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View Poll Results: Euthanasia, what do you think?
Euthansia should be legal option for everyone and I might opt for it 85 79.44%
Euthanasia should be legal option for everyone, but I would never want it 8 7.48%
Against euthanasia 13 12.15%
Other, explain in comments 1 0.93%
Voters: 107. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-07-2008, 09:51 AM   #21
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My parents chose to bring me into this world. I should have the option to leave it with grace and dignity when quality of life is gone.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:53 AM   #22
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I started to post the same thing about Scott Nearing, Sarah, I guess it's cause I was just reading the book you recommended. But it was three weeks after his hundredth birthday that he died after he stopped eating.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:37 AM   #23
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Ah, I forgot that detail, Al. For some reason, 90 had stuck in my head, not 100. Thanks for the reminder and I'm glad you are enjoying the book, although I'm not sure that is the right word for it...
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:11 PM   #24
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the doctors couldn't give the ol'man more life, they could only prolong his dying. he took pills, placed what was left of his body into his car in the garage. put a bag over his head which was attached by hose to the exhaust, turned the car on and then shot himself. the cops forced his suicide note out of my mother's hand, her fighting to keep it the entire time. i put a towel over the blood and drove the car away. when the cops finally returned the note, they told us that they determined it was suicide and not murder. my mother, who maybe cursed three times in her life, if that, just looked up and said "no sh*t."

i never met anyone who loved life more than mom. she was furious that a good friend of hers had given her husband a copy of final exit. then alzheimer's got mom. though she almost always put on for the public a happy face, about three years before she died, she said to me "this is horrendous. what can you do?" but mom had already missed her window of opportunity. i said "there is nothing i can do." she sat down and said "i don't know what to do either."
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Old 04-07-2008, 03:46 PM   #25
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I voted for the Oregon Death with Dignity Law. The term "Euthanasia" means, to me, someone ELSE making the decision to "put me out of my misery." I think that this would be inappropriate and, possibly, immoral. However, I do feel that mentally competent, terminally ill patients should have the right to request and use, if they so choose, humane life-ending drugs.

The Oregon Law strikes a nice balance between the needs of the dying and needs of the living. The Oregon Health Department has tracked those requesting assistance under it since its inception.

For those of you who have expressed your interest in having something similar available to you when it's your turn to go, may I suggest supporting the Death With Dignity National Center? They're introducing legislation in Washington State this year (I think) and could also, with enough support, introduce it where you are.

death with dignity * dwd

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Old 04-07-2008, 03:48 PM   #26
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I surely want to be able to pile up pills or have something to inject into my IV lines if I had a painful and/or debilitating disease and had no hope of getting better. There comes a point when it's just time to check out! I watched as a friend was forced to endure weeks of so much pain she regularly tearfully begged her husband to kill her. Pain meds only go so far after a while. We treat the terminally ill much worse than we'd ever dream of treating an animal, allowing them -- no, forcing them -- to suffer unbearably in their last days/months. That scares me about getting older.

Oh, and do most life insurance companies still refuse to pay in suicide cases? I wouldn't want my loved ones to be denied what I've paid for either. That's terrible!
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:28 PM   #27
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RunAway -- Typically the suicide exclusion only applies for the first two years of the policy. On the few policies I've read, anyway.

I've watched one of my dogs go. Very peaceful for the dog; rough on me emotionally.

I know my parents want to be very aggressive in refusing life support and any life-extending treatments. More aggressive than I want them to be, but I figure their choice, their life. I am also their designated "plug puller" and will be following their written wishes even though I disagree with them. We have discussed all of this.

In my own case, while from an idealistic religious point of view I don't think it's right for anyone to end anyone's life deliberately (including their own), I believe in individual "sovereignty" far more.

I chose the first option, and while I'm not planning on it now (at age 39 and healthy), I am not going to rule out changing my mind in the next several decades.

As for the Nearing case, I knew a woman dying from ALS who asked to be taken off her feeding tube in order to hasten her exit. After a week or so she asked to be put back on because the pain of hunger and I guess the will to live outweighed the desire to die. She ended up dying about a month later anyway, after seeing her son graduate from high school. But she was in her late 40's or early 50's, so maybe it's easier for people who are Mr. Nearing's age.

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Old 04-07-2008, 04:42 PM   #28
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RunAway -- Typically the suicide exclusion only applies for the first two years of the policy. On the few policies I've read, anyway.
Thanks! Not planning on offing myself just yet, but if the time ever comes, I would want that option to say good-bye and then go without guilt. Hard question and a case-by-case matter, for sure!
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:20 PM   #29
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I surely want to be able to pile up pills or have something to inject into my IV lines if I had a painful and/or debilitating disease and had no hope of getting better. There comes a point when it's just time to check out! I watched as a friend was forced to endure weeks of so much pain she regularly tearfully begged her husband to kill her. Pain meds only go so far after a while. We treat the terminally ill much worse than we'd ever dream of treating an animal, allowing them -- no, forcing them -- to suffer unbearably in their last days/months. That scares me about getting older.

Oh, and do most life insurance companies still refuse to pay in suicide cases? I wouldn't want my loved ones to be denied what I've paid for either. That's terrible!
When a cat (almost 20 years old) had a stroke one night, I took him to the vet in the morning and had him put down. When my uncle (~75) had a stroke, they 'saved' him and he hung around for about a year. With my mother (81), it was about 6 weeks.

I feel the Oregon law, while a good start, is too restrictive. You have to be competent enough to ask and to take the medication by yourself, and you have to be diagnosed to have less than 6 months left. I would like an advance directive option: when I can't do A and/or B and/or C just give me the injection; or at the very least: terminal sedation.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:08 AM   #30
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I would like an advance directive option: when I can't do A and/or B and/or C just give me the injection; or at the very least: terminal sedation.
I like this approach. My greatest fear is getting into a situation where I am stuck - too late to do it my self, too soon for the standard state sanctioned pull the plug option. If Khan's option was available I bet a lot of deep thinkers would develop well thought out boilerplate directives to peruse to help you find your sweet spot.
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:27 AM   #31
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Suppose you had a 50% chance of recovering for option A, no chance for B, and a 80% chance for recovery from C but only if you underwent surgery which has a 30% chance of D. Furthermore, your daughter from Timbuktu is coming in some time in the next week to be with you. Also, that morning you other child decided that under no circumstance would he permit withdrawal of life support, and is arguing with the power of attorney, who just wants everyone to get along.

The next day a new consultant raises the possibility of a new treatment which costs $90,000 (insurance doesn't cover - experimental) and may help you recover 50% of the time, though much of that would be in a rehab facility. Your son threatens to sue the doctors if they don't provide that option. And you really should have updated that will, because of the heir who is now serving a life sentence.

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Old 04-08-2008, 07:37 AM   #32
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Rich, Rich, Rich... There you go again, injecting reality into a perfectly theoretical good discussion. Party pooper.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:55 AM   #33
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Damn Rich, just shoot me! I don't envy doctors dealing with this stuff. At least the default position that the system will force you into extraordinary life sustaining efforts seems to have died out. Now, if you have good medical directives, you only have to deal with the kinds of issues Rich raises.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:35 PM   #34
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Reality is sometimes not fun. I do not envy you dealing with that.
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:04 PM   #35
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Reality is sometimes not fun. I do not envy you dealing with that.
Well, my main point is that the euthanasia discussion is much more complex than whether to make it legal or not. Too much reality to deal with. My exaggerated example above is not exaggerated by a lot.

In fact, the fact that it is illegal in most jurisdictions makes things "easier" from the physicians' perspectives.
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:09 PM   #36
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Well, my main point is that the euthanasia discussion is much more complex than whether to make it legal or not. Too much reality to deal with. My exaggerated example above is not exaggerated by a lot.
In fact, the fact that it is illegal in most jurisdictions makes things "easier" from the physicians' perspectives.
Which explains my lone "other" vote. Having seen just a sliver of the dilemmas you face daily, Rich, I know there is no one size fits all solution, just like there are seldom easy answers in estate planning.

Durable health care powers of attorney, plus living wills appropriate for your state, go a long way towards helping provide guidelines, but there are a lot of unimaginable circumstances out there.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:12 PM   #37
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I like this approach. My greatest fear is getting into a situation where I am stuck - too late to do it my self, too soon for the standard state sanctioned pull the plug option. If Khan's option was available I bet a lot of deep thinkers would develop well thought out boilerplate directives to peruse to help you find your sweet spot.
not sure how i feel about that, especially for known degenerative processes like parkinson's or alzheimer's disease or even some cancers. i suppose it is not completely rude to depend upon others to end your life when suddenly & unexpectedly incapacitated as from a car accident. but it seems quite different to have missed your window of opportunity when becoming incapacitated from a known and expected cause and then to lay the responsibility & burden of your death upon the shoulders of others.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:12 PM   #38
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not sure how i feel about that, especially for known degenerative processes like parkinson's or alzheimer's disease or even some cancers. i suppose it is not completely rude to depend upon others to end your life when suddenly & unexpectedly incapacitated as from a car accident. but it seems quite different to have missed your window of opportunity when becoming incapacitated from a known and expected cause and then to lay the responsibility & burden of your death upon the shoulders of others.
I was talking about a situation where you have an accident or a rapid change in what appeared to be a slowly progressing illness suddenly takes things out of your control. For example, my brother was at an OK stage in terminal cancer when a stroke suddenly left him in a condition where he could not take things in his own hands if he wanted to (he did not). If he had the same attitude toward terminal illness that I have he would have missed his window of opportunity. Khan's concept would permit him to leave directives that would make his choice clear - or maybe not so clear as Rich has pointed out.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:28 PM   #39
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I was talking about a situation where you have an accident or a rapid change in what appeared to be a slowly progressing illness suddenly takes things out of your control. For example, my brother was at an OK stage in terminal cancer when a stroke suddenly left him in a condition where he could not take things in his own hands if he wanted to (he did not). If he had the same attitude toward terminal illness that I have he would have missed his window of opportunity. Khan's concept would permit him to leave directives that would make his choice clear - or maybe not so clear as Rich has pointed out.
ya, got it. and while i don't necessarily disagree, it is still a point i would contend. is it not the burden of the dying to take such action while capable? it just seems to me that once a person misses their window of opportunity, they got a lot of nerve to burden someone else to open a door.

grumpy expressed best how i feel about it:

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I would willingly forego a few years of life to assure that I can control the decision as to when I have reached that point.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:38 PM   #40
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ya, got it. and while i don't necessarily disagree, it is still a point i would contend. is it not the burden of the dying to take such action while capable? it just seems to me that once a person misses their window of opportunity, they got a lot of nerve to burden someone else to open a door.
Yeah, I agree that in today's world you need to deal with this on your own. And, in any world, I don't like dumping the decision on others. I want the burden to be on me. And I believe what I am suggesting would be "on me." In my ideal ideal world (which enables me to direct my own suicide) I would (theoretically) select one of Khan's boilerplate directives that tells the powers that be to off me in my brother's situation. I would not be burdening someone else with my decision. The powers that be would simply be exercising my decision. I am not talking about pulling the plug which is legal today - I am talking about active measures when I might otherwise be viable for sometime but unable to communicate.
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