Assisted Dying (Euthanasia) and Terry Pratchett

  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Jun 10, 2010 6:00 AM GMT
    This is a lecture, recently given in the UK, that makes a case for asissted dying. It is written by the famous author Terry Pratcher who is suffering from a rare form of Alzheimers and who would like to be able to end his life at a time of his choosing.

    Am curious what people think about a) euthanasia (or assisted dying if you prefer) in general, and b) this particular lecture making a case for it.


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    Jun 10, 2010 8:32 AM GMT
    hmmm, the youtube vid ends abruptly, I assume the rest of it is available on youtube? I'll watch the rest a little later.

    His speech, although have not watched it fully is pro assisted dying and personally I agree with the idea of it, I believe that should some body choose, they should be allowed to end there life in a comfortable, safe and hopefully loving environment with the ones who love them most will gather around and be there for support and to say there last farewells.

    For me, should I ever develop a condition where it will eventually take my mind or my body, I would like it to end at my choosing, I have no fear of death, I do not believe in an afterlife, nor do I think there is anything after death, it is simply a ending of life, but my person, who I am, those who I have touched, those who have loved me carry all that I have been and was with them, to me, that is a greater honour then anything else i could possibly think of, to know, that those i love, that love me will take with them a part of who I am as a person and continue to remember, enjoy and hopefully share that part with others, while I may no longer be there to talk, to love, to be physical, I will be there within them to continue.

    Having watched a few people suffer immensely through such horrible things as cancer, Alzheimer and a few other things, I understand the strain it places, not just on the people around them but on the person who is experiencing this first hand, the pain and anguish, the self humiliation of the loss of there own sense of self, alzheimers in particular, I have watched a few people who in moments of sudden clarity of there own mind find them self filled with joy that suddenly the world is clear even just briefly but then filled with shame over the slow and steady loss of there own minds, to watch someone having experience that was, without a doubt one of the hardest things for me to observe, as an outsider, I felt only love and desire to see them be happy and healthy, the support, the effort i put into helping care for them was nothing that i considered difficult physically or mentally, I did it with love and I'd do it again, however, the person who was in effect lossing the very essence of who they are, that was more difficult to watch, because at times, they knew exactly what was going on, at times, they felt it, at times, they felt nothing but shame over it, they wanted out of it, they wanted to go when they could..

    Who am I to say no? who is anyone?
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    Jun 10, 2010 2:10 PM GMT
    Who will stop others from deciding for them?
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    Jun 10, 2010 2:16 PM GMT
    Assisted suicide and euthanasia are not the same things. I strongly support assisted suicide. It's possible to think of circumstances where euthanasia might be thinkable, but it's very difficult to think of a legalization regime that wouldn't create more problems than it's worth.
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    Jun 10, 2010 2:20 PM GMT
    Thanks Satyricon, beat me to it!



    xo -Doug

    There's also the issue of inadequate care causing problems that induce the patient to go for assisted suicide (an example is you have no money for care), and assisted suicide for depression.

    Researching the Netherlands has been rather an eye opener.

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    Jun 10, 2010 2:28 PM GMT
    meninlove said Thanks Satyricon, beat me to it!



    xo -Doug


    =)

    meninlove saidThere's also the issue of inadequate care causing problems that induce the patient to go for assisted suicide (an example is you have no money for care), and assisted suicide for depression.

    Researching the Netherlands has been rather an eye opener.


    I'm not sure what you're suggesting here. I don't see an argument that could maintain that people like Pratchett should continue suffering simply so elderly care providers won't have to face elders' suicidality that their negligence has created. And it's also not worth having people suffer simply to avoid screening for depression.

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    Jun 10, 2010 2:37 PM GMT
    I agree with Mr Pratchett's case, and in Canada there have been some assisted suicides. One recent case was a 76 year old Quebec man that went very public before he did it.

    The very well known Holland case was a woman who was depressed. Her son and another relative (not sure who) committed suicide and she saw no reason to go on living. Her doctor complied. This brings mental illness into the issue.

    How does one determine a person making the decision is in their right mind?

    I think as well that what tends to happen is exactly what the title of this topic demonstrates. The line between assisted suicide and euthanasia becomes blurred.

    Netherlands reports more control over both and levels of involuntary euthanasia are lower.
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    Jun 10, 2010 2:46 PM GMT
    In volunteer care, I've seen some pretty awful stuff. One palliative lady had a disease where she couldn't speak any more. I had to remind her relatives that she wasn't also deaf. All opened food and drink had to be thrown out at her request when palliative workers and relatives left her home.

    Her notes said that they were going to poison her. It was completely untrue, but her last days were spent in a state of induced panic.

    There were others as well. Tough topic.

    As for assisted suicide, it's already here in both our countries. When you're palliative, doctors will give you access to morphine, which is among other things a respiratory depressant. You can ask for more and more and they will let you have it. As the body gains resistance, the dosage increases until....

    One lady I looked after (cancer had spread for kidney to bones) had a case of morphine with combination lock delivered to her at her doctor's request. When her daughter and I opened it there was enough to wipe out 10 city blocks of humans, lol. Her mother declined so it was sent back.


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    Jun 10, 2010 2:48 PM GMT
    A question; why doesn't Mr Pratchett do it himself rather than wait til he's so far gone someone else has to?

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    Jun 10, 2010 5:00 PM GMT
    meninlove saidThe very well known Holland case was a woman who was depressed. Her son and another relative (not sure who) committed suicide and she saw no reason to go on living. Her doctor complied. This brings mental illness into the issue.

    How does one determine a person making the decision is in their right mind?

    I think as well that what tends to happen is exactly what the title of this topic demonstrates. The line between assisted suicide and euthanasia becomes blurred.

    Netherlands reports more control over both and levels of involuntary euthanasia are lower.



    There were others as well. Tough topic. … A question; why doesn't Mr Pratchett do it himself rather than wait til he's so far gone someone else has to?


    I think it’s a tough topic only in the sense that individual cases can require difficult judgment calls. Legalization requires considering the run of cases, and there the decision is very simple. As for Mr. Pratchett, perhaps he feels he still has enough functioning that his life is still worthwhile for the moment, or perhaps he even feels that he has passed that point with respect to his own welfare, but he should continue on for a little while to advocate for the alleviation of others’ suffering, as a form of self-sacrifice.
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    Jun 10, 2010 5:13 PM GMT
    meninlove said A question; why doesn't Mr Pratchett do it himself rather than wait til he's so far gone someone else has to?



    Because he wants to live. His argument is both personal and general. I don´t buy the "abuse" argument. It´s exactly the sort of argument used by the religious right.

    I thinkg that Arthur Hugh Clough (who was quoted in the speech) got it right

    "Thou shalt not kill but need not strive officiously to keep alive.
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    Jun 10, 2010 5:23 PM GMT


    Perhaps he is, like Sue Rodiguez did here in BC years ago.

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    Jun 10, 2010 5:34 PM GMT
    lol lostboy the abuse isn't an argument. It's been documented, and the Netherlands has taken steps to try and address the issues.

    There's nothing religious in my stance on this. I think that when the decision rests in the hands of others there are problems.

    The only way I can see this working is if the patient, while still sound, makes a living will with instructions (and hopefully doesn't have a change of heart if they get a disease where they can't communicate, yikes!), much like signing a DNR (which there are massive problems with as well).

    One lady we looked after was told by a palliative administrator to go to hospice where, 'it will all be much faster'.

    Debbie started shaking and told the lady and nurses that they would kill her with their good intentions. So...we told her she could die at our house and she did.

    You guys should volunteer in palliative. Gives some interesting perspectives.
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    Jun 10, 2010 5:43 PM GMT
    I don´t want to "live" like Terri Schiavo did.
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    Jun 10, 2010 5:47 PM GMT


    If Terry Schiavo had bothered with a living will the outcome would have been much different. Instead it was a nightmare of he said she said they said.

    In talking to some palliatives, I found that they'd felt just as you do, until they went terminal. Life and every second of it abruptly became strangely precious.