro-choice perspective) you aren't killing a patient. The fact that some doctors are willing to euthanize might well be legally significant, noncoercion and all that, but that doesn't resolve the moral significance of their participation.

Emotionally, I would love not to have this hesitation--I read some of these cases and it sounds so humane, feels so much like the right thing to do. But philosophically, I'm still a reluctant agnostic.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:39 PM   #50
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Glad he's at peace.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:41 PM   #51
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The fact that some doctors are willing to euthanize might well be legally significant, noncoercion and all that, but that doesn't resolve the moral significance of their participation.
I'd like to unpack this a bit because I find it interesting (as well as the topic in general).

Whose moral significance are you referring to above? The individual doctor's? Medical doctors who would be willing participants likely see euthanasia as essentially a moral or amoral choice. If you're talking about the medical profession as a whole, you can then flip the argument on its head and say that the "inflict no harm" principle is trampled when patients's lives are forcibly prolonged at potentially great agony or pain, physical and/or mental, for that patient. I won't even bother going into the details of life-saving measures done to keep my grandmother alive maybe 2, 3 weeks longer - the woman died in great suffering and it's very obvious to me that her medical doctors inflicted harm on her (however well-meaning, though paternalistic they may have been). If you're talking about society's views on the morality of a doctor's participation, then I would say I'm glad that society doesn't make those calls because heaven only knows what the populace at large may prioritize.

This is one of those topics that I really, strongly believe that people who have not had a close family friend or relative die in prolonged agony will struggle with a lot more than those of us who saw it first hand. I would have called myself an agnostic like you 10 years ago - not anymore, but that's a result of specific circumstances.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:15 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by anitram View Post

This is one of those topics that I really, strongly believe that people who have not had a close family friend or relative die in prolonged agony will struggle with a lot more than those of us who saw it first hand.
amen

I've been thinking about my Grandma a lot as this thread as progressed, as she was and always will be my favorite most cherished person, and I would like to think that if she'd ask me to help her in this way I would have no hesitation and help her to the best of my abilities. I was 26 when she died and remember when an acquaintance asked me if I would cherish the good memories of her instead of her failing health at the end and I said I'd never known my Grandma without pain. As much as I miss her every day I would never call her back to us if I had the choice because almost every inch of her body was in pain for years, and I'm not sitting here using her as an example of why *I* should demand that someone else who I don't know and whose suffering I cannot feel should just buck up and deal. As I said earlier we don't know why she died so quickly (despite the multiple conditions that caused the chronic pain, she wasn't really terminal at that point) but I'd like to think that she went on her own terms. The day she took that turn for the worse we all took turns sitting with her for a while and then the next day I remember walking to buy a lunch and just having this gut feeling that it was finally over and when I got back to my desk my dad was calling to say she had passed. When I was younger I would cry into my pillow imagining how I would ever live without her because I knew even a healthy Grandma won't outlive a healthy grandchild, but when the time came and she passed I didn't shed a tear because I was just so relieved for her suffering to be over.
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:28 PM   #53
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Whose moral significance are you referring to above? The individual doctor's? Medical doctors who would be willing participants likely see euthanasia as essentially a moral or amoral choice. If you're talking about the medical profession as a whole, you can then flip the argument on its head and say that the "inflict no harm" principle is trampled when patients's lives are forcibly prolonged at potentially great agony or pain, physical and/or mental, for that patient.
I guess it would be accurate to say I meant the medical profession as a whole, though the underlying concern is I think a more general one, in that the fact that the person administering the lethal injection would be a doctor isn't per se where the problem lies for me. (For the record, I have similar difficulties arriving at a proper philosophical, 'in principle' stance on capital punishment--despite my rejection of it as practice, since certainty of guilt is often unacceptably lacking--in part because of the necessity for an executioner. But that's a whole other tangent.) I don't know the details of your grandmother's case, but just to be clear, I specified active euthanasia because I'm not talking about e.g. taking someone off a respirator whose prognosis is hopeless, who is clearly in the process of dying (let alone brain-dead) such that all you'd be doing otherwise is prolonging suffering in the face of a readily foreseeable outcome. Tony Nicklinson did not have a life-threatening condition...and I feel awful even typing that, because I fully understand he was suffering emotionally, he himself described his life as "pure torture," and believe me I'd be the last person to glibly point to stories of so-and-so who met a comparable fate with inspiring grace and dignity, yadda yadda as the standard one 'ought to' strive for. Nonetheless, it's true that tetraplegia is not a terminal illness, and so a doctor has only the patient's apparent present emotional state to go by in judging whether s/he would in effect merely be facilitating 'death with dignity' by administering a lethal injection. And I get that for many doctors there'd at the very least be powerful emotional incentive to conclude, Yes that's exactly what this is, because I feel the pull of that too, the guilt and the horror of watching someone else suffer. Still I can't quite square that with the fact that you're asking someone else to kill you, not just to step aside and let fate finish you off rather than wage some hopeless scorched-earth campaign at your expense. To me that's a big difference; I'm troubled by the idea of effectively saying "I agree, better you be dead than live like this, so let me bring that about for you" to someone who isn't already dying, who is confronting not an imminent death but a diminished life. I'm just not certain whether that's ever someone else's place to do, however much it hurts to watch someone suffer. And yes, I realize it isn't always possible to make hard-and-fast pronouncements as to who's in the process of dying and who isn't.
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This is one of those topics that I really, strongly believe that people who have not had a close family friend or relative die in prolonged agony will struggle with a lot more than those of us who saw it first hand.
I don't doubt that forever changes the way one looks at it, though my decided impression is that people who have had such experiences don't at all arrive at the same conclusions about euthanasia. But it's true I haven't (yet, anyway) been through that precisely. I did as you know have the experience of watching my brain-injured mother stumble through the last two years of her life as a mental two-year-old continuously bewildered by and often clearly distressed over what was happening to her, which certainly felt like a sick farce to me, and there's no doubt in my mind the woman who raised me would rather have died than lived that life. But I suppose that has no bearing here, since her inability to meaningfully express herself at the time presumably renders both her feelings and mine morally irrelevant to the present discussion.
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Old 08-22-2012, 11:07 PM   #54
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My mom had to make a similar decision for her mother when the time came. It was the toughest thing she'd done, of course, but she knew it was necessary. And my dad had made it as clear as he possibly could, in writing and vocally, that if something happened to him, he did not want to be in a vegetative state and all that sort of thing. He got particularly stubborn towards the end of his life about going to the doctor and everything (but that was also due to other issues that are a whole other story in and of themselves).

I can definitely see what yolland's saying. If I were a doctor, even if I support the idea of euthanasia, even if I know it would be the best thing for the person who is suffering, it's still a really strange thing to have someone ask you to help kill them. And even if you can deal with that, there's always the fear that you'll have angry family members coming at you, too. It'd be a really tough position to be in, I'd imagine.

Which is why I always say it comes back to the patient themselves. Ultimately, on this issue, I think we should focus on what the person suffering wants above all else. I know that can be a gray area, too, because of the whole "sound mind" issue and all that, but if this is what they say they want, and they've made that clear in writing and everything, I think their wishes should be respected.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:23 PM   #55
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'They were very happy': Belgian twin brothers choose euthanasia rather than blindness

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Old 01-13-2013, 10:38 PM   #56
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Hmm, I don't know about this one. True, they wouldn't have been able to communicate once they had gone blind and would be living in a silent world of darkness.

But Helen Keller lived her life deaf and blind, and made the most of it.

I don't know. I just don't find myself leaning towards supporting these mens' decision. It is understandable, but yet it isn't.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:45 PM   #57
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I don't have really have an issue with it. They were happy, they found a doctor willing to do it. It's very easy for someone from the other side of the world (general, not attacking you) to say that they shouldn't have done it. Sounds like they were inseparable and the blindness would have meant they would not have been able to see each other again, and were already deaf, which would have made work very hard.

It's a grey area, certainly, but I like that the option is there.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:47 AM   #58
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Normally i am all for euthanasia but this one is a liitle bit interesting. However, suffering is subjective, we can't judge their anguish. they quite probably would have commited suicide anyway.
I have worked in aged and disability care for 15 years now and have seen some good people go through truly terrible end of life stages. I hope when my time comes someone will do the right thing and max out the morphine for me without worrying about going to jail.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:26 PM   #59
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I'd rather be born deaf and blind than be born deaf and become blind at middle-age. Imagine the reliance on sight. To have that taken from you would be devastating, so I can appreciate where the twins are coming from.

It sounds like euthanasia laws are working in Benelux and are used sparingly enough.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:01 PM   #60
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Euthanasia twins 'had nothing to live for'
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