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Support for the End of Life Assistance Bill

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Hello

Thoughts about the proposed End of Life Assistance Bill?

BBC NEWS: Assisted suicide bill published by MSP Margo MacDonald

I'm fully behind it, despite my Catholic background (we're pretty keen on dragging out the deaths of terminally ill people), to the point I've started a Facebook page for it.

Facebook: Support for the Scottish End of Life Assistance Bill

Well?

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Its a good thing, if you can put a dog down when its in pain why not allow the same mercy for a human

Because humans aren't dogs.

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Personally I want to squeeze every last miserable second out of what's left of my existence...and if that means I'm (more of) a dribbling, incontinent burden then fine by me, but I'm not a fan of pain, so I support the bill.

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Because humans aren't dogs.

So we take steps to end the suffering of a dog, cat or hamster, but a human being must see out their days in excruciating pain or lose control of all their faculties, and somehow that is more humane?

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As a whole we should just be left to rot and let the animals deal with the scraps.

Seems I'm in miserable cynic mode today. 21 going on 60 . That'll do fine.

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Dogs are people too.

They really aren't.

So we take steps to end the suffering of a dog, cat or hamster, but a human being must see out their days in excruciating pain or lose control of all their faculties, and somehow that is more humane?

Introducing legislation that would give doctors the legal right to terminate the lives of their patients is a horrific idea. You can't equate the treatment a dumb animal may receive at the vet's to the care given to human beings by doctors. You would oppose treating humans as animals in any other circumstance, why support it in this one?

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What about passing a legislation to terminate the lives of those who are alive and well ... If they moderate forums that's a bonus.

Well, I suppose that's the logical extension of a euthanasia bill. First you get rid of the sick, and the old, then you start thinking about how else things can be improved with a few more state-sanctioned deaths. It's a slippery slope.

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Well, I suppose that's the logical extension of a euthanasia bill. First you get rid of the sick, and the old, then you start thinking about how else things can be improved with a few more state-sanctioned deaths. It's a slippery slope.

I seriously doubt the Scottish Government would go genocide on our asses.

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They really aren't.

Introducing legislation that would give doctors the legal right to terminate the lives of their patients is a horrific idea. You can't equate the treatment a dumb animal may receive at the vet's to the care given to human beings by doctors. You would oppose treating humans as animals in any other circumstance, why support it in this one?

Sometimes dogs become one of the family

let people what are ill with possibility of dying choose whether they sanction euthanasia on themselfs

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I seriously doubt the Scottish Government would go genocide on our asses.

This government, probably not. There's always the chance someone like the person I was responding to will get in a position to abuse the power granted to them by the government, though.

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Well, I suppose that's the logical extension of a euthanasia bill. First you get rid of the sick, and the old, then you start thinking about how else things can be improved with a few more state-sanctioned deaths. It's a slippery slope.

I did study a fair bit about this at uni as part of a course on health and human rights and the "slippery slope" argument is always a valid consideration. I would really have to scrutinise the bill myself to form an opinion on it, something I'm unlikely to do because I don't quite care enough personally, but a glance at the link provided in the first post put my mind at ease slightly by virtue of the proposed law not allowing those with degenerative mental illnesses to have assisted deaths, because they would be particularly vulnerable to coercion by parties with nefarious motives. However, it is still concerning that those who aren't mentally disabled, but who may be vulnerable all the same, would be at risk of coercion, such as people who are perhaps in an emotionally vulnerable position.

All in all, it's a little more complicated than people on this forum are making out, and having strong reservations about such a bill is not indicative of a lack of compassion for human suffering, but in fact quite the opposite.

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Introducing legislation that would give doctors the legal right to terminate the lives of their patients is a horrific idea. You can't equate the treatment a dumb animal may receive at the vet's to the care given to human beings by doctors. You would oppose treating humans as animals in any other circumstance, why support it in this one?

Why is it horrific?

The role of the medical profession should be to alleviate pain and suffering, not prolong it.

There is nothing dignified or compassionate about allowing people with terminal illnesses to waste away into empty shells which bear only a physical resemblance to the person who people would once have known.

Nobody is insinuating that this would be applied universally to all people who end up with a terminal illness, but if I was to be diagnosed with an incurable disease, which would lead to me effectively dying inside before the shell I occupy was gone, then I know I would rather leave the planet with some dignity intact, and not become a burden upon family and society.

Interestingly, in 2006, the US Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act by the Bush administration.

In terms of concern about abuse of system etc. we don't have a system of assisted suicide in place at present, yet people like Harold Shipman were still able to carry out their murders.

The ability for legislation to be abused is not an excuse not to legislate, yes there needs to be careful consideration to the potential, but if the implementation of a law was contingent upon it never being broken or abused, then we would have no laws. (cue the anarchists responding in the positive)

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Why is it horrific?

The role of the medical profession should be to alleviate pain and suffering, not prolong it.

I agree, although their first and most important duty is to do no harm. Terminating the life of another human being, whichever way you look at it, must be classed as "harm". Suffering and pain can be alleviated without resorting to murder, surely?

There is nothing dignified or compassionate about allowing people with terminal illnesses to waste away into empty shells which bear only a physical resemblance to the person who people would once have known.

Which is the greater sin, though? Allowing someone to remain in that state, or extending the right, in the fullest sense of the word, to kill people to members of the medical profession? I feel that greater suffering would come about as a result of doctors terminating patients in order to meet quotas and work to budgets.

In terms of concern about abuse of system etc. we don't have a system of assisted suicide in place at present, yet people like Harold Shipman were still able to carry out their murders.

Shipman did what he thought was the right thing. If he had been a doctor today, and we extended the right to kill his patients to him, how many more would he have murdered? Do you think Shipman's the only one? Even if he is an extreme case, some doctors have a level of detatchment that borders on the psychopathic.

The ability for legislation to be abused is not an excuse not to legislate, yes there needs to be careful consideration to the potential, but if the implementation of a law was contingent upon it never being broken or abused, then we would have no laws. (cue the anarchists responding in the positive)

Legislation should only be introduced if there's a genuine and pressing need for it, and that the potential for abuse is greatly outweighed by the good it does. I don't feel this bill falls into that category, and that morally it falls a long way short of what I would expect from those who govern us.

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Why is it horrific?

The role of the medical profession should be to alleviate pain and suffering, not prolong it.

There is nothing dignified or compassionate about allowing people with terminal illnesses to waste away into empty shells which bear only a physical resemblance to the person who people would once have known.

To quote the Hippocratic Oath;

"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan"

The medical profession has been up in arms about this, since the Hippocratic Oath has been the foundation of Medical Practice for so long. Also their are (substantiated in my opinion) fears that patients won't trust doctors as much if doctors are given the right to end the life of a person in such a way.

Granted thanks to the whole double effect principle, doctors can shorten life in certain circumstances. A key principle of current end of live care is to relieve suffering. Basically they just give a very high dose of morphine that, while obviously relieving pain, has the other side effects of suppressing breathing etc. In effect it shortens their life, but the primary principle is to relieve suffering, so it can be justified. The other use of this is the whole withdrawal of treatment issue.

The difference is that Euthanasia is actively ending life. It's not giving a treatment to relieve suffering,

I do agree with the compassion argument. If I was in that situation I suspect I would want to feel the same. However, as someone who will be a doctor in less than 3 years fi I pass exams etc. I wouldn't want to do it. I don't know another medic in my year that would want to either. Although we deal with and see death frequently, it certainly does not give us the motivation to kill someone, no matter what suffering they go through.. I know the bill has the opt out clause for those who object, but I can't imagine many doctors who would actually want to do this.

The bill has good features, the psychiatric assessment to ensure patients are of sound mind is obviously a good idea, as is the 15 day cooling off period where they have the opportunity to change their mind.

I've had plenty of ethics discussions about this, but am yet to actually read the bill, so I may do so. But my gut instinct is in it's current form I wouldn't back it. However I do back the principle that people should have the right in certain circumstances. It's just those circumstances are very hard to define without exposing yourself to the whole slippery slope of who is and isn't eligible as has been mentioned.

In terms of concern about abuse of system etc. we don't have a system of assisted suicide in place at present, yet people like Harold Shipman were still able to carry out their murders.

Shipman was an exceptional case. I think he was the first doctor to actually be murdering patients for the best part of 50 years. For that reason, and based on the numbers who have been doctors in that period, I'd like to think our professional integrity and compassion as human beings would stop us from using this law for malevolent purposes. Changes have been made to the profession since Shipman to try and stop it happening again. Although, to be honest I don't think they would stop someone from doing it again if they wanted to. Such people are going to kill if they are doctors or not, and I don't think any feasable levels of scrutiny in the profession would stop them..

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I read somewhere that the majority of people who go see these Swiss death doctors wanting to die don't actually go through with it, either because they change their mind or the doctor refuses. It's a strict, structured and gradual process. Not just a case of filling in a form and getting a jab from your GP. Numerous consultations and extended stays in treatment facilities are involved. Just the fact that the law exists gives people an 'option' when it seems everything else in their life is out of their control and in the case of Switzerland, it certainly doesn't just mean people are getting dropped left right and centre. It's almost like the ultimate form of counselling, in that there is a definite end choice; either live with it or don't.

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It's a slippery slope.

I don't see why a bill allowing people to make a decision about their own life is "a slippery slope". I've heard that sound bite a few times now and I think it's really weak.

To my mind the background to this debate can be distilled into one simple point: You either believe a human being should have the right to decide when their life should end or you don't.

If you are of the first point of view you need to decided under exactly what circumstances that should be allowed and with what safeguards in place to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

If you are of the second point of view then I think it is up to you to explain exactly why and not resort to vague scaremongering like the above.

There's always the chance someone like the person I was responding to will get in a position to abuse the power granted to them by the government, though.

Again, I don't think this debate should move to include possible dystopian futures created from fantasy elements in your own imagination.

Back on topic please. ;)

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Which is the greater sin, though? Allowing someone to remain in that state, or extending the right, in the fullest sense of the word, to kill people to members of the medical profession? I feel that greater suffering would come about as a result of doctors terminating patients in order to meet quotas and work to budgets.

Do you seriously think doctors would go to that length to meet quotas or budgets? That is a pretty cynical view. The GMC would NEVER allow such decisions to be based purely on financial reasons, and I'm pretty sure the NHS wouldn't either. Their is a massive difference between resource allocation, withdrawing or withholding treatment and actually ending people's lives to save money.

Shipman did what he thought was the right thing. If he had been a doctor today, and we extended the right to kill his patients to him, how many more would he have murdered? Do you think Shipman's the only one? Even if he is an extreme case, some doctors have a level of detatchment that borders on the psychopathic.

As I said, first doctor in nearly 50 years. Remember this bill is NOT based solely on the opinions of doctors. A psychiatric assessment has to be made as well. I fully realise a doctor could put words into someone's mouth to pass a test of whether they are of sound mind or not, but at best I think it's unlikely. Plus emotional detachment is hardly the same as wanting to end someone's life. Then i'm pretty sure doctors need a lot of emotional detachment, I've never been in the position myself but if one of your patients dies, especially if it is due to an iatrogenic cause or a mistake, I would imagine it's difficult to just waltz along happily to the next patient as if nothing happened.

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I don't see why a bill allowing people to make a decision about their own life is "a slippery slope". I've heard that sound bite a few times now and I think it's really weak.

The crux of the matter isn't the ability of people deciding to end their own life, it's doctors having the right to terminate the lives of others.

To my mind the background to this debate can be distilled into one simple point: You either believe a human being should have the right to decide when their life should end or you don't.

You either believe an individual taking the life of another who is no physical threat to them murder, or it isn't.

If you are of the first point of view you need to decided under exactly what circumstances that should be allowed and with what safeguards in place to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

If you are of the second point of view then I think it is up to you to explain exactly why and not resort to vague scaremongering like the above.

I don't advocate doctors murdering patients. If someone ends their own life, then they should not involve anyone else in their actions. I don't think questioning the wisdom of giving the right to kill fellow humans to members of the medical profession is scaremongering, especially as we all know that abuse of the system could be prolific and severe. The governance of our health and social care is in a shocking state, and I have no confidence that this proposed system of state-sanctioned murder would be properly implemented or regulated.

Again, I don't think this debate should move to include possible dystopian futures created from fantasy elements in your own imagination.

Back on topic please. ;)

Discussing the potential implications of the bill is perfectly valid, especially if one is genuinely concerned about the moral issues surrounding it. If you don't find yourself capable of discussing those aspects for any reason, so be it.

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The crux of the matter isn't the ability of people deciding to end their own life, it's doctors having the right to terminate the lives of others.

No, it absolutely isn't. The right belongs to the patient, to have someone assist them in carrying out THEIR wishes.

If someone ends their own life, then they should not involve anyone else in their actions.

If you respond to anything here, please just respond to this. Is suicide acceptable for medical reasons if you don't involve a third person?

Discussing the potential implications of the bill is perfectly valid

That's not what you were discussing - you were talking about "a slippery slope" and what might happen if someone came into power who might change the system in some nightmarish fashion and doctor serial killers...

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