The right to die with dignity

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MegB

Bacchus wrote:

MegB wrote:

 How dare they presume to know what is best for others. Assholes.

 

I find this endemic among all political parties. Tho Harper seems to have the lock on the religious right aspect of it (tho not the holier than thou attitude which they all have)


Correct, but the other parties have broader and more diverse bases. The fact that a small pocket of mostly white right-wing fundamentalists can control social policy while an elite of tar sands lobbyists can undo our environmental protections and threaten the entire planet is just plain ludicrous.

Unionist

MegB wrote:
The fact that a small pocket of mostly white right-wing fundamentalists can control social policy while an elite of tar sands lobbyists can undo our environmental protections and threaten the entire planet is just plain ludicrous.

What she said.

Kind of highlights how dysfunctional our entire political system is.

 

Rikardo

I recently lost a sister-in-law and another dear friend to Cancer. They were both given excellent comforting palliative care with narcotics. These several weeks obviously cost our recourse-starved medical system thousands of dollars. But neither had to make the difficult decision, that of choosing between state doctor-administered poison or doctor-administered narcotics with expensive palliative care. I’m thankful for that. Belgium (our model?) has some three thousand cases of euthanasia a year, which certainly is a saving for their state health system.

lagatta

Well, fortunately here in Québec at least, that will soon change. Palliative care does NOT work in every instance. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it leaves dying people, or people with uncontrollable pain, in agony. As with women's right to choose, we tell the fundies (of whatever faith) to keep their bloody hands off our bodies.

onlinediscountanvils

lagatta wrote:

As with women's right to choose, we tell the fundies (of whatever faith) to keep their bloody hands off our bodies.

Recent threads excepted. Wink

Rikardo

Iagatta may be a youngster. I’m not and I don’t want the State to force on me a choice I don’t want.
1. Receive expensive palliative care and be a burden on the state and society and your family.
2. Ask the state-appointed doctor to give you a lethal injection (used by the death penalty in the US) and save us all the cost of caring for you. (dying with dignity)
You will not be a burden on society. Many dying people are very afraid of this.

Why not universal palliative care? In the past doctors and the church felt that suffering was natural and narcotics not. Is it undignified to die under palliative care? Why does dying-with-dignity means euthanasia?

I’m lucky enough to be able probably to afford private palliative care so I won’t be a burden on our cash-starved health system.

lagatta

Quote:

Iagatta (sic) may be a youngster.

CoolSmileLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughingLaughing

I guess you haven't followed me over the years, eh? Somewhat younger than skdadl was or Judes is, but still, a boomer. This is one of the funniest things I've read in years, er, decades.

Old enough to see elderly relatives kept "alive" with dementia. Kill me, Kill me!

 

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Ricardo, no choice is being forced on you. If you have a terminal illness and prefer to receive palliative care, you are welcome to do so. Whether it makes a person a "burden" or not isn't affected by the existence or not of having the option to end your life. Not having the option, though, means that you've already decided, across the board, what is best not only for yourself but for everyone else. Palliative care is a good thing and it's availability should be a priority, but let's not fool ourselves into thinking that narcotic comas are peaceful or dignified deaths. I've witnessed it. Having the option to end ones life before that pass would be a great comfort to some people, but it should never be treated as a mandatory choice (which would render it no choice at all).

lagatta

I don't know any right to die advocate who advocates rounding up the feeble elderly and gassing them. MP Francine Lalonde (whom I knew) wound up dying naturally, of the cancer she had lived with for years - she just wanted the choice if her suffering became unbearable.

Rikardo

I rather expect that doctor-assisted suicide (euthanasia) will become the norm with health costs exploding with the Boomers dying. It will possibly be the responsible choice, the unselfish choice, the choice of a good citizen, who doesn’t want resources wasted on him/her. The State has nothing to lose and everything to gain with this trend. Why such a massive movement for a handful of Sue Rodrigues that could jump out the window or take sleeping pills or poison from a friend.
No, we want the State to kill us, that is state doctors. With so many dying around the world of Aids or TB or bombing, why is this such a cause in Canada? Strong narcotics are already used and doctors have a code not to revive dying patients. My sister-in-law who died peacefully, drugged, didn’t have to choose. In the future everyone will have to choose and many will choose poison to save us all money.

onlinediscountanvils

Rikardo wrote:
Why such a massive movement for a handful of Sue Rodrigues that could jump out the window or take sleeping pills or poison from a friend. No, we want the State to kill us, that is state doctors. With so many dying around the world of Aids or TB or bombing, why is this such a cause in Canada?

Maybe some of us don't want to die a gruesome death like jumping out of a window, nor to traumatize whoever may be unfortunate enough to witness such a thing. Maybe we don't want to put our friends and family in legal jeopardy if they were to help us die. And while doctor assisted suicide does nothing to prevent anyone from taking action to fight war and pandemics, maybe some of us feel like we're more likely to be personally affected by chronic pain and loss of quality of life than the former.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Rikardo wrote:
I rather expect that doctor-assisted suicide (euthanasia) will become the norm with health costs exploding with the Boomers dying. It will possibly be the responsible choice, the unselfish choice, the choice of a good citizen, who doesn’t want resources wasted on him/her. The State has nothing to lose and everything to gain with this trend. Why such a massive movement for a handful of Sue Rodrigues that could jump out the window or take sleeping pills or poison from a friend. No, we want the State to kill us, that is state doctors. With so many dying around the world of Aids or TB or bombing, why is this such a cause in Canada? Strong narcotics are already used and doctors have a code not to revive dying patients. My sister-in-law who died peacefully, drugged, didn’t have to choose. In the future everyone will have to choose and many will choose poison to save us all money.

I'm glad your sister in law's death wasn't traumatic.

I wish I could say the same for my best friend.  She has the same kind of palliative care, and it was not entirely peaceful in spite of the drugs.  There were moments on the verge of surfacing that were agony and it took her 11 days to die.  11 days for her husband, the love of her life, to watch her die by inches, able to do nothing but moisten her lips.  She would have been horrified - was horrified that it would likely be the case.  The drugs aren't perfect, and it is, to some of us, a truly barbaric way to treat a human being. 

Now, you say that you "rather expect" will become the norm.  I wonder why that is?  Do you have any data?  I've noticed that jurisdictions where doctor-assisted suicide is permissable have not seen this happen.  Are you relying on any sort of information, or are we just exercises suppositions and imagination?

lagatta

Yes, to put it mildly, this really pisses me off. People have to suffer horribly because of your fears of some kind of conspiracy to kill off the already dying.

Get your hands off my body.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It still sometimes surprises me that there's somehow debate about this.

If I don't own my own life, exactly who DOES then?  Everyone who's not me??

Rikardo

Are Canadians so afraid of dying, as they are of terrorists (support for Bill C-51) or of changing our voting to proportional/preferential, or of not finding a handy Tim Horton’s, that euthanasia may be a big issue in the next federal election?

lagatta

God, you are being flippant about people's suffering.

I suspect a certain "fear of dying" is hardwired into us as part of a survival instinct, but at the same time, humans may be the only mammalian species to know that we will inevitably die. (Some other mammals do clearly demonstrate an awareness of death).

For me, the issue is remnants of doctrinal religious control over our lives and self-determination. We've won a lot of victories, but there are still meddling busybodies like Margaret Somerville who are against abortion, against same-sex marriage, against assisted suicide...

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Fear of dying seems like a very sensible fear to have. 

6079_Smith_W

I can see the reason for some to honestly fear this, meaning some people with disabilities, or in othe rvulnerable positions. Though even that community is split, if you look at Steven Fletcher's support, or the recent poll which showed significant support for the right to die among people with disabilities.

But really, the question of "if" is moot. People already make that decision, sometimes desparately and prematurely. The medical community makes that decision too, either under the table, or slowly, by withdrawing treatment (a friend of ours chose death that way not too long ago, and had to wait until the poisons built up in his system). The question is when society is going to catch up and allow that to happen in a humane way. The notions that we can't have safeguards, or that it is some sort of plot out of soylent green, are simply ridiculous.

lagatta

We always need groups and individuals who will fight for the protection and dignity of the most vulnerable people (and other sentient beings) with or without assisted suicide legislation.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Timebandit wrote:

Fear of dying seems like a very sensible fear to have. 

At the risk of writing while large objects zoom over my head... I do not think the fear of dying is as widespread as some believe - fear of pain and suffering on the other hand is very common.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yes, bagkitty, that's part of it.  Additionally for me, personally, I have a horror of putting my kids and husband through an experience like I had witnessing my father's death.  I came out of that with some mild PTSD effects and still, nearly 20 years later, have the occasional nightmare.  I would move heaven and earth to prevent my loves from dealing with such a thing.

I would far rather my death be a non-traumatic event in a calm environment if I'm ever terminally ill, and to be able to make the most of the time I have instead of cutting it short prematurely and clandestinely. 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Are we seriously going to talk about death panels? Fuck off.

I've seen the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer's and I'm well aware of other debilitating agonizing diseases.

I want the right to be put to sleep in the same 'humane' manner as a dog or a cat.

Those standing in my way to die with dignity and in a humane manner can go FUCK THEMSELVES.

Stay out of my life,my body and my free will.

6079_Smith_W

Hey alan,

I have no problem with some sort of safeguard to make sure that grandma isn't talked into taking the shot because it is better for the family. Sorry, but a lethal dose of morphine isn't something that should be available over the counter at the pharmacy, and if you agree with that, then you are agreeing with some sort of oversight. No need to turn it up to 11, because I don't think that is what we are talking about. I am not, in any case.

After all, if someone really wants to take the libertarian approach (and plenty have) you can buy six feet of it at the local co-op without a prescription. I thought the humane alternative was to try and prevent that. Making sure someone really wants to go that route, and is aware of the options, and isn't being talked into it, are all part of that responsible alternative. I wouldn't expect medical professionals who really care about people (and will be expected to do this work) to go along with this otherwise.

 

 

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I don't think anyone is implying that grandma will put to sleep to save some money. That's the same crap you hear from whack jobs like Sarah Palin.

If today,in sound mind and consciousness I sign a paper notarized or undersigned by an attorney to put me down when I can no longer function as a human being,case closed,end point.

Who the hell are you (not to point the finger directly at you,Smith but in general) to make decisions and choices for me? Clearly if you don't want to be put to sleep,that is your personal choice as well.

Letting someone suffer drooling into a cup,a virtual vegetable is inhumane and just plain sick.

Like any other last will or testament,the right to die should be respected.

I don't think anyone, besides the assholes who want to make decisions for everyone else, are talking about killing grandma because they don't want to take care of her.

It's about personal choice. How could any progressive argue against that?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I have no problem with some sort of safeguard to make sure that grandma isn't talked into taking the shot because it is better for the family.

Won't that just become the impossible condition that prevents any kind of change?

Seems to me a bit like people saying "I don't mind the hijab, so long as you can convince me that no woman will be coerced to wear one".  How would we ensure that?

Quote:
Sorry, but a lethal dose of morphine isn't something that should be available over the counter at the pharmacy

At least in part because a lethal dose of morphine can be broken up into five "fun" doses of morphine.

6079_Smith_W

Quote:

Won't that just become the impossible condition that prevents any kind of change?

Obviously not. Impossible how? Even states that have well-established physician-assisted death still have a process. As I said, none of this is going to happen without some sort of oversight, especially if doctors and nurses are expected to do the job.

Besides, the court ruling is there, so it is recognized as a right. To try and paint this as black and white is not only way out of proportion, it ignores the serious concerns that need to be balanced.

I support this right, and I think anyone who really wants it should be able to make this choice without any grief. I still think it would be foolish to not let people know their options, and make sure there is no coercion.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I'm not really in much disagreement with regard to oversight and a process.  Heck, there's a process involved if you want a fishing licence.  I'm just not sure how we would ensure that there is no coercion.  Wouldn't the coercion to end your own life before you really wish to also tacitly include the coercion to not blab about the coercion?

How do states that already have similar legislation ensure this?

lagatta

Magoo, fun doses, but also a lot of lovelorn youth deciding to end it all. That is NOT the purpose of the right to assisted suicide (though of course people do have the right to kill themselves, whatever their reason).

6079_Smith_W

Well no system is perfect if you want to beg the question. Even in situations where there is abuse the law isn't perfect and if someone makes the choice to not act in their own best interest they can do so. And sometimes the laws on the other side are a bit of a blunt instrument (thinking of some laws around powers of attourney here) and that is not necessarily a bad thing, even if it doesn't get it 100 percent right all the time.

My response was to alan's comment, and it is pretty straightforward. There is always going to be some form of process and oversight, even if you want to get that fishing license. No they don't usually follow you to your home to ensure that you really are a resident, but there should be a reasonable balance, and that is a good thing.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Magoo, fun doses, but also a lot of lovelorn youth deciding to end it all. That is NOT the purpose of the right to assisted suicide (though of course people do have the right to kill themselves, whatever their reason).

I agree.  In terms of process, I think some sort of waiting period might not be unreasonable, as an attempt to prevent impulsive choices like that.

Quote:
Well no system is perfect if you want to beg the question.

Personally, I'm OK with the system being imperfect (and I'm OK with there being a process and safeguards too).  At the same time I can picture opposition taking the form of "With lives at stake we NEED a perfect system!"

6079_Smith_W

As I said, we already have a supreme court decision that should undercut any attempt like that.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The other point that needs to be addressed in this thread is that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are being conflated at times, and they are distinctly different. Euthanasia is not currently up for debate.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

The fuel for the religious opposition to physician-assisted suicide is called The Imitation of Christ. In this work of the 15th century, it is repeatedly suggested that one can only imitate Christ by suffering. Seeing others suffer also reminds us of the suffering that Christ did on the cross, according to the Christian creed.

Rikardo

I don’t want to be in the position to have to choose costly palliative care over doctor-assisted suicide (low-cost, thus responsible and “dignified”). Euthanasia (doctor applied poison) will free up money for child-care, etc. Which is more important to society, a few more weeks/months of life (without pain) for some old gent OR resourses for people who really need them?

Both,… is a great answer. Get real! We’re not living in the perfect society so many on the left love to imagine, and work for. Why not universal palliative care so almost no one suffers as they certainly did before palliative care became available? (Imitation of Christ?)

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Rikardo, doctor-assisted suicide is not the same thing as euthanasia. 

Universal palliative care already exists, and it is inadequate in my view.  It's not as effective or as rosy as you describe.  It is not "without pain". 

I'm sorry that you don't want to have choices, but that doesn't trump the right of the rest of us to choose.

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit wrote:
Euthanasia is not currently up for debate.

Very true, and for that reason I was alarmed to hear the media go to Robert Latimer for a comment on this the day after the Supreme Court ruling.

And this 'imitation of christ" nonsense begs the question of whether people actually want to go back to a natural lifespan and natural suffering like we had before the advent of modern medicine, or whether they just want to balk at the responsibility of a conscious decision. I haven't read of any religious organizations lobbying against dentistry on those grounds.

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

No.  But this morning I read about a lawmaker in Idaho who is opposing legislation that would include parents who refuse to have their ill children treated with anything other than prayer as child abuse.  Because Jebus.  Apparently treating a case of food poisoning is against God's will.  (Actual cases from a religious sect in Idaho.  Unbelievable.)

You want to "imitate Christ"?  Go for it.  It's your body, your life.  It's unacceptable to impose that daft notion on anyone else.

takeitslowly

Rikardo wrote:
I don’t want to be in the position to have to choose costly palliative care over doctor-assisted suicide (low-cost, thus responsible and “dignified”). Euthanasia (doctor applied poison) will free up money for child-care, etc. Which is more important to society, a few more weeks/months of life (without pain) for some old gent OR resourses for people who really need them? Both,… is a great answer. Get real! We’re not living in the perfect society so many on the left love to imagine, and work for. Why not universal palliative care so almost no one suffers as they certainly did before palliative care became available? (Imitation of Christ?)

 

what makes you think that a universal palliative care will ensure no one suffers?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

One could certainly adapt "Don't like abortion?  Don't have one." to physician-assisted suicide.  As I pointed out upthread, one is free to choose palliative care until "natural" death.  No one wants to make physician-assisted suicide mandatory.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

Pardon the satire, but I'm with alan smithee on this one.

I'm not.

That is to say I agree with both of you about the supreme court ruling being a good thing. And absolutely on the idea that those who want to choose assisted end of life should be able to do so without a bunch of roadblocks.

Not so much about the chip on the shoulder and the attempt to spin this as black and white, and those who have concerns as being the equivalent of anti-abortion choice. Seems to me there might be a less confrontational way of making this happen.

Like I said a few times, I don't agree with the spin some disabled activists are putting on this, but I have heard, first hand,  the experience of a couple of people about the difference in care they can receive - being told "you've had a good run, maybe you have had enough". I have also seen an elder robbed blind and made to believe she was the imposition and not in her right mind. 

So yes I strongly support a person's right to choose end of life, but I also see that those who are concerned about vulnerable people being abused have a point. And if we want to have something that really works and has broad support I think it is worth the time to balance those needs and concerns, rather than just grandstanding.

 

 

Unionist

Sorry folks, but what a bizarre conversation for progressive people to have. Just substitute "abortion" for assisted suicide, and see how offensive this becomes.

"We should be fighting child poverty, facilitating adoption services, etc. etc. rather than just making it easier to avoid the issue and save money by aborting foetuses that never had a chance to live."

"Doctors, social workers, nurses, etc. will be talking vulnerable young women into aborting - after all, precious resources can be used in other ways, like healing kids' diseases, than the expensive process of bring unwanted pregnancies to term, child-rearing after, and all the suffering involved."

"What about the foetus's right to choose life? Anyone care about that??"

Pardon the satire, but I'm with alan smithee on this one.

And while we're at it, shouldn't we re-criminalize suicide? Just because someone may be fit enough to end their own life without assistance, shouldn't we be looking for ways to help them live???????????

Thankfully, the Supreme Court saw through all this crap. So did all parties in the Québec National Assembly - they allowed a free vote, which passed 94-22. Hopefully compassion will strike the rest of the country too.

Especially those hypocrites who only demand more resources for palliative care when the topic of assisted suicide is raised.

Unionist

The work is all done, Smith. Québec has a law, since last year. It's available on the internet (until Bill C-51 is passed, at any rate). Harper doesn't need to spend 2 seconds, let alone one year, obsessing over how to undermine human rights and the Supreme Court.

6079_Smith_W

Sure. And it is a good thing. But that law also has pretty clear conditions under which a person may take advantage of those services. Even Quebec realizes it is not as simple as "keep your hands off my body".

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Sure. And it is a good thing. But that law also has pretty clear conditions under which a person may take advantage of those services. Even Quebec realizes it is not as simple as "keep your hands off my body".

Yes, so did the Supreme Court put very strict conditions. We all get that. What straw man are you fighting here? Has someone said that anyone should be able to administer lethal injections to anyone anytime, with "consent"? Haven't heard that.

This is about assisted suicide. If someone simply wants to commit unassisted suicide, are you aware they have been allowed to do that, without fear of criminal prosecution (if for example they try and fail), since 1969? Pierre Elliott Trudeau? Or do you think we should revisit that open-ended right to die and balance some concerns?

 

6079_Smith_W

If you read my post you'll see I told them where they can find the rope. My point, as I just said again, is that it is not as simple as " keep your hands off my body". 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I don't think anyone is objecting to putting safeguards in place, Smith.  Switzerland has a process that one has to go through before a physician-assisted suicide can take place, as does the Netherlands.  I think we're getting more of a reaction to Rikardo's position, which is that allowing PAS will equal euthanasia and should not be one of the options available to people at the end of life.

6079_Smith_W

Yes, thanks. That policy, like the one adopted by Quebec  is exactly what I consider a reasonable position. The notion that any sort of concern or oversight would be the thin edge of the wedge - something that was raised upthread - is what I am objecting to.

I figured my "over the counter" analogy made that clear.

 

 

Unionist

This was legally very predictable - but it's still shocking:

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-end-of-life-care-1.3345572... end-of-life law contradicts Criminal Code and can't take effect, court says[/url]

Quote:

A Quebec Superior Court justice has ruled a provincial law allowing some terminally ill patients to end their lives with medical help cannot take effect on Dec. 10, as planned. 

Justice Michel Pinsonnault said key articles in the new law contradict provisions of Canada's Criminal Code on medically assisted suicide – provisions that are still the law of the land until February 2016. [...]

It was the federal attorney general, who was an interlocutor on the case, who raised the question of whether federal law must take precedence over provincial law until the necessary Criminal Code amendments are made.

"The doctrine of federal preponderance applies in this case and continues to apply until the incompatibility with sections 14 and 241b) of the Criminal Code disappears," Pinsonnault wrote.

Article 14 states that "no person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted on him" and Section 241b) forbids anyone from counselling, aiding or abetting someone to commit suicide.

Pinsonnault issued a revised ruling Tuesday afternoon after several reports that the injunction had been granted making it clear that while the court found that the Quebec law must be put on hold, it was because of its incompatibility with federal law and not because the court had approved the request for an injunction.

Within an hour of Pinsonnault's ruling Tuesday, the Quebec government announced it would appeal the decision.

Speaking to reporters at Quebec's National Assembly, Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée and Health Minister Gaétan Barrette couldn't say for sure whether Quebec's end-of-life law would come into effect Dec. 10 as planned.

It's unfortunate that the Trudeau government decided to intervene in this matter - even though Trudeau has supported the Québec legislation, which was approved by all four parties in the National Assembly - and even though the Supreme Court has said the Criminal Code provisions are unconstitutional.

Parliament had better move fast to amend the Code - and particularly not request an extension of time from the Supreme Court. As it stands, the suffering of terminally ill persons in Québec - and throughout Canada - is now on their heads.

Slumberjack

Whether Trudeau supports it or not, didn't the existing federal law compel the intrusion?  On what basis could the government not have intervened?  Wilful ignorance of a law they're legally supposed to uphold?  Which other ones could we ask them to ignore?  The legal 'what if's' for many departments in the event that an actual assisted suicide was successfully challenged after the fact, as it very likely would be in light of the federal law, is probably the motivating factor here.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Whether Trudeau supports it or not, didn't the existing federal law compel the intrusion? 

No.

Quote:
On what basis could the government not have intervened?

On the basis that the law offends against the Charter - and that people's constitutional right (as upheld by the Supreme Court) to avoid unbearable suffering in the context of a terminal disease should not have to await lazy federal legislators, when Québec has already worked on this issue for six years and is ready to go.

Quote:
Wilful ignorance of a law they're legally supposed to uphold?

Absolutely not. Where do you read that every violation of the Criminal Code has to be prosecuted? And the job of prosecution is up to the provinces, not the federal government. Québec (and the feds) ignored Morgentaler's illegal abortions for 10 years, when it was clear that no Québec jury would convict him. And that was BEFORE the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional.

Quote:
Which other ones could we ask them to ignore?

For starters, any law which has been ruled as unconstitutional. Like, the Bedford decision, during the year it took to draft new legislation. Was anyone charged with living off the avails, running a brothel, etc.? I think the justice system simply ignored all that.

Quote:
The legal 'what if's' for many departments in the event that an actual assisted suicide was successfully challenged after the fact, as it very likely would be in light of the federal law, is probably the motivating factor here.

How could an "actual assisted suicide" be successfully challenged after the fact? Who would challenge it - some crown counsel somewhere? And if they did, which court would find guilt, knowing that on appeal, the basis of conviction would necessarily still be held to be unconstitutional?

 

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