Right to die issue!

I’m a member of medscape and found this article by Nancy R. Terry. What is your opinion?

FIor 10 years, Oregon was the only state in which physician-assisted suicide was legal. Recently, 2 more states have made the practice lawful. In November 2008, Washington voters approved a ballot initiative making it legal for a physician, at the request of a terminally ill patient, to prescribe a lethal dose of medication for administration by the patient. In December 2008, Montana’s first Judicial District Court ruled that state homicide laws unconstitutionally restricted terminally ill patients who seek a physician’s help in dying.

In response to the growing legalization of assisted suicide, a contributor to Medscape’s Physician Connect (MPC), a physician-only discussion board, posed the following provocative question: Would you consider writing a lethal prescription for a terminally ill patient who wants to die, if such an action was legal in your state? The resulting discussion reveals assisted suicide to be a polarizing issue for physicians.

“Killing is not within the purview of a physician,” says one MPC contributor. “For those of us who take our responsibility honestly and seriously, euthanasia will never be acceptable.” This view aligns with the position taken by the American Medical Association, which considers physician-assisted suicide as incompatible with a physician’s role as healer.

Some physicians, however, find this view simplistic. An emergency medicine doctor reasons, “Modern American medical ethics is very concerned about patient autonomy, the right of every patient to determine his or her own medical care, which, to be internally consistent, would include voluntary termination of life.”

For many physicians, however, the issue of assisted suicide is not so clear-cut. “If we continue to let patients suffer when our pain control measures have reached their limit, aren’t we causing harm?” asks an internist. “If we put a patient on a morphine drip and continuously increase the rate to maintain some degree of comfort, we can produce respiratory arrest. Isn’t that euthanasia? Frankly, I don’t know what I’d do if I lived in a state where euthanasia was legal.”

What is your opinion?

JOHNBEN.

Whew! To be the one to answer first. I don’t know. I believe it is a sin to kill yourself but I don’t know how I would feel if I were in that much pain and that there was no hope at all. For when can you say Hope ends? There are days even now when I would consider ending it with an overdose of medication. And I COULD because I have enough legal drugs to mix one helluva big suicide cocktail. But when push came to shove (or swallow) could I? I can’t say.

BUT what if it did get out of hand? DRs deciding the insurance company needs a break from an expensive patient (or prompted BY the insurance company…???

Maybe we ought to compromise? What about legal if the patient is terminal and requesting it. Illegal for the DR to decide.

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

Dear Johnben.

This one is a slippery slope. Remember the Fuhrer: first the mentally ill, then the communists, then the gays, …, etc. I can see why many people consider life to be absolutely sacred and refuse to allow any assisted suicide.

Personally I would allowed it on the basis of the individual’s decision after appropriate legal tests are done to determine if the patient is legally sane and competent mentally and also that the patient understands his medical prognostic fully. Again there is a danger that the state could abuse such a system. I do not think that we can count on Doctor’s sense of ethics when they are under pressure by the state. Again and again history shows that the richest part of society collapses into moral aberation quite quickly when their lifestyles are threatened.

JohnBen

My mothers bottom line was her mind. So long as she was rational or could be made rational she wanted to live and otherwise no. I mean how much more simple is that? I ran around with her instructions in my mind for years. Well so the time came. Mom was out of it, of course, she had lost a good portion of her hand and her kidneys were failing at an amazing rate. Even the dialysis was not working. So any the doc says to me and my father, we need to consider throwing in the towel. I immediately chipped in has “mom lost her ability to reason and can she get it back”? Well yes she can longer reason, but given extraordinary help she may get it back. Unfortunately her quality and lenght of life will be very limited. Well so what do you do? Dad and i agreed that we needed to take steps to allow her to die. It was an awful decision.

Given what happened I immediately changed my medical directive so that whoever is available (wife, two sons) can make the decision in order of birth. I also told each that they are not to question the decision of the other. They know my mind is important to me, but even that is narrow directive. I hope I have given peace to make a desision when the time comes.

Now with regard to assisted suicide. I think it is a right of the patient. My mom would never have considered it, I woudl have don it earlier. Suffering is not living. Suffering is suffering.

Rick

pull the plug baby! I always joke with people that there should be a hospice for diabetics, as a joke of course when i get tired of the daily routine and when i remember that i’m killing myself (not intentionally) when i don’t take care of myself. I can understand why docs wouldn’t want to hurt their patients, but sometimes you just have to let go when the pain is to much and to real. Everybody is different.

As a doctor my self.I will never take part of such a thing,even if it is legal.As Anthony said,it will open the door to those with chronic diseases,cerebral palsy,degenerative brain diseases and unwanted patients.

If someone wants to terminate his own life he can do it away from doctors & hospitals.

I remember that genius mathematician with motor neuron disease who was asked about this added scicide and he was totally against it,praising God for every moment he has.
Islam is againt sucicide ( against those crazy suicide bombers).Life is a test which we have to pass it with good grades.

Well I had the dubious priviledge to play God with my brother. When he was dying I could have insisted that he be taken to a hospital for maximum revival and care. But I agreed to let him die in his own room at the old folks home. His feet were heavily gangrened form his diabetes. His physical state was deteriorating. I did not see what good it would do to let him die in a strange place. He probably died from starvation since they did not give him intravenous. Well I guess if there is an after life I will find out if that was the reasonable thing to do.

I can see Sohair concerns as a Doctor and her idea of having nothing to do with this is wise. The state will always put a bit of pressure to terminate some cases. Then again in Canada you may cost 1/2 or more of your total lifetime health care costs in the last 3 years of your life.

Sohair, You hit the nail on the head with the fact that life is a test. The test answers are available in the Bible. Romans 6:23 says “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Dear JohnBen, I was a nurse for many yeaars and this was a constant dilema that nurses were faced with when the orders came in to medicate a patient every hour as needed for pain control. I was always leery of doing it since I am one person who does not believe in physician assisted suicide. The way the USA is going I am afraid that GOD is going to have enough of being pushed away from us and help everyone with a dose of reality. So I guess my opinion is this is not a good thing.
INteresting discussion thought thanks for the thoughts. Karen t1 since 1964

Religious beliefs aside, there is no reason to stand in the way of a sane, rational person who wishes to take his own life, and there is no reason to condemn those would assist that person in doing so. Your religious beliefs should dictate how you live to the degree you find appropriate, and to no one else, to any extent whatsoever.

I think it is dangerous to apply religious beliefs legally, as is seen in places like Saudi Arabia and Iran. That is the more likely slippery slope.

Then again Oneless you are applying the American constitution to the rest of the world. What if some places do not want that?

To me it is a personal decision. For the doctor and the patient. I really would never want to ask a doctor to violate their ethical or religious belief. I hope they do not stand in the way of mine. It is really on me, not the doctor. Still that is my belief and If a doctor feels otherwise, I have to respect that. Just as I hope they respect my search for another doctor.

Rick .

We are not the authors of life. God is!!! We are to protect life from conception to natural death. Too end it early is to play God!!! Sometimes the suffering we endure on earth can be crucial to our salvation!!

Anthony,
There is a difference between honoring your brother’s wishes and being there with him in a familiar place than a doctor assisting death. There comes a point when it is time to allow our loved ones to go in peace when that is what is happeninganyway. But I don’t believe doctor’s should take the lives of their patients even when requested by the person.

I agree Ryan, It is playing God and of course we cannot play God lest we wish to face him in disgrace. I wonder though if God gave each of us the ability to reason, perhaps we have a place and time to use that reason for this purpose. It is one of the mysteries of life, if we can or should use it for this purpose. Who knows what moral and spiritual cross roads we will be at if and when that time comes.

It will be tough place no matter the decision, lets pray we haev the strength and courage to do the right thing. Discernment will be the key to a good outcome.

Rick

I agree with Rick…110% I couldn’t have said it any better!

I am not appealing to the American Constitution.

Who has a greater claim to my body than me?

Personally, I support the death with dignity movement. I believe it should be legal for those who have made that decision with their physicians and with their families. I know that the American medical community remains divided on the issue, as do our citizens, so it will be a long time before the movement gains enough ground to see any real changes. But I remain hopeful.

I believe a person should have the option for a physician assisted suicide, if they cannot take their own life due to physical or mental inability to do so (just as patients have a right to choose Do Not Resuscitate). If this is something a person desires they should make this desire known to those close to them & should put it in writing.

Interesting question about the doctor’s religious/ethical beliefs. If this became legal in my state, it would be something I’d discuss with my doctor. Like Rick, I’d find another doctor if the one I had was against this.

I’m opposed to religious beliefs dictating what’s legal. Too often, it’s a very vocal minority seeking to impose their belief system. But, I wouldn’t care if they were the majority either. Personally, I prefer a more rational view.

I’ve told my husband that I wouldn’t want to live in a vegetative state, or a long coma, or in pain that couldn’t be managed. Told him I’d trust him to know when to pull the plug. Quality of life.

Basically I agree with you Melissa. The problem is how to keep evil out of the process. Getting a mortgage to buy a house you would think would not be evil but our financial “engineers” made it evil.