Euthanasia - should it be legal or illegal? (v2.0)

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Darth Mischievous, Mar 18, 2005.

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  1. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I think part of the problem regarding the 'value of life' is whether we are looking for an objective or subjective answer (that's the perennial conflict in medical ethics). Subjectively, the value of life is wherever we place it - no one can step in an arbitrarily decide for someone else what the quality of their life is. In the case of Terri (and many others like her), we go by the best evidence we have available.

    The ideal is substituted judgment - in which one person knows the patient well enough to make choices based on the patient's values, as if they were the patient him/herself. At the other end of the spectrum is the best interest standard, in which choices are made solely on what is in the patient's best medical interests. Most situations like this fall somewhere between the two.

    Objective value of life is very difficult - for one, what do we measure it with, and what are the units?
  2. DarthBreezy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    The events of this afternoon make me even more adament in support of this. I would almost give anything to have had the nurse give my mother a heavey OD of Morphine rather than to watch her go through this. The dying can feel pain, I saw this with my own eyes. I begged the nurse "Send her out higher than a kite, it doesn't matter at this point", but insted, I'm sitting here at my dad's house waiting for the call that means it's over.
  3. JediKlea Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 3
    As sad as this entire thing has been I am glad for her sake that she is past pain now and in a better place.

    My Aunt has been very worried about this whole thing as it progressed, she is afraid that if suceh a thing happened to her {which it might considering her health and job}, her husband {very strained relations} will basicly have the veto power over her life, and she believes that he would do the same thing as Michael Schivo, this is reall, I do not believe that anyone should have the power to end someones life like that. Maybe she did want her life ended, maybe she didn't, but I do not believe that was a clear enough place to allow her husband to have that right. The courts did alot of arguing, alot of dragging this and that through the mud, alot of re-using hte same 10 year old documentation to try and determine everything, what should of been done was allowed the investegations to be done, a complete re-diagnose of her medical functioning state and abilities, and a investegation of the abuse allegations.
    IFF that all panned out negativly, than I would see the courts having legitimate reason to leave that entirely up to Michael Shivo.
    I detest the guy, and still beleive her parents should have been given the rights, but from a legal standpoint that would have been the best thing to do.
    I also find injections a much more humane idea.
  4. darth_paul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    Why, then, doesn't your aunt call a lawyer and write up a medical power of attorney placing the power in someone else's hands? The law defaults to the husband, but anyone who has any concerns whatsoever can very easily draw up documentation switching the power to someone else's hands. Additionally, it's very possible to have a living will outlining the medical action or lack thereof that you want taken in particular situations. There's no reason for anyone to be afraid, becaue it can be taken care of so easily.

    -Paul
  5. DarthBreezy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    I have found, to my horror, that ACD's are not aways honored.

    "No IV Fluids/invasive antibiotics" says my mothers. I asked the Nurse today "Why is she getting them?"

    "Well, we were waiting for the word from you (the family)" says she.

    "Have the Doctor bring it up with my dad please," says I, not wanting to remind dad of this at this horrible, painfull time.

    She STILL had the damn thing when I left 3 hours later.

    (I'm posting this while I take some downtime from real world events...)
  6. darth_paul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    Sheesh! That's not cool.

    I guess both documentation of your wishes and medical power of attorney in the hands of someone you trust is essential to make sure you've got a chance at getting taken care of the way you want. But they're both imminently possible to arrange.

    By the way, I'm terribly sorry to hear about your mother. I hope things are as painless as possible for her, and I'll keep her and you and your family in my prayers.

    -Paul
  7. severian28 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    Euthansasia may be humane in certain cases but as an institution it would place an overwhelming burden on society.
  8. darth_paul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    How so? What burden would allowing people to choose to die rather than being forced to live in pain place upon society?

    -Paul
  9. severian28 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2004
    star 5
    The laws that would be created to allow people to die on their own terms would most definetely place a burden on society in ways that couldnt even be conceived - most particularly in the health fields and care of the elderly. You think its going to be as cut and dry as a terminally sick person pressing a death button? No way. I think euthanasia is actually digressive, and not progressive as many on the left like to think, and I shoot from the left and Im saying that. Progressive is advanced medicinal and scientific research to extend the human life span, artificially replace limbs and organs, enhance quality of life to humans, and to exponentiate a healthy human beings mobility and physicality as well as a disabled person. To me euthanasia equates to a defeat of the human spirit. If I lose the ability to walk, am I to wish death against the chance that I couldnt one day have a normal life with advancements in spinal surgery, limb replacement, robotics, or any other of the numerous hopes that would benefit mankind as technology advances?
  10. DarthBreezy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2002
    star 6
    I think I'm still numb, that's the only reason I can think of that I can post this so clinicly.

    Last night my father realized that the high level of oxegeon my mum was recieving was probably only extending the pain and postphoning the inevidible. He called the nurse in and asked if the O2 mask could be removed, she said she would have to call (?- ACD anyone???), he said no, don't call, I said yes please, finally we reached a comprimise that mum would recive a small amount through a nasel device as apposed to the full mask (If Approved :mad: ).

    To make a long, personal passage short, she passed less than an hour later in his arms with the minimal O2 and hopefully a lot less pain.

    I don't think I'll be checking back here for a little while... I'm still in shock and in a little denial I guess, but I want to stress the Importance of not only getting an advanced care directive, but discussing it with your loved ones. Not just the one who will make the ultimate decision for you, but the others who might be able to gently remind your appointed gaurdian of your wishes, hard as that might be.


    Paulie
  11. Loopster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2000
    star 4
    I'm sorry to hear that Breezy. Look after yourself.
  12. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Me too, Breezy. My best to you and your family, and I'm sorry for what you all went through.
  13. JediKlea Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 3
    I'm so sorry breezy, that is hard.

    To darthpaul, the only lawyer she can afford is thier family lawyer, who being good buddys with her husband would probably tell him and cause much more trouble and grief. Privacy rights don't matter if you have no money to take them to court.
  14. Kimball_Kinnison Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I'm so sorry breezy, that is hard.

    To darthpaul, the only lawyer she can afford is thier family lawyer, who being good buddys with her husband would probably tell him and cause much more trouble and grief. Privacy rights don't matter if you have no money to take them to court.


    A medical directive/living will can be as simply (in many cases) as making a notarized statement about your wishes. Write up a letter expressing what steps you do or do not want, take it to a bank (or other place to find a notary) and get several copies notarized. Most notaries charge around $2-3 per document.

    Then, provide copies of the document to at least two different people that you trust, and ask that they protect your wishes if anything should happen.

    Of course, the above is not legal advice, as I am not a lawyer. It is simply a series of steps that you can take to help make sure that your wishes will be carried out.

    Kimball Kinnison
  15. Loopster Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2000
    star 4

    Here's an issue from the other end of the spectrum.

    A case where the patient and family don't want treatment but the hospital has gained a court order forcing them to comply with the wishes of the hospital.


    From smh.com.au:

    Court orders further transfusion against boy's wishes
    By Leonie Lamont
    May 12, 2005

    A Jehovah's Witness teenager felt "violated, raped" after he was given a life-saving blood transfusion against his and his parents' wishes, the Supreme Court has heard.

    The Children's Hospital at Westmead sought the court's approval yesterday to administer a further transfusion today, saying the 16-year-old cancer patient was at imminent risk of a fatal stroke if he did not receive it.

    Two weeks ago the court authorised transfusion treatment after hearing the teenager had only a 50:50 chance of surviving the night. The teenager, whom the court ordered be known as "Jay", and his parents, opposed the blood transfusion because it violated their religious beliefs.

    Jay's father told Justice Clifford Einstein his son had a strong faith. "Last time when he had the treatment, he doesn't want it, he cried, he feels emotionally depressed," the father said.

    "We dearly love our son and want the best for him ? Jay is not a baby. He fully understands the position he's in and feels that having blood given to him against his wishes is a violation of conscience. He believes that what is happening is not just a medical matter, he is being stripped of his right to be obedient and faithful to his God."
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    He said the family appreciated the help of the doctors, but could "never consent" to the transfusion. Jay's mother said her son told her he felt "violated, raped" and that his privacy had been invaded. "It is like a nightmare at home because they have violated him," she said. She detailed how she had sat up half the night comforting her crying son. He had been distressed by a document prepared for yesterday's court hearing, in which one of his doctors said he had the "intellectual age of a much younger teenager".

    "He said, 'No matter what I say or do they have no consideration ? they treat me as a little child'."

    Justice Einstein was concerned that Jay was not represented in court, but Ian Harrison SC, for the hospital, said the urgent need for a transfusion should override that concern. He said Jay had undergone two transfusions, and neither he nor his parents had attempted to stop them. He had responded well, and been released home, but his condition had deteriorated and he required the transfusion today.

    Justice Einstein said even though Jay was 16 and his wishes should be given serious consideration, he was still a child and his best interests lay in the treatment proposed by the hospital. "His life ought to be spared. He may well die in the absence of an order," the judge said.

    He approved the hospital's application, and ordered a legal tutor be appointed to represent the teenager.


    I think that a 16yr old is old enough to make up their own mind.
  16. Guinastasia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 6
    Oh, absolutely! I mean, if he were six, I could see. Maybe even if he were 12. But at sixteen? I think 14 is the age they let most kids decide which parent they want to live with in custody disputes. So forcing medical procedures on a 16 year old is definitely out of line.
  17. IkritMan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2002
    star 5
    They went against the parents' wishes as well?
  18. darth_paul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    I'm a lot less concerned about that than going against his wishes. Until they're capable of making their own decisions, I can see a call for protecting children from the medically destructive decisions of their parents. And it's convenient that his feelings and his parents' coincided -- but many six-year-olds would agree with their parents about a position their parents held strongly without having any understanding of what that entailed. But it bothers me that someone who many states would allow to drive a car and have sex and who has not been demonstrated to be mentally incompetent (though whether this should make a difference is highly iffy) is being forced to accept a medical treatment against his will. That's wrong.

    -Paul
  19. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    I'm concerned about this - there have been legal precedents concerning children of this age making their own medical decisions (one, in fact, that was a Jehovah's Witness), and I'm not sure that that judge's ruling is legal or ethical (there is a potentially legitimate parens patriae claim, however). I'll have to do some digging.

    Ironically I can't post more now because I'm off to give blood. ;)
  20. Guinastasia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2002
    star 6
    His parents' wishes are secondary, since at sixteen, I think he's old enough to refuse treatment. What if he wanted treatment and his parents refused-would you still say the parents' wish should be honored?
  21. Cheveyo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Back to Terri Schiavo... Today, her autopsy report was published:

    [link=http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/06/15/schiavo.autopsy/]cnn.com[/link]
    The autopsy of Terri Schiavo found no evidence that the severely brain-damaged woman was strangled or abused and that no amount of therapy would have reversed her condition, medical examiners said Wednesday.


  22. Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Well, Chev, you beat me to it.

    Schiavo Autopsy Shows Severe Brain Damage

    By David Brown and William Branigin
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Wednesday, June 15, 2005; 4:38 PM



    Terri Schiavo died of the effects of a profound and prolonged lack of oxygen to her brain on a day in 1990, but what caused that event isn't known and may never be, the physician who performed her autopsy said today.

    A meticulous study of the organs, fluids, bones, cells and medical records of the Florida woman who became a cause celebre over the "right to die" also found that her brain was severely shriveled and weighed about half that of a normal adult's. The damage to it "was irrecoverable, and no amount of treatment or rehabilitation would have reversed" it, said pathologist Jon R. Thogmartin, who is the chief medical examiner for Florida's sixth judicial district.

    The damage was especially severe in the region responsible for vision, making her functionally blind, he said at a news conference in Florida.

    Schiavo died March 31 at age 41 in a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after a feeding tube was removed from her stomach under a court order. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, had waged a seven-year legal battle against her parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, to have the tube removed on grounds that his wife would not have wanted to be kept alive by such means. The Schindlers, backed by anti-abortion and right-to-life groups, rejected that argument and asserted that their daughter was responsive to them, wanted to live and could improve.

    The autopsy essentially supported Michael Schiavo's contention that his wife's brain damage was irreversible and that she had no cognitive ability. It also refuted claims by some of his harsher critics that he had abused her.

    Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, later told reporters, "Mr. Schiavo was pleased to hear the hard science and evidence of those findings."

    Felos said Michael Schiavo intends to release certain autopsy photos of Terri Schiavo's brain "in the near future" in hopes of putting to rest any lingering doubts about her mental capacity. He said the photos would allow the public to "see the profound atrophy that was mentioned in the report."

    In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the autopsy report did not change President Bush's view of the Schiavo case, in which he and Congress had tried to intervene with the aim of restoring her feeding tube and prolonging her life.

    "No . . . it doesn't," McClellan said. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with her family and friends. The president was deeply saddened by this case."

    A lawyer for the Schindlers, David Gibbs III, said today his clients continue to believe that before her death, their daughter "was demonstrating a will to live."

    Among other findings, the autopsy either ruled out or greatly diminished the likelihood that Schiavo lapsed into a coma 15 years ago as a result of strangulation, beatings, drug overdose, eating disorder or a rare molecular heart defect. All had been mentioned since she collapsed at age 26.

    Asked at today's press conference whether there was any evidence of neglect or abuse of Schiavo, Thogmartin answered firmly: "No."

    But he was unable to shed any new light on what caused the 1990 collapse that left her incapacitated. Asked whether the cause will ever be known, he said: "I don't know."

    He also said that even if the Schindlers' request to give Schiavo food and water by mouth had been granted after the feeding tube was removed, she still would have died.

    "Removal of her feeding tube would have resulted in her death whether she was fed or hydrated by mouth or not," Thogmartin said. He said a review of Schiavo's medical records confirmed to him that she was "not a candidate for oral hydration or nutrition," and couldn't take enough by mouth to sustain life.

    "She died of marked dehydration," he said. "She did not starve to death." As measured by the balance of salt and water in her body fluids, the dehydration was the most severe he had ever
  23. Cheveyo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Scooped ya. ;)

    So, since there was no physical way for her to ever recover from her state (as previously alleged by her parents and argued here by some), I wonder if this changes opinions.

    I'd also like to see what those same people have to say about the allegations against Michael Schiavo--abuse and such against Terri. Shall they continue to suggest he is an evil wife beater out to kill her from Day 1, or will they choose now to listen to the medical facts?



  24. cal_silverstar Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2002
    star 4
    I was one of those guys. Looks like this is an open and shut case. On a legal standpoint, there is no way to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Michael Shiavo had malicious intent.
  25. Jedi_Xen Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 4
    I'd also like to see what those same people have to say about the allegations against Michael Schiavo--abuse and such against Terri. Shall they continue to suggest he is an evil wife beater out to kill her from Day 1, or will they choose now to listen to the medical facts?

    I doubt it. Some will, some were to extreme in their views, and its always hard to get an extremist to change their point of view, all facts do is get in their way, and hamper what they want to believe.
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