21
Mar
08

Should you have the right to die?

Chantal Sebire was a 52 year old Frenchwoman with an incurable facial tumour caused by cancer. She was blind, disfigured and suffering intense pain. She died on Wednesday, but she wanted to die before then.

She’d asked the French courts to allow doctors to help her to end her life. The courts refused. Was that the correct decision?


151 Responses to “Should you have the right to die?”


  1. 1 Sue
    March 21, 2008 at 13:39

    It’s my belief that we should most certainly be able to choose our time to die. I believe we all die at precisely the correct time anyway. What makes people think we were all meant to live long, healthy lives? And why should anyone be forced to suffer in a body that is so painful that quality of life is miserable? Most people who say everyone must live through anything have never really suffered severe physical pain. After awhile, it actually affects the way you think and your perception of things changes. Also, watching a loved one suffer, when death is only a week or so away, is the most agonizing thing imaginable. Why put someone through that? Of course there will always be those that insist only God can make that decision. They have the right to believe that, but so too, do I have the right to believe what I choose and I don’t choose to believe that way. Physician assisted suicide is humane in my opinion. We afford more consideration and respect to our dying animals when we have them euthanized, than we seem to care about the ultimate comfort of humans.

  2. March 21, 2008 at 13:45

    yes, I think in circumstances such as this where the person is suffering from intense pain which can not be treated with current medical technology should be allowed to take their life. Disfigurement and blindness should not be reasons for allowing a person to die.

  3. 3 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 13:52

    I don’t think there should be physician assisted suicide, but I think that physicians should be able to provide lethal doses of drugs for patients to take themselves. The role of a doctor is a healer, if they get into the business of euthanasia, then you have the issue of involuntary euthanasia coming up, like what the Nazis did, and there have been some cases of involuntary euthansia in the US and in europe recently. Doctors are here to heal, not to kill. If anyone who were physically able to kill themselves, they should be able to do so but in a non traumatic way for others. If you kill youserlf in your apartment, and the only reason people find out was that a month later your rent hasn’t paid and then landlord comes knocking, you’ve wronged the landlord and the medical examiner’s office people that have to come clean up the disgusting mess. If you decide to Budd Dwyer yourself, you traumatize not only everyone in the room, but also everyone that was watching on TV. I’m presuming this french woman died from suicide, so obviously she didn’t need a doctor’s help to do that.

  4. 4 Josh
    March 21, 2008 at 13:53

    Hi, this is Josh from Portland.

    I live in Oregon and it has been legal for doctors to assist in suicide for 10 years http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas/. Before this though, In the 80’s my grandma and a group of doctors began performing physician assisted suicide. This was well before Kevorkian; and it was still illegal. I deeply respect her for fulfilling the Hippocratic Oath. There is no contradiction.

  5. 5 Justin from Iowa
    March 21, 2008 at 14:04

    I agree wtih Sue, especially emphasizing the point that to many people it is a religious objection. For places where freedom of religion is held sacred, that shouldn’t be a valid basis for contending against the right to die.

  6. 6 Laur
    March 21, 2008 at 14:05

    Hi Ros,

    I really don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to decide if we want to gracefully leave the scene. There should be, of course, safeguards in place – like, for instance a committee of medics that would analyse the case and decide if we are of sane mind (at least) and can justifiably ask for euthanasia. We already have committees for things like prioritizing organ transplants, so that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
    I would like to refer you to the Canadian movie “Les invasions barbares”, in which a patient diagnosed with incurable cancer chooses to end his life among friends (by means of a heroine overdose), as opposed to alone and in pain, in a hospital bed.

    The issue becomes really thorny when we’re talking about people who can no longer take this decision – such was the case with the highly publicized Terry Schiavo case. I would personally refrain to comment on that, as I have neither the medical knowledge, nor the inclination to do so.

    Cheers,
    Laur (from Netherlands)

  7. March 21, 2008 at 14:06

    To commit euthanasia, or in other words, making your own decision to end your own life, has been a difficult topic in the Netherlands for years. Same goes for abortion but that’s another issue.
    —————————————————-
    In my opinion a person should have the right to end her or his life without needing any permission given by a court of law. But that doesn’t mean that it should be permitted for everyone. Some guide lines has to be drawn. Shown in the above case The 52 year old lady had a terrible decease and was in tremendous pain. If a person is in such pain and can’t be cured then I totally agree that she needs to have the decision to end her life with help from medical personal.
    —————————————————–
    It is always difficult to set borders and demands on who is allowed to end their own life and who isn’t. Especially in cases of coma patients. How many years should some one lie in a coma before life support will be shut down.

    In these kind of cases every one should have something written down in their will about their last wishes when something like a coma will occur. And permission must be given by medical personal other then by national courts.
    ——————————————————
    Live and let die….

  8. 8 Gretchen Eldrich
    March 21, 2008 at 14:09

    With out physical selves as perhaps the last remaining thing we can say we truly own, I support the right to choose to die in the manner and time of one’s own choosing if faced with a long and painful death scenario.

    I understand some of the arguments against it, that the State has an interest in prolonging the wellbeing of the citizens, but I think in the name of religion or as a spinoff of the abortion logic or something equally inappropriate for government involvement, this wellbeing interest has become distorted into an imperative to force the prolongation of life at any cost. Who knows, to be able to collect taxes longer or something.

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I support the liberty to self-determine your life status when life is no longer tolerable.

    I do support the efforts to control if such an option was used for people who just were having a bad day. I can certainly see a societal need to discourage random suicide.

  9. 9 Julie
    March 21, 2008 at 14:17

    Hello,

    Funny that you mention the concept of having the right to die. Here in Oregon there have been laws passed to support euthanasia, allowing physicians to prescribe fatal medicine to terminally ill patients. To some degree, we all have the ability to choose our time to die in the choices we make on a daily basis – to eat healthy, to exercise, to leave the house. At the same time, where there is a situation that is seemingly out of our control (a terminal disease, or the concept of living in pain or assisted by machine), we should have a method of being able to end our lives on our terms. I agree with Sue with respect to our ability to put a suffering animal our of its misery, why shouldn’t we?

    Thank you

  10. 10 Julien
    March 21, 2008 at 14:25

    Just like someone has the right to live, I also think he/she does have the right to die. If someone prefers not to continue his/her life, what can give the right to someone else to force him/her to continue living? If life does not give joy (which obviously was the case for the poor french woman), what can give the right to someone else to drag on his/her suffering?

  11. 11 Peter Gizzi
    March 21, 2008 at 14:31

    Hello There,
    I’ve read the contributions made so far and agree with most.

    7 years ago my mother broke her arm. She had senile dementure and was in a care home. The 2 ends of the bone were completely separated so an operation was required. At 83 she was rather frail. The operation was a success but she had a chest infection. Clearing her chest required the insertion of 2 large hypodermic needles to drain her lungs. I had seen this done on someone much younger who died anyway. I asked them not to do this and not to resusitate her if she had cardiac failure as I could not explain to her why she would be made to suffer so much. She died peacefully a few days later with my sister and myself hokding her hands. I felt she died with dignity.

    My sister has power of attorney over my affairs as and when it is required. Should the situation require I would like her to let me die, or assist my death when the time comes.

    Horizon (my favourite TV programme) recently put forward the use of nitrogen instead of lethal injection when used for the death penalty. Could this not be used for assisted suicide as well.? It seemed painless and peaceful.

    Finally I have bequested my whole body to medical science to be used as required. I will not need it! I think it is wonderful how the living can now be helped by the dead. I speak as an atheist. There might be life after death but it will not require a body.

  12. March 21, 2008 at 14:37

    euthanasia is a pragmatic solution for those in intense pain.
    we have been discussing with my college mates about it for a long time, and over the past five months, we only realised that our religious beliefs were the only impediment to helping the suffering and absolutely sick.

    Human rights evolve in the due course of time, and as such, the right to die should be entrenched in the human rights bill.
    It is absurd to romanticise a painfull life and assume that such a life is worth living the world must have the caurage to make decisions that are difficult in the face of religious and culturally charged space.
    kerich kipsang from Bomet Kenya

  13. March 21, 2008 at 14:41

    Life is sacred. Everybody should have the right to a happy life. But life shouldn’t become a slow death for those who are interminably ill. They have the right to terminate it if their case is interminably hopeless. There were cases of doctors who unregrettably used euthanasia in defiance of the law to help their patients die as it was the case in Germany.

    Some choose to die because of feeling useless, as it happens in Japan where there are about 30,000 suicides, especially among the elderly who feel they are just a burden on society. Others choose to die because they feel they have seen what they should and the remaining of their life will be just a series of successive days without any difference.

    There are those who choose to die for a cause, but not without killing as many people as possible as it is the case of suicide bombers. For them suicide is a journey into an eternal life of bliss.

    People don’t choose to be born. But they have the right to choose how live and die as long as their lives and deaths aren’t a danger to the others. Keeping an incurable person alive just to uphold a principle is cruel in itself. What is wrong with euthanasia is when it is used by unscrupulous doctors and relatives to benefit from the death of a person because of their wealth or the cost of keeping them in medical care.

  14. 14 margaret taeko boyer
    March 21, 2008 at 14:47

    I come from a Buddhism background in Japan where re-incarnation isn’t a far-fetched anti-religious concept.
    It would be ideal, if I die in my sleep as many of my older relatives did in their 90s and 100s. Most of them practiced yoga-like exercises daily, especially early in the morning. They were seldom ill. So, in my childhood, each death was treated as ‘great passing’– a time of celebration and we used to place some traveling kits to keep him or her company on their journey to the spiritual realm.
    Now, at age 75, I am free to think about my own death-date and have discussed the prospect of it with several young medical doctors in Kenya and Uganda. As friends they don’t want to see me die, but they also see the need of self-selected deathdates not only for the elderly but mostly for the hundreds of diseased, impoverished people around them daily. Aids has no cure at the moment and medication and nutritional treatments are very expensive for their families and society. There are a large number of abandoned Aids victims around my lodge. They are lying directly on dirt with flies and mosquitoes on their decaying bodies. They ask me for mercy, but all I can do is tell them to go to sleep. Let go, I yell into their ears Yes. I am realistic.I have been in Kenya and Uganda for almost 10yrs and lived with many suffering locals. I have also nursed my husband who suffered from terminal cancer. I hope that some of you mature listeners can sense that It is a matter of human dignity that I am concerned about

  15. 15 ZK
    March 21, 2008 at 14:48

    Very co-incidental timing. I also posted something on a WHYS first thing blog post about Jack Kevorkian wanting to run for Congress.

    I think, personally, that people should have ultimate control over their lives — but not their deaths. Death is a natural thing that comes when it does, in my opinion. Euthanasia is nothing better than suicide.

  16. 16 mohammed ali
    March 21, 2008 at 14:50

    It is my firm beleive that if a person is undergoing severe pain with a disfigured body, the person should be given the opportunity to choose whether to die or not. It is an injustice to deny a person of his right to choose between life and death. What makes it more painful is that courts will allow the to suffer outragious and severe pain.

  17. March 21, 2008 at 14:50

    I am cheered to see so much humane support for euthanasea in these pages. There are some quallifications I would like to outline:
    The decision to bring one’s life to a close should be entirely autonomous and not influenced by families who just want this outcome sooner rather than later.

    (I would urge anyone who considers this solution in a state of depression to HOLD IT! as things will usually improve and suicide is irreversible. )

    But we are considering a physician-assisted, legal step. I feel that a month’s notice should be given by the patient in writing, if this is physicially possible, thus allowing time to reflect. A doctor should make every effort to establish that the patient is not under pressure. Two independent doctors should sign a euthanasea certificate in advance. In the case of coma it is important to establish if there is any redeemable brain function that might be reactivated in time.

    In a clearcut case of ending pain and a quality of life so reduced as to be burdensome and without hope of improvement, euthanasea should be legally accessible. One shouldn’t put a compassionate doctor in legal peril. One wouldn’t let it happen to a dog, so why a human? We deserve more control over our death. A living will is as near to a solution as possible under present circumstances.

  18. 18 Rosalie - Portland, Oregon USA
    March 21, 2008 at 14:51

    Abosolutely! This is my life, and I should be able to choose whether I want to continue living it or not regardless of the reason. I know that sometimes people have illnesses such as depression that place people in a state of mind causing a desire to attempt suicide.

    Specialist are quick to point out that this state of mind can be temporary and once one goes through therapy and medication they may learn to enjoy life once again. Therefor suicide is not the answer. I dissagree! Perhaps people don’t know the pain and suffering that comes from severe depression. This is not a quality life. Many just want it to stop, and I feel one should have the right to end pain and suffering.

    I have serious depression. My life has been up and down. Some years, months or even days I can feel depression free and I may exprience happiness or some form of life fullfillment…HOWEVER, during my 32 years of life, my chemical imbalance has resulted in depression always coming back and knocking me to the bottom of life. I don’t live my life dwelling on the fact that sooner or later I will be so depressed that life seems hopeless. BUT I’m also not in denial about it. During that time of depression I agonize over the fact that for the rest of my life this is how it will be.

    In addition I live in a society that advertises the results of depression, displaying knoweldge of the personal harm and devistation this condition causes yet provides no State/Federal aid with those suffering from Depression. I have gone from a high paying job, a nice, home, great credit, ect. And than suffer from depression and not be able to go to work, loose my job, loose my spouse, loose my relationships, loose car, get evicted, ruin my credit, and than see a commercial about how life debilitating depression can be, than go to seek assistance and find that the only way one can get some assistance is when it is too late. Someone has to basically be homeless to have assistance.

    I made it through my worst episode of depression. I’m scared from that experience. My credit is ruined. I have an eviction on my record. And it’s nearly impossible to find someone to a person who admitts they have depression. What am I supposed to say, sometimes I will be so depressed I will cry at work. Sometimes I will be so depressed I wont come to work.

    I support those dying, those suffering, those in pain, or anyone else who wants to end their life in doing so. To get to that point you truly have to be at a point where your life is so unbearable you don’t want to go on. And why should someone be forced to go through that?

  19. March 21, 2008 at 14:51

    You know these City Toilets? If there were “Evaporation Booths” built on the same lines, $1 to check in but you don’t check out, all cleaned up after you, there would be queues.

    Malc Dow
    Berlin

  20. 20 Lubna
    March 21, 2008 at 14:53

    My Precious Ros. Life is the most sacred gift from Allah (God) to His creatures. As He is the only one who’s able to give it, then He should be the only one who takes it away. The right to live is the most sacred right, and preservation of life is the most sacred task. And as for the ‘moral authority’ topic, let me talk about my country, Iraq : I do believe that (and I guess many Iraqis would agree with me on this point) His Holiness Sayed Ali Al Sistani is the highest moral authority in Iraq. He’s the voice of reason and moderation in the middle of a sea of madness. I do have an ultimate trust and faith in him. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  21. 21 John in Salem
    March 21, 2008 at 15:15

    As others have pointed out, in Oregon we settled the question of physician-assisted suicide a long time ago. None of the arguments against it proved to be valid, none of the abuses and horror stories that were predicted came true, and the vast majority of the people who request a lethal prescription wind up not using it. The doctors don’t administer the drugs and are not forced by the law to provide them if they don’t want to.
    All we did was legitimize something that has been common practice for as long as there have been doctors. Like abortion, it’s simply an unpleasant fact of life and keeping it illegal doesn’t make it go away.

  22. 22 Will Rhodes
    March 21, 2008 at 15:16

    This is a subject that I never really research, I do have a genuine fear of death so I don’t usually go digging into how to bring it forward.

    What I would say is I will read this topic more because the consensus seems to be heading in the way that people should have the right to call ones life to an end.

    I seriously would like to see the counter argument, though.

    I have seen both my parents die – my mother when I was a very young age – is that the cause of my fear, I don’t know, but I do know that for us who are left behind it is heartbreaking for the rest of your life.

  23. 23 Brett
    March 21, 2008 at 15:18

    A person should have the right to end their own life.

    This problem will be an increasing one with modern medicin advances allowing people to stay alive longer and longer when nature is urging against it.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  24. 24 Anthony
    March 21, 2008 at 15:23

    Yes. I think there should be a legal process that you need to go through, but once it is found that ones reason is valid, I think a Dr. should be able help people kill themselves, so that it can be done right.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  25. 25 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 15:33

    @ John in Salem:

    “All we did was legitimize something that has been common practice for as long as there have been doctors. Like abortion, it’s simply an unpleasant fact of life and keeping it illegal doesn’t make it go away.”

    So is pedophelia simply an unpleasant fact of life? Murder? Crime? Those have always been with humans since time has began, does that mean we must accept it? War?

  26. March 21, 2008 at 15:37

    Yes you should. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to HELP YOU! Just leave me the needle and the spoon, “and another girl to take my pain away.”
    thanks-

  27. 27 Justin from Iowa
    March 21, 2008 at 15:44

    The arguments against are primarily religious, I believe, entrenched in the respect for life and continued life no matter the cost to an individual. Also, people fear what allowing assisted suicide may qualify. One of the colder arguments for assisted suicide, is the drain on society to keep alive someone against their will, who is in pain and requiring constant medical care to stay alive. Someone might stretch that and try to use it to justify other “expedient” solutions to problems.

  28. 28 Fuchsia
    March 21, 2008 at 15:45

    Hi this is Fuchsia from the World Have Your Say team.

    I was talking earlier to a British GP called David – he’s been working as a doctor for over 20 years and is vehemently opposed to euthanasia. Unfortunately he is busy this evening and can’t join our debate, but he did email these comments to us:

    “1. Euthanasia? As a jobbing GP, don’t ever ask me to be involved, I’d rather hang up my stethoscope than hang my patient.

    “2. The patient’s right to die when they want to? What about my Hippocratic right as a doctor to ‘do no harm’?

    “3. The ‘right to die’ of the patient is a ‘right’ too far. No patient has the justification to make me, a clinician, commit murder.”

  29. 29 Peter Gizzi
    March 21, 2008 at 15:48

    It’s me again.

    I’ve read the most recent entries with grear interest. Some refer to religion. I ask is it right to impose religion on a baby to young to decide, then when that baby becomes an adult finds religion stops it choosing an assisted death? Surely that is a violation of human rights?

  30. 30 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 15:54

    One day the doctors, if allowed, will make the decision that other people need your organs more than you do, and will decide for you. This will be the sliperry slope.. If you want to off yourself, then go ahead, but doctors should NOT be in that business.

  31. 31 Marsha
    March 21, 2008 at 16:01

    I should have the right to end my life because it’s my life and I wasn’t given a choice about being born in the first place.

  32. 32 Anthony
    March 21, 2008 at 16:08

    -steve, at that point it wouldn’t be suicide since the Dr would be making the choice for you. That would be more like murder. That why a legal process would be needed.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  33. 33 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 16:23

    @ Anthony

    That’s what happens with a slippery slop.

    Read this article, the people arguing for euthanasia voluntarily also say that involuntary euthanasia is good too. Involuntary euthanasia is murder. If you were a soldier, and a comrade was seriously injured, and you knew he would be dead in a couple of minutes, if you shoot him in the head, you murdered him, even if it was to end his suffering. Similarly, if someone jumps off a skyscraper, and you’re sitting at the 20th floor and you shoot him as he’s falling down, you would be guilty of murder even though he was going to die anyways.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5056326.stm

    http://www.nrlc.org/news/2000/NRL06/england.html

    Given there’s an organ shortage, many people on waiting lists for organs, doctors will kill patients to get to the organs if we allow them to be in that business. Sure, maybe one person can save 10 lives, but it’s for that person to decide, not the doctor.

  34. March 21, 2008 at 16:34

    In the case of the 52 year old French woman who no doubt must have been in agony suffering painfully in the situation she was in, asked for her life to be ended. I think under the circumstances her request should have been granted. Had she been in Holland her wish to end her life would have been granted.To understand a litlle why it was that the French court turned her down was probably that the judges did not want to be troubled with several similar requests in the future.
    The best way around this problem, is to allow a person to die if he or she wishes, one one condition, that three doctors agreed that it was justified, so that no court has the power of turning it down.

  35. March 21, 2008 at 16:36

    The practical cost of putting and maintaining someone on life saving machines is huge.
    For economically challenged families, upon the dead of an individual who was on life saving machines, huge challenges followes.
    If one chooses Euthanasia as a way out of future Economic woes to their families, they should be allowed.

  36. 36 Trent West
    March 21, 2008 at 16:54

    Before talking about assisted suicide or the right to life I think the discussion should start with the question, “What is life?.” Is anyone or thing that breathes alive? What if that breathing is assisted by a machine am I still alive? How long is too long to live with assistance of machines?

    In my hubble opinion, life is equal to quality of life. If someone is in constant pain and there is no hope for recovery that person basically stops living. Living to me is about interacting with your environment, being aware of what is going on and being some how a participant to it. If you are lying in a room for five years, being fed through a tube, getting help with everything from going to the bathroom to turning your body you might still be breathing but I do not think you are still living.
    I think as long as you have all your mental faculties and with at least three independent doctors opinion you should have a right to terminate your life.

  37. 37 Anthony
    March 21, 2008 at 16:55

    -steve. That’s not similar at all. If there is someone who is dying of lung cancer and is living in pain, and you shoot him in the head (especially without any authorization), that’s one thing. I’m saying a patient gets a notarized document stating they want to die and why, someone representing them goes to court with a physician to get authorization, and then the Dr. set’s up and lets the person push the button. Huge difference. People are against this type of stuff until they see their family member crying and yelling in pain, incoherent, and peeing on themselves everyday, then their tunes change.

    -Anthony, LA, CA.

  38. 38 Andrew Stamford
    March 21, 2008 at 17:03

    Personally I think you should be able to check out when you wish to. If reasons of ill health are not good enough then what else is? For others to simply state that life is sacred and must be kept going regardless of what you are going through and your long term possibility of a decent life is unacceptable. To say that modern palliative care is available – and what life would it be to be strapped to a hospital bed and out of reality with high doses of morphine – is not enough. OK to say that you will end your life because your partner left you, things just seem a bit too much to handle or you cant find that book you wanted really should make you think that really these things aren’t near as bad as they seem. But in the end you have to right to tattoo yourself, mutilate yourself with plastic surgery, get drunk and any other number of things you want to do with your life, but deciding that your time should be over is not a valid reason. It is a very serious and deep issue and perhaps I am being light with my opinion, but when I have come face to face with a suicidal person in my work I switch to ethical, practical mode and do my best to offer them a better perspective on their life. Do my best to discourage them from proceeding with their desire to kill themselves. But I have to ask myself. Who am I to say to this person, well despite what crap you have in your life, you MUST not kill yourself. I can’t in all conscience say to clients, OK go ahead kill yourself. But I find myself thinking, well who am I to ultimately stop you from doing what you want to do if you see your life as utterly miserable and unbearable. I have known someone who pretty much died from grief after the loss of their life partner, so what kind of society says to people they supposedly care about, you have to stay here in this life and be miserable because I don’t believe that you should be able to end you life, my sensibilities cant be offended by your choices. You must stay alive at any cost and even if you have no further support from anyone after you leave my office, society says you cannot and must not, will not end your life. OK a lifestyle crisis is different to a terminal and painful illness. I know all too many people who have died from terminal illness recently and family members with excruciatingly painful chronic conditions and would I begrudge them their right to die with dignity when there is little hope for them. No. I have often felt this conflict between professional and personal ethics, but in the end what I feel about life, what I consider the right thing to do with my life ultimately should not be imposed on others in this area anymore than I have thew right to tell someone how to lead their life. This is a deeply personal choice and that aspect of it should be respected. If you are a right to life believer then I seriously doubt you have respect for life if you impose your code of ethics on others who are leading a miserable and unbearable life, especially if you are going to do little more than preach morals and offer little else in the way of support.

  39. 39 Sara, Chicago, IL
    March 21, 2008 at 17:04

    This issue has been debated for many years in the US. I think that everyone should have the right to end their own life if their demise is certain to be a long, painful ordeal. Most people cannot imagine the pain and agony that cancer-patients and others with incurable diseases deal with every day. I believe that anybody would choose to die if they had to try to live with this intense pain. How horrible would it be if you only wanted to die because you were in so much pain? I don’t blame euthanasia patients who choose to take their own lives after living with agonizing pain for years – the sweet release of death must be preferable to their arduous suffering.

  40. 40 Andrew via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:06

    Personally I think you should be able to check out when you wish to. If reasons of ill health are not good enough then what else is? For others to simply state that life is sacred and must be kept going regardless of what you are going through and your long term possibility of a decent life is unacceptable. To say that modern palliative care is available – and what life would it be to be strapped to a hospital bed and out of reality with high doses of morphine – is not enough. OK to say that you will end your life because your partner left you, things just seem a bit too much to handle or you cant find that book you wanted really should make you think that really these things aren’t near as bad as they seem. But in the end you have to right to tattoo yourself, mutilate yourself with plastic surgery, get drunk and any other number of things you want to do with your life, but deciding that your time should be over is not a valid reason. It is a very serious and deep issue and perhaps I am being light with my opinion, but when I have come face to face with a suicidal person in my work I switch to ethical, practical mode and do my best to offer them a better perspective on their life. Do my best to discourage them from proceeding with their desire to kill themselves. But I have to ask myself. Who am I to say to this person, well despite what crap you have in your life, you MUST not kill yourself. I can’t in all conscience say to clients, OK go ahead kill yourself. But I find myself thinking, well who am I to ultimately stop you from doing what you want to do if you see your life as utterly miserable and unbearable. I have known someone who pretty much died from grief after the loss of their life partner, so what kind of society says to people they supposedly care about, you have to stay here in this life and be miserable because I don’t believe that you should be able to end you life, my sensibilities cant be offended by your choices. You must stay alive at any cost and even if you have no further support from anyone after you leave my office, society says you cannot and must not, will not end your life. OK a lifestyle crisis is different to a terminal and painful illness. I know all too many people who have died from terminal illness recently and family members with excruciatingly painful chronic conditions and would I begrudge them their right to die with dignity when there is little hope for them. No. I have often felt this conflict between professional and personal ethics, but in the end what I feel about life, what I consider the right thing to do with my life ultimately should not be imposed on others in this area anymore than I have thew right to tell someone how to lead their life. This is a deeply personal choice and that aspect of it should be respected. If you are a right to life believer then I seriously doubt you have respect for life if you impose your code of ethics on others who are leading a miserable and unbearable life, especially if you are going to do little more than preach morals and offer little else in the way of support.

    Australia

  41. 41 Casandra in the USA
    March 21, 2008 at 17:08

    As long as I am sane I have the right to decide to end my suffering. How dare anyone believe I don’t have the right to end my own suffering. I encourage everyone to read about Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. The decision to end your own suffering is not an easy decision and once it has been made it should be respected.

  42. 42 Kim via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:09

    In Oregon, we do have the right to end our lives via assisted suicide. There are some requirements, such as multiple doctor’s opinions and a certain amount of time to live. I have watch my family members die in extreme pain from cancer – their pain was needless as they were not going to recover anyway. It was excruciating. I am in full support of assisted suicide. It’s nobody’s business but the person who’s life, and death is in question.

    Oregon

  43. March 21, 2008 at 17:11

    Regarding your program on the woman in France who wanted to have the right to die, as she was suffering:

    I live in the U.S. state of Oregon – which is the only state in the U.S. that has a “death with dignity act.” In the state of Oregon it is legal to commit suicide if you are suffering from a terminal illness. It is called “Physician Assisted Suicide.”

    If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and chose to end your own life, you can apply to take part in this law – you are given a psychological screening to make sure you are lucid enough to make this decision and that is your own decision. Then the doctor prescribes a lethal dose of medication to cause your death that you would take on your own, in your own home. The proviso is – you must be able to physically take the drug on your own with no assistance.

    The former US Attorney, John Ashcroft tried to challenge this law on a Federal level and it was upheld by the Supreme Court of the U.S.

    This is as it should be!

    Thanks!

    Michelle
    Beavercreek, OR

  44. 44 Mark North of England
    March 21, 2008 at 17:11

    I am a doctor disabled by 15 years pain. Pain makes me want to die somteimes. If my doctor had had to comply with a UK doctor assisted suicide law I would not be writing this; no doctor to go to the patients in an hours time; no daddy for my family when they call up the stairs like now; no husband to sleep beside my wife tonight.

    I have sympathy for poor Madame Sebire but killing her is only admiting medical failure and breaking important codes of protection for the rest of us. NOONE need die in pain with modern terminal care–why was she not getting it?

    A tiny handful of tiny countries permit doctor assisted killing. My Swiss wife’s family tell me of the abuses of it and the disgust by most people. The Dutch are emigrating to escape and a wave of revulsion has arisen against it. (There problem is they have terrible terminal care. ) Laws permitting it always fail the people. Cash and callous relatives are too powerful when the laws permit a little killing. The French judge was right to uphold the law. Its our protection.

    Care not killing is the answer however awful the problem. When the medics kill my pain I stop wanting them to kill me. If you want to kill yourself there is always a way, but dont put the rest at risk by weakening the law or pushing the medics. A Brunel university secret poll showed 0.16 % of UK doctors favoured euthanasia.

  45. 45 Sue via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:16

    It’s my belief that we should most certainly be able to choose our time to die. I believe we all die at precisely the correct time anyway. What makes people think we were all meant to live long, healthy lives? And why should anyone be forced to suffer in a body that is so painful that quality of life is miserable? Most people who say everyone must live through anything have never really suffered severe physical pain. After awhile, it actually affects the way you think and your perception of things changes. Also, watching a loved one suffer, when death is only a week or so away, is the most agonizing thing imaginable. Why put someone through that? Of course there will always be those that insist only God can make that decision. They have the right to believe that, but so too, do I have the right to believe what I choose and I don’t choose to believe that way. Physician assisted suicide is humane in my opinion. We afford more consideration and respect to our dying animals when we have them euthanized, than we seem to care about the ultimate comfort of humans.

    Casper,Wyoming, USA

  46. 46 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 17:17

    @ Anthony:

    “I’m saying a patient gets a notarized document stating they want to die and why, someone representing them goes to court with a physician to get authorization, and then the Dr. set’s up and lets the person push the button. Huge difference. People are against this type of stuff until they see their family member crying and yelling in pain, incoherent, and peeing on themselves everyday, then their tunes change.

    -Anthony, LA, CA.”

    Oh no, I completely agree with what you propose. That’s the doctor giving someone else the means to kill themselves, which is different than the doctor killing the person. The reason why Kevorkian went to jail (and I’ve met him and have his autograph, it’s sitting here with me at my desk at work) was that HE was the one who ended someone’s life. HE pressed the button. Even though his heart was in the right place, it’s still constituted 2nd degree murder. If people want to kill themselves, go ahead. Even get a doctor’s aid in getting lots of morphine or whatever. But if the doctor is the one that ends your life, that’s where I have a problem.

  47. 47 tina
    March 21, 2008 at 17:17

    why does a state/country have the right to prohibit a citizen from chosing a time to die, but retain this right for itself in police actions and death penalties?
    san francisco, ca, u.s.a.

  48. 48 Rob via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:18

    As you stated, we all have the right to live. That in itself implies that we have a right to die, too. What we may not morally do is to cause the death of another person by our actions. Cessation of treatment, not the denial of treatment, should be allowed because it leaves a person to the natural course of nature and God. We cannot stand and say that someone else is required to live. That is playing God just as much as euthanasia.

    Texas

  49. 49 Chuck Paugh
    March 21, 2008 at 17:20

    I live in the state of Oregon in the United States. We are the only state in America in which citizens have a right to physician assisted end to life. I cannot imagine living in a state that did not give me such an option should I be facing the final weeks of a terminal illness. I am irritated that the only arguments against physician assisted end to life are based in religion. Politicians forcing their own religious beliefs onto others who do not share their same religious beliefs is illegal in America, Britain, and much of the world, however we allow them to do it when it comes to death with dignity laws.

  50. 50 Francy via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:20

    Let’s not kid oursselves. We have the power to decide whether we live or not. People do end their own lives without anyone’s permission now.The questions is, if you are ready to be done with it, are you willing to do what it takes to take care of it, or are you going to pay attention to the ‘rules’ ?

    Francy
    Portland, OR

  51. 51 Gerritt via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:21

    I am glad you are bringing this up, but the issue is not just whether people in deep pain should have the right, but whether we all should.
    To put it better, WHY SHOULD WE NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to choose the manner and time of our own death? We try and control life in so many ways, and death is certainly a part of life…the last part. As for religious beliefs, those who believe God chooses the time of death, can continue to do so….they just don’t have the right to impose their values on me.

    Gerritt
    Tualatin, Oregon

  52. 52 Kim via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:22

    If your guest doesn’t want to have himself, or his family involved in assisted suicide, that’s fine – by why should he make that decision for other people?

    Kim
    Portland, OR

  53. 53 Kim via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:23

    In Oregon, we do have the right to end our lives via assisted suicide. There are some requirements, such as multiple doctor’s opinions and a certain amount of time to live. I have watch my family members die in extreme pain from cancer – their pain was needless as they were not going to recover anyway. It was excruciating. I am in full support of assisted suicide. It’s nobody’s business but the person who’s life, and death is in question.

    Kim
    Portland, OR

  54. 54 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 17:28

    Is the show no longer live on BBC world service? How can someone hear what a guest is saying if the show doesn’t start for 33 more minutes? referring to Kim’s comments.

  55. March 21, 2008 at 17:33

    Hi Steve,
    No, we are still on, but we have an extra hour right now due to summer time arriving in North America. Here’s Ros’s explanation:
    https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/the-times-they-are-a-changin/
    Best,
    Peter

  56. 56 Michelle via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:33

    Let’s not kid oursselves. We have the power to decide whether we live or not. People do end their own lives without anyone’s permission now.The questions is, if you are ready to be done with it, are you willing to do what it takes to take care of it, or are you going to pay attention to the ‘rules’?

    Beavercreek, Oregon

  57. 57 Michelle via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:36

    An idea for those who believe that God should select the time you die:

    In Oregon those who chose to end their own lives may feel that God led them to Oregon so that they could have access to this legal decision. Maybe that is that person’s path – God wants them to make the choice as their last life lesson?

    Michelle
    Beavercreek, OR

  58. 58 Sia via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:38

    Hello

    Just as we have a right to natural conception and life, we also have the right to natural death, when nature and God call. God gives us life, and He takes it away. I don’t think our time of death or way of death is our choice.

    cheers

    -sia,
    portland, Oregon, USA

  59. 59 Barbara via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:39

    Thank you for this forum. I live in Oregon, USA. Two years ago my 83 year old mother was dying a miserable and painful death–in Virginia, USA. She had two legs amputated and was facing having an arm amputated. All the physicians could do was “make her comfortable” as she pleaded to die.
    Last year my 12 year old dog was dying of cancer. The vet told me when she was at the point of intolerable pain. I had the vet come to my house, fed my dog her favorite chicken livers and vanilla ice cream, cuddled with her on the bed, and the vet gave her a sleeping medication and something to stop her heart. She died a comfortable death.
    Why could my mother not have such compassion?
    Barbara

  60. 60 Brenda via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:40

    Three points:

    1. Love your show!

    2. Re: people who are not in the “right frame of mind” to make the decision—psychologists can determine mental competence in order to assure that depression, psychosis, or other mental disorder is not influencing the desire to die—hence the phrase, “being of sound mind…”

    3. To reiterate a point already made—one side is saying, “I won’t impose my beliefs on you, please refrain from imposing your beliefs on me”, the other side is saying, “your beliefs are wrong, and all people should follow my way.” Regardless of subject under discussion, this is often the pattern: One side showing more tolerance and empathy, the other less so.

    Brenda
    Ohio

  61. 61 Amber via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:40

    Hello all,

    I recently lost my grandfather to Parkinson’s disease with severe dimensia. Last summer he made the decision to die. Living in Montana he was not able to be aided through assisted suicide and so he refused to eat. In the end he was not even able to drink fluids and died a slow and painful death. It was neither dignified nor peaceful. I wish that we could give people the dignity they deserve and allow them to die when they need and want to.

    Thank you much for this discussion,

    Amber
    Portland, OR

  62. 62 Matt K
    March 21, 2008 at 17:41

    As conscious human beings we choose every moment we are alive. This is the human condition. When we deny someone of their sincere wish to die we subject them to uncessary suffering and deny their independence. This is simply inhumane.

  63. 63 Kim via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:41

    How is forcing people to be in extreme pain protecting them?

    Kim
    Portland, OR

  64. 64 Count Iblis
    March 21, 2008 at 17:43

    Many people who are against Euthanasia on the grounds that it is a slippery slope (as Steve wrote here), do not have similar objections when human lives (of people who defintely do not want to die) are at risk. E.g. consider military interventions.

    In the opinion of the proponents of the Iraq war, we invaded Iraq to same the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. But of course, that came at the cost of innocent lives lost.

    So, I ask Steve and other opponents of Euthanasia how they reconcle their stand on military invasions where the lives of innocent people are put in the hands of soldiers whose first priority may be to defend themselves, take out certain targets etc., with their stand on Euthanasia where some ethical comitee would have to make the decision first before allowing a doctor to end the life of a patient.

    The doctor’s first responsibility is the well being of the patient. In case of terminally ill patients asking for euthanasia that could lead to the decision to let the patient die.

    A soldier manning a checkpoint has no choice but to shoot at a car approaching him if the car ignores stopping signs. This decision is not in the best interests of the persons in the car.

  65. 65 Teri via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:43

    There is one state in the USA that allows physician-assisted suicide — Oregon, where I live (Portland is my city). The law has been in place for a number of years, and although the federal government has tried, through threats of prosecution of doctors under federal drug laws, to make it impossible to use, that has not been successful. A person wishing to end their life must meet with two doctors and be certified as being lucid, and there is a waiting period before a prescription for an overdose of barbituates is given to the person. The individual must be able to take the pills by themselves, which protects the doctor from any potential criminal charge, but also may mean that some individuals end their lives before they might otherwise choose, simply to ensure that they are still capable of doing so.
    I think that this option ought to be available to anyone. Data shows that there is a significant proportion (perhaps 20%, I don’t recall exactly) of the people obtaining lethal prescriptions in Oregon who in fact choose not to use them — for them, it was apparently more important to have the option, and having some measure of control allowed them to live the rest of their days in greater serenity.
    Teri

  66. 66 Penny via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:44

    In Oregon, we have voted in the right to die. There are safeguards built in to address misuse of the law, including making sure the patient is of sound mind and that he/she is able to swallow in pill form the medications that will end his/her life. Anyone who can step outside of themselves and who has sat near a loved-one as they are suffering and in pain and nearing the end of life – would have to agree to their right to die.

    Penny

  67. 67 Justin from Iowa
    March 21, 2008 at 17:44

    Maybe its just me, but I am seeing a lot of messages double posted on the blog today. Are people sending the same comments in via e-mail then blogging them or messages just getting mixed up?

  68. 68 Jerry via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:45

    My 85.5 year old mother is currently at home, with hospice, and they help of family in her three year struggle with cancer–radiation therapy, simultaneous infusion chemotherapy, emergency hospitalizations, skilled nursing care, more chemotherapy, surgery, colonoscopy bag, side effects including hospitaliaton for pnuemonia.

    She has decided to live and to die, as best she can, with her eyes wide open. My father who is 89 is her primary care giver.

    Other aunts, grandparents, uncles and aunts have decided the same.

    Nonetheless, I absolutely believe in the right for a terminally ill patient, of sound mind, to have assistance in their final passage.

    Jerry
    Portland, Oregon

    P.S., Barack Obama is here in Oregon as we speak.

  69. 69 terry lynn
    March 21, 2008 at 17:47

    As a mental health nurse, I take care of suicidal patients every day. Many are held against their will due to being suicidal, and some are forced treatment. But the bottom line is, if they want to die bad enough, they will find a way. Those who are medically compromised but mentally competent want to have the same choice, but don’t want to die in such a traumatic manner. Who are we to decide what choice they make?

  70. 70 Katy via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:49

    my point is that i find it ironic and hypocritical when people rail against assisted suicide on moral grounds. no one seems to argue about going against god’s will, or going against the natural course of life, when it comes to *prolonging* life, which, in the way this is done countless hopeless cases in hospitals, could easily be seen as quite unnatural and quite contrary to the will of god.

    katy
    portland, or

  71. 71 Sherry
    March 21, 2008 at 17:50

    I have been in pain for over two years. I broke my back in two places and I have no quality of life. My day’s consist of bed, couch and T.V. and running to the bathroom sick. I take so much pain medication. No amount of pain medication could stop the pain.

    If this is’nt bad enough, I can not work and receive no help from the government. If it was not for my family I would be under a freeway somewhere.

    I would end my life if it was not for my family who would suffer my actions.

  72. 72 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 17:54

    @ Barbara:

    How do you know the dog had a comfortable death, and did the dog ask to be killed? That’s an example of involuntary euthanasia. One day that will be done to people because you can excuse it by saying “I ended his suffering, look how peaceful he looks now that he’s dead”. Would you want someone making that decision for you if you couldn’t communicate. I don’t think people should view their pets are property, but rather as family. I doubt you would have euthanized your child. My parents have pets, and when they are sick, my parents spend as much money on them as they would on me, and would treat them like they would treat me.

  73. 73 Dana in Cleveland
    March 21, 2008 at 17:54

    I’m a nurse on an oncology floor. I’ve seen good deaths — comfortable, with closure — and bad deaths that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Nobody should ever have the privilege of making these decisions ~for~ anybody else. Only the person involved can determine what’s right for them, what’s too much, what they are or are not willing to deal with in their lives. As a nurse, I emphasize my patients’ rights to accept or reject any treatment, medication or test. Over and over again I tell them they have the right to self-determination in their medical care.

    Until it comes time for their dying. Then I can’t help them. I can alleviate their pain, their nausea, their shortness of breath, many other symptoms — but at the final moment of their lives, I am forbidden by law to offer them a choice that would honor their right to self-determination. That’s just wrong.

    Self-determination for all people. It’s a simple concept.

    Thanks for raising the issue.

  74. 74 Rebecca in Oregon
    March 21, 2008 at 17:54

    I live in Portland OR and I have the right to assisted suiside in the right circumstances. I was allowed by citizen initiative to vote for this right. Why has this model not been tried in other places. It seems that all I have heard today has beed about court rulings. Where is the peoples voice in the EU represented?????????

  75. 75 melinda
    March 21, 2008 at 17:55

    My reply to this has always been the title of a Jane Fonda film: They shoot horses don’t they. We show more mercy to our four-legged family than we do to humans. Of course people should have the right to die at a given time, using a prescribed and sure methodology that a counselor and a physician have agreed upon. Sometimes euthanasia is nothing more than that of the suicide: attempting to find a final solution to a temporary problem. Those folks who are in extreme and intolerable mental anguish need help too but i don’t really know what i think about that. Thank you

  76. 76 Jessica via email
    March 21, 2008 at 17:57

    Life is precious and sacred. It should be protected and cherished.
    However, there is a difference between living and existing. The end of life doesn’t just occur when someone’s heart stops. Life could end when one looses motor skills, the ability to recognize family, or a slew of other criteria. This is for individuals to determine for themselves. To each his or her own. This issue seems to becoming one of faith/religion. Faith is not just a belief in G-d or a scripture of sorts. It is trusting that people will do what is right and appropriate for them. I can only hope that there are laws to honour that.

    Jessica
    Olmsted Township, Ohio

  77. 77 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 17:58

    Count Iblis:

    Your question would be off topic. This is a discussion about physicial conducted euthanasia vs right to die in general.

    If you look at WW2, and before, what hitler did with euthanasia, you will understand why people have those concerns. Don’t you remember that in Britain just a few months ago there was discussion of a presumption of organ donation, which means that you consent to being killed prematurely?? (remmeber, you cannot take vital organs from a dead person, you have to be still alive). So the involuntary euthanasia slippery slope has already begun. However if you want someone else to determine whether you continue living or not, feel free to allow it to continue.

  78. 78 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 18:00

    @Melinda

    Something about being shot in the head and being sent to a meat packing plant doesn’t sound very merciful to me.

  79. 79 Chris Sever
    March 21, 2008 at 18:07

    I agree with one of the last speakers that the program was extremely biased in favor of “right to die” proponents, but the most important problem of the show was the terrible misinformation about hospice care that was presented. It’s not true that hospice cannot treat pain effectively. They are experts at it. Some speakers said that starving or dying of thirst were horribly painful and inevitable if death is allowed to come naturally. That is not true. And hospice uses mouth and throat moistening liquids for people who are no longer eating or drinking. You need to have another show to readdress this issue and invite representatives of hospice care to come and speak about their services. What you permitted to be stated as fact was actually falsehood.
    FYI: my mother died peacefully 3 weeks ago after being in hospice care for 6 weeks.

  80. 80 Rob via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:08

    If You Ask Another To Help You Die You Are Really Asking Them To Kill You Because You Cannot End Your Life By Yourself. The Other Person Becomes The Instrument Of Your Death. That Is On Different Than Solicitation Of Murder And It Not Proper Or Legel Or Moral.

  81. 81 KATE DAVENPORT
    March 21, 2008 at 18:08

    I’m sorry I got sidetracked at the end and did noit get a chance to respond to one of the statements. In Oregon it is not one doctors sole discretion to make the decision. The terminal diagnosis and qualification for the law both mentally and emotionally must be confirmed by two doctors. The request must be verbal (more than once) and in writing, witnessed by people not related or involved medical providers.

    If either doctor feels that the patient needs psychological counselling then the must be referred.

    In Oregon, Death with Dignity is not a simple or quick. It is not meant to be. But having the option provides relief to some and comfort to many.

  82. 82 Jane via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:08

    The question is not what we want but what the patient wants. We have no idea what their pain is conscious or unconscious. I live in Oregon and thank God, those “who know best” don’t have the opportunity to “know best” for me in our state. The people of Oregon have voted for assisted suicide three times and we feel strongly about it. The arrogance associated with people who choose to make this decision for other people is mind boggling to me. The program in Oregon is very careful to make sure the patient making the end of life decision is lucid and understands exactly what they are doing. This is not suicide in the common explanation of the word. This is pure humanity. I would give anything if this option had been available to my Mother who died in Texas in horrible pain.

    Jane

  83. 83 Lauren via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:10

    I think everyone is missing a vital point. No one is saying that someone who is just depressed or in chronic pain should be able to have doctor assisted suicide. We are talking about people with a terminal disease. If someone is going to die in a few days or weeks or months after intense suffering, why can’t we allow them some control over the process? If they don’t want to die and want everything possible to be done, fine. If they don’t want to put themselves through that, fine. Why can’t we allow the person experiencing the suffering decide to end it?

    Lauren
    Canton, OH
    USA

  84. 84 Christine via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:10

    My parents were married for almost 60 years. The last year of my father’s life, we had to move him three different times. I will never forget the image of him as an old man, sitting in diapers confined to a wheelchair, crying, living among strangers. All he wanted to do was die. Life itself is a terminal illness but I could do nothing for him. It was hideous for all of us.

    Christine

  85. 85 Hayden via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:11

    The idea of a “right” to die is a red herring — all civil rights are man-made, matters of law and choice and social agreement. I think helping someone die is a matter of compassion. It’s not as if death is not waiting for the patient, fairly soon in most cases; refusing to help someone die is not saving his life, it’s just prolonging his suffering. We force human patients to endure agony and suffering that we would never impose on a cat or a dog. Why are we unable to be compassionate with our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers? In my opinion it is our own fear and inability to face the experience of losing the dying person, so essentially it’s our own selfishness that prevents us from making the choice to be kind. I’m a nurse and have administered lethal doses of narcotics to patients, so I know that another red herring is the idea of one dose of morphine being for pain control and another dose being for causing death. Family members cling to the idea of a strict dividing line because they are afraid. Why are we so afraid of death? The only way to avoid death is to not be born in the first place; it’s like wanting a coin with only one side.

  86. 86 Nancy via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:12

    I definitely, totally agree with those who feel it is an individual’s own right to choose a death with dignity. Unfortunately, we Americans will have to travel to other countries in order to do this.
    Nancy, California

  87. 87 Kalypso via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:12

    eutanasia should not be allowed anywhere in the world. doctors should preserve life and not take it. if someone is terminally ill or so, it should be tried to releave his pain and make the remaining time as “pleaseant” as possible.
    if you allow eutanasia, also: where do you draw the line. no, it must be banned. also as christians, we should not suppoort eutanasia.
    Kalypso -vienna, austria

  88. March 21, 2008 at 18:13

    PLEASE don’t mix up the concepts of “euthanasia” and “deciding to end your own life. I see this constantly on the internet and the BBC news items about this poor French woman keep doing this as well. If you want to end your own life, if you decide that life in the body you have, is unbearable, I feel you should be able to make that decision for whatever reason you wish. However, the idea of ending someone else’s life, of deciding someone else is not fit to live, is completely horrific to me. We have an ongoing case here in Canada, the case of Robert Latimer, who killed his severely disabled child Tracy several years ago and was just released on day parole, completely unrepentant. CONSTANTLY I hear people justifying his actions by saying “if I was in her shape I would want to die, too”, completely missing the point that his daughter Tracy did not make the decision for herself, and in fact had a life with school and friends and people left behind in her life who completely disagreed with her father’s actions. It’s horrific to see people mixing up the two concepts; deciding to end your own life, and deciding someone else’s life is not worth living.

  89. 89 KATE DAVENPORT
    March 21, 2008 at 18:15

    (revised, sorry bad typing)

    I’m sorry I got sidetracked at the end and did not get a chance to respond to one of the statements. In Oregon it is not one doctors sole discretion to make the decision. The terminal diagnosis and qualification for the law both mentally and emotionally must be confirmed by two doctors. The request must be verbal (more than once) and in writing, witnessed by people who atre not relatives or involved medical providers.

    If either doctor feels that the patient needs psychological counselling then the must be referred. (I am also told here that the Oregon Pshyciatric Association is actually neutral on Death with Dignity, not opposed)

    In Oregon, Death with Dignity is not a simple or quick. It is not meant to be. But having the option provides relief to some and comfort to many.

  90. 90 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 18:16

    Lauren, life is a terminal disease. We all are going to die. How can you then say that only “terminally ill” people should choose to die. Why exclude depressed people? Obviously life is so painful for them that they want to die. Why should we be in the business of picking and choosing who can choose their time to die if we’re going to allow this? After all, we’re all going to die one day.

  91. 91 Anthony
    March 21, 2008 at 18:18

    Leslie’s story was absolutly beautiful and brought me to tears. I wish I could have done the same for my grandfather, a WWII Airborne hero, stripped of his dignity.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  92. 92 Brett
    March 21, 2008 at 18:19

    Leslie,
    What an amazing story! I am so sorry to hear that you have been through so much family death, it amazes me how strong you were even in the face of your brothers death. And even to come onto world radio and discuss it!

    My Deepest Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  93. 93 Fuchsia
    March 21, 2008 at 18:21

    Texts are coming thick and fast as the discussion continues on air. Here are some of them. More to come!
    Fuchsia

    TEXTS
    Sulayman Dauda in Kaduna
    You have right to life but you have no right to die as you wish. That is the principle of nature…

    Anyii George, Kampala
    Whoever asks to be allowed to die does not value life. And he who helps another to die is guilty of planned murder.

    Yinka
    Did any man choose to be born? How can anyone then choose to die? The so called new world is spiritually perverted. There is a reason for everything.

    Gerry in Tasmania
    There is no doubt that in my mind euthanasia is totally legitimate. Those who deny such a right are locked in the Middle Ages with all its primitive mythology.

    Kevin in Trinidad by text
    It is easy to be in good health and criticise those individuals who want to end their suffering.

  94. March 21, 2008 at 18:22

    Remembert that God cares less for how you died and more on how you lived. Death is only a small fraction of our lives. Live well and your diety will be unconcerned about your end. Cherish the journey and not just the finish line.

  95. 95 Carolina
    March 21, 2008 at 18:24

    What about pain management? Pain medicines are highly regulated by the US government, to the point that doctors have to justify their use on their patients. If pain management was an option, would people still choose to die?

  96. 96 Prince via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:24

    RIGHT TO DIE IS NOT RIGHT TO EUTHANASIA

    ANYONE WHO WANTS TO DIE SHOULD BE PATIENT AND DEATH WILL COME; OR HE OR SHE MAY FACILITATE IT HIMSELF OR HERSELF AND NOT GET ANYONE INVOLVED WITH IT. THE ISSUE OF WANTING TO DIE AND ASKING FOR EUTHANASIA CAN BE HELPED BY DESTROYING SECULARISM AND NIHILISM, AND REVIVING THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL MEANING OF EXISTENCE, FAITH IN GOD AND IN LIVING.

    Prince
    Lagos, Nigeria

  97. March 21, 2008 at 18:28

    Incurably sick people who have to deal with unstoppable pain shouldn’t be forced to stay alive till they die naturally. It can be painful for their loved ones to see them die through euthanasia. But sometimes it takes a lot of courage to see a loved one die with dignity rather than continue lingering with abject and continuous pain.

  98. 98 Tracy
    March 21, 2008 at 18:30

    Sure, we do have a right to die, it is called SUICIDE. I do not understand why the need for the law to endorse it. In this case, in the case of the lady in france, if she really wanted to die, why did she need someone else to do it for her, when she could have easily taken some pills and died in her sleep????

  99. 99 steve
    March 21, 2008 at 18:30

    @Carolina

    I would bet my life savings that many cancer patients actually die from the pain medicines they take, and not the cancer itself. Those pain medications are pretty much the form of euthanasia that already exists other than the pulling the plug situations. If you take too much morphine, that will end your life.

  100. 100 Fuchsia
    March 21, 2008 at 18:30

    More texts that have come in since we’ve been on air:

    Ahmed Kote in Nigeria
    Suicide is forbidden in religious settings, either by oneself or assisted, but in a non religious setting it is the best way out of unecessary trauma.

    Daniel F Swaray in Liberia
    We should be given the chance to die if at a point in time life becomes unbearable due to incurable sickness or conditions.

    Charles in Freetown, Sierra Leone
    Why can’t these people just kill themselves and not involve some innocent doctor or judge in performing the sinful act for them.

  101. 101 Larry Moffett
    March 21, 2008 at 18:35

    A far more eloquent plea for life than I could hope to make is the following verse the poet Dylan Thomas addressed to his dying father:

    “Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

    Larry in Brussels

  102. 102 George USA
    March 21, 2008 at 18:38

    Do not be deceived.

    Right to die

    is only one word away from

    Responsibility to die.

    Hide and watch.

  103. 103 Fuchsia
    March 21, 2008 at 18:39

    More texts:

    Alexander Burke in Ontario, Canada
    Anyone of sound mind should be able to die whenever they see fit. Relatives and friends would lose a loved one, but it would be self-centred of them to use that love to try to stop them.

    Kingsley in Nigeria
    I wished I had the chance to die years back, due to pain. But I am glad I didn’t – today I am living life.

  104. 104 Rabin
    March 21, 2008 at 18:40

    well, we did’nt have right exist but we were prized with it. Since everything has a reason there must be a reason for it too, i hope. But i feel if someone is dying and there is a minimal probability of the chances of the cure, why should’nt they have the choice to end their life. If it’s a religious issue for someone; I mean as per every religion there exists reincarnation thus they are just making a better choice by ending their lives and setting themselves free from the pain temporarily in bigger picture, the bottomline is Freewill and they should be allowed.

  105. 105 Charles
    March 21, 2008 at 18:41

    This is obviously a very controversial issue, as it is closely connected to personal, cultural, ideological and religious opinions, customs and situations that may and do vary widely. In the case of the French woman, I have the utmost sympathy and understanding for her situation, though I, for myself share the belief of many that life is something you shouldn’t tamper with lightly. Though this is my conviction, it would be very, very hard for me to see my partner suffer and hear her beg me to let her end her life peacefully, if she didn’t have any further prospect of leading a dignified life for quite some time. It would be a heart-rending experience and I sincerely hope it will never occur. I think it is something that must tear anyone apart who is really involved in mankind and feels that life is special. (We remember the quotation from John Donne, which is at the beginning of For Whom the Bell Tolls: “No man is an island, intire of itselfe; every man is a part of the Continent, a piece of the Maine. If any man dies, Europe is the lesse, as well as a promontorie were, as well as a manor of thine own or of thy friends were. So, do not ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you.” (quoted from memory)

    My conclusion is that a sweeping general opinion cannot possibly do justice to every individual case and that we should consider each person and his or her situation in its uniqueness, and that – yes – in some circumstances it could be justified to help people die on their own explicit wish and given that there is no other solution, but that we shouldn’t do this as a ‘habit’. It cannot ever be something ‘normal’. I remember from my youth it was something the countryfolk did to animals…

  106. 106 Saleisha
    March 21, 2008 at 18:47

    I think everyone should know that Jesus didn’t want to die on purpose but he had sacrifice his life for us. Everyone should know that their lives are precious. Do they really know what’s out there for us after death?
    And I agree to what George from USA have said. It just show that they don’t have a strong faith in god. Poor victims in wars didn’t want to die. Surrendering your life to god is right way and that Having the right to die is not the way out. They have to look at a brighter side that those whom they missed who had passed away are resting in peace and that they are safe with god.

  107. 107 Carla via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:47

    Whose life is it anyway? to quote the title of a play I saw years ago starring Tom Conti.

    Here in Italy we have had two cases – the one that made international headlines was that of the poet Piergiorgio Welby, who in the end had an assisted death with sedatives. He asked to be released from the treatment which kept him alive but denied him life.
    Carla
    Italy

  108. 108 Chris B
    March 21, 2008 at 18:48

    Think it’s great that Allison changed her mind, but that doesnt change anything. I don’t want her or anyone else making that choice for me. If I am wrong about my choice… That is called FREEDOM!

    Chris B. Los Angeles.

  109. 109 Jennifer via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:48

    Does anyone have an obligation to continue to live? Regardless of the reason why someone wants to die, why force them to keep living if they genuinely wish to do otherwise? A religious arguments aside, why is this issue anything other than a personal one?

    Unwilling euthanasia is murder and there are already laws to address that. Introducing that issue into this simply clouds the issue.

  110. 110 Chris via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:48

    Why is that that cultures that allow capitol punishment wont allow assisted suicide? So the government can choose but we can’t?

    I truly hope those of you that are against this will never find yourself in the situation where you consider it.

    Chris B Los Angeles

  111. 111 Steve via email
    March 21, 2008 at 18:49

    Several years ago, my great Aunt was in a car accident. The hospital she went to after the accident committed an act of negligence, and caused multiple organ failure. She was put on life support. She had no living will leaving instructions, and at her sister’s funeral she had said “I’m next” in a very scared manner. At the hospital, I arrived with my parents, and immediately, the doctor said she we should take her off life support. My parents and I got into a heated debate, given that obviously she was scared of dying, and the hospital was at fault for her condition. The doctors were adamant about pulling the plug, which I’m sure was financial in nature, as if we agreed, they would not be responsible for her having died, they will say that we agreed to it, hence any lawsuit would have reduced damages. I voiced my opposition rather loudly. They told me that I had no right to voice such opinions, and I could tell that they didn’t want anyone overhearing me, so I started speaking more loudly basically shouting “so, if you the doctors at this hospital commit an error, do you normally recommend terminating the patient? If you made a mistake with other patients, causing multiple organ failure, will you recommend pulling the plug on them too?” They threatened to call security on me, as they didn’t want other patients and visitors hearing about their negligence and what happens when they try to cover themselves. I left. Eventually another relative decided to pull the plug against the objections laid out. She lived a couple days, then died. According to state law, one needs to court order to terminate life support. So crimes were committed that day.

    Steve
    USA

  112. March 21, 2008 at 18:51

    I had the misfortune to lose my cat and my husband at the same time. My cat had the better deat. My husband died in a hospice and it was a horrible.

    My cat had thelocal vet. I know which one I would chose.

  113. 113 stacie
    March 21, 2008 at 18:56

    in this day of rapidly developing technological and medical advances, to advocate for assisted suicide is to say that in the near future something will not be available cure what ails you…

    its a slippery slope. Who is qualified to really measure anyone else’s suffering? and if we know that pain impacts mental and psychological processes, how do we determine that the request for euthanasia comes from a mentally healthy place?

    so it starts with people with painfully incurable physical diseases, where does it go from there? what about depressed people? is their pain less because it is mental?

  114. 114 kate
    March 21, 2008 at 19:08

    One thing I rarely hear discussed, even here in Oregon, is the fact that the law allows someone who wishes to hasten their own death to have their friends and family with them, to discuss and explain their reasons and thinking, to give them a chance to have input. In other places, those who help,support, or simply don’t stop you are at legal risk. Or if you make this choice and you care about your family (you don’t want them to be in trouble with the law) the safest course is to do it alone without any prior discussion or indication of your intent. And you have to do it while you can still control your own circumstances, which may be way earlier than you would otherwise choose.

    Also, medical science can now extend life long past any concept of a “natural” death. Faced with a life threatening situation, I would like to be able to use the full resources of that medical science with the HOPE of some kind of normal life at the end of the process, and with the comfort of knowing that, if I push my physical body far past any kind of comfortable, normal death and still lose the gamble, I can cut the last stage short if I need to.

  115. 115 Aminu from Nigeria by text
    March 21, 2008 at 20:04

    This is another one coming out of the West. First it was gay rights – now the right to kill oneself. God knows what’s next.

  116. 116 Edwin in Singapore
    March 21, 2008 at 20:04

    My wife, a nurse, wants a living will and she wants me to pull the plug when the time comes. I told her if she pulls my plug I will return to haunt her.

  117. 117 makemeaspark
    March 21, 2008 at 20:07

    If you allow despair to take the life of one human being, we all are lessoned. I cannot help but believe that if this woman had a support network and people that valued her life and encouraged her about her intrinsic value and sought to help her control her pain better and even her clearly rampant depression, she would have passed gently and peacefully off this mortal coil.

    Suzanne

  118. March 21, 2008 at 20:16

    Let live and let die. Since we are taught to create our own mortality by following the format of that which killed those before us, what other recourse do we have but fight the system that wants to destroy and suffer us. Our will for freedom, creates our individuality and without that, there is no love for life. Life is precious, and so is the quality of our existance.

  119. 119 Gloria
    March 21, 2008 at 20:29

    People who are fatally ill should always have the choice to die. The only reason anyone should argue against that is strictly due to religious ideals which are not followed by everyone.

    It may be more controversial for people who wanted to die due to depression (e.g. after the death of a loved one). However, I think that if there is nothing that can be done to cease such discontent, the person should be allowed to die peacefully.

    A person who doesn’t want to live is unhappy, and unable to contribute to the community. There’s really no meaning in living that way.

    I think governments should stop making (or keeping) laws based on religious ideals.

  120. 120 Hayden
    March 21, 2008 at 20:33

    To Tracy and others who wonder why patients in pain can’t just commit suicide and not involve anyone else in their choice to die — you must not have any experience of being around people who are close to death — the majority of people who are close to death are unable to swallow pills or keep down anything they try to swallow. As a nurse, I have spent 30-45 min trying to help a patient get down one pill that I’ve ground up and mixed in ice cream or applesauce. It may be hard to believe but it’s true. It’s just not realistic to think people who are very ill will be able to swallow and keep down the 40-50 tablets necessary to constitute a large enough dose to be lethal. Like it or not, people need help — why choose the last days of their lives to abandon them?

  121. 121 kpelly hezekiah
    March 21, 2008 at 21:13

    This is an interesting question indeed. Well what I know is that we shall all die. In fact death is beyond our grips so to me there is nothing like a person deciding to die. However, we can wish we were dead. Anybody who kills himself deliberately is said to have committed suicide and not die. I support the judges decision not to grant patients they’re desire to be killed.

  122. 122 Hannah
    March 21, 2008 at 21:36

    I was interviewed as part of the programme having been told it was live, but friends who listened said they didn’t hear me? Confused!

    But as well as seeing my mother dying the most painful harrowing death despite being in a hsopice which proves that in some deaths the pain and sickness cannot be controlled, I feel strongly as a Christian that God gave each one of us free choice over our own lives. So no MP or Church leader should be able to be greater than God and take away that free choice. And I say that, as a Christian myself.

  123. 123 Tom D Ford
    March 21, 2008 at 21:45

    Now I’m really wondering about the history and sociology of the person and a right to die. I wonder what nomadic peoples thought or think about it. I wonder when the State first asserted control over when and how a person chose or didn’t choose to die; what did the Pharoahs do, what did the Romans and Greeks do, and how about the ancient Chinese, Mongols, the Sanskrit writing peoples of India. And the Central and South American natives? The Inuits and the North American native peoples? And the oldest civilization on earth, the Australian Aborigines?

    There must be some wisdom in all that historic knowledge that we could learn from.

  124. March 21, 2008 at 22:16

    Hi Hannah. I present WHYS and we spoke earlier on the show. You were live but there are two editions of WHYS. One broadcasts primarily to America, the other primarily to the rest of the world. I expect your friends were listening to the edition you werren’t in. Sorry for the confusion and thanks for taking part.

  125. March 21, 2008 at 22:28

    Should we…? Not should, but do we have the right to die? We have the right to be allowed to die; to allow death to come and take us when old age, illness, trauma or accident render the body unable to live. We have the right to have the plug pulled when the body can no longer live on its own. We have the right to allow Nature to follow its course.
    But suicide? I do not have the right to take what I did not give myself in the first place. I do not have the right to terminate my life BECAUSE MY LIFE DOES NOT BELONG TO ME. Life is a gift given me. It is now mine to have and to hold and to honor. It is mine to give. It is not mine to take. Therefore, it would not be moral nor ‘right’ to involve others in the taking of my life. Were I, due to extreme circumstances, ever choose to end my life, that choice must be mine and mine alone. I do not have the right to involve others FOR I DO NOT KNOW, nor do they, WHAT CONSEQUENCES THAT ACT MAY BRING.
    Medicine, science, technology have learned a great deal about matters physical and temporal. About death and life after death we have ideas, beliefs, convictions, dogmas, teachings, but NO FACTUAL VERIFIABLE KNOWLEDGE. Indeed, about this realm we ‘know’ nothing! So, whatever spiritual or moral consequences may accrue from suicide, must accrue to myself alone. I cannot involve others. And may God help me then!

  126. 126 George USA
    March 22, 2008 at 00:28

    Right vs responsibility to die?

    Keep physicians out of the people extermination business.

    We have agencies working on world population control.

    Keep doctors for helping people get well.

    You can trust a doctor who will not kill patients.

    You cannot trust a doctor who will kill patients.

    Fiscal restraints can push right to die into responsibility to die very easily.

    Remember- torture was unthinkable as policy 7 years ago: today it is policy.

    I want to live. So do you.

  127. 127 Xie_Ming
    March 22, 2008 at 00:29

    No one has addressed the situation that arises nearly every day in neurological intensive care:

    the patient wants to die, but can do nothing.

    he/she can communicate only by blinking an eye in response to questions.

    This is not theoretical, but something that arises daily.

    Think about it.

  128. 128 julie khan
    March 22, 2008 at 08:36

    In islam only god has the right to take life,when your time is up its up,although i sympathise with the person suffering,at the end of the day God is testing us all,some more than others,and if you belive deeply in your faith then you will resect that god is the allknowing ,allbearing,and decider of our fates.

  129. 129 Mark North of England
    March 22, 2008 at 10:35

    Astonishingly, Xie_Ming, most people who are paralysed and can only ‘speak’ by blinking still want to live. This has been shown by a number of studies where these people have been questioned as to what they want..

    What is a dignified death? As a doctor I have watched many die in the past 30 years. Its been good to see the growth in the UK of the hospice movement. Started by a nurse called Cicely Saunders in the 1970’s it has changed the way the world dies. She wanted us to die painfree and with excelent care of body ,soul and spirit. It works. In contrast the few places like Oregon that began assisted suicide have seen a marked worsening in terminal life pain control (US study).

  130. 130 Emile Barre
    March 22, 2008 at 11:02

    There can be no circumstances in which any State sanctions the death of individuals. The aim of a state-sanctioned health system is to save life not extinguish it. The amount of money spent on finding cures to most diseases is derisory on a global scale. If any individuals who are the victims of this financial neglect choose to end their lives and pass to the afterlife then that should be their choice alone. And if with the help of sympathisers they achieve their aim then so be it. That process is called suicide. Millions carry it out every year worldwide and nobody kicks up a stink. The concept of euthanasia is a sick concept. It is a product of the neglect I mentioned earlier. The poor woman who was the latest victim had to write to her President to request a relaxation in the law to allow her to commit suicide. The fact is that the people who commit suicide have help if they need it by all sorts of “unofficial”,”nod and wink” means within the heath system itself. This goes on and it never gets seriously investigated because to do so would lead to massive criminal investigations and the usual infantile shock-horror media coverage which is usually a way of covering things up as well as exposing them. I repeat the focus should be on saving lives not ending them.

  131. 131 Xie_Ming
    March 22, 2008 at 11:38

    References to two studies that show “blink-only” patients have expressed the will to live would be appreciated.

    I would surmise that such a response might occur if the patient were given hope of recovery. Here we seek fact, rather than religiously-oriented views.

    Any form of successful psychological intervention is desirable and will also have measurable immunological benefit.

    The assertion that assisted suicide is related to worsened terminal life pain control is illogical on its face.

  132. 132 Mark North of England
    March 22, 2008 at 12:29

    When Cicely Saunders died she had given her life to better care of the dying. Palliative care has become a worldwide speciality. Even Holland, the worst site of unrestricted euthanasia-where 1000 a year are killed without their consent, now has a professor of palliative care at last. So what drove Cicely Saunders? It was her early experience of a patient who died in awful pain. But her real power came from her meeting wityh another man who died in awful pain.

    That man was Christ; he energised her whole life. This is Easter and we remember Christ dying painfully and sharing the pain of the human race. Tomorrow Easter Day, we can repeat the words of the angel at the empty tomb where Christ had been buried, “He is not here, he is risen.” Mary, who heard these words from the angel then met Jesus beside the tomb, believed, and ran to tell the eleven friends of Jesus. The rest is history and for 2000 years christians have worked to care rather than kill, and often shared this conviction with atheists and other faiths.

  133. 133 bjay
    March 22, 2008 at 13:59

    Should you have the right to die?

    NO1!

    Only have the rights to be hungry.

    NO – EASY – WAY OUT !!!

    The concept of right to die(philosophical/ideology) is unacceptable for the mankind psychy !!!

    Tough luck!!!

    bjay connotation with accent.

  134. 134 Arshad
    March 22, 2008 at 14:42

    I think it is’t a good thing to do. Our death is not in our hands. So it is better to lead the life he or she has until the time comes. Ending the life beforehand appears like a form of suicide. An individual who is in a bad state who wishes to end his life should think of his family members and friends. He or she should think the best of himself/herself rather than thinking of his/her problem. Some won’t like a painful death. If this was the case look in the bright side of life. Do all the good you have before the real death. Cancer and paralysis may have turnedsome people upside down but there is more time to look towards positive side.

  135. 135 Dedi Ramba
    March 22, 2008 at 18:26

    Everything that’s done in the world is done because there’s a capability to do it. Doctors cannot prolong a person’s life but they can surely improve the quality of life by treating ailments. Since doctors can terminate a person’s life, I think it makes sense that in very exceptional cases, after making sure this is the last resort, they should be allowed to do so to end a person’s suffering.

  136. 136 Xie_Ming
    March 22, 2008 at 19:15

    The indoctrinated will filter their observations to conform to their indoctrination. Predicators will rig their reports to conform to their indoctrination.

    Religion and other psychological manipulation can reduce the perception of suffering.

    The Mystery religions and their sequelae achieved great popularity with the promise of life after death. Buddhism and Hinduism seek to end suffering by ending the cycle of rebirths.

    The subject of this thread is not how to reduce suffering, but how to end it.

    A quick and painless death WILL END suffering.

  137. 137 Mark North of England
    March 23, 2008 at 12:47

    Sure we all have a right to die–we were born to die. But a right to be killed was explicitly denied Mrs Diane Pretty by the European Court of Human Rights. She died naturally (of motor neurone disease) peacefully, thanks to good care, in a hospice. This ruling protects the 1000′ s of other MND patients from the terror of un-natural kiliings by relatives and doctors as recorded in Holland , Switzerland and Oregon.

    I spot an odd bravado in those bloggers pushing the right to be killed. Its oddly out of touch with the vast majority of deaths I have seen. Sadly most die unwilling, scared and despairing of the whole point of their lives.

    To-day over half the 6.5 billion of us are not –despite the certainty of death– feeling fatalistic failures becouse of a fact. The historic fact is that a woman, then Peter, then 2 on a country road, then the Eleven, then 500, then Paul and thousands more met the risen Christ/Messiah in the flesh after his death and burial. He could eat, talk and be touched for 40 days before ascending to heaven. Want to know more? Read Luke chapter 24 verses 13 to 53.

  138. 138 Xie_Ming
    March 23, 2008 at 20:46

    The foregoing illustrates a confusion of ideological assertion and factual error.

    Writing is only known to have existed for 7,000 years. Before that, there were skilled story tellers. Worldviews and ideologies are built upon an amalgam of the past with present circumstances. At the 5,000 year point of that timeline, political factions in Palestine contended and developed stories to support their contentions. Martin A. Larson’s “The Story of Christian Origins” and Halliday’s “The Pagan Background of Christianity” discuss this. Elaine Pagels and others go into the detailed politics. There were many different and contending ideologies. The emperor Constantine insisted that there be uniformity within his realm, and a dictatorial Church and cannon were forced at the Council of Nicaea in 325. (Christians got a three-headed and six- legged god, etc., as a compromise there). Thus, the historicity claimed is laughable and false.

    Of course, most people want to live. The question in this thread is how to deal with those who endure great suffering as part of a certainly fatal illness AND WHO EXPRESS THE DESIRE TO DIE.

    Other polemics are beside the point, but may be expected from indoctrinated religious ideologues.

  139. 139 Xie_Ming
    March 24, 2008 at 01:14

    The disjointed, illogical and unsubstantiated assertions that we have seen above raise the question of whether religious fanatics should be allowed near helpless or terminally ill patients.

    France has long made it unlawful for a bequest to be made to the physician or unrelated caregiver of the deceased, for obvious reasons.

    Some caregivers may believe that they are “saving souls” by prolonging the suffering of the terminally ill while securing religious commitment. Some may even believe that such suffering is “good” for the soul.

    Successful psychological manipulation, including religious, can reduce the perception of suffering.

    At issue is whether a patient expressing, or having previously expressed in writing, the desire for assisted death, should be allowed to have it.

  140. 140 George USA
    March 24, 2008 at 02:31

    Mark North of England

    Agreed.

    Good points.

    Happy Easter.

  141. 141 Xie_Ming
    March 24, 2008 at 10:26

    Religious constructions of the left brain may overwhelm the more holistic right hemisphere and give us the extremism observed historically in the Roman Church, among the Nazis, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.

    Scourging (self-punishment) is characteristic of some religious processions- for example, in Spain and Iraq. Auto-castration was prized among the early Christians. This may represent a sort of sado-masochism.

    Thus, one must examine carefully the assertions of indoctrinated religious persons who claim that an end to suffering is forbidden by their faith.

  142. 142 Count Iblis
    March 24, 2008 at 17:08

    “But a right to be killed was explicitly denied Mrs Diane Pretty by the European Court of Human Rights. She died naturally (of motor neurone disease) peacefully, thanks to good care, in a hospice.”

    I recall her husband saying that she slowly suffocated to death. She died in exactly that horrible way she didn’t want.

    “This ruling protects the 1000′ s of other MND patients from the terror of un-natural kiliings by relatives and doctors as recorded in Holland , Switzerland and Oregon.”

    I doesn’t. Just think of how Chantal Sebire eventually died. Despite the French ban on Euthanasia, she did get Euthanasia. And the French authorities will very likely not charge anyone for that. So, what yo have is a de facto legalization of Euthanasia.

    But unlike in Holland, you do not have any legal framework for it. So, there is no law that says that there has to be an indepenent doctor involved. No ethical comittee will look at the case, nothing of the sort. The chances of abuse is thus far greater.

    In Holland, if a doctor Euthanises a person without sticking to the guidlines, then that is punishable. It is not murder (at least not necessarily).

    And protecting patients from rouge killer doctors has not much to do with the question of legalizing Euthanasia anyway, just look at this case

    Another thing is that very strictly upholding a law banning Euthanasia like they do in the US leads to a witch hunt against doctors, see e.g. here.

  143. 143 Lindsay
    March 24, 2008 at 18:14

    I absolutely agree that people should choose when and where they want to die. Why, why do we lengthen life during times of suffering? For selfish reasons, and our inability to except death as a part of life.

    My grandmother died from ovarian cancer 2 years ago come August. We spoke at length about what she was going to do to rid herself of the cancer. Unfortunately, the doctor had given her a grave prognosis. He said she could undergo a tremendous amount of radiation and hope she would go into remission. We also looked into alternative means to heal her as she wanted to go this route above all else. My grandmother was very adamant about not wanting to undergo radiation. She had seen many of her girlfriends die of cancer and wasn’t about to go that route. She said they were terribly ill and fragile, only dieing in agony. She wanted nothing to do with that. So, she made the decision to die, surrounded by family at her home. We signed her up for hospice and let the cancer take its course. I went back and forth for a little while: At 64 she is/was so young… to…death is a part of life and she had chosen to end her life, so she has my full support.

    I would never deny her the choice to live or die, just as I would never take that choice away from anyone else. It is also my hope that no one would stand in my way if I was to choose to end my own life. Death is simply that, another part of life.

    -Portland, Or.

  144. 144 carlos King
    March 24, 2008 at 18:15

    Hi All,

    I find it so ironic that people work so hard to preserve this earthly life especially when it concerns capital punishment. We place roadblocks in the way of the prosecution and drag out the process until a final court rules that it would be inhumane to execute the murder becaue he/she has been waiting too long!

    But what about the persons soul or eternal life? We are all going to die someday. Death is inevitable. As a matter or fact, I am I believe a health person now but I can choose to start the process of my death today by willing myself to die and no amount of medical intervention can stop me from dying. It may delay the porcess but it cannot prevent the inevitable.

    The simple answer to the question: should you have the right to die? Is we already have that right but the majority of us would rather live because we know that once there is life there is hope. It doesnot matter how dark things may appear there is a silver lining behind ever dark cloud! God, the creator of the universe, has never taken a vacation. He is watching and directing proceedings here on earth 24/7, 365 days a year. He is omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresent. There is no curse that he can’t turn or won’t turn into a blessing.

    While his Son Jesus was here on earth he demonstrated the power of the Divine by raising the death Lazarus etc., healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, feeding thousands with 5 loaves and two fishes etc. etc. etc. This was only the tip of the iceburg of God’s power. And don’t forget that after 3 days Jesus rose himself from the dead! Wow! That is what you call the ultimate miracle!

    I have said all this to say that it is not necessary for anyone to take his or her life because of sickness. Jesus is the great physician He has the power to heal any and every sickness. But when He chooses, that sick will never get better. Only He knows who will live and who will ultimate die here on earth.

    People who are terminally ill and there families should get to know Jesus on a intimate level throught prayer and the study of the Bible and they will know His will for the sick person and maybe He will choose to display His awsome power in their life.

    Carlos, Kingston-Jamaica

  145. 145 Des Currie
    March 25, 2008 at 09:54

    Should one have the right to die? I would suggest that to date it is a cast iron guarentee that one will die. The only choice that one is left with is whether to be allowed to choose the time of death should death not choose you first.
    Des Currie

  146. April 3, 2008 at 00:33

    I recently wanted very much to die. I have chronic pain and depression and when my health care got cut I was in a lot of despair. It’s hell withdrawing from antidepressants cold turkey.
    I felt that the rest of my life was going to be a matter of draining my family and friends, and the friends I have left are also poor as they are the ones who can handle being around me.
    I ended up going to a shelter for people in mental health crisis.
    Now I am home and I guess I am glad to be alive. when I was in the center I left for a day (it was allowed to do errands) and everywhere I went strangers smiled at me and were kind.
    I came to see that my broken down life is a gift that I can use to help others. But am I always grateful? No.
    I wanted to start a community dialogue about why I should stay alive when my life seemed to be a drain on the poor people, but it never got off the ground.
    People are afraid of other’s pain and we often do not know how to help others.
    We also seem to be consumers of years and health care as if death were an unnatural state. Our fear of death and what happens afterward makes us abandon people in pain.
    I wish we could talk openly about these things as a community and chip in to help people in distress. But the people who helped me the most had the least themselves.
    I do think someone with no hope for recovery has the right to discuss this, but there are not many people with the skills to facilitate this discussion in a rational way. If we could have gathered with such a person perhaps my family would find the support they need to help us rather than my illness being something that isolates me from my family and my family from the community.

  147. 147 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 19:17

    Yes!

    it is your decision when to die!

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.

  148. 148 RHEAL CYR
    February 10, 2009 at 00:12

    i have been suffering since 1992 from severe Fibromyalgia pain. even though I am heavily medicated i still suffer quite a bit from the pain. my days are spent siting in front of my computer or tv trying to take my mind off of the pain.I believe i should have the right to chose euthanasia if i so desire. I lost my wife , my children my credit rating my sense of purpose and its also a daily mental battle against depression. and thoughts of suicide.
    I watch every hour of every night go by cant wait tilmorning comes.so i wont be so lonely watching the cars go by in front of my livingroom window. although I have fantastic doctor he does hathe can with what God has given him. I do not blame my doctor f my predicament whatsoever. I know that thoe of you out there that hav hronic pain understands me completely.
    thank you all and God bless you all especially my doctor.

  149. 149 Pie
    March 13, 2009 at 19:45

    #1. you idiots, the hippocratic oath says you must not cause harm. Killing patients is most certainly harming them.
    #2. Euthanesia and assisted suicide are two different things. Euthanesia may be legal when assisted suicide is not.

  150. 150 suzette
    April 30, 2009 at 08:23

    if you dont believe in euthanesia, then you have never cared for someone you love , die from a horrible and painful death, my ex husband was my best friend , and the father of our 5 children, he died 7 months ago from cancer, thank god it only last 1 year, but the last month was hell and i no that because the last words he could say, was” this is hell.” i go through the guilt of keeping him alive for another 3 weeks. i did him no favour. my beautifil kids were there for the whole thing as well. our eldest son wanted to put a pillow over his fathers face, he didnt but he still wishes he had . i watched Ian die a very painful death, with no dignity at all, how can this happen in this day and age? all he asked was to let him die with dignity, it was the only wish he had that i had no control over. so to all you dogooders ..walk a mile in our shoes. and then tell me that euthanesia is wrong, ……….. regards, suzette…..and our children…tara ,ross ,tiffani, jeremy and samuel………………………”life is not measured by the breaths we take, but rather by the moments in life that take our breath away”

  151. 151 Paul
    June 5, 2009 at 08:35

    I am 36 and have major depression. My illness makes every day a living hell, and I am unable to participate in life to any meaningful degree. I have been medicated for 17 years, and have undergone psychoanalysis. Any remissions in my condition have been temporary. I have tested at an above-average IQ, I am college educated, and otherwise rational.

    According to what I have read I am ineligible to consider euthanasia due to suffering from depression, yet I live with constant and debilitating emotional and psychological pain.

    Is my decision to end my suffering inherently irrational because my illness is depression?


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