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Lawsuit Challenges Assisted-Suicide Laws

Posted 36 months ago|20 comments|913 views
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"VANCOUVER — The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has filed a lawsuit challenging laws that make assisted deaths a criminal offence.... It seeks to allow mentally competent adults suffering serious fatal illnesses the right to get medical assistance to hasten their deaths."
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Lawsuit...

Assisted-Suicide... isn't the definition of suicide self-murder? What exactly is at stake when assisting someone in a murder, or self murder? AND who is the determining collective-brain deciding if one is in their "right mind" or not? Would someone considering murder be found in their "right mind?" SO the courts have their hands full when deciding and setting a precedent on this issue.

It has been my conviction for ever that someone considering suicide needed counselling, and not just a "safe place" to do it. Some times we find people very tranquil about the ending of their lives, having planned it down to the very details... does that make them in their right mind? But does suffering from an illness "trump" the suicide laws? With today's medical advancements, one would think that medical care could provide a level of comfort for the ailing patient... yet is that really what this is all about?

It would seem sometimes it is about not being a "burden" on loved-ones and the system, that is a manipulating factor in some of these decisions. Without someone to love and care for the ailing, loneliness too can be a factor. It surprised me what some of the larger contributing factors to suicide really are... like comparing lifestyles.

"Is being surrounded by happiness driving some people to kill themselves? It's the suggestion being raised by a new international study that's found people living in some of the world's happiest countries -including Canada -are more likely to commit suicide."
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/People+...

SO is it really illness and disability the cause of this suicide-law challenge... or is it envy? Troubling to consider, but there are many worse-off who are the least to consider suicide... yet in prosperous nations, when people tend to compare their level of happiness to another, it seems the worst. Would then this study at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and Hamilton College in New York hold a key to what we are really up against... this self absorbed society has just gotten more selfish. Like suicide in general, it is a selfish act and shouldn't be assisted, but rather counselling should be available to deal with the route causes.

Why aren't we looking for ways for people to enjoy the last moments of life?
...or are we just making doctors killers?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qr9_hzVf...


UPDATE - 24 months ago
"Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper
http://dwynrhh6bluza.cloudfront.net/reso...
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COMMENTS
Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson
36 months ago: I don't believe one should end their life intentionally. Life is to precious to waste. While one is alive there is hope but once one is dead there is no hope, that being said I don't believe in allowing the infirm to suffer. Pain should be mitigated if it can't be extinguished altogether. The debate lies in the suffering. Can a life corroded with disease cause enough mental anguish to render the infirm beyond the help of medicine? Medicine is for the sick and dying but what do you do when medicine can not relieve the pain? Should one only humanely euthanize an animal but not a human, even if it is at his own request and if so then where does it end?
36 months ago: DJ,

We need to leave these things and a whole lot more... up to GOD.
BadCyborg
BadCyborg
San Antonio, TX
36 months ago:
"I don't believe one should end their life intentionally."
That is not the issue here, Mr. Johnson. The issue is whether THE STATE has the right to make it a CRIME to take one's own life or to ASSIST someone else in doing so.

Now, do you agree or disagree with there being statutes making the attempt at committing suicide or the assistance of another to do so a crime?

This thread is not about morality or theology. It is about THE STATE's authority to outlaw a specific behavior.
Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson
36 months ago: Not to be crass but that is a copout response! Consider where people would be today if they followed that train of thought. Physical ailments are not a curse from God. Just ask Jesus who tirelessly healed countless of infirm that had been written of to God by the religious elite of his day! It is the Christians call not just to announce the good news of the Kingdom of God being available now but to also feed, clothe and heal the infirm.

Pain is very real and it can drive many to suicide. The worst thing one could do for those on the brink of death is nothing! Prayer should be silent and in private but help should be loud and vocal. Nobody should be excused from becoming aware of the suffering of others. Who knows if the next person that hears the cry of the suffering could be the very one to help and heal that persons pain. It is in this relentless pursuit that Jesus found many and many found their savior.

It is never best to leave it up to God. He gave me a brain to think, feet to move and hands to do. Jesus set the example. "My father works." he said, "hither too I work." so by faith I commend my actions to God and by faith I believe that he will bless them.
36 months ago: Dwayne,

I too have seen the difference God makes in the last days or in a critical health situation... the peace and prayers can literally heal... or give the dying a peace that passes understanding. God is gracious, but that will remain unknown if one does not reach out to the One who is reaching out to us.
Altruist
Altruist
Eugene, OR
36 months ago: Your Rant's title has the opposite meaning of the article. The lawsuit is against those who oppose assisted suicide, so the title should have been "Lawsuit challenges ANTI Assisted Suicide Laws.

It is pretty insensitive to force terminally ill people to suffer immense pain when there is no hope of recovery.

We in Oregon have the Death With Dignity Law which allows people the option to end their misery. Few actually take this route (about 40/yr.) but it is an immense relief just to have the option available. In many of the states where this option is not available, doctors are afraid to administer sufficient pain medication because they are afraid of being charged with murder.

There are many restrictions to insure that the suffering patient is indeed terminal, and that they are in their right mind: "The patient must meet certain criteria to be able to request to participate in the Act. Then, the following steps must be fulfilled: 1) the patient must make two oral requests to the attending physician, separated by at least 15 days; 2) the patient must provide a written request to the attending physician, signed in the presence of two witnesses, at least one of whom is not related to the patient; 3) the attending physician and a consulting physician must confirm the patient's diagnosis and prognosis; 4) the attending physician and a consulting physician must determine whether the patient is capable of making and communicating health care decisions for him/herself; 5) if either physician believes the patient's judgment is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder (such as depression), the patient must be referred for a psychological examination; 6) the attending physician must inform the patient of feasible alternatives to the Act including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control; 7) the attending physician must request, but may not require, the patient to notify their next-of-kin of the prescription request. A patient can rescind a request at any time and in any manner. The attending physician will also offer the patient an opportunity to rescind his/her request at the end of the 15-day waiting period following the initial request to participate."
http://public.health.oregon.gov/PROVIDER...


If during my last days, I am suffering and in immense pain, I am glad that I will have the option to end my life with a little dignity.
36 months ago: Sorry Altruist I may have not been clear,

The title is from the first link and article I am commenting on, here it is again...

"...The civil liberties group, Lee Carter, Hollis Johnson and Victoria Dr. William Shoichet on Tuesday asked the B.C. Supreme Court to overturn the Criminal Code provisions against assisted suicide because they are unconstitutional..."
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Lawsuit...
36 months ago: Altruist,

What separates other suicide from doctor assisted suicide? What if someone is suffering from some emotional pain... or financial stress or pain... and request a person to help them "die with dignity?" I don't see any dignity in suicide... but I can see a "Pandora's Box" of suicide opened here.
BadCyborg
BadCyborg
San Antonio, TX
36 months ago: Dwayne Johnson wrote:
"I don't believe one should end their life intentionally. "
OK but what are your thoughts/beliefs about whether the STATE should be able to say whether a person punches their own ticket - with or without "assistance"?

Would offing oneself not logically fall under the principle of "My body, my choice"? I just don't want things to get to the point they are in some parts of Europe where PHYSICIANS are allowed to "assist" some patients even when the patient patently DOES NOT WANT TO GO! Of course the über civilized Europeans have long sense outlawed capital punishment. Kill your neighbor, butcher them like a hog and store the pieces in your deep freeze and you get a whole 13 years. Open up with an AK47 variant on a food court at a mall and get possibly 20 years.

BUT! Be conceived inconveniently and a PHYSICIAN can kill you solely at the behest of your "mother" - even after you are developed enough to survive on the outside. Or be born with certain levels of birth defects and - again - a PHYSICIAN can kill you with impunity - AND CALL IT BEING MERCIFUL! Or if you have have a terminal illness a PHYSICIAN can assist you in checking out - EVEN IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DIE!

I don't know about you, folks, but the thought of physicians - HEALERS for goodness sake - dealing death freightens me to my core.

But that's just me, I suppose.
Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson
36 months ago: "The State" as you put it is such a loaded couple of words. A better way of putting it is "We the people…" I am certain Mr. Cyborg that in our system of government democracy rules! The voice of the majority or at least the loudest special interest group always gets their way. Of course this does not accommodate everyone. The minority always ends up dissatisfied as do those on the fringes.

But regardless of personal feelings on the subject It should be the Doctors primary focus to do no harm and to that end pain should be managed to the best ability of modern science and that includes physical as well as psychological help which according to modern science includes the spiritual needs of the patient as well.

It is in this sliver of a gray area where the debate heats up. The question that should be asked if it hasn't been asked already is: Does ending a life constitute the ultimate way of ending pain and suffering? Because if it does then a Physician assisting in a persons suicide would be doing no harm!

Death is part of the cycle of life. There is no shame in death if it can't be helped but when it is chosen then one has to question the logic and reasoning of that choice. As Mr. T said there is no dignity in suicide. Suicide is a resignation to hopelessness in ones current condition. It is a persons last assertion of power over ones own life!

Christian theology describes this type of assertion as the will of self and it is this will of self that the Christian fights in his daily commitment to his faith. Which is why suicide even the physician assisted variety is frowned upon. It shows a lack of faith in God's ultimate authority over the human condition.

BTW, you should read the essay I recently wrote: "101 uses for a dead fetus." I thinkl you might find it enlightening!
http://www.rantrave.com/Rant/101-Uses-Fo...
BadCyborg
BadCyborg
San Antonio, TX
36 months ago:
"I am certain Mr. Cyborg that in our system of government democracy rules! "
But we do not live in a democracy, Mr. Johnson, but a republic. Majority only rules in the legislature - and sometimes not even then.

Would that you were correct that the "the state" was indeed functionally equal to "we the people". Unfortunately that is not the case. It hasn't been so for a century and a half and more. I'm not sure Mr. Lincoln's poetic "of, by and for the people" was true even at the time he uttered the phrase.

I have no problem with a person deciding to end their own life and requesting the services of s - CONSENTING - physician. I have HUGE PROBLEMS with a system that allows the physician to decide that the patient would be better served by being "assisted" in their exit despite never having requested such assistance. One is a mercy. The other is State-sanctioned murder. I could not care less whether a physician believes that a quiet death would be the best course of treatment for a patient. Unless the patient has requested it -IN WRITING - no man should be free to and that person's life.

Absent conviction of a capital offense, the state should have no say in whether any individual lives or dies.

"Suicide is a resignation to hopelessness in ones current condition."
HORSE HOCKEY!!!!

I can see several scenarios where suicide would be the logical choice. Hopelessness has nothing to do with it. The mere fact that suicidal ideation often occurs during a bout of depression does not establish a causal link between depression and suicidal ideation. I have often considered taking myself out of the game. As yet I have not reached the point where I am of no use to anyone. At that point I WILL orchestrate my own exit.

My Body - My Choice.
BadCyborg
BadCyborg
San Antonio, TX
Content Removed by BadCyborg
Huey Newton
Huey Newton
 Administrator
36 months ago: Nailed it.
Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson
Content Removed by Dwayne Johnson
Altruist
Altruist
Eugene, OR
36 months ago: I think you need to look at it the other way around. Do we want Big government to force people to essentially be tortured to death?

If I am suffering and in terrible pain that no longer responds to medication, and if my disease is terminal, should I be forced to contemplate weeks or months of terrible torture just because some bureaucrats or religious zealots think that I should allow nature to take it's course and slowly eat me away from the inside?

We are not talking about some relative or some doctor that is forcing someone to end their life early, we are talking about individuals who are suffering horribly being allowed to give themselves some pills that will give them a merciful end.

When our pets, animals or even those critters we hunt, are sick, shot and suffering we don't allow them to continue their suffering. We put them out of their misery. It is unconscionable to force physicians, who's goals are to care for people, to force their patients to undergo terrible suffering and pain for no reason.

We allow people to sign DNR's so they don't have to contemplate being forced to be kept alive artificially with machines, yet because some dogmatic religious fanatic thinks suicide is wrong in all cases, people who are suffering are forced to end their lives in terrible pain.

I am glad the people of Oregon are more humane.
Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson
36 months ago: The interesting thing about your scenario Altruist is that it depends upon the suffering person to be at the mercy of a medical care system. This of course can happen to anyone when they sign a waver of rights in the consent to be treated. And if that person actually does become incapacitated from making choices while in that care a living will or health care proxy would be crucial to carry out the suffering persons decisions. Assisted suicide in that case still seems a bit preemptive.

I am a supporter of hospice and home care for the terminally ill. That eliminates a lot of the end day pain associated with being in a hospital when I know I will not get better. As for the pain medication it can be numbing to the brains faculties as well as to the pain. Some people don't feel that such a life is worth living but if we were to gauge the benefit of suicide by that factor then patients suffering from ADD or depression that receive mind numbing drugs like Oxycontin that in many cases experience suicidal tendencies would be encouraged to do so by their health professionals, but the reality is that they are not.

The next step after unsuccessful pain management through medicine is not suicide. there are so many alternative methods to manage pain that it would be ludicrous to encourage a depressed person whether terminally ill or not to end their life.
BadCyborg
BadCyborg
San Antonio, TX
36 months ago: Al, I do not believe government should be involved in personal decisions period. If I want to end my life, it is mine to end - or it should be. If I want to introduce a substance into my body there in nothing in the Constitution that empowers the government to tell me I may not do so.

"It is unconscionable to force physicians, who's goals are to care for people, to force their patients to undergo terrible suffering and pain for no reason."
But is it any MORE conscionable to allow physicians to end someone's life solely because the physician considers it a "mercy"?

BTW, when my mother was dieing I was the one who filled in the details of the DNR. Only MDs can sign a DNR (at least in Texas). What you described is a "Living Will" or generically an "Advance Healthcare Directive". Those are the documents which spell out a person's wishes in the event of their being incapacitated. As holder of the AHD it fell to me to decide what care my mother would be given. In the absence of an AHD, it is the family's duty to specify the level of care to be applied. I know this because 48 hours before I filled in the details of the blank DNR my mother's Dr. had signed, it fell to me as eldest to convince the family to let my baby brother go. He was in end stage liver disease and had suffered a massive intracranial bleed. I convinced my Father (my Mother was down the hall in ICU) and my siblings that it was best we let him go. Then I held his right hand until he was pronounced.

But government has no business deciding when someone not convicted of a capital crime dies. That is for the person. And a PHYSICIAN should NEVER the one sending the person on. Physicians should NEVER be in the business of dealing death.
Huey Newton
Huey Newton
 Administrator
36 months ago: "It is never best to leave it up to God"

DJ, have you lost your mind? I mean have you taken leave of reality?

Quote: "It is never best to leave it up to God"

NEVER?

Sure, we are anointed, instructed and directed but even after we act (which completes our responsibility), we leave the results up to Him.

As Christians, we are the Body of Christ. If His heart and hands do anything in this earth realm at this time, it has to be through us.

However, we had best leave it ultimately up to God or we become our own.
Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson
36 months ago: "Leaving it up to God." is another way of saying I don't have the faith to act as God has instructed me to act! The children of Israel upon reaching the border of the promised land after being liberated from Egyptian slavery chose not to act as God had instructed them to act and thus spent the rest of their natural lives wandering in the wilderness. They, you could say, left it up to God. Likewise the Pharaoh who's heart God hardened so as preventing the release of the Israelites from bondage chose to not take action based upon faith. He likewise left it up to God. In the parable of the coins. Jesus gave the example of three servants who were given money to invest while the master was away. Only one servant did not act faithfully and do according to his masters will. He is the one who returned the masters money un-invested. He too, you could say, left it up to God.

Saying, "I am leaving it up to God" is a feel good way of soothing a troubled conscience when the Holy Spirit is telling me that I must act now! So I reiterate my comment to Mr. T, " It is never best to leave it up to God. He gave me a brain to think, feet to move and hands to do. Jesus set the example. "My father works." he said, "hither too I work." so by faith I commend my actions to God and by faith I believe that he will bless them.
Huey Newton
Huey Newton
 Administrator
36 months ago: I reiterate - we act and we leave it up to God. If we don't we are playing God.

Also, as far as the specific subject of this rant, if someone wants to kill themselves go ahead. If they think that's the end of the pain however, they may be in for a very rude awakening.
Altruist
Altruist
Eugene, OR
36 months ago: Dwayne as I posted in my first comment there are sufficient safeguards in Oregon's law to insure that depression is not a factor, and BC you are absolutely correct: "If I want to end my life, it is mine to end - or it should be. If I want to introduce a substance into my body there in nothing in the Constitution that empowers the government to tell me I may not do so."

The Death With Dignity Law simply allows the individual the constitutional right to deal with his/her own ailment as he/she sees fit.

There is no slippery slope where relatives start killing off their parents of grandparents for the money. There is no slippery slope where depressed people decide to off themselves. There is no slippery slope where people who are weak and can't take a little pain take the easy way out.

No This is a very rigorous weeding out. If the person is depressed, if there are any alternative pain management techniques available, those people are eliminated from the program. After all of the concerns are addressed, very few people take advantage of this the last option (Only 400 in 10 years), but it is important that that option is there for the most extreme cases of terrible pain with no hope of release except through this final act.

Keep Big Government and religious zealots from taking away my freedom to have a death with a modicum of dignity.
36 months ago: So what are we dealing with here... like the coat-hanger abortions... do we need to find a less messy way of killing someone? ...mercy murder?

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