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Old 10-10-2013, 09:23 AM
pdw pdw started this thread
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
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To me, it seems like a giant step backwards going from ending the death penalty to allowing this. Let's hope that this doesn't spread to the rest of the country.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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Dr. Donald Low might change your mind about this.


Dr. Donald Low's posthumous plea for assisted suicide - YouTube
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Vancouver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdw View Post
To me, it seems like a giant step backwards going from ending the death penalty to allowing this. Let's hope that this doesn't spread to the rest of the country.
I don't equate this with the death penalty at all. Certainly it must be strictly monitored and controlled and allowed only when the diagnosis is a long and painful death.

I think it's cruel to artificially extends ones suffering just because we have the technology to do so.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
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We have had the same debate in my country. One very brave British Columbian dying of ALS, Sue Rodriguez, famously asked your Parliament: "Who owns my body?" There's an excellent book about this movement by Richard N. Côté (an American of French-Canadian heritage) called In Search of Gentle Death. In every country, it seems, it's the same phenomenon: the religious oppose it, on the logic of 'you can't do that because it's against my beliefs.'

They'll trot out the Hitler euthanasia stuff, given time; they'll claim it'll lead to all sorts of people killed against their will. They'll bring out slippery-slope arguments that don't work. It shows how truly heartless and uncompassionate they can truly be, how far they are from the supposed principles of their faith. I am proud that parts of Canada have rejected this inhumanity and hope that the rest of the nation will follow soon.

A number of Canadians have been in the forefront of activism for the right to end one's life on one's own terms without having to scrounge for Mexican Nembutal, buy a helium tank and some hose, fly to Switzerland's Dignitas clinic, or do something messier. In Washington and Oregon, it is legal. This has not resulted in any of the dire consequences that detractors have warned of. In fact, it has been shown that when a legal means exists for the terminally ill whose suffering cannot be ameliorated by palliative care to go out on their own terms, they are less likely to choose it. It is safer to continue the fight if you know that you can end the fight by choice even if you become physically unable to do it yourself. And in our country, where (unlike Canada) the usual goal of care for the terminally ill is to wring every possible dollar out of their suffering before they die, it's especially important that people be able to opt out.

Anyone who could look Chantal Sébire in her no-longer-functional eyes (google if you dare) and esthesioneuroblastoma-distorted face and tell her, "You can't choose to end your life because my deity says it's wrong," is a pitiless scoundrel far afield from any ethical moorings I can recognize. This issue has done more than perhaps any other to show me that organized religion is more about imposing one's will on others than living its beliefs.
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Old 10-10-2013, 10:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdw View Post
To me, it seems like a giant step backwards going from ending the death penalty to allowing this. Let's hope that this doesn't spread to the rest of the country.
What do you care if someone is ready to die, to get away from the untold pain & suffering? Push that morphine button and hold it in for me, sir. Thannkssssss....
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Suicide in Canada is legal, but physician assisted suicide was not. I believe that it should be permitted under the Deontological principle of respect for autonomy. To circumvent the long held wishes of a rational person because we think we know what is best for them is unjustified paternalism. If it can be established that they are rational, that the decision has not been taken in a fit of depression and that it is a longstanding desire of the person that they should end their life under these circumstances, it should be permitted for a willing doctor to aid them on their way if they so choose.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:49 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdw View Post
To me, it seems like a giant step backwards going from ending the death penalty to allowing this. Let's hope that this doesn't spread to the rest of the country.
Why? If terminally ill people wish to die with dignity to end their agony what is it about their decision that you're afraid of? Please explain your objections.

.
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Old 10-10-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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Assisted suicide has nothing in common with death penalty.

The former is voluntary and only applies to people who will die soon anyway just to save them from the endless pain. It is not execution. I'd say it is a step forward.

Nobody says it will be adopted widely so that anyone can help others to end their lives. But under certain extremely restricted conditions, why not give people the choice to die? Who are we to say you have to live in pain for the next 48 months with zero pleasure from living your life whatsoever?
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Canada
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I don't see how we can reconcile not allowing a right to die with the established principle that people have the right to formulate and pursue their own interests, including the right to refuse treatment offered at a hospital. People can say no to chemotherapy because they personally want the highest quality of time remaining to them and don't see the chance of maybe beating the cancer as worth it. A doctor may feel differently, but it is not their choice to make. In a healthcare system where we believe in this principle, I don't see how we can piecemeal go and say that's acceptable levels of autonomy for people, but no we can't let a physician and patient consent to euthanasia when both are rational. Where does the justification for this level of paternalistic thinking come from? That we're going with patient autonomy should be the default assumption, any such strong paternalism needs a strong argument for me to accept it, and I haven't heard one yet.

Ethics are important to me, and especially biomedical ethics are important to me because I'm a health care professional. If you have good reasons for opposing it please argue them. This is really important, not like most of the stuff we discuss, and I think we should discuss this legitimately grey subject with an openness and compassion that is sometimes lacking on the internet with more frivolous topics.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:00 PM
 
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Playing devil's advocate here:

There are many valid arguments against physician assisted suicide ... a closer examination of this area reveals that this is not a black and white issue.

Dying vs. palliative care
Countries where assisted suicide is legal tend to have poor palliative care services. Many that work in the medical profession say that what is NEEDED is better palliative care and NOT assisted suicide.
In fact, if patients have access to good quality palliative care at the end of life then assisted dying becomes unnecessary. Moreover, more people need palliative care services .... and the demand for assisted suicide is very low. A very few helped - a great many harmed

Implementation of assisted suicide
- how do you accurately estimate the prognosis especially in the case of non-malignant diseases? For example, at what point is it okay for a person with dementia (Alzheimer's disease) to request assisted suicide?
- how do you distinguish between medical depression vs natural reaction to terminal illness?
- how do you deal with unsuccessful assisted suicide cases?

Vulnerable people
If such a law is passed, how do you protect the elderly, disabled, and mentally incompetent? Some would argue that such laws reinforce the idea that lives of the sick and disabled are not worth living.
In fact, most disability advocate groups (at least in the US) are against assisted suicide ....

Ethical and Legal objections
How do you deal with physicians or other medical professionals who do not wants to partake in such activities for ethical or religious reasons?

I have read about this issue quite a bit. And I am playing devil's advocate here only to stir up a meaningful discussion. So please keep personal attacks to a minimum.
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