Ethics of Euthanasia

Kaldayen

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Greetings everyone,

I don't want to make this thread an applied ethics of Shiavo's case, but it's obvious it was inspired by this other thread :
http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2410 (Terri Shiavo)

I did a quick research on the board and there was no debate on the subject except a couple of posts there :
http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1690 (Euthanasia)

I believe euthanasia has always been a part of life. In history, Inuits abandonned on the ice-fields their siblings who were a weight for the tribe.

Another example : The ballad of Narayama, 1983 movie by famous director Shohei Imamura. In early Meiji era Japan (late 19th century), it depicts the story of Orin, a 69 y.o. lady who will soon, have to join the god of the mountain as everyone in the village do when they hit 70. It is said at that age, they are a bigger weight than help to the village... food is limited and newborns have to be fed. Cycle of life...

-/-

In a society of abondance, situations of food shortage don't (shouldn't?) apply.
I guess we're left with two problems :

1) Burden for society : are we willing to do everything to save one's life? Where do we draw the line?

2) Burden to self : should we allow someone to end its own life, or have someone do it when he can't do it by himself? Again, what would the criterias be?

Starter for discussion...
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Kal
 

Geist

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Kaldayen said:
2) Burden to self : should we allow someone to end its own life, or have someone do it when he can't do it by himself? Again, what would the criterias be?
Ok I'll start,

Your post talks more about sucide than Euthinasia.

The definition of Euthinesia is:http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=euthanasia&r=f

basically it's assisted suicide for those that can't do it themselves. Usually because they are suffering from a terminal illness.

so you have to have someone to help you die for it to be euthanesia.
 

Quahom1

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Geist said:
Ok I'll start,

Your post talks more about sucide than Euthinasia.

The definition of Euthinesia is:http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=euthanasia&r=f

basically it's assisted suicide for those that can't do it themselves. Usually because they are suffering from a terminal illness.

so you have to have someone to help you die for it to be euthanesia.
It is said, that a society that no longer cares for its aged and incapacitated, will soon turn on itself...

I find it ironic that those with the greatest wealth (the elders with the wisdom of time and experience), are disregarded by the younger part of society, as a burden, and a waste of time. And those who are incapacitated often have the most Love to give us, because they are grateful for our attention, and our efforts to help them.

Those are two of the greatest gifts people could receive, yet we consider tossing them away, like refuse.

v/r

Q
 

Kaldayen

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Geist, I understand your point... that's not what I meant. I should have written : "should we allow someone to decently decide to end its life.." I was thinking of the people who choose to go in Holland (I think?) to be able to die decently. Those people are living with uncureable and painful illness that will (or has) take(n) away all their decency... So they have to pay incredible amounts of money for the one way trip because their own country doesn't allow assisted suicide.

Quahom, you're pointing toward tossing away those who want to live (elders and incapacitated), killing them would be murder, not euthanasia... What about those who want to die? Those who have expressed their will to die should they end up in a particular condition where they can't speak their mind.
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Quahom1

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Kaldayen said:
Quahom, you're pointing toward tossing away those who want to live (elders and incapacitated), killing them would be murder, not euthanasia... What about those who want to die? Those who have expressed their will to die should they end up in a particular condition where they can't speak their mind.
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Kal
I guess I would have to say, case by case basis. And I would say there needs to be a stipulation, that when in doubt, err on the side of life. Even so, it would be an extemely difficult decision (for me) to make for someone else.

v/r

Q
 

alexa

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Kaldayen said:
1) Burden for society : are we willing to do everything to save one's life? Where do we draw the line?
I personally prefer to die than to live useless and be a burden for my family.

2) Burden to self : should we allow someone to end its own life, or have someone do it when he can't do it by himself? Again, what would the criterias be?[/QUOTE]
If some day i'll be (by accident) in vegetative state or coma, without any chance of recovery, I prefer to have the option of the euthanasie. We all die one day. Why prolonge it and be in the same time responsible for my family's unhappiness ? They have the right to continue their life and take advantage of it as long as they can.
 

Cerealkiller

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Personally, I couldn't care less if someone chooses to end their own life. While I view it as cowardly to back down from the struggle, I would never ask someone to fight a battle they didn't want. So, as far as suicide, or a person choosing to be "assisted" into death, whatever, not my problem.


However, euthenasia very often involves the killing of those who have not chosen to die. For example the old woman in the movie you spoke of. She has not said that at 70 she wishes to die, that decision has been imposed on her. The same could be said for the Schiavo's of the world, for whom there is no clear statement of wishes.

In these cases we have to consider what makes a person a person. What gives you the right to continue to live? Is it the mere fact of being human, or is there something more?

For simplicities sake, my own position has always been that being a person is the same as being human, and being human consists of merely having human DNA in functioning cells. Its a standard that can make for difficult ethics, but it is an objective standard that is not really open to interpretation.

So then, euthenasia to a non-willing subject is in my book wrong, because I believe that killing a human who has not wronged you is immoral, or unethical, whichever term you prefer.
 

Quahom1

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Let's get the facts straight. "Euthanasia" is the deleberate taking of a life due to the fact that the life takers have decided that the one's life is no longer viable...no longer worth any value, and that the life takers deem the life to be better off terminated (for what ever reason offered).

"Mercy killing" is the taking of a life at the specific request of the individual who's life is about to be terminated, normally due to extreme pain and anguish, or can be at the decision of the life taker...in which case it becomes Euthanasia.

"Assisted suicide" is the helping of one take their own life, by providing means, assistance or other in insuring that the one can end their own life.

Taking a life, or assisting another to take their own life is no philisophical debate (if you have been part of it).

If you have ever seen the light of life fade from the eyes of another, you know what I am talking about.

Letting someone go, who has spiritually left, is a different story. Light's on but nobody is home.

One is murder, and the other is mercy.

Deciding which is which...is tough.

v/r

Q
 

Cerealkiller

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Not to quibble pointlessly, but in current english usage euthanasia refers to the whole set of circumstances in which a person is killed to end "suffering". It is not restricted specifically to cases in which the subject is unwilling. One can be voluntarily euthanised.
 

Geist

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Personally I think there isn't anything wrong with Euthinasia. You put your pet down if its in pain it shows you feel pity for that animal why not with humans??

Instead you pump them full of drugs and wait for them to starve to death. Personally I see this more cruel than a lethal injection that only takes moments to work rather than watching the ones you love starve for 10 days or so and then slip into a coma and then die.

You can't murder unless its against that persons will. And no one can blame you for ending someones suffering. Its like giving an Ethiopian some water you are helping them and you shouldn't feel guilty of that.
 

Cerealkiller

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What if the person doesn't want their suffering ended? How much suffering is enough that the person should be terminated?
 

Geist

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Cerealkiller said:
What if the person doesn't want their suffering ended? How much suffering is enough that the person should be terminated?
If they choose to have it ended or if there is nothing the doctors can do and that person has gone into a coma.
 

Cerealkiller

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People wake up from coma's quite often. The truth is we know far less about the boundary between life and death than we think we do. I think it is incredibly presumptuos to kill a person simply because they have, for the moment, lost the ability to fend for themselves.
 

Geist

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Humans have always been presumtious. We always assume our way is right even when its wrong so these situations are no differant.
 

Clauser

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Question by your forum

Hello! I want to know, where you have a section for advertising at a forum? Or it is not present? I have not found it.
P.S. Are you see storm in Europe? It's a horror...
 

Francis king

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...when my dad found out he had motor neurone disease, he set aside a stash of pills and whiskey, and he told me that when he felt the end was near and he could not put it off any longer, he would kill himself, to spare others the burden of his care... unfortunately for him, he was too busy clinging onto life to instate such noble ideals, and he missed his window of opportunity... knowing the end was near, and unable to move, he asked my teenage brother to help him kill himself... being a youth of 18, he could not do it, and so eventually my dad died in agony with pneumonia in hospital...

...diseases like MND are not nice to have- he really suffered, and eventually, after his body had died and was like stone he eventually lost the ability to even communicate, but mentally he was very alive right until the very end, terrified to die, disgusted at himself for being dependent on others, yet unable to kill himself or even breathe unassisted... how terrible it was for him, to be trapped in such a useless body, a man who relied on his physical strength all his life, and watch himself ebb away, his dreams unrealised... how terrible it was for my brother, who took on the burden of care, and as a result did not manage to do his A levels because he was carrying my father up and down stairs to bathe him and wipe his bum... how terrible it was to discover that there was a drug on the market which would have extended my fathers life by about three years but which he was ineligible for because of no other reason than he was poor, and he was not worthy of the investment...

...sometimes it is better to die, than to suffer, with no quality of life... sometimes it is better to kill yourself than suffer agonies from which there is no escape, and sometimes it is the right and noble thing to do, to kill yourself, or another, to end suffering...

death is inevitable... we will all die... if we cannot breathe unaided, we cannot feed ourselves, if we cannot recover from our painful illnesses, it is natural that we die, yet the medical profession does not like death, views it is failure, so they pump ppl full of drugs and keep them on machines and allow them to endure agonies which would be preventable if nature was allowed to take its course...

I often see stories on TV about ppl who should, by rights, be dead but who are kept alive by their loved ones because the loved one cannot make the decision to end their loved ones life, and it upsets me... I feel that the decision to participate in an assisted suicide is a great burden, and one which should not be made by relatives, and one which also cannot be made by medics, but should be legislated for, and I would like to see every city have a service like Dignitas, so that those who know the end is near can have their needs met, and die with dignity...
 

17th Angel

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"I feel that the decision to participate in an assisted suicide is a great burden, and one which should not be made by relatives, and one which also cannot be made by medics," - Francis King.

A burden? I have not had the experience you have, and first of all, sorry for your loss.....

I couldn't see how it would be a burden if you are asked to kill someone you love, I would hope I could kill someone I loved if they were in so much pain and intense suffering... I would also hope I if asked a family memeber to help take my life they would.... Hopefully that will never be the case, it's like if you hit an animal on the road... To be of mercy and to be kind/loving... I personally would stop and check the animal could be saved or is dead, if it cannot be saved, then to put it out from its pain and terror..

You also mentioned about medication that could have extended his life for three years? Would that be back to his former life? or another three years of pain? Because I would imagine that would be more of a burden and not as kind as euthanasia.. And you mention that the descision to take ones life shouldn't be the loved ones descision? but the medics? Aren't they the ones that put prices on peoples heads? And may use people as mere experiments? Doctors and such have cold hearts when it comes to other peoples loss... They deal with it every day, another day at the office, you become numb to a constant exposure to anything... a resitance is built. I think the loved ones should be able to decide to let go of an ill family memeber. But if not family memebers? and not doctors then who?
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Francis King!
I would like to see every city have a service like Dignitas, so that those who know the end is near can have their needs met, and die with dignity...
For all its worth, you have my sympathies over the loss of your father. In America we do have a service available so the dying "can have their needs met, and die with dignity." Here we call it Hospice. While legally, euthanasia is frowned on, Hospice does what they can to insure the patient is comfortable and not suffering, and it assists the caregivers. A lot of people here are not aware of the service, or shy away because of the subject matter until it is too late. In my mind Hospice is a very valuable service, for precisely the reasons you mention.

Legally, I don't think euthanasia should be encouraged. Having said this, I would probably act much like your father, hording my little stash for the last moment, and then probably wait too long and let the moment pass. I keep telling myself I will simply take a long walk into the woods and not come back...

I have my reasons for not encouraging euthanasia...I think it would ultimately end up creating a market for human parts, a concept I find disgusting. I keep being reminded of the old movie "Soylent Green." Yet, I am not averse to capital punishment...I think it should be done on the village square; make a day of it, bring the kids, grandma, the dog...
 

17th Angel

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So it would be ok to kill those that have nothing at all wrong with them? Just because of a crime they MAY have commited? Not all executed are guilty... And some who were guilty shouldn't have been killed.... Tookie Williams anyone? *burns a portrait of arnold schwarzenenger heh*

But then, those who would find comfort and peace in death shouldn't be killed? Well thats... messed up lol.
 

Francis king

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17th, I see it as a burden becuase, even though you and the other are in agreement about the action, you, as the helper, then have to contend with the guilt of killing a loved one, and you also have to dodge the police, who will try and have you incarcerated...

I don't feel the medical profession should decide who lives and who dies, and nor do I feel the family should be forced to make this decision either- I think that the medics could leave themselves open to blame, and so too could the family, and so I think that the decision should be made by the ill person, in a form of living will. However, to make this legal, government would have to legislate and make this acceptable...

yes, the medication would have extended his life, had he been prescribed it when first diagnosed, it would have halted the progression of the illness, and gave him around three more years of life, whether he would have then still been in pain is likely...
 
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