Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 

GoonSquad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2007
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,959
Location: International House of Paincakes...

09 May 2014, 5:32 am

So, I reviewed this documentary for my Thanatology class. It's well worth an hour of your time.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XWJhLeqg48[/youtube]

Anyway, since being diagnosed with Alzheimer's Mr. Pratchett has decided he would like to die before the disease runs its course.

At the beginning of the documentary--which chronicles the suicides of two men suffering from ALS--he poses a question:

Quote:
Is it possible for someone like me, or like you, to arrange for themselves the death that they want?


After a bit of thought and research, my conclusion is, sadly, no, not if you suffer from Alzheimer's and you want to live until the disease has taken your mind.

What Mr. Pratchett wants is to be euthanized once the disease has rendered him incompetent. I understand, and even sympathize... as a matter of fact, in that situation I'd probably want the same thing.

However, I just don't believe this sort of thing could (or should) ever be sanctioned by society. It's simply too dangerous and vulnerable to abuse, too unpalatable, too close to the Nazi euthanasia programs for the incompetent and disabled of half a century ago.

The Benelux countries do practice voluntary euthanasia, but I don't think most of the rest of the world could accept even that....

Here was my conclusion:
Quote:
As Derek Humphrey, author of Final Exit observes, we are not likely to see widespread acceptance of euthanasia as an alternative to assisted suicide any time soon. He suggests that many doctors oppose euthanasia and would refuse to preform the procedure because it is too much like killing. He also points out that many who vehemently oppose legalized euthanasia will tolerate discreet assisted suicide if the dying person is suffering greatly. Further, he observes that, more and more, people believe that patients have a right and a moral obligation to take control of their own ends if they choose to die early.

...

So, to answer the question Terry Pratchett poses at the beginning of his documentary, “Is it possible for someone like me, or like you, to arrange for themselves the death that they want?” I think it really depends. If you want to live every last worthwhile minute you have, and then rely on someone else to put you out of your misery, the answer is no. Human life is far too precious and the power to end a life is far too important to be given away. I can certainly understand the desire to die on your own terms, especially when confronted with the grim prospect of a living death while suffering from Alzheimer's. But, it seems clear that dying on your own terms must involve dying by your own hand as well.


_________________
No man is free who is not master of himself.~Epictetus


The_Walrus
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2010
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Posts: 6,545
Location: Reading, England

09 May 2014, 7:01 am

I agree that this is a very difficult topic. I am certainly in favour of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill.

Dementia is harder. I certainly respect Sir Terry's right to end his life. However, it is morally questionable as to whether now-Terry has the right to end the life of future-Terry. Moment to moment, senile future-Terry may be quite content to keep living, unaware of his senility and particularly unaware of any request he had made to end his life.



GoonSquad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2007
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,959
Location: International House of Paincakes...

09 May 2014, 7:34 am

^^^Yeah, good thoughts....

reminds me of Delmore Schwartz~

Quote:
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn ...)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(... that time is the fire in which we burn.)

(This is the school in which we learn ...)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again...


_________________
No man is free who is not master of himself.~Epictetus


Ann2011
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 15 Jul 2011
Age: 49
Gender: Female
Posts: 4,514
Location: Ontario, Canada

09 May 2014, 9:31 am

He better kill himself before he becomes unable to do so. You can't trust others to take care of you when you're vulnerable.



trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

09 May 2014, 9:54 am

GoonSquad wrote:
I can certainly understand the desire to die on your own terms, especially when confronted with the grim prospect of a living death while suffering from Alzheimer's. But, it seems clear that dying on your own terms must involve dying by your own hand as well.


Why is it so clear to you that the person must kill themselves? In the Netherlands there is apparantly no shortage of doctors willing to perform euthenasia. I think in some places they have specialists for it.
I think it is a horrible thing when society forces a suffering person to live on. Denying them the right to die is essentially torture.

The situation with Pratchett is somewhat similar to that of Hugo Claus, who suffered from Alzheimer's as well and wanted to be euthenized, which is what happened:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Claus#Death



Raptor
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 8 Mar 2007
Gender: Male
Posts: 12,985
Location: Southeast U.S.A.

09 May 2014, 10:03 am

Ann2011 wrote:
He better kill himself before he becomes unable to do so. You can't trust others to take care of you when you're vulnerable.


That's about how I see it, too.


_________________
“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”
- William F. Buckley


GoonSquad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2007
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,959
Location: International House of Paincakes...

09 May 2014, 10:53 am

trollcatman wrote:
GoonSquad wrote:
I can certainly understand the desire to die on your own terms, especially when confronted with the grim prospect of a living death while suffering from Alzheimer's. But, it seems clear that dying on your own terms must involve dying by your own hand as well.


Why is it so clear to you that the person must kill themselves? In the Netherlands there is apparantly no shortage of doctors willing to perform euthenasia. I think in some places they have specialists for it.
I think it is a horrible thing when society forces a suffering person to live on. Denying them the right to die is essentially torture.

The situation with Pratchett is somewhat similar to that of Hugo Claus, who suffered from Alzheimer's as well and wanted to be euthenized, which is what happened:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Claus#Death


You need to go back and read my post. I don't have a huge problem with voluntary euthanasia, but I do think assisted suicide is much less problematic.

HOWEVER, I do have a really big problem with euthanasia of incompetent people who cannot give consent. That's it. And they WILL NOT euthanize incompetent people in the Netherlands or any place else. That's a good thing.


_________________
No man is free who is not master of himself.~Epictetus


trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

09 May 2014, 10:57 am

GoonSquad wrote:
You need to go back and read my post. I don't have a huge problem with voluntary euthanasia, but I do think assisted suicide is much less problematic.

HOWEVER, I do have a really big problem with euthanasia of incompetent people who cannot give consent. That's it. And they WILL NOT euthanize incompetent people in the Netherlands or any place else. That's a good thing.


You are not entirely correct on that. They have euthenised babies in the Netherlands. They would have died anyway, but babies can't give consent.
And you were the one who said "die by their own hand", which is not what euthenasia is.



GoonSquad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2007
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,959
Location: International House of Paincakes...

09 May 2014, 11:18 am

trollcatman wrote:
GoonSquad wrote:
You need to go back and read my post. I don't have a huge problem with voluntary euthanasia, but I do think assisted suicide is much less problematic.

HOWEVER, I do have a really big problem with euthanasia of incompetent people who cannot give consent. That's it. And they WILL NOT euthanize incompetent people in the Netherlands or any place else. That's a good thing.


You are not entirely correct on that. They have euthenised babies in the Netherlands. They would have died anyway, but babies can't give consent.
And you were the one who said "die by their own hand", which is not what euthenasia is.


Ahh... now I remember why I don't post here very often. :P

In the rare cases that babies/children are euthanized, the case must pass a medical review and have parental consent.

...and I've already explained my position on VOLUNTARY euthanasia vs assisted suicide. GO BACK AND -->READ<-- my first post. or don't... I don't care.


_________________
No man is free who is not master of himself.~Epictetus


trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

09 May 2014, 11:24 am

GoonSquad wrote:
...and I've already explained my position on VOLUNTARY euthanasia vs assisted suicide. GO BACK AND -->READ<-- my first post. or don't... I don't care.


I know this sounds like nitpicking, but I read your post and you ended with this: "But, it seems clear that dying on your own terms must involve dying by your own hand as well.", which did seem inconsistent with the rest of your post. I took it to mean that if you want euthenasia, you'll have to stick in the needle yourself.



GoonSquad
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 May 2007
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Posts: 5,959
Location: International House of Paincakes...

09 May 2014, 11:40 am

trollcatman wrote:
GoonSquad wrote:
...and I've already explained my position on VOLUNTARY euthanasia vs assisted suicide. GO BACK AND -->READ<-- my first post. or don't... I don't care.


I know this sounds like nitpicking, but I read your post and you ended with this: "But, it seems clear that dying on your own terms must involve dying by your own hand as well.", which did seem inconsistent with the rest of your post. I took it to mean that if you want euthenasia, you'll have to stick in the needle yourself.


Well, I do think assisted suicide is much easier to defend ethically and as Derek Humphry observes, much more palatable for most people. For those reasons I do think it should be preferred over euthanasia, but I would not oppose voluntary euthanasia. I hope that's more clear.


_________________
No man is free who is not master of himself.~Epictetus


trollcatman
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 21 Dec 2012
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,920

09 May 2014, 11:49 am

GoonSquad wrote:
Well, I do think assisted suicide is much easier to defend ethically and as Derek Humphry observes, much more palatable for most people. For those reasons I do think it should be preferred over euthanasia, but I would not oppose voluntary euthanasia. I hope that's more clear.


But for some people assisted suicide is not an option because they are paralyzed or have other disabilities. I want euthenasia to be an option for people too. If some doctors feel it is too much like killing (it IS killing, but that is what the patient wants), then get another doctor to do it. As far as I know there is no shortage of people to perform euthenasia.