November 17, 2003

"My wife and I intended to make our exit together but had very limited time to do so." Is euthanasia an acceptable way to deal with severe mental or physical illness? Shouldn't we respect someone's right to die, if that is what they want? Maybe the easiest way is just to kill ourselves - the Church of Euthanasia would appreciate it.
  • I can understand why euthanasia is such a tricky topic. For purposes of discussion here, I'm going to set aside the whole "You don't get to play God" argument, because if you think that there's nothing I can say. I also understand how assisted suicide is so tricky--it opens a huge can of worms and the possible abuses are horrifying. That being said, if people want to kill themselves I say have at it. If that person can push the putton or pull the trigger or swallow the pill then they should have every right to do so. I don't know why society is so vested in keeping people from killing themselves (it is especially puzzling in the cases of terminal illness). It seems that the perception is if someone kills themselves they're rejecting us. Feh on that. Keep your morals off of me and my death. I think people should be able to write living wills that are notorized and drawn up in the presence of attorneys that give people permission to kill them if they become too disabled to do it just as they can for cases of brain damage.
  • What bothers me is that I've heard of cases where living wills have been ignored by family (and of course I can't think of an example right now). In NZ we're semi-lucky in that we have the right to refuse any medical treatment, and we can make it known verbally, not necessarily in a written will. We can also ask for a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). But these passive forms aren't as kind as a more active assisted suicide, as someone could still suffer for months, or years, unable to enjoy life.
  • It sounds like they kept him alive to put him through a trial that never happened. That's a tragedy. If you've watched a loved one in the end stages of dementia, you might understand why this couple considered this their only alternative. My heart goes out to him. I hope he is reunited with his dear wife soon.
  • If someone ignores my living will, they better keep me alive forever because as soon as I died I would haunt them into insanity. I've already discussed a living will scenerio with my mother and my boyfriend and they are under strict instruction to pull the plug. My mother has a living will and put me in charge of it because there's no way her husband could do it. Besides the obvious reasons, I really hope it doesn't come to that because how hard would it be to go against my step-dad (who I adore and have a good relationship with) on something like this?
  • My grandmother actually made this choice a bit over a month ago now. She'd had less than 10% lung capacity for _years_, was in constant pain, etc. Her husband (still alive) is completely senile - end-stage dementia really is a cruel joke, as far as I'm concerned. So she decided to make a graceful exit. Said quiet goodbyes to those closest to her, and was found comfortably in her favorite chair, a glass of scotch in hand early one Saturday morning. I'm told many medical practitioners (here in Australia, at least) are extremely supportive of this type of decision. Indeed, I hear tell that , especially for dementia patients, morphine is known as an outstanding cough-suppressant..
  • Wow. I'm sorry for your loss coriolisdave, but I'm happy that your grandmother was able to die the way she wanted to.
  • Oh, and look! There's coriolisdave!
  • I'm told many medical practitioners (here in Australia, at least) are extremely supportive of this type of decision. Indeed, I hear tell that , especially for dementia patients, morphine is known as an outstanding cough-suppressant.. A good friend of mine lost his mother to cancer not too long ago. According to him, his mother, with the assistance of one of her doctors, chose to accelerate her passing under the guise of 'pain management', with the use of morphine. It was a sensitive issue, so I didn't talk about it with him at any great length, but he did make a comment that from talking with the doctor in question as well as the nurse that administered the injections, that many terminally ill cancer patients apparently actually pass from morphine overdoses, since in end-stage cancer all that can really be done for a patient is to increase doses to relieve suffering until they reach a point where they would be lethal in and of themselves. I honestly don't know if that is a substantiable claim or not.
  • It's all very exciting, I must say.
  • She collected strange animals, owning a boa constrictor and a monkey. Well, I had a boa once and now this; guess I'm strange. I do think her son should have been better prepared for this reality.
  • An interesting intersection of two great topics: Jacques Brel and the importance of death with dignity. Of Madeleine: she set up the province's first French restaurant and got stopped by police for wearing a miniskirt during the dictatorship of General Franco Good for you and rest in peace.
  • "When she was depressed she would talk about suicide, but a couple of days later she would forget about it," he said. "I think they encouraged her to die." Admittedly, all bohemians talk about suicide. But this is something different. I don't know about this Spanish organization in particular, but usually, assisted-suicide has as one of its requirements a consistent wish over a period of time. They know to look for 'mere' depression or whimsy. I can't imagine that, given the way this woman lived her life, she didn't know exactly what she wanted. She lived life on her own terms, and ended it that way as well. It saddens me when we lose all-too-rare people like this, but I have to agree with the inestimable roryk -- good for you and rest in peace.
  • You've got to wonder whether she really forgot about it, or just realized it upset her son to hear about it.
  • Grief can be a strange master.