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Assisted suicide

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Roger Hicks, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    What are your views? The latest piece on my web-site will probably offend even more people than my views on Brexit. But it does strike me as odd how many people feel they have the absolute right to impose their views on everyone, often because politicians refuse to stand up for their own beliefs because they are too frightened of the right wing gutter press (the Mail, for example, has a line in typically hysterical and inaccurate pieces on "suicide tourism in Belgium") or religious leaders.

    As may will know, I was quite seriously ill in 2016 and early 2017, and when faced with an ileostomy bag (it was there for 3 months) I wondered how long I would be able to endure such a thing. It's been gone for a few months now but you never know what else life may being.


    frank1 and proseak like this.
  2. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I won't let my dogs suffer.

    I hope someone has the grace to do the same for me if necessary.

  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I've said it before. If everyone has an absolute right to life then they must also be free to choose to end that life without interference.
  4. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    I suppose 'suicide' tourism works out cheaper than 'normal' tourism because you don't have to buy a return flight....

    Cheers, Jeff
  5. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    A friend committed suicide a few years ago now, and at the time I remember thinking that if the laws in this country were different, he would not have had to inflict the awful suspense of knowing what he intended, but never when it might happen on his wife, further family and friends. A 'successful' surgery to remove a brain tumour had left him with an untreatable condition that made his life unbearable for him - he no longer had any swallowing reflex. He could not eat. He could not drink. He choked on his own saliva unless he was permanently hooked up to a suction machine to remove it via a tracheotomy. That meant he could not talk either. He could not travel. He could not work. For a bon viveur, an adventurer, a hillwalker, cyclist, entertainer, whisky connoisseur, teller of tales he found his great big exciting world had reduced to chair that turned into a bed. The noise of the machines made it even impossible to sit and watch the television or listen to music. He had expressed a wish to die. He knew that his condition was not going to get better. Almost worse than that, he knew that his previous good health meant he would likely have to live with it for a very long time. He was only fifty. He made at least two unsuccessful attempts and went through the motions of counselling and all the other things he had to do. We all knew in our hearts that he would not stop trying until he succeeded. Can you imagine? The pain he was going through? The agony for his wife of not being able to ease his anguish? The horror of having to leave for work every day, not knowing if this would be the day she'd come back to find him. When she eventually did, he had hanged himself from the attic hatch. It's too painful to dwell on what his last thoughts might have been. I can't even think about his cats and the confusion they must have felt at what they were witnessing. And then the horror of what she came home to that evening. I cannot think of my friend without also thinking how much better it would have been if he'd been able to involve her. Us. If there had been some dignity in his death. If there had been a quiet passing among loved ones. But no. We only grant that to our pets.
  6. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I've never been overly opinionated on this subject in either direction, but I read something a couple of days ago that seems rather relevant. The context was different (she was imprisoned for an attempted assassination of the emperor, spared execution at late stage, but then committed suicide in her cell), but Japanese anarchist Fumiko Kaneko wrote:

  7. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    One of your sentences rang the biggest bells with me.
    The fifth argument is that life is always better than death. This is defensible only by extremists who lack the imagination, intelligence or experience to agree that there may indeed come a point to any sane person where life is intolerable
    End quote
    This is being practised by doctors every day.
    Nowadays babies are born and kept alive by doctors and technology. They might become blind, or have lung problems or some other long lasting disability, but it still happens.
    Illnesses which would formerly have killed us are now treated and we live.
    Doctors and the general public appear to believe that life is always better than death. Parents fight in the courts to keep their child alive, when no life, as such, is apparent in a body being kept alive by machines.

    Acute illnesses and mental illnesses can cause extreme depression in the person suffering, but doctors and families may believe that this illness can be cured or overcome and life is, again, better than dying (even though the patient may, at that time, want to die).
    Now we get into free will.
    If that person wanted assisted dying, is it a rational thing to do when a restoration to health should be possible?

    A conversation with my neighbours, 86 and 87 years of age was prompted by being asked by the Scottish Government via our local Health Board to consider an Anticipatory Care Plan should we be in need of care and assistance for reasons of incapacity through ill health including dementia etc.
    We three agreed we did not want to exist being fed through tubes and lying in a hospital bed. By the same token, we none of us wanted to end up in a Home for the elderly. One said he would grab the pills and swallow them rather than face the alternatives (above). Two of us hope the situation doesn't arise. Head in the sand.
    I, personally, feel I cannot fill in the Anticipatory Care Plan... yet. Cowardice? Unrealistic? No, cynical? Yes. Hand in hand with what fate throws at us? I guess so. There a certain places I don't want to end up in. Certain conditions also, so long as they cannot be resolved and I can resume living at home.

    But actually opting for assisted dying? At the moment I can't see me doing that. I have no objections to others doing it if that's what they want. Control over our lives is largely illusory but that ultimate control shoulld not be denied them.
    Trannifan and Roger Hicks like this.
  8. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    The present policy of not changing the policy is simply cowardly. If we leave it the way it is, we can't be blamed for anything. If we change it, we might be blamed by some. It works on the erroneous principle that no decision is not a decision.
    Roger Hicks and steveandthedogs like this.
  9. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Can't say I blame the Government on this one.

    It is a can of worms. If they legislate for it, yes, they could be blamed by doctors, for example, for making them into killers. They could be blamed by the Church on moral and ethical grounds, legislating for killing. Sooner or later, they could be blamed by the elderly for putting pressure on them to take that route, since the alternative is inadequate care, costing a fortune and leaving no money or property to pass on to their families.
    A no-win situation.
  10. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Well seeing as the government has no qualms about killing via benefits cuts, reduction of NHS service, or bombing forriners, I have to agree, it's just cowardice.
    AndyTake2 and steveandthedogs like this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Austerity, austerity, security. Handy things to hide behind.
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,

    And if they vote no, they can (quite rightly) be accused of being cowardly, out of touch, and in hock to a minority of very vocal right-wingers and religious nutters. Politics is ALWAYS no-win; I'm currently reading a book which argues that the ultimate aim in politics is to be in opposition, with no real responsibilities.It's Que Le Meilleur Perde, by Michel-Antoine Burnier: I don't think it's available in English.


    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017
  13. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Not just right-wingers and religious nutters. The medical profession would be a minefield. I wonder how much of the general population would be against it too? A few vocal people might shout loudly for it to be legalised, but by no means has the majority been counted.
  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kate,


    It's a matter of personal conscience. No doctor will be forced to go about slaughtering people.

    And it ain't just "a few vocal people" who are in favour of a change in the law. Try for example http://www.gallup.com/poll/183425/support-doctor-assisted-suicide.aspx for the US or still more convincingly https://www.dignityindying.org.uk/news/poll-assisted-dying/ in the UK -- clear majorities, a lot clearer than (for example) Brexit.

    The "few vocal people" are (as I suggested) mostly right wingers and religious nutters howling and screaming against what the majority wants.


    steveandthedogs likes this.
  15. RovingMike

    RovingMike Crucifixion's a doddle...

    The majority are irrelevant. They should not have a vote on this. They are not suffering from it.
    Catriona and steveandthedogs like this.
  16. LesleySM

    LesleySM Well-Known Member

    I remember when I had to take Fugazi to the vets when she suddenly became ill and the vet diagnosed lymphoma that had spread to her brain. She wasn't suffering then but soon would be

    I was able to discuss with the vet what the options were assuming money was no object after all even the vet said there was at least a 5% chance it wasn't cancer but to be sure she'd have to be carted to an emergency vets, anaesthetised for scans and X-rays (Fugazi not the vet) then undergo surgery she might not survive,

    In the end I asked the vet if we did all this was it 50% likely she'd have a few months with a decent quality of life and the vet said "No"

    So I made the decision to have her put to sleep. The vet went to get the stuff and the student vet nurse who was in the room said: "Think of it this way you can do this for her. My aunt just died a horrible death from cancer if she was a cat and someone kept her alive in the state she was they would have been prosecuted for cruelty- pets are lucky they can have a last mercy we deny people"

    Would I go for it myself? I don't know never having yet been in the position to have had to think about it but that's irrelevant it's an individual choice and if someone chooses to die when their condition is hopeless then they should be allowed to control their own death not forced to suffer or have to fly to Switzerland before things get too bad
    Roger Hicks likes this.
  17. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    Perhaps when the economy dictates our numbers are too great or we elect leaders who don't think by numbers all the time.

    How many healthy animals get put down because they are no use and what would stop the same sort of vet gets paid, animal gets put down thing with people? Some sort of committee decision?
  18. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    We should always accept that the majority have a vote and that vote is binding. Anything else is not democracy which is still the worst system of government except for all the others.
  19. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I don't see what being right wing has to do with this matter at all.

    The medical profession has a genuine concern; euphanasia is against everything they have learnt. It just might be that most of them became medics to save lives. Even those who have no personal objection would come under pressure from the rest of the profession. Imagine being taunted as a legal version of Dr Shipman. I would hope that some medics would give an honest prognosis of their patient assuming that the patient did not get help to end their life. Then others could use that information and take over.

    Perhaps the legal profession could verify no wrong doing, and some vets might be willing to help with the technical bit. I guess that I am being unfair to put the burden on them, but if not them, who?

    I do realise that there is difference between assisted suicide where the person dying carries out the action that immediately leads to their death, and euphanasia where someone does it for them.
  20. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I think that I agree with you but am not sure whether that majority should be in parliament or country.

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