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Old 05-23-2009, 05:53 AM   #1
Achilles
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R.I.P. Linda Fleming

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Linda Fleming was diagnosed with terminal cancer and feared her last days would be filled with pain and ever-stronger doses of medication that would erode her mind.

The 66-year-old woman with late-stage pancreatic cancer wanted to be clear-headed at death, so she became the first person to kill herself under Washington state's new assisted suicide law, known as "death with dignity."
Link to full story

Now that two states now offer this service, I wonder how much longer it will be until other states legalize this process as well (and if Dr. Jack Kevorkian will be recompensed for his incarceration).
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:55 PM   #2
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He ought to be. I'm surprised he's still kicking, I got the impression that he didn't have long to go when they released him.
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
Link to full story

Now that two states now offer this service, I wonder how much longer it will be until other states legalize this process as well (and if Dr. Jack Kevorkian will be recompensed for his incarceration).
This goes against the Hippocratic oath. I can't believe they actually legalized this.



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Old 05-23-2009, 03:38 PM   #4
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Goes against the Hippocratic oath or goes against what you've been told/led to believe the Hippocratic oath says?

Actually the above is an unfair question as we should actually establish which version of the Hippocratic oath we're discussing.

Of course, we could also chuck the whole "mindless following of tradition" thing altogether and instead have a discussion about what is ethical vs unethical.
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Old 05-23-2009, 03:41 PM   #5
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I told myself I was going to avoid this topic like the plague…

I once saw this as a clearly black and white issue; however that was before I had the misfortune to witness my father, my stepmother, my best friend’s mother and my stepfather ravaged by cancer. That was before I saw them scream in agony at the slightest touch of a loved one despite being on painkillers. That was before I watched amputations and other humiliating acts performed on people I loved in the name of health care. Yes, I once had the luxury to see this issue as a right and wrong question. I once thought life was precious and should be preserved at all cost.

I don’t have that luxury any longer.



Last edited by mimartin; 05-23-2009 at 03:58 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:13 PM   #6
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Given that most people can commit suicide on their own, I see no reason to drag the medical profession into it. Perhaps what society needs to do is legalize suicide period. Not as if you can punish the person that pulls it off.


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Old 05-23-2009, 06:00 PM   #7
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^^^Ironic truth in that. We can't punish the one who successfully pulled it off.

There doesn't need to be any "prescribed" death, though. Considering that the ill and suffering are already thinking it and perhaps considering it.

Allowing it is one thing which frankly I have a hard time arguing against having had suffering/ill relatives and watching them like this.

Prescribing it, to me however, just simply seems like a way of telling the patient: nobody cares if you're dead or alive so go off yourself. That's where I draw the line.

Telling the doctor from above in government authority to prescribe it where other viable alternatives with a good level of success might exist is just not right. However, making it available as a last resort option on the table so the patients can decide for themselves is acceptable, is better.

I'll advocate freedom of choice.


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Old 05-23-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Perhaps what society needs to do is legalize suicide
i'm sure its legality would matter a lot to potential suicidees
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:39 PM   #9
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Cute, ED, but if suicide were legal, there'd be no need for legal issues about assisted suicide.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Given that most people can commit suicide on their own, I see no reason to drag the medical profession into it.
In the case of medically assisted suicide, the problem is some fight the disease until they are unable to commit suicide on their own. Some of the people that are contemplating suicide because they fear the pain associated with their condition, why should we make them suffer even more pain and anxiety over attempting suicide on their own?

I’m by far not suggesting we force medical professionals into assisting in the death of a patient. However, I see no reason why a medical professional cannot relieve a terminally ill patients suffering and pain if both parties are making a willing, informed, and rational decision based on the medical facts.



Last edited by mimartin; 05-25-2009 at 08:30 PM. Reason: I spell like a 5th grader
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:34 PM   #11
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Just so long as it is not prescribed or that the decision is not executed by anything BUT the will of the patient.

The trouble there would be, though, how we could keep an employee (official, doctor, or nurse) from just saying "screw it" and taking it upon themselves. Such would be difficult to prove no?


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Old 05-23-2009, 10:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mimartin View Post
In the case of medically assisted suicide, the problem is some fight the disease until they are unable to commit suicide on their own. Some of the people that are contemplating suicide because they fear the pain associated with their condition, why should we make them suffer even more pain and anxiety over attempting suicide on their own?

I’m by fair not suggesting we force medical professionals into assisting in the death of a patient. However, I see no reason why a medical professional cannot relieve a terminally ill patients suffering and pain if both parties are making a willing, informed, and rational decision based on the medical facts.
Quote:
..but if suicide were legal, there'd be no need for legal issues about assisted suicide.
In such contingincies as you mention, it would be up to the individual medical pros to decide if their participation would be ethical or not.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 05-23-2009, 11:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
Just so long as it is not prescribed or that the decision is not executed by anything BUT the will of the patient.

The trouble there would be, though, how we could keep an employee (official, doctor, or nurse) from just saying "screw it" and taking it upon themselves. Such would be difficult to prove no?
Perhaps you should read the legislation.
In order to qualify for the Death with Dignity Acts (in either OR or WA):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Death With Dignity Acts (Measure 16 and Initiative 1000, respectively)
  • The patient must be an adult (18 or over) resident of the state involved
  • The patient must be mentally competent, verified by two physicians (or referred to a mental health evaluation)
  • The patient must be terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, verified by two physicians.
  • The patient must make voluntary requests, without coercion, verified by two physicians
  • The patient must be informed of all other options including palliative and hospice care
  • There is a 15 day waiting period between the first oral request and a written request
  • There is a 48 hour waiting period between the written request and the writing of the prescription
  • The written request must be signed by two independent witnesses, at least one of whom is not related to the patient or employed by the health care facility
  • The patient is encouraged to discuss with family (not required because of confidentiality laws)
  • The patient may change their mind at any time and rescind the request
With all that red tape, it'd probably be pretty damn easy to prove.

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Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Given that most people can commit suicide on their own, I see no reason to drag the medical profession into it.
Big difference between a gunshot and morphine.

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Old 05-23-2009, 11:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by GTA:SWcity View Post
Just so long as it is not prescribed or that the decision is not executed by anything BUT the will of the patient.
I believe the topic is assisted suicide. Seems to me if it is not the patient’s decision then that would no longer be categorized as suicide and would be murder, I have not seen anyone advocate murdering terminally ill patients in this thread. I also don’t advocate it being only the patient’s will unless she/he is thoroughly informed by a medical profession about the prognosis. I believe this is a decision that should be made by the patient, their loved ones and medical professional, but the ultimate decision should be the terminally ill person's.



Last edited by mimartin; 05-23-2009 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 05-24-2009, 12:57 AM   #15
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@ew
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In such contingincies as you (mimartin)mention, it would be up to the individual medical pros to decide if their participation would be ethical or not.
Besides, people can overdose on OTC meds on their own, don't need a gun. Or the ever "popular" method....slit your wrists. There are no doubt a plethora of ways to keep from dragging doctors into a scenario.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman

Last edited by Totenkopf; 05-24-2009 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
Besides, people can overdose on OTC meds on their own, don't need a gun. Or the ever "popular" method....slit your wrists. There are no doubt a plethora of ways to keep from dragging doctors into a scenario.
I still don't understand what a doctor being dragged into this has to do with anything. I did not advocate forcing doctors into perform any procedure they feel unethical or uncomfortable in performing. I want the doctor treating me to be 100% behind whatever procedure they are performing. If however, the doctor concurs with the prognosis, believes in the terminally ill patient’s right to end their suffering and is comfortable with the ethics of the matter, then I believe they should not be prosecute for relieving the persons suffering.

Yes, there are many ways to keep from dragging doctors into the scenario including what I am advocating which would not drag doctors into it. If a doctor choices to participate it would be of their own free will. What you are advocating seems to drag the doctor unwillingly into the scenario by having them treat the patients that fail in their suicide attempt.

If I have to put my pet to sleep I don’t shoot it in the head, I take it to a veterinarian. I just don’t see why a loved one that happens to be human should be treated less humanely than the family dog.


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Old 05-24-2009, 01:44 AM   #17
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By "dragging doctors into it", I'm not referring to having the govt. force doctors against their will.

Quote:
In such contingincies as you (mimartin)mention, it would be up to the individual medical pros to decide if their participation would be ethical or not.
Just saying that since a doctor is usaully supposed to heal and not harm, it represents an ethical conundrum. If a medical pro is willing to "assist" (like w/doctors who perform abortions) and sees no ethical problem for themself.....then as long as suicide is not illegal in and of itself, so be it.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:43 AM   #18
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With all that red tape, it'd probably be pretty damn easy to prove.
_EW_
Then let us hope it stays taped up like that.

I'd say, though, that the 'verified by two physicians' thing should include independent of one another.

Curious: would/could there be allowances made in the form of surveillance records at patent's/patien's party's request (after of course being informed of what privacy they are forgoing etc.)?

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I have not seen anyone advocate murdering terminally ill patients in this thread.
Never meant to imply that about anyone here, just speaking in the ultimate sense that it should be the patient's (well informed) choice. None other.
Quote:
I also don’t advocate it being only the patient’s will unless she/he is thoroughly informed by a medical profession about the prognosis. I believe this is a decision that should be made by the patient, their loved ones and medical professional, but the ultimate decision should be the terminally ill person's.
I had hoped to imply as much in it being up to the patient, but certianly, thank you for that clarification and show of exceptions.


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Old 05-24-2009, 09:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf View Post
@ew

Besides, people can overdose on OTC meds on their own, don't need a gun. Or the ever "popular" method....slit your wrists. There are no doubt a plethora of ways to keep from dragging doctors into a scenario.
If a patient is 72 years old and dying of cancer, you expect them to run out to a walmart and buy a bunch of sleeping pills? Or you expect them to have the willpower to buy a razorblade and slit their wrists?

The whole idea is that it's a peaceful end to their suffering.

_EW_



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Old 05-25-2009, 08:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnderWiggin View Post
If a patient is 72 years old and dying of cancer, you expect them to run out to a walmart and buy a bunch of sleeping pills? Or you expect them to have the willpower to buy a razorblade and slit their wrists?

The whole idea is that it's a peaceful end to their suffering.

_EW_
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