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Philosophy: Should I be allowed to decide when/how I die?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. News.com.au this morning reports that, "MORE than a third of Australian doctors asked to help a patient die admit to administering lethal drugs, according to a new study."


    Apart from the obvious question, "Who would want to be a doctor?", this raises the question posed in the thread title.

    And it would be nice if we could discuss the topic, as emotive as it is, withour recourse to criticising other people, and their opinion, please :wink:.
  2. Executive summary answer: Yes
  3. Yes, and many, many people have throughout history, until relatively recently.
  4. yes, we should.
    "but people shouldnt be able to decide when to die, imagine the pain and suffering they will leave behind!"
    yeah? imagine the internal pain, and suffering the person lives with EVERY day. we know when its time, and should be able to make that decision.
  5. Yes. Because living with no purpose and no dignity is worse than death.
  6. It's not only the internal pain and suffering, the families and friends also have to live with watching the deterioration - imagine having to watch a loved one in that much pain and knowing you can't do anything about it.

    Providing that the person ifully understands what is happening, and what they are asking for, I say yes
  7. Yes, and I was very upset when the pioneering legislation passed in the Northern Territory for assisted euthanasia was overturned by John Howards liberal government.

    Given that the legislation was sponsored by the Northern Territory's Country Liberal party (conservative party) it shows that this issue isn't only just about which side of politics supports or fights this sort of legislation.

    It tends to be the regligious conservatives who are against these sorts of laws rather than political conservatives.

    Obviously every case is different. My mother died from lingering cancer but neither I nor she thought that she would do anything but fight and she did, right until the end and I am very proud of the way she handled her battle.

    My grandmother OTOH had cancer of the stomach and esophagas and she couldn't eat for the last 3 months of her life. She was on a liquid drip and a pain med drip and she just wasted away as she starved to death. She was 90kg when she went into hospital and 38kg (bones and skin) when she died. Either she was on so much heroin she was unconscious or she was awake and in huge amounts of pain despite the continuous heroin drip.

    It was agonizing, degrading, and heart breaking to watch... and I have no desire to see *anyone* go through that.

    Yes I realize that cases like that are in the minority, but it's for the minority that this sort of legislation is needed.
  8. yep!
    i am probably going to be shot down for this, but, i believe my statement also applies for one suffering from chronic mental illness. i believe that they should have the ability to "opt out" so to speak.
  9. the last thing I would want is to become a complete vegetable & have to force my family to a) look after me 24/7 and b) have them watch me suffer.

    absolutely yes I should be able to chose.
  10. Joel, surely the mental illness situation is a catch 22, though, since a person with chronic mental illness may not be able to make a rational decision on this matter??

    Not arguing, just discussing :).
  11. A philosophical essay on Euthanasia


    An excellent piece of writing on the topic.

    To me it's mind bogglingly inherently clear that the answer to the subject is yes.

    What are NT's chances of getting their law up again with the new Oz guvment in power??
  12. Sooiside makes baby jebus cry.

  13. I always felt that apart from religious objections (Which should always be ignored by a secular state) the big choke point was the difficulty of framing the legislation. Any law in a sensible country that allows the state to kill its population really needs to be water tight.

    I think that what most governments prefer is to allow the medical profession carry them out on the quiet. Even in the countries that do have it, it's by no means universally supported.
  14. Well I was all for the right to die
    I watched my grandfather die a slow degrading death and it is something I will always have dragging on my heart and soul. I know that sounds corny but its how it feels when I think about him, which is alot.

    My grandfather came to Australia from Denmark and went straight into a camp here in Melbourne because he came from germany occupied Denmark.
    He worked himself almost to the death after he was released and eventually purchased our families Cattle Station near Cape York.
    then brought my grandmother and their 13 children over here.
    He was my hero, always standing tall and proud, sitting on a horse and cracking a whip. Raised us with the local Aboriginies to share culture and never spoke a word in Danish from the moment he landed in Australia.
    until the last hour of his life. Where he was joking and laughing in clear fluent Danish.

    My grandfather was (and still is) my hero and he had a wicked sense of humour, who my son seems to have inherited as well as Grandads gorgeous blue eyes.

    He spent his last days calling me by my mums name and apologising for the suffering on the boat I (as my mum) had suffered with her siblings.
    soiling his bed and going into rages and then crying.

    as I sit here and type I am crying thinking about it.
    He begged so many times for us to let him die and my grandmother begged for the home staff to walk away and let her do it. My grandmother lived with the guilt until she died that she could not help him.

    These are the cases and the ones people have posted before me in this thread that a law has to be made, somehow!! as the ones who stay behind, after the pain is FINALLY over for our loved one, have to live with the heart wrenching guilt of not being able to help.

    Yet we put our pets down when they are suffering

  15. ^ i agree with all statements made above. Another thing, hate to put this in a monetary perspective, but death is a business nonetheless. It doesn't make sense for taxpayers to sustain a dying person who does not want to live any more, is in pain, and can make a rational decision pertaining to whether they would like to die now. It takes up hospital beds, and occupies hospital staff.

    The only catch, as hornet mentioned above i think.

    How do you know if the person is making a rational decision?
  16. I'll add another yes. And the difficulties have been mentioned above, it must be a rational considered and personal decision on the part of the sufferer concerned. There should be no community pressure for someone to take that option.

    With regard mental illness preventing someone making a rational choice then the matter is more complex. Such a situation should be considered by the courts after being petitioned by the responsible carer or family.
  17. whether you are allowed to or not is irrelevant...it's not like you're going to get in trouble for it later...how do you punish a corpse...but i do think people should make the effort to be more creative and unique with their suicide...lethal injection has been done to death..boooring...would'nt you want to make a statement or be remembered for something...like "we found grandma naked, but for a viking helmet and a superman cape, face down in a kiddy pool full of jello...the neighbours saw her jump from the garage roof screaming 'COWWABBUUUNGAAAA''
  18. +1 yes. You should be entitled to choose, and in addition, have a "living will" in which you can specify at which point you should be allowed to die in situations where you are no longer able to make that decision yourself. For example, after suffering an accident which leaves you essentially in a state where your body can live on without mechanical assistance yet your mind and ability to function normally are gone.

    Extreme suffering, a vegetative state, and situations of the onset of a degenerative mental illness like full blown Alzheimer's are all situations where euthanasia should be permitted.
  19. Anyone else notice something strange here? It seems that the overwhelming majority so far is towards yes. I too believe yes, we should have the right to make that decision for ourselves.

    What I find strange is that I have seen this discussion in the past in other groups of people, and by far the motorcyclist community seems to be the largest in support. As a motorcycle rider I have already accepted my own mortality, it was a decision you have to make considering the odds are so far stacked against you.

    Is this ability to make the decision to ride a motorcycle, knowing all the risks, somehow linked to ones own opinions on the right to choose when to live and when not too? Or am I the only nutjob that sees that possible relationship?