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Assisted suicide question.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have been watching some segments on PBS about Hospice and folks in their last days with cancer, etc. I also watched both my parents die a long and painful death due to cancer and have no intention of laying around myself in a state unable to meet my own needs. I know that I want a nice supply of morphine available to me if the need arises. There are legal and moral issues at stake I know, but I was wondering what you all thought about this issue.

One segment last night was discussing legal assisted suicide in Oregon - Do any other states or countries have this ruling?

I do expect if you respond to this question - that you will be considerate of other people's opinions and remarks - thank you!
post #2 of 12
Well, this is strictly MY opinion, so please nobody chew me out on this ok??
I believe that it is your own choice. I know in my situation ( my husband and I have spoken about this ), that neither one of us wants the other to suffer if it is terminal. I know there is a lot of debate on the issue, but I just think its your own choice how your life ends.
I will say though, that I don't condone suicide in and of itself. I think that the 25 year old that jumps off of a bridge is in need of help. I am only saying that in the instance of a terminal illness, especially in your elder years, you should have a say in how long and hard you suffer.
post #3 of 12
Again, this is my opinion, I don't terrribly want to get flamed either . . . But I am Catholic and one of the tenets of my religion is that life is sacred and should be preserved. There was a recently released encyclical about this, I think it's called "Humanae Vitae" - because all these things are titled in Latin - which surely explains the whole concept better than I can. The point is, God gives life and it is sinful for us to take it away because we are usurping God's will in this. Actually, it's a pretty all-purpose idea, which also covers murder and abortion. I suspect it could be stretched to cover eating meat without much difficulty, since current thinking is that humans and animals are more similar than used to be accepted. Of course, not every one has the same theology, so I don't expect the world to live out mine. People make decisions all the time that I don't agree with, it's not my business to judge another person.

I am also concerned about the "slippery slope" aspect of this. If we allow assisted suicide, at what point does it become murder? Is leaving enough morphine to kill a person okay but leaving a gun is not? What if the suffering has the potential to end by another means? Does current suffering outweigh future health? How much is your mindset affected by the suffering? Would you make the same decision if you weren't in pain? Is it a version of temporary insanity or being under duress? Is it different when the assistee is a person rather than an animal? After all, there is a long tradition of determining that an animal's suffering outweighs the value of it's life and having it "put to sleep". Maybe you don't recognize how bad your suffering really is and someone else should make that decision for you. After all, it's affecting your mind and you don't understand all the implications of your situation and we wouldn't want you to suffer a decrease in quality of life.

Hmmm . . . No, I think this is a bad idea. But this is America, and I support your right to decide you've had enough. How sad that we are looking for a way to make suicide okay because we reach a point where our lives are less than ideal, when so much of the rest of the world is just hoping to see the sun come up tomorrow. Just don't ask me to help you pull the plug, because I won't.
post #4 of 12
Just as an afterthought, my husband and I both have living wills. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, that is when you wish to not be kept on life support if the need may arise. We thought long and hard about it, we wanted to be sure we were making the right decision for each other and our children. We both agreed that to keep someone "artificially" alive, when there is no hope it all, is cruel. I see this assisted suicide as being along the same lines to a point.
If you can make the decision to "pull the plug" on someone you love, then I don't see a lot of difference between the two.
I know I am going to get a lot of negative feedback on this post, so please, I am begging you.........DON'T. This is just how we feel personally in our lives and in no way am I trying to push my opinions on anyone else.
Each of us will have a different view I am sure, and I hope we can all respect each other on this sensitive subject.

post #5 of 12
Wow Sunlion....your slippery slope thoughts are excellent!

Like Dtolle, I believe that a living will is the way to go. For me, making the decision not to prolong life using heroic measures is not a difficult one. But....the thought of ending a life deliberately through an overdose is one I hope I never have to face.

I think of my grandmother who is in her late 90's. She was one of the most amazing women I have ever met. She retired at age 90 (not a type-o) and then flew around the world visiting places she always dreamed of. She even went parasailing at age 86!!! But now, she has parkinson's and her mind is pretty much gone. In her lucid moments she is very depressed and wants to die....and I don't blame her. To go from being such a vibrant person to being the way she is now is horrific. But....could I give her the overdose of morphine? No! Despite this, I wish God would take her because she needs and wants to go.

Please....no flaming....these are just MY thoughts!
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I guess I should add this - I would never ask someone to do this for me, but I would want the option of ending my life with dignity.
post #7 of 12
OK..this is again MY view and mine alone. If a person decides to end their own life under these circumstances it is their business..and only theirs. However..the difference between asking to not be revived and asking someone to actually kill you is HUGE!! In the first you make a decision not to extend your suffering,the second you are asking someone to ruin their life with guilt and to accept possible legal problems. There are many painless ways to take yourself out..why put the burden on another?

A very difficult question.
post #8 of 12
I don't really have an opinion on assisted suicide. It's a hard thing to debate. There are always families fighting when someone is declared brain dead & one side wants to pull the plug, and the other doesn't. ON the other had, if the person who is declared brain dead told his/her family they wouldn't want to be kept on life support or kept alive by machines, then by all means that person's family should be able to. I read a story about that in People magazine a few months back. The husband became brain dead after being involved in a car accident (I believe). He had stated to his wife once that he would never want to be kept alive via machines....... Well, his mother is fighting her daugther-in-law in court saying he can hear her, and he said he never wanted to die. Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't want to be a vegetable or be kept alive like that. I guess that is what living wills are for.
I think that suicide, whether it is shooting yourself, jumping off the bridge, and assisted suicide are all the same thing. And, I think that if you "assist" someone, that could possibly mean murder if it ever went to court. I don't think I could assist someone in helping to kill themselves. It is just wrong, not matter how much you love them. But, that is my opinion.
post #9 of 12
Oh, I have to agree with Debra about not asking anyone to do it for me!! I don't ever forsee myself asking someone to live with that sort of guilt. I guess I didn't think of it in that way, but now that I read that I don't think I could.
The living will is something that is already set up, and no guilt should be involved since I chose that myself. The assisted suicide on the other hand I guess is a bit different considering it would be decided there and then and you would need help.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Now I am not so sure anymore. Boy, what a thread this is.
post #10 of 12
I'll speak from my own personal experience. My father spent the better part of 2000 gravely ill.

He had the strongest will to live and was determined not to let his illness beat him. But by September, his life consisted of trips to the doctor's office for blood and platelet transfusions almost every other day. On the weekends, he'd often have to be admitted into the hospital because his counts were so low, he couldn't survive until Monday. A 6-day stint in the hospital weakened him so much that he wasn't able to walk anymore. It was then that he knew he could either continue on in this manner, probably in some hospital bed, or call it quits.

He knew that he wanted to be at home. So he contacted Hospice. They set him up with everything he needed at home, including pain meds. The only condition was that any other treatment, like his transfusions would be suspended.

He lasted about a week and a half. It was very difficult, yet at the same time, an extraordinary experience. Family was all around. He felt an incredible sense of peace with everyone and the world. He was able to come to terms with and accept his death on his own terms. In the end he got the dignity he deserved.

No words from anyone could ever alter my feelings on this matter. Each of us deserves to be able to be at peace when the end comes.
post #11 of 12
Deb25...sums it up beautifully.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
You sure did hit the mail on the head Deb 25......
Dignity - peace and security are so important.
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