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Old 09-14-2003, 09:18 PM   #1
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Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Should it be permitted for someone who is terminally ill to commit suicide? There are those in society who are terminally ill with diseases such as leukemia who experience much pain and a low quality of life. There are also those that have Alzheimer's disease that are very extreme and also experience a low quality of life. Many other diseases and conditions exist in which one might wish to end the pain or suffering, but should they have that right? We can't all be Stephen Hawking, but I think that I'd like to fight to the end if the pain was bearable.

But what about Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide? If someone wants to end the pain/suffering, should others who assist him or her in their demise be held liable? If I were unable to do it (i.e. Quadriplegic), would it be ethical for you to start the injection if I gave the "nod?"

Here's an excerpt from an article referenced below:
Thirty-eight months to the day had passed since Janet Adkins, an Oregon woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, had lain back on the same pallet in the same white van. "Have a nice trip," Kevorkian had told her. She flipped the switch on the suicide machine, releasing a lethal dose of thiopental and potassium chloride into her bloodstream. "Thank you, thank you," she whispered. She leaned forward as if to kiss him, the seldom kissed Kevorkian recalled, and fell back.

Lessenberry, Jack. July 1994. Death Becomes Him. Vanity Fair. Reprinted online by PBS Frontline.

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Old 09-15-2003, 04:49 AM   #2
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It depends on the situation, but for the most part I say no.

As we learn more about how the human brain works, we discover that chemical imbalances can cause all sorts of things like depression and emotional disorders that can lead to suicide.

With the proper medicines, we can not only treat the pain, but also the imbalances that cause depression, leading people to feel happier or at least "normal" and thus improve the quality of life for those suffering from terminal or cronic conditions.

Some people can get through even the worst illnesses and disabilities with feelings of peace, dignity, etc.

While I can understand the feelings of "mercy killing" advocates, I disagree that their methods are preferable to treating the roots of depression instead (and working on better painkillers).

Extending life and improving quality of life should be promoted rather than destruction of it.

Or are we sending the message that these people are better off dead (and we can save money by letting them kill themselves)?

In some cases, withholding "elective treatments" at the request of the patient I think are morally permissable. That is different than directly taking life by say overdosing on medication or ingesting poison or something else.

Unfortunately a lot of these people are not in their right minds, and so making the decision for them is quite a moral quagmire.

That's essentially my spin on it.

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Old 09-17-2003, 01:08 PM   #3
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if i became a "vegetable" and couldn't move, talk, or do anything to benefit myself or society I feel I should have the right to be assisted in suicide.

(I mean limited movement, in other words I would be able to give a signal of some sort to let them know I wish to be euthenized.)

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Old 09-21-2003, 05:34 PM   #4
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I think assisted suicide is a very good idea. I feel that if you cannot go on with life any longer, if it be pain, disease, or they are in a cure of uncurable manic depression, then this should be used. I mean, people do it to their pets when they dont want them to suffer any longer... I think this should also be applicable to humans. If anyone wants me to go and explain more, and/or has a question on my beliefs on this, ask me...and I'll reply

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Old 10-14-2003, 12:02 PM   #5
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What about turnng a life support machine off. Is that murder or death by natural causes?

No, I am no relation to Krusty.
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Old 10-14-2003, 03:12 PM   #6
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I think murder is any action in which you know that by committing it, someones death will occur. So cutting the life support could be considered murder.

Although I do believe that if you are diagnosed with some horrible degenerative disease, you have very little time to live and that time will be filled with awful pain, and there is no possible way to cure your ailment... then yes, I think assisted suicide is perfectly ethical. Hell, I think it's unethical to put someone through that in their last days/hours, etc.

I know I wouldn't want to spend my last moments on Earth in horrible pain. And if I'm going to die anyway, then there's no point in going through that pain.

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Old 10-14-2003, 03:37 PM   #7
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You're not going to be able to stop people from killing themselves. If someone is dead-set (no pun intended) on killing themselves, words and laws are not going to stop them.

"Yea, and God said to Abraham, 'You will kill your son Isaac.'
And Abraham said, 'I can't hear you, you'll have to speak into the microphone.'
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Old 10-22-2003, 09:37 PM   #8
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The question is not about suicide per se, but whether or not people can HELP others commit suicide (Hence "assisted suicide").

Euthanasia involves directly killing ("mercy killing") somebody, usually with the idea that this will "end their suffering."

Both of those are closer to murder because they involve a third party doing the deed.

Example (sorry for the crudeness but I hope it gets my point across):

Person 1: Kill me.
Person 2: Okay (shoots Person 1)

Assisted Suicide, and also murder if Assisted Suicide is illegal. Murder being "illegal killing." This is a more direct example because Person 2 actually did the killing. Was Person 1 serious? Were they in their right mind to begin with? Lots of problems with this of course.
Person 1: I'm in pain.
Person 2: (Shoots Person 1).

Euthanasia, and also murder if euthanasia is illegal. Did Person 1 want to die really? Were they in their right mind? Person 2 did the actual killing.
Person 1: I'm going to kill myself, but I can't reach that gun.
Person 2: Here you go (hands them the loaded gun).
Person 1 (Shoots self)

Assisted suicide. Not sure what they'd classify it as (complicity in manslaughter?) assuming it's illegal of course. Person 1 did the actual killing, but they had help in the means from Person 2. Theoretically without Person 2's help they wouldn't have been able to kill themselves. Person 2's actions brought about Person 1's death, but indirectly.
Person 1: I'm going to kill myself (shoots self)

Suicide. Illegal, which is pointless after the fact, but it means that law abiding persons have a duty to try to prevent the person from killing themselves. If suicide is legalized, it means people don't have a (legal) obligation to try to stop them. Of course morality and legality are two different things. I suppose you could then sue somebody for stopping you from offing yourself? (sounds pretty messed up to me).
But having Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide and Suicide equivalent just makes the matter more complicated and muddies the issue. They should be treated as seperate issues.

If by my actions I cause the death of another, whether intentionally or by accident, I'm answerable to the law. That should be a starting point for the discussion I think.

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Old 10-24-2003, 01:52 PM   #9
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I think it's a very good idea in some cases. If I was stuck in a nursing home, waiting for the end, nothing to do, my family only visiting about once a week, I'd probably want to be black bottled. And if I had some sort of incurable disease and I had tried everything then, and I was in a lot of pain, and only had a little time left then certainly I don't think I'd want to live anymore.

But in cases where the person is drugged up and requests to be killed, it's not right. If the person is not in their right mind in any way, then it's not really them talking.

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