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I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...




Euthanasia and the right to die


It seems like everyone has been talking about the Terri Schiavo case this week.

Unfogged has talked about it here and here (which linked to this comment by The Rev. John Paris, a professor of bioethics) and here and here (I recommend you read the comments, they've got some really interesting ones).

They also linked to this post by Majikthise.

SwissToni has talked about it. But for some reason, whenever I even try to view his comments, my computer crashes. Otherwise, I would have commented on his post.

And then you have the commentary by Bliss, pd dude, UCL, Milbarge and Evan

What I know about the case is pretty much contained in the links in this post (ie bugger all). There were a heap of links in the comments to UCL's post, but they weren't hyperlinked, or their contents described, and I can't be bothered copying and pasting all of them into my browser (I'm lazy like that!).

But most of them were linked from the University of Miami Ethics Programs page on the case, which seemed to have a fairly unemotive reporting of the facts.

I'm not really interested in the current barny about whether there should or should not be legislation or a federal case to override the state court decision.

What interests me is the original court case, where Terri Schiavo's husband went to the court to ask them to determine what her wishes would have been if she'd had the capacity to make a decision. And the court decided that she would have wanted to die.

I've never made any bones about the fact that I don't want to be kept alive by any permanent artificial means. I don't really care what it is or how unobtrusive or whatever. If I have no capacity to make the decision for myself, and no hope of recovery without the artificial means, then I'd prefer to be euthanased. And I've got the Advance Health Directive to prove it. I ticked everything on p9 and ticked all of the "Do Not Want" boxes on p10 and p11. Mine is still in the old form though, so I'm thinking I should do an update.

Which brings me to my next point. When you have circumstances like those outlined above, what really is the difference between withdrawing treatment and euthanasing someone? They're going to die anyway if you remove the feeding tube (or whatever), you've got a decision to essentially kill them by removing it, so why not just do it the more humane way and give them a massive dose of morphine? After all, we put down animals who have no hope of recovery to save them the pain. Why not people?

Of course, the big difference is that people can tell you that they want to die. I know some people suffering from terminal illnesses who have wanted to spend every moment with their loved ones. But I've also seen people who wanted to go, but were being kept alive (essentially) against their will.

I feel for Terri Schiavo. I wouldn't want to live like that and I wouldn't want to be remembered like that. I don't care if she can feel or not or if she has any cognitive ability. To me, it's not about whether she's in pain. It's about her wishes and those of the people who are caring for her. If it was me, I'd want to go.

And on that happy note, I'll wish you all a happy Easter and bugger off.



Listening to: Coastal Chill 05

3 Comments:

Blogger ozbhoy said...

For all those people who want her kept alive because it goes against christianity I say let's see what God thinks. Remove the tube and if God wants her to live, she will. If he wants her in 'heaven' then she drops off the twig.
Simple solution.
It always irks me how their God is never responsible for anything. If there is a God he struck her down and we mere mortals are going against his will by maintaning her 'life'
Same with IVF it is always to give mother nature a helping hand but when science impregnates someone it is a blessing from God.

Balls!!

If that's the case then God made you barren and you are defying him by conceiving.
Right for lifers HA! lets see some real commitment. Get yourselves down to the funeral parlours and mortuaries protest the weak bastards laying dead in those places. Remember, there's always options.
Sorry this has turned into a rant. I'll go now.

12:10 am  
Blogger Red said...

I completely agree with your thoughts about euthanasia. I don't know why we can't send her off peacefully and quickly instead of letting her linger on the way she is. I mean, we kill murderers in a more humane manner than we're killing Teri Schiavo.....

As far as I'm concerned, it should never have come to this. We shouldn't be talking about starving her to death, this should have been over 15 years ago when the initial illness happened and it was plain that she would have no chance of recovering even a semblance of a 'meaningful' life.

As for the argument that she'll end up in hell because it's a mortal sin...well, it could also be argued that she's in hell right now and she's not dead yet....

1:17 am  
Blogger OLS said...

ozbhoy - rant all you like. I don't mind and it keeps things interesting around here. After all, there's only so much of *my* ranting that a person can read! ;o)

red - welcome, don't think we've seen you around here before. So how did you get here? I went over a visited your site and read your post about Teri.

As for whether it's a mortal sin - well, surely that would only be relevant if it was relevant to Teri? And since she had expressed a desire not to be kept alive in such circumstances, isn't that what everyone should be focussing on?

I come from a family of atheists - and we have all expressed to the rest of the family that we don't want to be kept artificially alive where there is no hope of recovery. For us, whether it's a sin or not has never come into the equation - it's all about quality of life.

- OLS

11:05 am  

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