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Old 08-16-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
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How can you deny euthanasia?

I couldn't find a general euthanasia thread, so I've made this one because this article and pictures nearly brought me to tears.

How could any person possibly deny euthanasia in a case like this?

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Britain's High Court has rejected an attempt by a man who has locked-in syndrome to overturn the country's euthanasia law by refusing to legally allow doctors to end his life.

Tony Nicklinson had a stroke in 2005 that left him unable to speak or move below his neck. He requires constant care and communicates mostly by blinking, although his mind has remained unaffected and his condition is not terminal.

Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological disorder where patients are completely paralysed, and only able to blink. Patients are conscious and don't have any intellectual problems, but they are unable to speak or move.

The judges wrote that they were both "tragic cases", but said to allow euthanasia as a possible defence to murder "would usurp the proper role of parliament".


There's a poll running on the page, Should Tony Nicklinson be allowed to decide his own fate? Of the 11,691 votes, 95% said yes.

Has anyone got a good reason?

'Condemned to a life of torture': UK denies right-to-die legal challenge
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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for the sake of argument, one aspect to consider is the effect of it on doctors -- how do you ask someone to take your life for you? how do you prepare a doctor for that?
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:50 PM   #3
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Gosh, I really feel for that man. Thank God I don't know him personally or know anyone in my life with his condition.

I do think he should be given euthanasia so he could be free from the prison that is his body - but I also hesitate. Having this kind of debate or having the government get involved really does open a can of worms, and even hysteria among people, usually those who strongly oppose euthanasia. I can't help but wonder if euthanasia becomes a common practice, some people will be put to sleep who shouldn't be - like those with mental and physical disabilities. I admit that I could be looking too far ahead and maybe have not thought this out very much. But I do think it is a tricky situation, albeit one that needs to be discussed because of this poor man.

One thing I could say that this really gives more reason for stem cell research and other advances in science so Nicklinson might be cured or be able to function better. I think its a shame we have not yet come that far to stop people being stricken with such illnesses. If we did have cures, we wouldn't be considering euthanasia.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
for the sake of argument, one aspect to consider is the effect of it on doctors -- how do you ask someone to take your life for you? how do you prepare a doctor for that?
I think that there would be a few doctors more than willing to do it, so it wouldn't be something you're forcing on those who think it is against their Oath.

Anyone see Diving Bell and the Butterfly? Great movie.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
One thing I could say that this really gives more reason for stem cell research and other advances in science so Nicklinson might be cured or be able to function better. I think its a shame we have not yet come that far to stop people being stricken with such illnesses. If we did have cures, we wouldn't be considering euthanasia.
YES. This. Thank you.

I fully understand some of the gray areas around euthnasia-making sure the person is fully consenting to such a thing (living wills, people), and this may be part of a doctor's job, sure, but it's still likely got to be a tough situation nonetheless. And I can understand government intervention concerns, too. We can all look to the Terri Schaivo case for an example of that part of it all gone horribly wrong.

That being said, however, I definitely support the basic concept of euthanasia. If someone is in that much pain, and they want to pull the plug on themselves and get a doctor to help them, I don't see why they shouldn't have the right to make such a decision. It's their body and their choice, let them do it if that's what they want.

I feel horrible for that poor man. I hope there's a resolution of some kind to his story and he can finally be at peace somehow.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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Euthanasia is a very complex issue, and one good example of something that if it is put in place should be very strictly regulated.

It is curious that we are all in favour of allowing our pets a dignified death when they are suffering beyond comprehension and without any chance for improvement, but when it comes to humans, many of us totally lose all rationality with respect to this debate.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anitram
It is curious that we are all in favour of allowing our pets a dignified death when they are suffering beyond comprehension and without any chance for improvement, but when it comes to humans, many of us totally lose all rationality with respect to this debate.
I was going to post something along these lines as well. I also find it interesting that our pets have no say in the matter yet there seems to be no moral question there.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
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I don't really know where I stand on this (I do support euth but have no advice on how that should be implemented) but I also find it odd that we can euth our pets for any reason, even just not wanting them anymore, and we can have DNRs for ourselves. Is it really that much different? When my grandma died she had been suffering for decades; I never knew her without pain and suffering. She got ill and....I don't even know how to describe this...we just let her go. We her nurse give her morphine and keep her calm and comfortable but I don't think she was even seen by a doctor and no one considered calling an ambulance or taking her to the hospital. I don't know what she died of and neither does my mom. My grandpa did not have an autopsy done. So we are allowed to do this (which I feel was 100% right) and let people have DNRs but not even consider euthanasia? I'd dare bet that people have "died" from DNRs over conditions not as dire as this poor man's.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:08 AM   #9
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^I suppose it is the difference between passive and active.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:18 AM   #10
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I don't get it....
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:24 AM   #11
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Passive, you do not act or provide palliative care only. You let them die.

In active euthanasia, someone would have to introduce the killing agent.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post
Passive, you do not act or provide palliative care only. You let them die.

In active euthanasia, someone would have to introduce the killing agent.


exactly. and this is where many doctors find the line. it's one thing to let grandma's pneumonia go untreated while making her as comfortable as possible. it's quite another to administer a paralytic that stops her heart.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
exactly. and this is where many doctors find the line. it's one thing to let grandma's pneumonia go untreated while making her as comfortable as possible. it's quite another to administer a paralytic that stops her heart.
That is true.

But if you have a subset of doctors who are willing to administer, say, potassium chloride, then the ones who are not willing to or who have ethical issues are not involved.

It's a bit akin to a doctor now choosing not to provide abortions - you can't force one to do it, but there are other ob/gyns who do provide the service. Just because some find it offensive doesn't mean that we don't offer it as a medical service.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anitram View Post
I think that there would be a few doctors more than willing to do it, so it wouldn't be something you're forcing on those who think it is against their Oath.

Anyone see Diving Bell and the Butterfly? Great movie.
one of my all-time fave books/films! i remember when it was first published here in France, and rushed out and bought it - absolutely heart-rending!

i've been following this case on the news, and am really torn...

having lost loved ones of my own, i just think when they're gone they're gone for a very very long time, and, perhaps selfishly, i would do all i can to have them with me a little longer, just to care for them and be with them if we were dealing with this situation (i.e. physically stable, not terminal, not in pain etc.)... but maybe that's me being selfish, i don't know... i know if it were me locked-in, i would hate to be a burden on my family, but would want to stay with my family as long as i could, watch them grow up and be with them... tough call...

poor guy though, it's heartbreaking...

i guess it would be nice to have a choice at least...
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonosSaint View Post
Passive, you do not act or provide palliative care only. You let them die.

In active euthanasia, someone would have to introduce the killing agent.

I suppose you could just not care for a locked in patient, it would just take a lot longer for him to die.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:52 PM   #16
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i remember watching a documentary on this particular case. it's harrowing, and brings up much more complex issues surrounding euthanasia and situations that aren't nearly as seemingly simple terminally-ill-and-suffering cases.

Quote:
Dax Cowart

Dax Cowart (born Donald Cowart) is an attorney noted for the ethical issues raised by efforts to sustain his life against his wishes, following an accident in which Cowart suffered severe and disabling burns over most of his body. Cowart's case has become highly famous in the realm of medical ethics.

In July 1973, Cowart, then a pilot in the Air Force reserve, and his father were visiting a tract of land that his father was thinking of purchasing. The land lay in a small valley and, unbeknownst to the Cowarts, a gas leak had caused the valley to become filled with propane gas. After surveying the land, the Cowarts returned to their car, and the sparking of the ignition set the gas on the floor of the valley ablaze, severely burning both men. According to Cowart:

Quote:
I was burned so severely and in so much pain that I did not want to live even in the early moments following the explosion. A man who heard my shouts for help came running down the road, I asked him for a gun. He said, 'Why?' I said, 'Can’t you see I am a dead man? I am going to die anyway. I need to put myself out of this misery.' In a very kind and compassionate caring way, he said, 'I can’t do that.'[1]
Cowart's father died on route to the hospital, but Cowart himself survived the ride to the hospital, despite the fact that he was refusing medical treatment because he felt he would not be able to regain his former level of activity. Cowart's injuries included the loss of both his hands, eyes, and ears, and the loss of skin over 65-68% of his body.
While in the hospital, Cowart continued to insist then that he wanted to die; his doctors refused. Cowart says that he was "forcibly treated for 10 years" although he continually begged his doctors to end treatment and allow him to die. Instead, Cowart was subjected to medical treatments, which he likened to being "skinned alive" on a regular basis, including being dipped in a chlorinated bath to fight infection and having the bandages covering his body regularly stripped and replaced. He was provided with only a limited supply of painkillers, since their risks were not well understood at the time. He was denied access to means of communication by which he might seek legal assistance in ending the treatments.[1] He attempted to commit suicide on several occasions, but was prevented each time.

Cowart eventually healed enough from his injuries to be released from the hospital.

Although blind and without functioning hands, he was able to earn a law degree from Texas Tech University in 1986, and now has his own practice. Cowart legally changed his name to "Dax" because he was often embarrassed to respond to "Donald" only to find that a different person was being addressed.[1]

He successfully sued the oil company responsible for his burns, which left him financially secure. He attempted suicide twice after his rehabilitation period. He eventually finished law school and married. Cowart met Lois "Randy" Randall, a nurse of 46, as a result of his video Please Let Me Die. She called him up and proposed they meet. Married in 1988, they lived in a big stucco house near the Henderson Country Club. Sometime after, Dax and Lois divorced due to unknown reasons.

Cowart has been a frequent participant and speaker at The Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming with Gerry Spence. There he met Samantha Berryessa, a California attorney. They were married in 2003, and now live on a ranch outside San Diego California.

Dax Cowart - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:57 PM   #17
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Pretty amazing story.

I think that everyone who has given this any thought at all, from both a moral and legal perspective understands that it is a very, very complex issue. To treat it simply is to not address it at all.

But the complexity also doesn't mean that a real dialogue can't and shouldn't be had. There are now jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal - lessons can be learned, good and bad, from them and how they've addressed the issue.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:57 PM   #18
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i found the Dax case mind boggling.

do you (in effect) torture a man for 10 years so that he can live, because you know that he will recover from his injuries? or do you let him end his suffering, as is his wish?

i know that if i were Dax i probably would want to die. and though i watched the documentary probably 15 years ago, i think he stated that he still wish he had died, despite his wife and law degree and how he has turned his life around. that it still wasn't worth the 10 years of pain.

but then if i were Dax's doctor, i don't know if i could have euthanized him.

anyway, this is one of those things that keeps me up at night, and as me saying the phrase, "but not for the Grace of God there go I ..."

it also makes me wonder about the zombi attack victim in FL. his face is gone, but he's going to live.

this is the stuff that gives me nightmares.

anyway ...
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:07 PM   #19
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I can understand hesitating if there's a chance for the person to recover. I mentioned Terri earlier, she'd been pretty much brain dead for, what was it, 10, 15 years and the chances of her recovering were exceedingly slim, at best. This guy made an impressive recovery considering the circumstances, he had much more of a chance than she did.

But at the same time, again, if the person wishes for death, I also think it'd be cruel to ignore their wishes and put them through pain for so many years, too. And it sounds like he's still very much haunted by the stuff he went through all those years. I feel bad for him.

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It is curious that we are all in favour of allowing our pets a dignified death when they are suffering beyond comprehension and without any chance for improvement, but when it comes to humans, many of us totally lose all rationality with respect to this debate.
Fully agreed on this. I don't get it, either.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:50 AM   #20
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What would have happened if Stephen Hawking had been euthanized years ago? His is almost the same thing - he has ALS and is also paralyzed with no means of communication other than his voice box. What would have happened if Christopher Reeve had been euthanized after his accident? He was also paralyzed from the neck down with no hope of survival....

I am so very very sorry for this poor man's condition but I believe that, instead of wanting to end his life, perhaps he could use his circumstances to help other people in his condition - like Christopher Reeve did.
The article said that his mind isn't affected and his condition isn't terminal so I believe that he should fight on.

The murder (in my opinion) of Terry Shiavo was an absolutely horrible story. She was alive, she responded to the outside (we all saw her eyes following the balloon over her head) and in the end she was selfishly and cruelly starved to death. You can look at all my posts in the Shiavo thread from a few years ago and you can see how critical I am of euthanasia(sp?) which, in my opinion, is a fancy term for murder.

All that being said......if he wants to end his life then he should just do it himself and not involve anyone else who might get prosecuted because of him.
However, I really don't want him to die - I hope he lives long enough to be treated and eventually cured.
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