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knocker

Legalising Euthanasia

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The comment oft made in the Political thread on sundry other subjects is that we have freedom of choice. This is of course not always the case.

 

We do not legally have the choice to end our own life when it becomes unbearable. Why the double standards?

 

The British Social Attitudes survey shows several decades of support for the voluntary euthanasia of terminally ill patients. I am one of those who support this. There are arguments against that are often reeled out but I'm sure safeguards could be put in place to safeguard the vulnerable.

 

For instance, Belgium legalised the practice in 2002. In 2003, the official figures show that 235 Belgians were euthanised, but since then the numbers have grown every year and now stand at around 1,400. Next door in the Netherlands, the number of cases has doubled over the past decade — and now accounts for about 1 in 30 deaths. Crucially, these don’t just include people with terminal illnesses. Definitions of unbearable suffering now extend to mental and emotional distress. Psychiatric patients are among those helped to die by Dutch physicians.

 

The lesson from the Low Countries is that if we legalise euthanasia then step by step it becomes normalised. Definitions will be stretched, restrictions will be reinterpreted and safeguards will be lowered.

 

But lessons can be learnt from that and I do not think the cons outweigh the right of someone who is suffering terrible pain, and faces a certain appalling death, to choose to end it with at least some dignity and control over their own destiny.

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I agree Knock's,  think it should be the individuals choice, it's there life. That aside they are fast to put pet's out of there misery...

Edited by Polar Maritime
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But lessons can be learnt from that and I do not think the cons outweigh the right of someone who is suffering terrible pain, and faces a certain appalling death, to choose to end it with at least some dignity and control over their own destiny.

 

Over an 18-month period we watched helplessly as cancer wrought its systemic destruction of a close family member. When the end came,at home, it was very,very messy. No-one should have to endure that, but the person in question wouldn't have 'opted-out', I believe. But not to have the choice is wrong.

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A very interesting idea for a thread, but I think it belongs within the Serious Discussion area instead - it doesn't seem appropriate for this subject to be listed between 'Make us laugh' and 'What Was The Last Song You Listened To?' Posted Image

 

Bish

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A very interesting idea for a thread, but I think it belongs within the Serious Discussion area instead - it doesn't seem appropriate for this subject to be listed between 'Make us laugh' and 'What Was The Last Song You Listened To?' Posted Image

 

Bish

I might have read, ages ago, that Knocker is unable to post there?

 

It's a good item for a debate and the 'Serious' area is obviously more appropriate. 

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I might have read, ages ago, that Knocker is unable to post there?

 

It's a good item for a debate and the 'Serious' area is obviously more appropriate. 

I've moved this to serious discussion.

 

Also agree with those who believe that a person should be a persons own choice as to whether they wish to end their lives if suffering from a terminal illness when the time is right for them.  We don't let family pets suffer the same we do with humans - never understood that notion.

Edited by snow raven
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A very interesting idea for a thread, but I think it belongs within the Serious Discussion area instead - it doesn't seem appropriate for this subject to be listed between 'Make us laugh' and 'What Was The Last Song You Listened To?' Posted Image

 

Bish

 

I agree Bish but I'm afraid I'm not deemed responsible enough to start a serious topic. Anyway glad it's been moved.

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I think it's inhumane to make a person suffer through an unbearable, terminal illness. It's also just as inhumane for imprisoning someone trying to end the suffering of a loved one, especially if they gave express consent. We don't make dying animals suffer like this.

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I am betwixt and between here - my rational mind tells me to agree but strangely enough the Catholics had me for the first 7 years of my life and to commit suicide, I was taught, is a mortal sin.

 

I think it depends very much on what you think is the purpose of life - if like me, you believe that our earthly existence is a prelude to further things, there might be arguments against it inasmuch as our purpose is to gain experiences, good and bad, whereby we learn and become better people.

 

Our western civilisation has developed on the belief in the sanctity of human life. This is enforced by religion but is this so wrong?

 

To me the idea that you could book an appointment with your doctor to end your life is wrong to me and a product of materialistic thinking and we have far too many problems in the world caused by such thinking with too little emphasis on the spiritual.

 

It could end up with old people being browbeaten into such a step by 'greedy' relatives impatient to share out the loot and with the best will in the world I cannot see how this can be legislated against in every case, so people do need to be protected and sometimes against themselves.

 

Also I am an eternal optimist and no matter how bad things seem, there is always a chance that things will improve and my view at the moment is that we have made so many strides forward in medicine and are on the cusp of making so many more that the expression of 'terminal illness' can get blurred at times.

Edited by mike Meehan

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This is a step that the state should, never, ever take. The notion that any state should in effect encourage suicide (it may not be the intent but indirectly it does) is repulsive and sickens me to my very core. Having a close mentally and emotionally distressed relative i know that in those moments of despair she would purposely make herself seem worse than she was (she's tricked the trained professionals before both to leave hospital and try suicide and because she felt she couldn't cope at home) and as such no amount of safeguards are going to prevent me fearing the worst (and i say this as generally the most optimistic person most of you could ever meet).

 

No. This is a policy which must never be aloud be taint our society. It is a policy which enables a slippery slope, even political pandering to a select group. I will go as far as saying that if no matter who brought this policy in (be it Tories or Lib Dems) would never ever receive my vote again because to me it would be unforgivable. The state's first duty should be to protect its citizens from harm, euthanasia is an affront to this moral principle whether it restricts individual liberty or not.

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. The state's first duty should be to protect its citizens from harm, euthanasia is an affront to this moral principle whether it restricts individual liberty or not.

 

 

 

Since when has that been a universal moral principle? I find the state refusing to allow a person condemned to an appalling death, say from Huntingtons Chorea, an affront to the moral principle that an individual has the right to decide their own destiny without interference from the state.

 

It wasn't that long ago that attempted or actual suicide was a crime.

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Since when has that been a universal moral principle? I find the state refusing to allow a person condemned to an appalling death, say from Huntingtons Chorea, an affront to the moral principle that an individual has the right to decide their own destiny without interference from the state.

 

It wasn't that long ago that attempted or actual suicide was a crime.

The full act of suicide was never a crime inasmuch as they could not punish the offender - the actual offence was attempting to commit suicide but this was eventually repealed when they realised the stupidity of having an attempt at committing a crime an offence when nothing could be done about the people who were successful.

 

In any case I do not recall any prosecutions prior to its repeal.

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Since when has that been a universal moral principle? I find the state refusing to allow a person condemned to an appalling death, say from Huntingtons Chorea, an affront to the moral principle that an individual has the right to decide their own destiny without interference from the state.

 

It wasn't that long ago that attempted or actual suicide was a crime.

 

Subjective. I'd also argue that people in such despair probably are not in the best of state of mind to make life ending decisions.

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This moving letter in the Times sums it up for me although I would consider carefully before taking on board all of the Belgian and Dutch legislation.

 

Sir, Assisted dying is much in the press, with Coronation Street and your opinion piece by Peter Franklin (“If we don’t care, we will legalise euthanasiaâ€, Jan 20).

 

I write this at my wife’s bedside as she dies of pancreatic cancer. We came into hospital a fortnight ago. She has been under palliative care since then, and unconscious for the past week. Her death is as inevitable as night follows day. No treatment, save pain relief, is being given. She has received no nourishment for 14 days and no water other than drops in the mouth for seven of those. Yet still her body will not shut down. I know my wife would have been horrified at the prospect of dying in this manner. She is receiving exceptional love and care from this, our local NHS hospital, and we are assured that the syringe driver is keeping her pain free. But when you look into her ever-open eyes you see a pleading look. How sure can we be that she is not suffering enormous mental anguish? Not administering nourishment and fluid intravenously is simply euthanasia in slow motion. We love her enormously and will be desperate when she passes, but after this harrowing experience that our children and I are going through, there is for me, no contest; if death is inevitable, then it is only humane to shorten the process. I think we must follow the Belgian and Dutch models. It would be up to doctors, clergy and politicians to find acceptable common ground over the necessary safeguards.

 

Edward Frewin

 

Watchet, Somerset

 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/letters/article3982960.ece

Edited by knocker
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Why don't they bloody feed and water her!

It's called the Liverpool 'care' Pathway.  I use the word care very loosely as anyone that has to witness a death of a loved one under such circumstances would be in support of legalising euthanasia in respect of a painless, quick death, rather than the Liverpool Care Pathway that we currently have for terminally ill patients, which can be a long, lingering death. 

 

So no, they can't, as you put it 'bloody feed and water her'  They have to watch helplessly as a terminally ill loved one starves and dehydrates to death instead.  I watched my Grandad die that way and it is something that I will never, ever forget.

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It was horrible seeing my nan die from Alzheimer's, she pleaded with my mum to make her end the pain. The argument could be that the disease had made her think that way, but you could visibly see that she knew her time was up and she wanted that to be sooner. I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can be against it, how anyone would want to watch their terminally ill family member suffer until the day they naturally die. 

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Sadly we have been here before. It is perfectly reasonable for a person, who is capable, to choose to end their own life, when the suffering & dread of further suffering, makes carrying on impossible for them. It is quite another to ask or demand of another human being, whether a medical professional or lay person, to assist or carry this out on your behalf, due to physical or mental incapability. I feel desperately sorry for people in this situation, but the law has to stay as it is in my opinion.

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In some cases, though, it's not a question of whether or not medical experts should actively assist a suicide, but whether or not they should actively go to lengths to prolong a patient's life for as long as possible using the most up-to-date modern life-prolonging technology, in spite of the probability of the patient's ailment being terminal, and preventing a life of anything other than suffering, being very close to 1.

 

The moral case for euthenasia in certain situations is stronger than it was 50 years ago because back then medical centres didn't have access to as much life-prolonging technology.

 

I don't think the law is likely to be changed for the foreseeable future, whether rightly or wrongly.  The current law has major cons, but the alternatives also have major cons and while I feel that some relaxing of the law is desirable, we have to be careful as to how and where we relax it, in order to avoid creating bigger problems than the ones that we solve.  In my experience a lot of people support keeping the status quo and black-and-white prohibition rules even in cases where there are clearly superior alternative rules (because "rules are rules", and "if you relax the rules it will start an unavoidable slippery slope to anarchy, because I said so" etc) so what chances have we got with minefields like anti-euthenasia laws?  I hope that I'm being too pessimistic here, but I have my doubts.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers

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This discussion has now entered a different ball game as controversy rages in Belgium. It appears young children are to be allowed to end their lives. I'm going to have to think about this as I stroll around Tescos in a minute.

 

Belgium euthanasia law to allow mercy killing of suffering children

 

YOUNG children will be allowed to end their lives with the help of a doctor in the world's most radical extension of euthanasia law expected to win approval in Belgium today.

 

Under the plan, there will be no age limit to minors suffering from a terminal illness who can seek a lethal injection.

That distinguishes Belgium from the Netherlands, which only allows children aged 12 and upwards to elect their own death.

 

Already backed by the Senate, a parliamentary committee and much of the public, the measure is expected to pass in the lower house today. It will become law within weeks, after royal signature. There has been significant opposition from religious groups and doctors.

 

A week after the Roman Catholic Church staged "a day of fasting and prayer", 160 paediatricians petitioned MPs yesterday to postpone the vote on the grounds that it was open to abuse. They said there would be no way of ensuring that a youngster was making a lucid decision to die.

 

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/belgium-euthanasia-law-to-allow-mercy-killing-of-suffering-children/story-fnb64oi6-1226825961590#

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I would fully support the legalisation of euthanasia, but it would probably be better if it was carried out by a professional, rather than by a relative or friend.

 

Comments regarding people's mental state at the time of making such a decision - this might be true if they are suffering from mental illnesses that might impair their thinking (clinical depression, schizophrenia etc), but not if they are suffering from terminal cancer, as an example. If a person is in a right state of mind, and is suffering from a terminal disease, they have every right to determine when they die.

 

Take that person called Tony Nicklinson, who suffered from 'locked-in' syndrome - I have no reason to doubt that his mental facilities were intact, and was capable of making such a decision rationally, and there is no reason why anyone should be forced to continue such an existence of not being able to do anything at all. I would consider it a fate worse than death - I can't even imagine how he must have felt when he was still alive. He ended up dying due to starvation - a very undignified death, and probably not what his relatives had in mind for his final days.

Edited by cheese

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I have just listened to a discussion on this and it really is a very difficult topic. I need to give it some more thought but at the moment, with all the safeguards built in. I'm leaning towards agreeing.

 

Belgium's parliament votes through child euthanasia

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26181615

Edited by knocker

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Although I fully support the option of euthanasia for adults, allowing it for children just doesn't feel right to me.

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The problem is, if you can say that it is right that adults should be able to obtain help to die if their circumstances become tortuous without hope of improvement, then there is no rational argument in favour of denying this same right to a child in the same position. The relevant issue there is surely that of gillick competence and parental agreement?

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The problem is, if you can say that it is right that adults should be able to obtain help to die if their circumstances become tortuous without hope of improvement, then there is no rational argument in favour of denying this same right to a child in the same position. The relevant issue there is surely that of gillick competence and parental agreement?

 

I agree except I'm not sure that if the child is considered mentally competent his or her decision can, or should be, overuled by the parents.

Edited by knocker

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