Euthanasia and the Sanctity of Life - Part 2

Discussion in 'The Study' started by Ceicei, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Ceicei

    Ceicei Grandmaster

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    It wasn't that long ago the Schiavo situation had gripped USA in a debate about the pros and cons of euthanasia. Now it appears to be France's turn with Sebire.

    This particular story is regarding Sebire facing terminal cancer. Unfortunately, after an unfavorable decision by France's court, she died. No one is sure at this point how.

    (For those of you unfamiliar with USA's situation, Schiavo was considered brain dead or in a vegetative state. She eventually was "allowed" to die. There were a couple of old threads here on MartialTalk discussing this issue that could be found by searching.)

    Were a situation, similar to either Schiavo's or Sebire's, to occur among one of your loved ones, how would you handle this? What would your thoughts/feelings be--have your thoughts changed past few years about euthanasia?

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/03/20/france.tumor/index.html

    - Ceicei
     
  2. Empty Hands

    Empty Hands Senior Master

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    Well, the situations are vastly different between Schiavo and Sebire. Schiavo was essentially brain dead. There was no Terry Schiavo left, just meat kept alive by a feeding tube. IMO, there should be no ethical dilemma about letting someone like Schiavo die, since there is nothing of her left.

    Sebire is a different situation, in that she is fully cognizant of her situation and personally wants to die due to the pain and problems involved. I happen to think that you should be able to do with your body what you please, including ending your life, so I see nothing wrong with Sebire's request. However, I recognize that there are far more ethical issues present for her than with Schiavo.
     
  3. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    This is one of those generalized issues where my relatives and I completely agree....and we have for some years now.

    We've all agreed....when/if the time comes for ourselves...we want the plug pulled, or the tube yanked out, or the machines turned off, the heroics saved for someone else.

    We've also agreed that if we are the ones making the decision, we agree to have the plug pulled, or the tube yanked out, or the machines turned off...

    My mom brought up the subject a few years ago (again) and we remained in agreement.

    Personally I'm at peace with that decision...and I am relieved that we are not at odds over the matter.


    On the current issues though...I see nothing wrong with Sebire's request. If, heaven forbid, my mom or my sister was suffering to the same extent and made a request such as Seiber's, I would be in full support of it.
     
  4. Big Don

    Big Don Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't believe in euthanasia, if you want to die, kill yourself, don't drag other people into it. That being said, if you do not make a concerted effort to let people know, in no uncertain terms that you do NOT want to be kept alive by machines, you are not being responsible.
    From Law.com's legal dictionary
     
  5. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    I'm uncomfortable with killing unless it's "It was him or me. I'd rather it be him."

    That said, we just had to put one of our dogs down. He had deteriorated badly and was ready to go. It was hard, but it ended his suffering. Nothing would have been, could have been gained by forcing him to hang on for a few more days. Human beings are not dogs. The world might be a better place if they were. That's a different talk. But there comes a time when, as the Chinese proverb puts it "It is best to leave the red Earth before the gods withdraw Their welcoming hand."

    Almost every doctor has snowed someone under with morphine, restrained her hand when extending it could have extended a life or otherwise hastened the end. It has always been so, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. It's not what most people would choose. But there are times when it is the only mercy which is possible. The Oath of Hippocrates says "do no harm". Sometimes doing nothing or prolonging life is in itself harm.

    One of the reasons I left nursing as a profession was the people who were forced to live when they ached and prayed for nothing more than a dignified end to their suffering. I'm still haunted by two very poignant cases.

    One was an old woman fairly far gone in dementia. She wasn't lucid very much. But when she was the only thing she could say was "I want to die. I just want to die. Please Lord. Let me die." There wasn't much left, but I don't doubt that that was the true wish of her heart.

    The other was a man dying inch by inch of metastatic cancer of the liver. We talked a lot. It helped distract him from pain that had grown beyond the capability of powerful drugs to do more than take off the edge. He lived for the morphine timer because those few minutes after the dose were the only times he wasn't in crippling agony. We talked sometimes. He said that he'd like to just leave and head up Rattlesnake mountain to die in the cold. It was January in the desert. He had nothing left to live for. He felt degraded and was in constant agony, pumped full of addictive drugs and in a terrible slow decline.

    I said "What's stopping you? You know what you want. Your wife knows what you want. Do what you think is best." Eventually he did leave. He stopped the chemo, which was basically just going through the motions. I pray that he met his end in a time and place of his own choosing and as something of the man that he had been.

    Do I "believe in" euthenasia? No. It's like believing in the Post Office. Would I ever take that option? Probably not. But it's a comfort knowing that if palliative care fails and my courage with it that that final friend is there. I do not want to die as a thing, just a container for pain. The nobility of suffering is vastly over-rated. The soul? My putative soul is my concern. Yours is your own. Their care and maintenance is a personal matter.

    This woman knew the score. She had a clear, rational understanding of what she had gone through and what she had to look forward to. I can't fault her for her decision. It's a shame she had to do it alone, without help and without her loved ones to see her off on the final voyage. But I am glad that her agony is at an end. May she be granted rest.123
     

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