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The right to die

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So, here's that topic again....does a person have the right to decide when they want to die? I say yes, but there are certainly some problems with an answer that simple....I'll let you guys point them out and give your own opinions on the subject.
Here is a link to a current story: an Ottawa man with a terminal illness went public with his plans to kill himself in an effort to bring the issue of assisted suicide to the forefront and to spark debate on the issue.
http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/natio...de-050128.html
post #2 of 19
We always talk about how putting a suffering animal down is the kindest option, but yet somehow it's still not ok for a human being to choose to end their own suffering. It seems so hypocritical to me.

I saw my mother suffer with cancer and chemo, I saw her waste away to nothing, I saw how she couldn't even use her fingers for basic functions like writing because the chemo attacked her fingernails and it hurt too much. I saw her gasping for air for months because of the fluid that was perpetually collecting in her lungs. We were told in those final days that they simply couldn't aspirate the fluid even one more time because her lungs and abdominal area would just collapse. Put that situation on a cat...wouldn't we say that it would be cruel and selfish for the owner of that animal to keep it hanging on? So my mother basically slowly drowned on her own fluids, in agony - and yet people say that it would be cruel, criminal and an abomination to have spared her from that end if that had been her wish. Nope, I don't buy that at all...
post #3 of 19
I see no purpose in extending the suffering of a terminally ill patient who wishes to die, and has personally expressed that wish. Allowing assisted suicide, as Holland and parts of Switzerland do, is humane, IMO.
I know that some legislators fear that making assisted suicide legal may result in a few terminally ill people being coerced into requesting it by relatives.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ah, but here's the where it gets dicey.....what about the mentally ill? What if they're living in a depression and have exhausted all the options but nothing seems to help....Do they have a right to choose to die?
post #5 of 19
First of all, anyone who is determined by a court to be mentally ill shouldn't be allowed to make that decision. They are not in charge of their mental facilities and thus incapable of making such a decision.

Depression can be a horrible thing to live with but I think as long as the body is healthy and there is no constant physical pain or terminal illness that depression should NOT be enough to make suicide an option. With depression there is hope for recovery. If someone has a terminal illness or pain that can't be dulled that makes their every breath a living hell, then they should be allowed to make the decision to terminate their life.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leli
Ah, but here's the where it gets dicey.....what about the mentally ill? What if they're living in a depression and have exhausted all the options but nothing seems to help....Do they have a right to choose to die?
My "gut reaction" is no, because they're not actually dying, and there's still a chance of a "miracle" drug or treatment being found to help them. A longtime friend died of pancreatic cancer two weeks ago - he was the second, and there really were no "options" for him. Somebody who is mentally ill has somewhat better prospects of recovering.
post #7 of 19
I agree with the abouve.If you are terminally ill you should be given that right,after
all it's your body and you are the one that is going through hell
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNCatFancier
First of all, anyone who is determined by a court to be mentally ill shouldn't be allowed to make that decision. They are not in charge of their mental facilities and thus incapable of making such a decision.
So, by your definition, anyone who is depressed or has some form of mental illness is incapable of making decisions. You have basically lumped all mentally ill people in with those defined by the court as mentally incompetent....by your logic, we shouldn't be letting the mentally ill have jobs, handle money, etc.....I mean, if they're not capable of handling a basic right, then they can't possibly be expected to take care of themselves or be trusted to do anything important without supervision.
And what if the person hasn't been determined mentally ill by a court of law, but by a doctor? Does this make a difference?

As far as the possibility of finding a miracle drug, that exists for all illness. If you apply it to mental illness, it must also apply to other illnesses, including terminal ones. In that case, nobody would be allowed to decide to die, because there's always a "chance" of finding a cure.
Although a person with mental illness may not be at risk of dying from their illness, they still suffer. Does the fact that it is a mental and not physical suffering make it less valid? From the above answers, it seems most of you would say yes.....does anyone disagree?
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
My "gut reaction" is no, because they're not actually dying, and there's still a chance of a "miracle" drug or treatment being found to help them. A longtime friend died of pancreatic cancer two weeks ago - he was the second, and there really were no "options" for him. Somebody who is mentally ill has somewhat better prospects of recovering.
Sorry to hear about your friend. I hope you don't take offence to me playing devil's advocate.
What if the mentally ill person has exhausted all options, to no avail? They've tried everything, but are still suffering and there is no current drug available? They'd be waiting for a new "miracle drug", which is true of any terminally ill person. Should the mentally ill be denied the right to suicide because they will not be killed by their illness, because they will continue to suffer for perhaps 50 years while the the terminally ill will eventually pass away and be at peace?
post #10 of 19
I started a thread about this before the crash. I fully agree, people should have the right to end their own suffering. If there were guidelines in effect... I think it would be a case by case thing though. It's humane to put animals down to end their suffering, I think humans should also have that right.

My reason for starting the thread wasn't current events though. I am glad this man wants it to be brought to the public eye. My reason was this... On September 11, 2001 my mom made a decision in her hospital bed to be put on Morphine for pain. The thing that my family knew, that the doctors didn't, was that she was allergic to morphine, and it would kill her. After midnight on September 12th (about 1:30 am or so), she quietly passed away in her sleep. Thus, euthanizing herself, and ending her own misery. She had cancer in her liver. Very long story with that. She was suffering, she was hurting. She made her decision, and I supported it no matter how bad it hurt, and how much I would have rather she live longer.

She and I had talked before she went to the hospital the last time. She asked me how I felt about people wanting to die when they were dying. As in 'putting themselves to sleep'. Back in the kevorkian(SP?)days, I remember (I think I was in highschool) Thinking he was doing a good service to people. My mom felt he was murdering. Now years later, my mom was in the shoes of the people he assisted. She asked me how I would feel if she did make the decision to die, rather then suffer. That killed me. It hurt so bad, because we always figure the people we love will be there. I always figured she would live until her body gave out. I figured I would have her another 6 months or more.

I told her that since SHE was living in HER body, Since SHE was feeling HER pain, and I wasn't, I told her that I would support what ever decision she made. I told her that if she were my cat I would have her put down when I felt she was suffering. She just kinda smiled. Knowing how I felt about suffering people, and assisted suicides, I am sure she knew already how I felt. Hearing me tell her though, I guess it was like having permission.

I love her still, to this day. I don't feel that her choice to go onto a medication that had almost killed her in the past was a bad choice. I don't feel that her choosing to end her life in that way that she was forbidden from heaven. She was a very wonderful woman. An angel. Everyone loved her. EVERYONE. She IS an angel. I truely believe that if it is good enough for our pets, it has to be good enough for us.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
We always talk about how putting a suffering animal down is the kindest option, but yet somehow it's still not ok for a human being to choose to end their own suffering. It seems so hypocritical to me.

I saw my mother suffer with cancer and chemo, I saw her waste away to nothing, I saw how she couldn't even use her fingers for basic functions like writing because the chemo attacked her fingernails and it hurt too much. I saw her gasping for air for months because of the fluid that was perpetually collecting in her lungs. We were told in those final days that they simply couldn't aspirate the fluid even one more time because her lungs and abdominal area would just collapse. Put that situation on a cat...wouldn't we say that it would be cruel and selfish for the owner of that animal to keep it hanging on? So my mother basically slowly drowned on her own fluids, in agony - and yet people say that it would be cruel, criminal and an abomination to have spared her from that end if that had been her wish. Nope, I don't buy that at all...
I am so sorry. It is horrible to watch someone you love so dearly waste away. I almost wish everyone was allergic to morphine. I never ever had to watch my mom suffer that much. She was suffering. She hung on for a long time. One day though, it was too much.

On Sept 11th, 2001, I went to the hospital about 11am(my time... 1pm NY time), and she was heavily sedated. I asked what was up, the doctor said they had put her on morphine earlier that day. I was shocked. Beside myself. I knew that would kill her, and I started to protest. The doctor showed me the order, with my mom's signature on it... She had made her decision.

I've wondered what time they put her on. I wonder IF she saw the events of that day before she went out of it. I wonder if the reason she chose to do it had anything to do with that. I wanted to sit with my mom that day, talking to her, and bonding with her. I wanted to be near her, because I was an emotional wreck after I watched the towers fall on tv. All those people. I cannot have anyone talk about the towers, or that day without crying. ... It brings back my feelings before, and after my mom passed every time.
post #12 of 19
I fully agree, people should have the right to end their own suffering
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leli
Sorry to hear about your friend. I hope you don't take offence to me playing devil's advocate.
What if the mentally ill person has exhausted all options, to no avail? They've tried everything, but are still suffering and there is no current drug available? They'd be waiting for a new "miracle drug", which is true of any terminally ill person. Should the mentally ill be denied the right to suicide because they will not be killed by their illness, because they will continue to suffer for perhaps 50 years while the the terminally ill will eventually pass away and be at peace?
I'm thinking in terms of "assisted" suicide, i.e., when a person is so physically incapacitated that he or she cannot commit suicide without another person's help. That surely doesn't apply to most mentally ill people, many of whom do give up and commit suicide.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
I'm thinking in terms of "assisted" suicide, i.e., when a person is so physically incapacitated that he or she cannot commit suicide without another person's help. That surely doesn't apply to most mentally ill people, many of whom do give up and commit suicide.
That's what terms I am thinking in as well. My other thought is for the people who end up braindead, or that need life support to stay alive, even when there is NO chance of recovery. There should be some kind of a will of sorts, like a living will. One that states that if they are ever in a state where they need life support to live, and have no chance of recovery, they want to be 'put down'.
post #15 of 19
I had watched a segment on 48 hours or a program similar about a man who had went to Switzerland to go through an assisted suicide program. He had lived to decently old age (60+), lost his wife, etc., and living wasn't for him anymore (I honestly don't remember if he was ill or not). He made the choice, he was sane, he knew what he was doing.

If you want to end your life because you are suffering, that is YOUR right, no one else's. Yes, it hurts the family, BUT, it hurts worse to see you suffer. My Mom suffered a lot before she passed away from Ovarian Cancer in February of last year. I'm glad that she passed away in her sleep before the pain was so overbearing that she lost all functionality. If it had gotten to bad, I wouldn't be surprised if my Mom had asked for help, and as much as it would have killed me to have her ask for that, I'd rather that than her suffering unnecessarily.

People here mention that if we can end our animals lives because its the right or humane thing to do, we are acting in their best judgement. We aren't talking about ending a realitive's life, but of them ending their own. We have no right to judge them, to deny them their wish. We aren't killing them, but allowing them to end their own suffering.

I'm all for euthenasia. Who am I to tell you that you can't stop your suffering? If this is how you wish to go, to find peace, then my friend, be at peace, and stop the pain.
post #16 of 19
Not sure about the mentally ill, but depression..absolutely not, we all suffer from being depressed at some point or another, and for those who are truly clinically depressed, there is treatment,, depression can with out a doubt be cured.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
depression can with out a doubt be cured.
No, it cannot.

Sorry, just like diabetes cannot be cured, neither can clinical depression. it's something I live with on a daily basis, again like diabetes. And it sucks, just like diabetes.

Best-
Michele
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanctie
Not sure about the mentally ill, but depression..absolutely not, we all suffer from being depressed at some point or another, and
for those who are truly clinically depressed,
there is treatment,,
depression can with out a doubt be cured.
I am not sure what you mean by mentally ill. People who need 24/7 care, because they cannot care for themselves? People who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia? I think it should be only for terminaly ill people who have no chance of recovery. I'm not sure if there are any mental illnesses that are terminal, and kill the people...

I don't think that depression would be in the definition of 'terminal illness'. If the law stated that it must be to end the suffering of a terminally ill patient, where there was no hope for recovery(or something to that effect), I seriously doubt that mental illnesses or depression, or clinical depression would fall into that category.



You must not have a chemical imbalance. Chemical imbalances cannot be cured. Pills can help to keep someone okay for a while, but they don't 'cure'. I think some people with some different kinds of depression can be helped. Perhaps not cured, but managed. If you had a problem with depression like some people have, you would understand. If there is a cure, please share it, I am sure a lot of people would appreciate that.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by noni
No, it cannot.

Sorry, just like diabetes cannot be cured, neither can clinical depression. it's something I live with on a daily basis, again like diabetes. And it sucks, just like diabetes.

Best-
Michele
Agreed. People have to stop thinking that mental illnesses are not, one, just as painful as a "physical illness" and two, not physical ailments. Your brain is just as much an organ of your body as your heart, liver or lungs are. We have to give people with a BRAIN ILLNESS just as much status as those with so-called medical illnesses. We and I believe I speak not just for myself but for others in my situation are tired of being treated like second class healthcare consumers.
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