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  #1  
Old 09-07-2009, 03:54 PM
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A more perfect death

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/07/opinion/07douthat.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Interesting piece on the business of physician assisted suicide.

Consider the words of a prominent oncologist, bioethicist and health care wonk, critiquing assisted suicide in 1997, just before a Supreme Court ruling on the issue. “Once legalized,” this writer warned in the pages of The Atlantic, “euthanasia would become routine. Over time doctors would become comfortable giving injections to end life and Americans would become comfortable having euthanasia as an option.” From there, it would be an easy slide to euthanizing the incompetent: “Comfort would make us want to extend the option to others who, in society’s view, are suffering and leading purposeless lives.”

Comfort — and budgetary constraints. Euthanasia would be much more likely to pass from an exception to a rule, the bioethicist argued, “in the context of demographic and budgetary pressures on Social Security and Medicare as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire, around 2010.”

In the great health care debate of 2009, that’s the kind of argument you’d expect to hear from a Republican politician. But the words were actually written by Ezekiel Emanuel, a health-care advisor at the Office of Management and Budget, and the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff.

Ironically, Dr. Emanuel now stands accused of favoring some sort of death panels himself, thanks in part to a paper he recently co-authored, which argues that the scarcest medical resources (emergency vaccines, say, or donated organs) should be provided to younger, healthier patients before they’re given to the aged and infirm. His critics have seized on the paper to suggest that Emanuel — and by extension, the Obama administration — might support applying age and health-based rationing to medical treatment in general.

Yet the conservatives pillorying him, unjustly , as a “deadly doctor” could just as easily be quoting him. Twelve years later, Emanuel’s Atlantic essay remains a lucid case for the existence of a slippery slope, especially under government-managed health care, to some sort of death-by-bureaucrat.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2009, 03:56 PM
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My parents' neighbor had her house raided for partaking in some sort of doctor-assisted suicide. It was one of the oddest things I've ever seen...SWAT team, FBI, tons of cops. She wasn't even home...
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2009, 04:00 PM
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It's a tough issue. I gather that some terminal cases are almost certainly terminal, and not far in the future, and incredibly painful in the interim.

And then you have the bizarre cases that Kevorkian sat in on. Not nearly as clear cut.

I consider a line in the bible: 'and he who endureth to the end shall be saved.' Not sure it refers to this topic specifically, but I often consider that they unwillingness to endure pain is sort of a cop out.

Then again, I've never been dying of cancer.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:31 PM
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The slippery slope argument is vacuous without empirical data even though it's loved by the right wing. The Netherlands and Switzerland have been permitting doctor assisted suicide for quite a while. I've seen no studies which show a tendency towards involuntary suicide in those countries.
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2009, 05:59 PM
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This is a personal issue if you ask me- no politics need or should be involved. Either a person asks or says they would like to die or they have chosen to attempt to live. No one other than those close to the person should be included in the conversation or decision. I don't even know which side supports what argument, and don't care to.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:02 PM
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The gov't doesn't need to involved in this issue. I think if you want to die, then you have that right.
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  #7  
Old 09-07-2009, 06:18 PM
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The gov't doesn't need to involved in this issue. I think if you want to die, then you have that right.
Unless you live in Oregon, you don't have the right to suicide and you most definitely don't have the right to be assisted in suicide.
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2009, 06:38 PM
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I have mixed feelings about assisted suicide. I found the piece interesting because of the way he linked the notion of massive intervention to voluntary suicide -- a need to be in control.

Another interesting bit is the way Emmanuel is demonized by the hard right as being the author of the death panel memos, when his POV is somewhat apart from that.
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Old 09-07-2009, 06:53 PM
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This reminds me of the Terry Schiavo case, where it seemd like the entire nation was intruding in a private issue between husband and wife.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo_case
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2009, 08:31 PM
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Unless you live in Oregon, you don't have the right to suicide and you most definitely don't have the right to be assisted in suicide.
from people I've spoken with that lost loved ones due to cancer, death was a blessing. there are some who cannot handle the pain any longer who may attempt suicide. and there are many who do not succeed at suicide who end up at the ER with half their brains blown out because their suicide attempt failed (and I"ll leave it to those who are financially astute to figure out who pays for all of this). then the ER docs are forced to try and sew them up so they can continue their pain and agony. all because they realized they didn't have the legal right to ask anyone to help them end their pain and misery. the system is working.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:35 PM
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I don't know anyone who offed themselves for a medical reason, but I knew two who did it for business reasons.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by HuskyMan View Post
from people I've spoken with that lost loved ones due to cancer, death was a blessing. there are some who cannot handle the pain any longer who may attempt suicide. and there are many who do not succeed at suicide who end up at the ER with half their brains blown out because their suicide attempt failed (and I"ll leave it to those who are financially astute to figure out who pays for all of this). then the ER docs are forced to try and sew them up so they can continue their pain and agony. all because they realized they didn't have the legal right to ask anyone to help them end their pain and misery. the system is working.
I was personally involved in a situation like you describe. Tragic and very expensive.
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  #13  
Old 09-07-2009, 09:09 PM
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I was personally involved in a situation like you describe. Tragic and very expensive.
sorry to hear about that. a friend of mine is friends with several geriatric doctors who see unsuccessful suicide attempts all the time. someone should advise these people they need to take a trip to Oregon so they will be allowed to do it right. we should be allowed to die with our dignity intact.
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:33 AM
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If you are terminally ill and in severe pain, your funds are depleted, assisted suicide is the only way to go. Of course doctors and healthcare will start loosing bit money this way.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
It's a tough issue. I gather that some terminal cases are almost certainly terminal, and not far in the future, and incredibly painful in the interim.

And then you have the bizarre cases that Kevorkian sat in on. Not nearly as clear cut.

I consider a line in the bible: 'and he who endureth to the end shall be saved.' Not sure it refers to this topic specifically, but I often consider that they unwillingness to endure pain is sort of a cop out.

Then again, I've never been dying of cancer.
I might have argued against it once upon a time. Then, I watched someone I love waste away slowly of cancer. Sometimes it is hard to maintain such stringent moral certitude when you weigh it against what would be considered "love" in the purest sense of the word.
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