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Assisted Suicide

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Taluntain, May 6, 2011.

  1. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Unfortunately, "morality" cannot be removed from the subject so long as other people believe they know more about the "morality" of the subject than those who wish end their own suffering.
     
  2. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    There has to be some oversight, though. I remember reading an article where a fellow had been burned quite badly and wanted to die, yet the hospital kept treating him even though the treatments were quite painful. He swore up and down at the nurses who treated him, calling them all sorts of names. Now he has a normal, liveable life, and has come flat out and said that he is glad that they kept going and that he is alive now, able to enjoy all the great things that come from being alive.

    As a civilized society, we owe it to people to safeguard them from rash decisions that have such drastic conseqences. I mean, as I mentioned, I sure as hell wanted to die and end my suffering after my divorce, but I'm glad I had people to pull me through it.
     
  3. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Why? Seriously, why?
     
  4. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    LKD,

    Bringing up such examples does nothing but to confuse the issue even more. It's rather rare that you actually die due to burn damage if you've made it past the rampant infection hurdle within the first few days. And although often romanticized in culture, committing suicide due to a failed love affair isn't anywhere near a sure deal.

    However, having any of the clinically proven terminal conditions where the best guesses on the life expectancy is anywhere in the "maybe a few months, tops, if lucky" range or less can get asymptotically close to 100% sure deals to the point that it's no longer relevant IF the patient is going to die but WHEN.

    No one in their right mind would advocate euthanasia as a solution to the examples you mentioned. It's neither the amount (or type) of pain nor the determination of the patient to die that matters, it's the combination of those in the extreme combined with clinical preknowledge of (nearly) inevitable even nastier things to come. Only then does it become even half-way relevant to consider weighing the sanctity of life against short-term relief via the "easy way out".
     
  5. Rahkir

    Rahkir Cogito, ergo doleo

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    In response to Shoshino: then where do you draw the line? Is it wrong to stop a depressed person from asking to be killed?

    And @T2 We owe it to them because we're all flawed. Speaking from personal experience, when I was 17 my best friend killed himself. Given the chance, I'd without fail, do everything in my power to prevent that. He wasn't suffering from a terminal disease, but he wasn't in his right mind: he was depressed and lost his girlfriend, he wasn't thinking straight. (Now if he could convince me that him dying was the best choice possible, I wouldn't argue... but I can't conceive of any argument that would convince me.) This can be applied to very sick people or people in lots of physical pain: they're usually sad, unhappy, and flat out in pain. They may not be thinking in their right mind.

    Obviously, if it's a case of say, a 70 year old man who is diagnosed with some debilitating disease and he would rather die than live as a shell, I understand. If it's someone who is in a lot of pain but isn't going to die and may recover... I do think we owe it to them to try and help as best we can. I guess I just see a difference between someone saying "I think I should die" and someone who is actually better off dead.
     
  6. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    And how is that determination made? I think assisted suicide (or suicide in general) has a lot similarities with abortion. Both are highly charges issues where someone dies. I think the ultimate decision would be "is suicide legal or illegal." There really is no in between -- you can't legislate assisted suicide and say under conditions XYZ it is okay to end your life or assist another. Who can possibly decide when someone is "better off dead"?
     
  7. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    This begs the question: why is it somehow important that you be convinced? It's his life.

    Also bear in mind that whether or not the rest of us think it's right, legal, or moral, any able bodied person who is determined to die and is not on 24 hour suicide watch is going to die if they want to, so the ivory tower questions are largely moot anyway. It's only those who are not able-bodied who have to suffer while we agonize over these vagaries on their behalf.
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I think assisted suicide should only be an option when someone is terminally ill. Being in a lot of pain from which you are likely to recover (like LKD's burn victim) is not someone for whom assisted suicide would be an option.
     
  9. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    yes, there should be no line, a personal choice is a personal choice. I was suicidal when I was younger, self harm all that crap, still have the scars over my body, even now, with my wife and daughter, I sometimes look back and think, I hate this existance I wish I'd been successful.

    whats so great about life?
     
  10. Rahkir

    Rahkir Cogito, ergo doleo

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    It's important because we, as humans, make mistakes. We are innately flawed. I wouldn't just go off of my judgment, I'd factor in what his family thinks, what his other friends think, etc. We all concluded that he had too much to drink that night and made a mistake, a mistake we'd have prevented if we had the opportunity. Just as I won't let a friend accidentally walk in front of a bus; I wouldn't let a friend take his life if I'm convinced that it's a mistake. If I'm later proven wrong and he truly wants to be dead, then you're right, there's nothing we can truly do to stop an able bodied person from taking their life.

    BUT, I think the same concept can be applied to those who can't take their life. Just as I would stop a friend who could pull the trigger and end his life, I would stop a friend who couldn't pull the trigger and asked someone else to do it for him, if I thought it was a mistake.

    (What I mean is that we all make mistakes: I don't trust a person to know they're ready to die (especially if they're intoxicated or just went through a major life change) any more than I trust that I know they're ready to die. So until I expend all options to assess what the truth is, I wouldn't let them die on my watch... though I obviously can't watch everyone all the time. :) )

    @Aldeth, I agree with you in that I think assisted suicide should only be an option for the terminally ill.

    @T2, I really don't think that's a very wise course of action: there are too many individual variables to take into account. One can easily say, "Every man who, without acting in self defense, thrusts a knife into another person should be thrown in jail." Should surgeons be thrown in jail? In my opinion it's a similar case here... there always need to be exceptions or variances in law, because every situation is not the same. It's better to be guided by inner justice than a black and white morality.

    @Shoshino, Life is great about life! Flowers on a sunny day, the laughter of children, a hug from your kids, a kiss on the cheek from a friend! There are many things to be happy about, but I can't give you a straight answer; everyone's happiness is a little different. Mayhaps we will have to disagree on this point, but I will gladly stop a friend from hurting themselves. I would rather err on the side of caution because it comes down to this: either my friend really would be better off dead OR he could live and go on to lead a happy, successful life. If the latter he'd be very thankful, if the former... well, he can always kill himself later, but one can't come back from the dead.
     
  11. Shoshino

    Shoshino Irritant Veteran

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    We will have to disagree, if a choice is made to die, then that is the only thing that matters, after all, whats the point in thinking about a future which may never happen, by being dead, I would never have to know.
     
  12. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG]
    Out of curiosity - what about a lot of pain from which you will not recover but is also not terminal?
     
  13. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    8ppl, you mean stuff like fibromyalgia? I've seen it in action and let me tell ya, it's not pretty. But with the right kind of medication and lifestyle, it doesn't necessarily mean you're 100% crippled for the rest of your life.

    Just to throw some numbers out there.. Out of a million severely ill patients (ie. not just flu or a broken bone), a few thousand will find out that they're FUBAR. Out of those, a few hundred will suffer horribly until their untimely death, while the rest do not necessarily feel all that sick until at the very end. Out of the suffering ones, a few may find medication that keeps the suffering down to an acceptable* level. Out of the remaining poor souls, a few still might find solace and peace in their condition. It's the very last ones that, IMHO, are the ones where euthanasia becomes something to think about, and I'm not assuming anywhere near 100% euthanasia rate amongst this group either.

    * = Someone with better clinical knowledge can probably come up with much better guidelines, but as far as I'm aware, judging the various levels of extreme pain isn't all that hard to do. Either you can or can't move freely, suffer in only some or all of body positions, can or cannot speak/think coherently while under pain and so forth.
     
  14. 8people

    8people 8 is just another way of looking at infinite ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] My question was more at the diametric that you're either going to die from your condition or it will hurt like hell then you'll get better. There are many more conditions beyond fibromyalgia that can leave a person in crippling pain and not all of them respond to surgery or medication.

    Hell, high end pain killers can cause 'spontaneous death' (and yes, I've read that as a side effect on something a friend was taking) which adds even more into the mix - a lot of powerful medications to handle pain can cause a lot worse side effects that can be lethal in themselves and prevent coherency.

    At what point does euthanasia become acceptable in light of the damage of treatment with no cure in sight?
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I don't know - can you provide an example? I'm with Rakhir in the sense that we should err on the side of caution. To me, the "no hope for recovery" is a much stronger motivator than pain level. As LKD points out, burns are particularly painful, but unless they cover a significant percentage of your body, they are typically NOT fatal.

    As another example I wouldn't want to be kept alive for an indefinite period of time on life support. (I'm OK with it if it's surgery or something like that, but I wouldn't want to be kept alive in a persistent vegetative state. To me, you're dead already.)
     
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