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← Canadian Panel to Study Euthanasia Stacked with Pro-Euthanasia Academics

Canadian Panel to Study Euthanasia Stacked with Pro-Euthanasia Academics - Comments

pyjamaslug's Avatar Comment 1 by pyjamaslug

Hmm,
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are, whatever the moral questions, tough things to get right in a legal and practical context. For one thing, how do you ensure that the wishes of suffering relatives are not projected onto the protagonist?

The screaming and shouting of the fundamentalists, which contributes little to the moral debate, and less to the practical, is not really helpful. There are a host of important questions to sort out before we can let the essentially brain dead processes of the law loose on such a subtle and personal issue but I fear that the clowns' chorus will drown out the discussion.

Moral absolutism really is a strong deterrent to rational thinking.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 06:28:00 UTC | #425274

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 2 by mordacious1

So their point is that only true believers and anti-euthanasia persons should be on the panel? How far would that get them?

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 06:46:00 UTC | #425277

Big T's Avatar Comment 3 by Big T

If someone is, say, 21 years old or older, and suffering from a terminal illness, ask him or her if he or she wants to be euthanised. If she or he is not mentally retarded and/or schizophrenic, grant his or her wishes. The mentally handicapped and/or schizophrenic can be given opiates and/or tranquillizers. To hell with 'slippery slope' arguments. Why make terminally ill people suffer unnecessary agony?

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 07:05:00 UTC | #425281

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 4 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Huzzah!

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 07:35:00 UTC | #425284

Russell Blackford's Avatar Comment 5 by Russell Blackford

Yay for Udo!

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 07:46:00 UTC | #425286

RainDear's Avatar Comment 6 by RainDear

It is incredible how such a basic human right as the right to die is deliberately turned into a much, much more difficult question than it should be. I do believe it is one of the awful by-products of our religious heritage. Centuries of claiming the human life belongs to some heavenly emperor instead of the individuals themselves deprives us of the right and obligation to make informed decisions. They call it respecting the sanctity of human life. I call it avoiding the responsibility of facing the tough questions.

There is no reason to believe legal, well supervised and carefully controlled euthanasia would turn into any kind of moral problem. All we need is establishing a set of rules. But usually, whenever the matter even comes up, some religiously indoctrinated doctor in high office claims the moral high ground and starts all kinds of ad hominem attacks.

As a consequence of keeping euthanasia illegal, the area is very grey. The terminal and suffering patients are living and dying under circumstances that are inconsistent. It's not about some death pill, but passive, possibly more painful decisions about operations, nutriments, medication etc. This "soft euthanasia" it is a part of actual daily reality in thousands of hospitals in western Europe. And the moral burden is left on the medical staff.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:49:00 UTC | #425300

Shiva's Avatar Comment 7 by Shiva

I don't see why people that want to die can't be allowed to die.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:51:00 UTC | #425301

Arjen's Avatar Comment 8 by Arjen

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are, whatever the moral questions, tough things to get right in a legal and practical context. For one thing, how do you ensure that the wishes of suffering relatives are not projected onto the protagonist?

And that would be a reason to not have legislation about it? In my personal experience with this subject, it is not that the person undergoing assisted suicide is pressured into it. It is family and friends that want them to hang on for just another day.

I'm Dutch and we have pretty liberal euthanasia legislation, but in the opinion of a lot of people, mine included, it is not liberal enough. I want to have the right to decide when to end my life , with dignity. At the moment, here in the Netherlands, there are a lot of exemptions when I can't have assisted suicide because of the term: "Intolerable Suffering", which has been explained mostly in a very narrow sense.

Off course, there has to be a system in place to prevent needles deaths and I do not think it would be wise that you could be able to buy a suicide pill at the pharmacy, but in the end, who are you to tell me what "Intolerable Suffering" is for me? I want to have the right to choose the time of my own death and be able to die with dignity.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 08:53:00 UTC | #425302

mmurray's Avatar Comment 9 by mmurray


I don't see why people that want to die can't be allowed to die.


Because it is hard to define `want to die'. We don't allow healthy suicides to suicide. Usually they want to suicide because they are depressed and when properly treated they don't want to suicide. So we have to set up rules and procedures for how we are going to decide who should be allowed to die or more to the point helped to die. Then we have to deal with the complications: How to deal with the situation when a person wants to die to stop being a burden on relatives. How to stop governments withdrawing financial support for palliative care so that more people find their suffering is intolerable. How to deal with people who are not sick but find old age so intolerable they would rather be dead. How to deal with people who are not mentally competent. Can people be allowed to write wills saying `kill me if I get Alzheimers'? I think something needs to be done and something should be done but it isn't a trivial exercise finding the optimal solution.

Michael

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 09:09:00 UTC | #425304

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 10 by rod-the-farmer

One question that bothered me about euthanasia is what happens to life insurance in a case where the decision is made by the "victim" ?? One can imagine the insurance company saying "This was a form of suicide, and we don't pay when that happens." The alternative is the victim lives in agony so that death when it comes is deemed 'natural', and the insurance is paid to the beneficiary. I can easily imagine a situtation where the victim chooses to die, so that the insurance money goes to the beneficiary, who may need it badly.

Anyone have experience of a situation where the hospital was the one who pulled the plug, after consulting with family members ? Was the insurance policy paid ? Did the insurance company even know there was a deliberate action, and death was not entirely natural ?

Another possibility.....what would the insurance company do if the victim contracted a curable disease that could be fatal, but refused to be treated for it, so the insurance money would be paid to the beneficiary ? Would that be considered suicide ?

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 09:14:00 UTC | #425307

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 11 by Szymanowski

Because it is hard to define `want to die'. We don't allow healthy suicides to suicide. Usually they want to suicide because they are depressed and when properly treated they don't want to suicide.
Suicidal people are usually depressed? I wonder whether that's genuinely true, or whether it's because they are automatically pigeon-holed as depressed for being suicidal.

Can people be allowed to write wills saying `kill me if I get Alzheimers'?
They're allowed to write them at the moment in the UK but the wills have no legal meaning.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 09:37:00 UTC | #425311

Arjen's Avatar Comment 12 by Arjen

How to deal with the situation when a person wants to die to stop being a burden on relatives.
By having a good social safety net, so that people do not become a burden.
How to stop governments withdrawing financial support for palliative care so that more people find their suffering is intolerable.
One does not come in place of the other. They can easily and happily be used side by side. Make legislation that ALL options have to be available.
How to deal with people who are not sick but find old age so intolerable they would rather be dead.
How about giving them the right to die? There has been an important case in the Netherlands on this very subject. A man committed assisted suicide with the help of his personal physician. The man was old, but in perfect health and very sound of mind. He just lost his wife of over 60 years and could not carry on. He died peacefully. Is that a bad thing? Well, according to some it was. The physician had to appear in court on murder charges. In the end he was convicted but not sentenced, if I remember correctly.
How to deal with people who are not mentally competent.
This is very hard and in such a case the patient needs to be protected, but is that a reason to let someone suffer? Even a person who is not mentally competent can be in a lot of pain without hope of recovery. And here a good social safety net can do wonders again.
Can people be allowed to write wills saying `kill me if I get Alzheimers'?
Well, I hope I will be able to do that in the future. I have had the pleasure of seeing three of my grandparents slowly take that route and I do not want it.

I think something needs to be done and something should be done but it isn't a trivial exercise finding the optimal solution.
It isn’t that difficult at all. The only thing you need is a basic general healthcare system and social safety net for all, organized by the government. It is not that cheap, it has its flaws, but generally speaking the Danes, Swedes, Fins, Dutch and other socialist communist depraved countries seem to like it.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 09:38:00 UTC | #425312

atomsmasher's Avatar Comment 13 by atomsmasher

It's quite obvious to me that anyone who wants to die should be allowed to. If you aren't interested in life, please, by all means, take yourself out of it. I don't care if it's because they are depressed or terminally ill, if they wish to go, let them go!

There are too many people on earth -- a huge percentage of which will die under circumstances they did not choose -- for us to be condemning thoses who choose to die in a method of their choosing.

Personally, I hope to die by my own hand. It's the most desirable out-come I can think of. If you think people should be encouraged to live then you've been persuaded by the pervasive religiosity of our society.

There's nothing special or valuable about any one human, apart from in the minds of friends and family, and the idea of being 'considerate' of others by staying alive is to pander to some stupid notion of 'responsibility' to other animals.

If you want to die, please, do us all a favour and get it over with. The more people who die by their own hand, the better.

If you have the opportunity to assist someone in this task, don't be one of those Christian assholes who tries to talk someone out of it. Oblige them! Otherwise you're a Christian in atheist clothing and you're less than human and probably deserve to be dead more than the poor sod to whom you are denying assistance.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 10:03:00 UTC | #425319

GalacticAtom's Avatar Comment 14 by GalacticAtom

Comment #443860 by mordacious1

So their point is that only true believers and anti-euthanasia persons should be on the panel? How far would that get them?

Where did they say that?? I think their point is that the panel should be evenly balanced, not stacked either way.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 10:05:00 UTC | #425321

Naturalist1's Avatar Comment 15 by Naturalist1

Everyone is raising very good points on this. Here in Canada..the fact is soft euthanasia is practiced on oncology wards every day. I was once married to an oncology nurse. Patients in the final stages of cancer are "Snowed Under" with increasingly large doses of morphine on what is called an "Open Ended Prescription". As their disease progresses into a death imminent stage the drugs are increased to a point where these pain interventions stop their heart. My mother was one such patient. They die quietly without pain instead of in agony from pain. This ultimately is the humane thing to do for people in this end of life scenario.
I recently had a discussion with a close friend who also recently lost his father in a similar way. His question was why do we have laws that grant a veterinarian more legal protection for doing "The Right Thing" for a loved family pet than they do for a physician who in concert with a family grant the same mercy to a fellow human being.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 10:56:00 UTC | #425328

Pete.K's Avatar Comment 16 by Pete.K

@Naturalist1

Yes, my father went the same way, he was deteriorating rapidly, so he was on morphine for just 24hrs with an ever increasing dose, best he went then, rather than deteriorate further and ruin my memory of him.

And I agree with the loved pet analogy, why is it an act of kindness to put a suffering pet out of it's misery, yet we're expected to make humans suffer pain and humiliation for as long as possible.

I have no intention of even reaching my fathers state, I want to shuffle off MY mortal coil while I can still wipe my own bottom, and no religious nut job is going to take that right away from me.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 11:22:00 UTC | #425330

mmurray's Avatar Comment 17 by mmurray

If you think people should be encouraged to live then you've been persuaded by the pervasive religiosity of our society.


How do you know what I have been persuaded by ? I can't speak for anyone else but I have been persuaded by the fact that depressed people who try to commit suicide and then are successfully treated are pleased later that they are still alive. Have you ever seen the damage a suicide does to the friends and family around them ?

If you have the opportunity to assist someone in this task, don't be one of those Christian assholes who tries to talk someone out of it. Oblige them! Otherwise you're a Christian in atheist clothing and you're less than human and probably deserve to be dead more than the poor sod to whom you are denying assistance.


Just make sure you have a good lawyer and try not to get done for murder. At least not in the US where they have the death penalty.

I have no intention of even reaching my fathers state, I want to shuffle off MY mortal coil while I can still wipe my own bottom, and no religious nut job is going to take that right away from me.


Pretty much what my father said when he watched his mother die of Alzheimers. Now he has it and is past the point of being able to do anything. It might not be a religious nut job who takes away the right to die it might just be the way you life goes.

Michael

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 11:42:00 UTC | #425332

bendigeidfran's Avatar Comment 18 by bendigeidfran

I would have it illegal and just let people off. Judges can't see inside juror's minds yet so whatever the judge directs the jury can happily vote 'not guilty'if appropriate.

Most of the cases flying off from UK to get topped elsewhere could trivially do it themselves.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 11:43:00 UTC | #425333

Dog Boots's Avatar Comment 19 by Dog Boots

With the rate of progress we now see in medical sciences it may not even be a century before we can practically live as long as we want. Then we'll have to start deciding when to kill people (or at least deny them everyday standard drugs) who DO have a productive, enjoyable future ahead of them.

THAT will be a tough nut to crack. This one is easy...

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:38:00 UTC | #425336

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 20 by Szymanowski

If you have the opportunity to assist someone in this task, don't be one of those Christian assholes who tries to talk someone out of it. Oblige them! Otherwise you're a Christian in atheist clothing and you're less than human and probably deserve to be dead more than the poor sod to whom you are denying assistance.


And we wonder why Christians don't feel welcome on this site...

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:53:00 UTC | #425339

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 21 by hungarianelephant

13. Comment #443904 by atomsmasher

If you think people should be encouraged to live then you've been persuaded by the pervasive religiosity of our society.

Don't you think there's a bit of a difference between "encouraging people to live" and "legally preventing them from getting help to die"?

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 12:58:00 UTC | #425342

rugby's Avatar Comment 22 by rugby

Arjen, did you just say the man lost his wife of sixty years and was in a perfectly sound mind? Either he was in a period of intense grieving, which is incredibly likely to lead to a bout of extreme acute depression, or he was fine with the whole thing, pointing to anything other than being of sound mind.
Assuming it was the former, the grieving process is something that everybody has to face in their life. And it is gut wrenchingly hard. But if we start assisting people with suicide in this case we are committing a grave injustice to their potential for recovery and future hapiness (not to mention the happiness of those who care about them).
For lack of a better description, grieving, and the associated depression ARE "curable", normally with the passage of time.
Would you let someone have an assisted suicide who had treatable cancer? I sincerely hope not.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 14:00:00 UTC | #425351

rugby's Avatar Comment 23 by rugby

Also, i know i'm going to probably get trolled for this, but did anybody see the interview with richard dawkins by andrew denton on australian tv? I was really, really disapointed with Dawkins on that. He came across as tense, TOTALLY humourless, and with the most arrogant sense of false humility i think i have ever witnessed. I genuinely respect and appreciate what he does, but he has actually dropped quite substantially in my estimation.
I don't think asking one of the most intelligent men on earth what his opinion of 'being wise is' is an especially onerous question, and yet he responds as though denton was a complete dickhead for even asking.
And denton is an avowed atheist!

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 14:09:00 UTC | #425353

Demotruk's Avatar Comment 24 by Demotruk

Is the topic of the article not really about the weighting of the "expert panel" in favor of a particular side, rather than euthanasia itself?

It's important to know whether or not the panel is really a (somewhat) representative panel of experts, or if as is suggested, specially selected experts which will make the conclusion the politicians want them to make. I think the former is more likely, and experts* may simply be more likely to be of the pro-euthanasia persuasion. Regardless, unless we are ok with simply affirming our present beliefs, that's what people should be looking into.

*although I am not sure how "expert" is defined in this context

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 14:17:00 UTC | #425355

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 25 by SaganTheCat

suicide is the only permanent cure for depression

all other treatments fail if the patient gets depressed again.

My point being that the decision to want to live or want to die is based on a state of mind. If I choose to die then suddenly become happy with my life, who's to say it's not just a symptom of mental illness£ just like depression

I believe it's a human right to choose. I can't see any moral reason to argue outside of a religious one. I can see there are legal implications as RTF pointed out but the law would just have to adjust and policies clarified on the matter.

The problem seems to be that we are all aware that you might make the "wrong choice" i.e. circumstances may change, cures found, better ways of coping developed but life's a short ride. people make fatal "wrong choices" every day somewhere in the world. The only one we have a problem with is the one where the victim gets to think about if they made the right choice or not before deciding

we need to grow up. God doesn't decide when we die. because of medicine, God no longer decides we must die when we get sick, and as such we have a population explosion. We accept that in exploding populations something will have to give one day. we accept it will be unpleasant, but we're not quite ready to accept the responsibility of chosing when to take ourselves out of the picture.

A species that has a shocking record of murder when it comes to managing resources, based on race, religion, even the sex of a newborn child, needs to at least open up to the concept of not forcing anyone to live

[edit]

sorry I'm not suggesting euthinasia as any kind of method of handling a population crisis, just pointing out the dual standards. Many people can become "qualified" to make a decision to kill another human, judges, soldiers, dictators etc but to assume one could be qualified to make that judgement on themselves is just too much for some to consider

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 14:19:00 UTC | #425358

LWS's Avatar Comment 26 by LWS

This is excellent news for all of us. The hysteria around making end of life choices as influenced and dictated by the religious must end.

May I remind everyone here that it is really important to write & sign a Will. Any unsigned document is completely worthless. In Canada Wills cover physical issues with regards to health and end of life care as well as financial assets. Preparing a will, designating a power of attorney and trustee, is not complicated and really is part of the business of managing your life. I am astounded at the number of people who do not do this. If you have not made legal arrangements for yourself then the government can step in and that sure isn't pleasant.

Schools should drop religious instruction classes in favour of teaching people the basics of law as we all need some understanding of our rights. The law is not mystical and yet so many hold irrational beliefs about it.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 14:34:00 UTC | #425360

Logicel's Avatar Comment 27 by Logicel

Only secular anti-euthanasia academics have a place in this panel. They could be hard to come by.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 15:15:00 UTC | #425365

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 28 by mordacious1

14. Comment #443906 by GalacticAtom

Only in the sense that when I was ranting awhile back that Sotomayor would be the 6th catholic on the Supreme Court, one would think that I wanted the Court to be "balanced" between catholics and non-catholics. No, I don't want any catholics on the SCOTUS. And this "pro-life", anti-euthanasia, anti-abortion group does not want an atheist/pro-euthanasia person like Udo to be on this panel or any panel. They would prefer that the panel be made up of god-fearing chriistians (and maybe a token jew).

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 16:13:00 UTC | #425381

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 29 by Dr. Strangegod

There is, y'know, a whole Church of Euthanasia out there.

No one should try to take your death away from you. For some, it's all they have. If I'm lucky, I will get to choose the moment of my own death, and no law or any opinion of anyone else will stop me if I get that opportunity.

(As an aside, when I was told in 7th grade that my debate team would be arguing euthanasia, I thought we'd be talking about Chinese kids - "youth in asia".)

EDIT: Ooh, also, everybody should see the cover art to the second Acid Bath album "Paegan Terrorism Tactics" from 1997. It's a painting by Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 17:52:00 UTC | #425407

BlueCollar8theist's Avatar Comment 30 by BlueCollar8theist

This matter should hardly be subject for debate. A system to help remove the fear and suffering of a person afflicted with a terminal illness is a very humane idea.
One needs only imagine themselves in shoes of the sufferer to see that they would likely want the same thing.

Tue, 22 Dec 2009 18:10:00 UTC | #425420