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euthanasia: a real choice?
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euthanasia: a real choice?:

http://radicalrabbit.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/euthanasia-a-real-choice/

The debate surrounding euthanasia, much like the debate surrounding abortion, is often characterised by two polarised camps; those for whom sanctity of life is paramount, and those which place the importance on having the freedom of personal choice and bodily autonomy. Unlike abortion, where the ‘pro-choice’ argument is fiercely defended by the women’s rights movement, the ‘pro-choice’ argument over whether it is right to legalise euthanasia for elderly or disabled people is, rather patronisingly, usually made by the medical establishment “on behalf” of disabled people. Disabled people themselves often get little say in the matter.

In order to fully explore the debate around assisted suicide, we must look at the different ways in which society views disability and what the reality of life is like for people who have physical or mental impairments which affect the way they interact with the world. There are two major camps; the more dominant medical model and the less discussed social model as put forward by disability rights activists. The medical model conceptualises disability as intrinsic to the individual and as something to be cured or managed by the use of drugs or other therapy, often accused portraying disabled people as being something to be pitied and helped, rather than as people who happen to have impairments.

The social model put forwards an alternative view encompassing physical, social and environmental factors; that people may have physical or mental impairments, but it is society as a whole which disables the individual by the process of exclusion and neglect. For example, an individual with an impairment which effects their ability to walk would still be able to go about normal daily life if they had a wheelchair and everywhere they wanted to go was wheelchair accessible. They are only ‘disabled’ when their ability to do something is affected, which is usually because society has neglected to cater for their needs.

The social model is largely favoured by the disabled community, as not only does it offers more effective tactics to empower disabled people to access a higher standard of living in real terms, but it moves away from the idea of impairments being something to cure as opposed to something that is simply another aspect of someones life. This is especially relevant for people with hidden impairments, such as Aspergers Syndrome, whose “impairments” could more accurately be described as natural variance in the way people think as opposed to something that could be cured or would even warrant a cure.

Wheelchair-dancing scene from Glee! Disabled people are often ignored in the debate over euthanasia. Often in the debate over assisted suicide, people with more ‘severe’ impairments, such as permanent neurological pain, who lead difficult lives are used to justify the pro-choice position. But the medical establishment who use disabled people as posterchildren for the pro-euthanasia cause are not passive observers of the suffering of the elderly or severely disabled people, their involvement in the treatment and care of individuals make them complicit in their suffering in their everyday life. When a person is institutionalised in a nursing home, care home or hospital; the right to choose when to wake up, what to eat, when to eat, what to do and where to go are taken away. When someone is disempowered to such a degree, no matter what their particular impairment, life must ultimately be made harder. It becomes a question of whether the care given by the medical establishment to elderly and disabled people is enough to allow people a life worth living.

Because the medical establishment often fall short of providing truly assisted living, but are often keen to propose assisted suicide, many people with physical impairments see euthanasia and assisted suicide as an attack on their community and actively campaign against it. The call for a state ban, whether it is by religious clergy or from disabled people themselves, lacks empathy for people who genuinely want to die; and often betrays a lack of understanding for long term mental health problems that include suicidal tendencies as part of their diagnosis, or the mental health problems that arise alongside a rapid deterioration of health when someone gets old. It also raises the issue of whether criminalising suicide is a useful tactic for improving the lives of people who actively want to die.

Disabled people are frustrated with the debate, especially considering that it fundamentally decides whether they live or die and is dominated by the clergy or medical establishment, who whilst polar-opposites in their position, share an ignorance of disability issues and an unwillingness to listen to the voices of disabled people. The debate itself represents a false dichotomy; what is seen as the ‘pro-choice’ position here doesnt give a viable option for disabled people to live lives worth living, and the pro-life side of the debate hardly improves the lives of those wishing to die by criminalising them. The real ‘pro-choice’ position here is third camp; where disabled people are given assistance where they need it to live decent lives, and, if they require it, assistance to die.

What do you think? I don't agree with all of this argument (should be obvious why if you've read the other euthanasia threads) but I think this person's priorities are in the right place.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 2 Milos Stefanovic, Fri, 20th May '11 10:19:42 AM from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
I support euthanasia, but only if it is the patient himself that makes the choice.
The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Micromastophile
Your body/your life/ect is your personal property. If you want to end it, it's your choice and I can't force you not to morally.

Anyone have any comments on what the article said, rather than just stating your position on euthanasia?
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
Inb4 Tomu.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
See ALL the stars!
I thought the "pro-choice" option was what it called the "3rd" option.

edited 20th May '11 11:43:42 AM by Yej

Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
The biggest problem with the pro-euthanasia side of the debate is the people most invested in making it legal - thos seeking euthanasia themselves - are generally in no position to be campaigning. The second most invested would be those close to someone who would prefer death to their predicament, and that's a stressful enough position without having to argue with people who insist their loved one(s) should suffer. That leaves the doctors and nurses that take care of them, and it's generally discouraging to see medical professionals advocating death.
Everything is best in moderation.
 8 Drunk Girlfriend, Fri, 20th May '11 1:02:15 PM from Castle Geekhaven
Honestly, I take the position of "If this were to happen to me, I'd prefer to die quickly than linger in agony, ergo it should be an option."
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
^ How do you know how you'd feel? Most people with acquired disabilities say they had no idea what it would be like to be disabled before it happened to them. Apparently non-disabled people usually think being disabled is a lot more unpleasant than it actually is.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 10 Drunk Girlfriend, Fri, 20th May '11 1:12:41 PM from Castle Geekhaven
[up] I don't know, that's why I'd want to keep my options open.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
Nihilist Hippie
I'm all for disability and elderly liberation, they should both have full-autonomy and comprehensive provision for their own needs (libertarian communist here tongue). Yet I still think your life, your choice: no exceptions. If any person wants assisted suicide, ultimately it should always be their choice.
"Had Mother Nature been a real parent, she would have been in jail for child abuse and murder." -Nick Bostrom

I agree with the conclusion of the argument, but how he describes the pro-euthanasia side comes across as a straw-man of the side.

 13 Barkey, Fri, 20th May '11 3:05:39 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I didn't necessarily like the authors statements on how if there's a single need a disabled person has or a way that they are impaired that isn't automatically negated by society, we are somehow shunning them and should cater to their every whim.

If, say, a very small minority of people have a disease that does not allow them to pull a door open, only push, that doesn't mean we're assholes for not having every building have a revolving door entrance.

I agree that it should be the patients choice, but if the patient is completely nonresponsive and the chance is slim to none that they will ever be meaningfully responsive(in other words, that they cannot give consent) then the common law application of next of kin should be able to "pull the plug". This is why I make it very clear to everyone in my family that if I ever end up a vegetable on life support, I want to be killed and then buried in the way I specified.

edited 20th May '11 3:07:15 PM by Barkey

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 14 joeyjojo, Fri, 20th May '11 3:18:12 PM from Opp North Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
This is main beef with assisted suicide, I don't like the idea of some doctor coming along if i'm dying and telling that by trying to fight it and delaying the inevitable, I'm just put my family through hell and wasting taxpayers money. And that it would be so much easier on everybody if I just. let.. go...

Well Nuts To That!

Unity in diversity
[up] As if that is what happens, seriously now.

Disabled people are frustrated with the debate, especially considering that it fundamentally decides whether they live or die and is dominated by the clergy or medical establishment, who whilst polar-opposites in their position, share an ignorance of disability issues and an unwillingness to listen to the voices of disabled people.
Typically so, for issues such as this one. In my personal opinion, what's at the root of these polarizing issues is the overriding desire some have to make these decisions for others.

The debate itself represents a false dichotomy; what is seen as the ‘pro-choice’ position here doesnt give a viable option for disabled people to live lives worth living, and the pro-life side of the debate hardly improves the lives of those wishing to die by criminalising them. The real ‘pro-choice’ position here is third camp; where disabled people are given assistance where they need it to live decent lives, and, if they require it, assistance to die.
Tricky argumentation. "a viable option to live life worth living", I don't know if we don't, I don't know if we can. What I do know is that what constitutes "life worth living" is pretty much up to each and every single one of us. I suppose the author means to suggest here is that these disabled people wouldn't want to end their lives if we gave them these "lives worth living". Too many ifs and maybes to not dismiss such out of hand. I shall call it a "Trojan Pro-life Argument", for I smell goalposts on rails for what makes a life worth living and what the author means by "require".

edited 20th May '11 3:28:19 PM by GreatLich

Micromastophile
The doctors are the advocated because generally speaking, there are no repeat customers (also: The government can't exactly jail the patient).

 17 Mark Von Lewis, Fri, 20th May '11 9:42:10 PM from Somewhere in Time Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
KCCO
Way I see it, if I was terminal and it wasn't legal to get a legal lethal dose and end the suffering I'd just take the .357 route.
Run the red, won't stop at night, I don't care for traffic lights.
 18 joeyjojo, Fri, 20th May '11 10:12:26 PM from Opp North Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
[up]As it should be, The way the Dutch practice euthanasia has ultimately given doctors, not patients, more and more power. The question of whether a patient should live or die is often decided exclusively by a doctor or a team of physicians

edited 20th May '11 10:13:14 PM by joeyjojo

Unity in diversity
 19 Best Of, Fri, 20th May '11 10:20:52 PM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
I'm just gonna drop a little side note here 'cause when people think about this stuff they usually wonder what method of carrying out a euthanasia would be the most getle. Well, I think there's an answer:

Nitrogen asphyxiation.

The sensation of suffocation and the fear, panic, reflex to struggle etc that people get when they're not getting enough air isn't actually caused by a lack of oxygen. Instead, we react when our body detects an alarming amount of CO2 in itself, and since abnormal amounts of CO2 are a very clear sign that there's probably something wrong with the person's current ability to breathe "good" air, it's no wonder that CO2 is what triggers the reaction.

If you put on a mask (or someone puts it on for you) and you're made to breathe nitrogen, you don't experience a choking or suffocating sensation. Instead, you just fade away gently; no fear, no pain, and best of all, it causes a sense of euphoria and happiness just before you lose consciousness for the last time.

If you wonder why people know so much about what it feels like, there have been instances of accidents where a person almost died of nitrogen asphyxiation but was rescued. Also, the symptoms are similar whenever the brain is denied oxygen - like when a pilot ascends too fast.

Nitrogen asphyxiation has been suggested as a very humane means of carrying out a death penalty, and while I don't approve of that (the penalty, not the method), I think this would be a very pleasant way to die if I ever need a euthanasia. So if you're going around telling people to make sure someone pulls the plug on you, tell them that this is how you'd like to go if you're conscious but unable to communicate; that way, your final experience is a peaceful and pleasant one.

edited 20th May '11 10:21:42 PM by BestOf

Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
The way the Dutch practice euthanasia has ultimately given doctors, not patients, more and more power. The question of whether a patient should live or die is often decided exclusively by a doctor or a team of physicians

Spaniard living in the Netherlands speaking. That is not the case. First of all, euthanasia is *still* a criminal offence in the Dutch law books. However, prosecution is not carried out if the following conditions are *ALL* fulfilled:

The law allows medical review board to suspend prosecution of doctors who performed euthanasia when each of the following conditions is fulfilled:

  • the patient's suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement
  • the patient's request for euthanasia must be voluntary and persist over time (the request cannot be granted when under the influence of others, psychological illness or drugs)
  • the patient must be fully aware of his/her condition, prospects and options
  • there must be consultation with at least one other independent doctor who needs to confirm the conditions mentioned above
  • the death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion by the doctor or patient, in which case the doctor must be present
  • the patient is at least 12 years old (patients between 12 and 16 years of age require the consent of their parents)

Condition #2 is the one to pay attention to: The request for euthansia must come from the patient, be persistent, and not derived from the influence of others, be it family, doctors, or whatever.

A Dutch doctor, or a committee of Dutch doctors, can NOT just decide that someone is to be euthanized. The patient must ASK for it repeatedly and of his or her own free will, and a separate, independent doctor must agree that the condition of the patient is terminal, that the patient knows what his or her situation is, and that the patient took this decision freely.

GLUUUURK!
The Dutch reputation for being a liberal country where just about anything is legal is exaggerated.

And, joey, whatever source you got that propaganda from I don't know, but stop taking from it, as it is very wrong.

edited 21st May '11 3:39:08 PM by GreatLich

 22 joeyjojo, Sat, 21st May '11 3:48:04 PM from Opp North Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Bullshit, let me run up the numbers.


Involuntary Euthanasia is Out of Control in Holland
The Times(UK) 2/16/99

The Hague -- Euthanasia in The Netherlands is "beyond effective control", according to a report which shows that one in five assisted suicides is without explicit consent.

British opponents of assisted suicide say that the figures are a warning of the dangers of decriminalising euthanasia, as Holland did in 1984. By 1995 cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Holland had risen to almost 3 per cent of all deaths.

The Dutch survey, reviewed in the Journal of Medical Ethics, looked at the figures for 1995 and found that as well as 3, 600 authorized cases there were 900 others in which doctors had acted without explicit consent. A follow-up survey found that the main reason for not consulting patients was that they had dementia or were otherwise not competent.

But in 15 percent of cases the doctors avoided any discussion because they thought they were acting in the patient's best interests.

edited 21st May '11 4:35:32 PM by joeyjojo

Unity in diversity
Biased source is biased.

 24 They Call Me Tomu, Sat, 21st May '11 11:50:32 PM Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Sureeeeendaaaa
Well, I WAS going to post, but now that Drunk Girlfriend has pointed out that this is my single issue wonk, maybe I'll just let you all debate amongst yourselves.

HMPH!

 25 joeyjojo, Sun, 22nd May '11 2:31:46 AM from Opp North Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Nice going there D.G.
Unity in diversity
Total posts: 26
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