Euthanasia

Discussions that deal with moral issues. Key questions in ethics include: How should one live? What is right (or wrong) to do? What is the best way for humans to live?

Euthanasia: Right or Wrong

Right.
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67%
Wrong.
1
17%
It depends.
1
17%
 
Total votes : 6

Euthanasia

Postby Hendrick Laursen on October 10th, 2015, 5:06 am 

Image

Euthanasia
You may already know what it is: Mercy Killing Read more
Though billions of arguments are made whether it's right or wrong, I simply ask you to state your position. Is it right? To which extent? By whose consent? If wrong, why? Can it have a place between right and wrong?

All ideas are welcome.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Braininvat on October 10th, 2015, 12:34 pm 

It's right. By the consent of the person suffering. We are each, as individuals, the architects of our lives and the captains of our ships. The right to choose death over incurable misery should follow fundamentally from our freedom and dignity as human beings.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Marshall on October 10th, 2015, 3:30 pm 

Braininvat » Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:34 am wrote:It's right. By the consent of the person suffering. We are each, as individuals, the architects of our lives and the captains of our ships. The right to choose death over incurable misery should follow fundamentally from our freedom and dignity as human beings.


Clear. Good statement. The right to choose.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on October 10th, 2015, 6:20 pm 

My body. My life. My decision.

If I am unable to make the decision, the person to whom I've had the foresight to give power of attorney will decide when it's time to end it - and I trust he will decide correctly.

It seems to me an egregious injustice and unacceptable oppression to legislate anything this personal out of the individual citizen's control. Why, it's like forcing a woman to carry to term and give birth to the progeny of her rapist.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby doogles on October 11th, 2015, 5:22 am 

For 40 years, I euthanased animals on an almost daily basis. It was a part of our training in veterinary science. I used overdoses of anaesthetics in horses and domestic pets, single shot with a firearm in cattle, and carbon dioxide narcosis for mass euthanasia of rats, mice and chickens. All went quickly and quietly except for maybe a few seconds of excitement in mice.

For the pedants - It wasn’t till the 1970s that I discovered I was ‘euthanizing’ or ‘euthanatizing’ them, rather than ‘euthanasing’ them – and to this day, I haven’t researched the reasons for that difference in terminology.

One of the issues that always had to be taken into account when an owner of a pet animal had to make that final decision to let the animal go, was the emotion of not only losing the animal, but also the realisation that the final decision was entirely up to him/her-self. Most members of my original profession seemed to have the knack of convincing owners of terminally sick animals that it was kindest to put the animal out of misery when it no longer had any quality of life for any reason. This is borne out anecdotally by the fact that every veterinary practitioner I know has received more letters of thanks and appreciation from clients who’ve had animals euthanased than they have ever received for the brilliant diagnosis and treatment or surgery that has saved (or prolonged) an animal’s life. It’s one of those small paradoxes of veterinary practice.

But this decision to euthanase pets was purely one between the veterinarian and one or two owners. It was done cleanly and efficiently and finished - except for the grieving process of the owner.

Naturally, if ever I become terminally ill with an incurable disease, I would appreciate being given the same consideration and prompt termination that I gave animals all of my life. I would then go cleanly and with dignity.

But we are a weird species in several ways. We still have a pervading religion that insists that only God can give a life, and take a life, and that it is better for a person to suffer till death than to undergo euthanasia. I will ignore that view because I sense, pleasingly at my stage in life, that it is slowly being relegated to obscurity.

Another point is that the average human has not just one or two other emotionally attached humans, like the average cat or dog, but maybe dozens or scores of emotionally attached humans in the form of family and friends (yes I know that some people have no friends or family).

This creates a situation in which it becomes impossible to simply make a decision to terminate life and just do it, because numbers of people will claim that they had no chance to say “goodbye” or for all sorts of financial or other arrangements to be changed or finalised.

Then if the alternative of setting a date to carry out the euthanasia is used, it becomes something akin to an execution at a given time. Try to picture yourself sitting amongst others while they officially terminate one of your loved ones. It also leaves the suffering person to linger for longer until the scheduled date.

I’ve said before that I feel we are slowly bungling our way in the right directions on this planet. I have no idea what the situation is in other countries, but at the moment we have a medical system called ‘palliative care’ in Australia. If the senior attending medical officers and the person concerned (or those with power of medical attorney) decide that an injured or sick person has no future quality of life, they can be hospitalised and administered increasing doses of morphine until the vital brain centres cease functioning.

This takes some days; family and friends can visit and pay their respects while the ‘sufferer’ may still be conscious in the early days without pain, while the central respiratory and circulatory control centres of the brain slowly cease to function.

I’ve had a daughter and a close family friend go this way in the last couple of years, and I fully support it anywhere for the reasons I’ve expounded above.

Euthanasia, as performed in veterinary practice, has far less complications in animals than it has in human beings, maybe with the exception of proven (without doubt) convicted murderers.

So, unless others can present arguments to convince me otherwise, I’m convinced that ‘palliative care’ is the way to go. In one way, ‘palliative care’ is a form of euthanasia in my opinion, but in my own recent experience the ‘palliative care’ doctor rejected my suggestion that it was euthanasia. I believe this is a ploy to prevent those who oppose euthanasia from opposing ‘palliative care’. And I’m happy enough to leave ‘good enough’ alone.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on October 11th, 2015, 1:56 pm 

Nice summary, doogles.

When we've had to make final decisions about pets, we've been lucky enough to have sympathetic veterinarians, with whom we could consult as to the appropriate time and method. Several times, we took the dog or cat in to the clinic; twice, we administered the terminal dose of anesthetic ourselves.

When my mother was dying (at home; we had a great deal of medical and community support ), I was in charge of the medications, including regular shots of morphine, as prescribed. In the last week, the doctor said: "You can't do anything really wrong at this point." And I didn't.

I'm very much hoping to have enlightened care-givers when my time comes. You need that prescription! Unless you drive into a bridge abutment (I saw - not the event, just the debris - a suicide by motorcycle once) or goad a policeman into shooting you (suicide by cop used to be common), most of the available methods are unreliable and painful. When you're hospitalized and enfeebled by illness, most of those are closed off. If you're paralyzed or non-compos, you have no recourse at all.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Braininvat on October 11th, 2015, 3:51 pm 

Doogles, the palliative care you describe, where they allow the morphine to be cranked up like that, is sort of what my dad had. It is a sort of off-the-books euthanasia, and it has allowed many a merciful death. As always, I find your post illuminating, even if your bathtub draining water does swirl backwards.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Hendrick Laursen on October 11th, 2015, 4:17 pm 

Thanks,

What about mentally retarded or highly underdeveloped people? Whose consent shall we seek?

Also, I propose a case, let's think a child is severly injured/ill, the way healing him with known options would result in some loss of any kind (physical/mental) and the parent (or the person legally in charge) doesn't grant permission needed, saying I better see my child dead rather than maimed.

What do you think?
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Braininvat on October 11th, 2015, 7:47 pm 

I would gladly consider involuntary euthanasia...for the parent that would suggest that.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Serpent on October 11th, 2015, 9:18 pm 

Let's suppose that in most cases, both the responsible family member(s) and the medical personnel want the best possible outcome for the patient. In the case of young children and incompetent (for whatever reason) adults, the responsible relative usually does have to make the decision. Let's say they don't have a facile answer - which they usually don't. Frank consultation with the doctors (as to the quality and duration of life the patient can expect) and counsellors (as to the caregivers' motives and outlook) will generally arrive at some consensus. It may not be the perfect decision - but then, the situation doesn't allow for a perfect decision; only the best we can manage.

Keeping a severely damaged person alive through the assorted and emerging miracles of technology is sometimes the worst thing we can do for them. Relatives and caregivers very often make this decision for fear of their own conscience, not in the patient's best interest. Medical personnel often make this decision for fear of legal repercussions, not in the patient's best interest. This wrong decision is made far more often than a wrong decision to stop treatment or hasten inevitable death.

It seems to me, far too many of the people contemplating legislation on this matter think badly of their fellow citizens. They imagine that if "the floodgates are opened", everybody will suddenly kill off their troublesome children and elderly parents. Well, is it likely that people's feelings will change overnight? Do you personally know anyone who would readily condemn their imperfect offspring to death?
People who want to knock off their relatives out of greed or convenience can do so without this heart-wrenching and difficult process. In fact, they already do, even if it's illegal - and very often get away with it. I really don't think that's a major consideration in changing the law.

The major consideration is learning - as individuals, and as a society - to accept death; learning to be practical and considerate, instead of sentimental or sanctimonious about it.
A helpful approach, if you really have no idea what the patient would prefer, is to ask: What would I want done for me?
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby OldManMontgomery on February 4th, 2016, 8:01 pm 

No. The idea is seriously flawed and invites misuse.

The United States enacted a law in the 19th Century to 'preserve' (a euphemism for transferring to federal control) certain lands to be National Parks and Monuments. The idea was to preserve certain places and areas in purpetuity for citizens in the future to enjoy and see.

Since then, the matter has gotten out of hand with massive amounts of many states under federal control. Local government cannot touch them, rightly or wrongly.

So it will be with a 'euthanasia' act. The idea of individuals 'choosing' to die for various reasons is superficially inviting; but the 'creep' of the plan will morph it into the 'euthanasia' council deciding on who 'should desire to die' and enforcing it. If the government can allow it, the government can demand it.

Thanks, no. I'll risk getting old and feeble.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Braininvat on February 5th, 2016, 11:39 am 

The core of your argument, that governments are prone to legislate badly, could argue against any move towards personal freedom. E.g. let's not end slavery, federal control could get out of hand. Let's not give women the vote, federal control could get out of hand. Let's not ever allow living wills or power of attorney, federal control could get out of hand.

The power to make decisions about one's body is too important to be shot down by paranoid fears.

BTW, your example of the federal preservation of national parks and such....um, how is that a negative case? Most people appreciate that these places of natural beauty weren't handed over to logging and mining and so on.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby OldManMontgomery on February 5th, 2016, 1:32 pm 

Braininvat » February 5th, 2016, 10:39 am wrote:The core of your argument, that governments are prone to legislate badly, could argue against any move towards personal freedom. E.g. let's not end slavery, federal control could get out of hand. Let's not give women the vote, federal control could get out of hand. Let's not ever allow living wills or power of attorney, federal control could get out of hand.
Yes, that's a thought. I've often though giving women the vote wasn't such a good idea.

Seriously, give me an example of what might happen in terms of giving women the vote. What about the hiring and promotion quotas following? How about 'allowing' women in combat and 'drafting' women as well?

Braininvat wrote:The power to make decisions about one's body is too important to be shot down by paranoid fears.
I counter with 'government encroachment is more dangerous than the limited benefit derived'.

Braininvat wrote:BTW, your example of the federal preservation of national parks and such....um, how is that a negative case? Most people appreciate that these places of natural beauty weren't handed over to logging and mining and so on.
Many people do not appreciate the unelected bureaucrats who control the federal land without having to answer to the public.

But I suppose the divide is one's political view. If one favors governmental control over the public, then one agrees with many things those who prefers individual control do not like.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Braininvat on February 5th, 2016, 4:40 pm 

But if you are keen on individual control and autonomy, then....wouldn't you be FOR the right to request medications to end your painful terminal illness? Isn't personal choice, unfettered by government, what this whole right-to-die movement is about? All I ask is not to have laws that prosecute my doctor for giving me what I've requested. Even a libertarian could go with that sort of freedom. :-)
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby OldManMontgomery on February 6th, 2016, 1:40 am 

Braininvat » February 5th, 2016, 3:40 pm wrote:But if you are keen on individual control and autonomy, then....wouldn't you be FOR the right to request medications to end your painful terminal illness? Isn't personal choice, unfettered by government, what this whole right-to-die movement is about? All I ask is not to have laws that prosecute my doctor for giving me what I've requested. Even a libertarian could go with that sort of freedom. :-)


No. I was fairly clear in my statement, it should not be difficult to understand.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Braininvat on February 6th, 2016, 12:00 pm 

And yet there seems to be an internal contradiction, which my post clearly underlined for you. The fact that you don't engage with my questions in that post reveals your intellectual dishonesty. For you, it's easier to dismiss the source than rise to the challenge of real philosophical discourse. Disappointing.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby OldManMontgomery on February 6th, 2016, 5:19 pm 

Braininvat » February 6th, 2016, 11:00 am wrote:And yet there seems to be an internal contradiction, which my post clearly underlined for you. The fact that you don't engage with my questions in that post reveals your intellectual dishonesty. For you, it's easier to dismiss the source than rise to the challenge of real philosophical discourse. Disappointing.

Son, you have no idea.

It is your position which reveals the intellectual dishonesty. You claim to stand for individual freedom, yet you intentionally choose to surrender your freedom to a centralized control group. Feel free.

But don't make the mistake of pretending our positions are reversed. I stated my position, live with your own shortcomings.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby Eclogite on February 6th, 2016, 6:11 pm 

OldManMontgomery » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:19 pm wrote:Son, you have no idea.

It is your position which reveals the intellectual dishonesty. You claim to stand for individual freedom, yet you intentionally choose to surrender your freedom to a centralized control group. Feel free.

But don't make the mistake of pretending our positions are reversed. I stated my position, live with your own shortcomings.
Moderator Comment: OMM, you are new here. You may not have read many threads and therefore may not have taken on board the general tone we like to follow on this forum.

There is a strong patronising tone in your post. It is unwelcome. Please avoid this in future.

While I would not go so far as to describe your avoidance of some pertinent points intellectual dishonesty, I would ask that - since this is a discussion forum - that you discuss the points raised.

Thank you. If you have an issue with this comment, do not respond in this post, but do feel free to report it, when it will be considered by other members of the mod team.
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Re: Euthanasia

Postby OldManMontgomery on February 6th, 2016, 10:11 pm 

Eclogite » February 6th, 2016, 5:11 pm wrote:Thank you. If you have an issue with this comment, do not respond in this post, but do feel free to report it, when it will be considered by other members of the mod team.
How do I report it for review? I see no obvious manner.
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