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Do you support the terminally ill having access to euthanasia in Australia?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems as though the Euthanasia debate will be coming back into the limelight. Considering the amount of discussion this topic tends to create, I thought it'd be best to separate it from the normal politics thread. But, mods, feel free to merge it, though.

Draft Euthanasia bill tabled in Senate to allow terminally ill to die with dignity

A DRAFT bill to legalise euthanasia tabled in the Senate is set to spearhead a controversial new campaign about dying with dignity.

The draft bill would make it legal for doctors to prescribe and administer an end of life substance.

Two doctors and a psychiatrist would have to sign off on the prescription of the drug to people dying of terminal diseases who wish to end their lives.
Greens health spokesman and medico Senator Richard Di Natale tabled the bill eighteen years after a law making euthanasia legal in the Northern Territory was overturned by federal parliament.

“I think we haven’t got the numbers right now,” Senator Di Natale said.
“We’re starting from a fair way back but that’s because people haven’t heard from the people in this room, haven’t heard their stories.”

The former GP said opinion polls showed there was 80 per cent popular support for this reform.

The draft bill relies on Section 51 of the Australian Constitution which gives the federal parliament the power to legislate regarding medical services.

The bill sets up a “dying with dignity medical service” and authorises medical practitioners to prescribe, prepare and/or administer a substance that would assist a terminally ill person to end their life in a humane manner.

Under the bill the federal government would pay for this service as it would for other medical services and also indemnifies doctors from prosecution by the states.
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/draft-euthanasia-bill-tabled-in-senate-to-allow-terminally-ill-to-die-with-dignity/story-fneuz9ev-1226965489786

I'd love to know people's thoughts on this.
 

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* Only if it's with the consent of the individuals with their full mental faculties in tact. We do not want a situation in which family is deciding when family should die.
 

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^^It would be tough preventing that happening, because it would happen. My uncle died last month from a fall in a respite home. He had to have a post mortem, because they said that in 1 in 600 fall cases they find that someone pushed them. There are people in my family I wouldn't trust, they're not overtly evil, but it's just the way some people's minds work.

That said, people should be able to die with dignity if they want that and in the company of people they love. It's possible to euthanise yourself now, but if you have people with you you risk incriminating them. My mum went to a Phillip Nietzke talk when she was sick, I've still got the literature. In the end her doctor assisted her really, withdrew medication and gave her a morphine pump. Just never go to a catholic institution, they will never let you die if they can help it, right to life etc, you could be a rotting living corpse like my grandmother, for 10 years. She was not even present any more after several heart attacks and strokes, had infections and bed sores and they wouldn't withdraw the feeding tube and medication.

It's been in the news here this week:

Third party involvement in elderly couple's deaths in Albany ruled out
Posted Mon 23 Jun 2014, 2:11pm AEST

Police have ruled out any third party involvement in the deaths of an elderly couple in Albany, on Western Australia's South Coast.

Police and ambulance officers were called to the couple's house in Middleton Beach on Friday morning after neighbours suspected something was wrong.

After spending two days at the house, the Major Crime squad is now satisfied there was no third party involved in the death of the 87-year-old man and his 90-year-old wife.

Police will hand the evidence from their investigation to the coroner.

It will then be up to the coroner to determine whether the deaths were a murder-suicide or a double suicide.

After their bodies were found, euthanasia advocates said they had been in contact with the couple.

Carol O'Neil, of Exit International, said she had spoken to the couple earlier this year and that both people had debilitating diseases.

"They rang me about three times earlier this year, probably a good six months ago," she said.

"I spoke to both of them and they were just happy to get some information about having a peaceful end to their life should they feel that need arise."

Ms O'Neil said the woman told her she had multiple sclerosis and her husband had Parkinson's disease.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-23/third-party-involvement-in-couples-death-ruled-out/5544054
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Just never go to a catholic institution, they will never let you die if they can help it, right to life etc, you could be a rotting living corpse like my grandmother, for 10 years. She was not even present any more after several heart attacks and strokes, had infections and bed sores and they wouldn't withdraw the feeding tube and medication.
That's incredibly sad. I'm really sorry to hear that Kelli :/ Could she have been transferred to another hospital?
 

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I'm not sure, she had five children making the arrangements and I was quite young, I don't really remember how it came about. My grandmother was a very strong Catholic and probably expressed the wish to go there when she was lucid.
 

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I fully support euthanasia, of course within guidelines.
My Grandma recently died, she was healthy, deteriorated very quickly and went to hospital where they said they could keep her alive. She asked the doctors to stop treating her , which they agreed to, but then changed doctors. The next doctor didn't listen to her wishes to die in peace, faster. He tried to keep her alive against my grandma's wishes and against all our family. She was in pain, didn't want people to see her and lasted another month in this state, rather than another week as she wished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Kelli, I fully support it. People should have control over their lives and when they want their lives to end. As you know, I run an NFP in suicide prevention, so I'm all for keeping people alive and helping them enjoy it as much as possible. I think life is a precious opportunity that we have for such a fleeting period of time, so when that opportunity becomes a medically inescapable hell, then people should have the right to end their suffering.

Despite whether people personally agree with Euthenasia or not, what right do you have to tell other people what they should do with their lives? Fortunately, I've never been in the situation where I've had to see a loved one "linger", so I don't have that experience to draw from, but if my parents (or anyone else I know) were ever in that situation, I'd prefer them to leave this world of their own volition then being forced to live a life of agony.

I concede, though, that there are a lot of grey areas and any legislation would have to be very carefully worded.

I guess my big question is where is the line drawn between physical and mental anguish? Obviously something like terminal cancer is physically trackable and is an "easy" option for euthanasia. What about someone who has severe chemical depression and wants to end their life? What do we use as the measuring stick of "pain and anguish"...? Is it just physical degradation....?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd love to hear from Max Headway, Aussiescraperman & mute123 as to why they're against, though...? I'd be interested to know if anyone has any non-religious grounds against it....?
 

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I'd love to hear from Max Headway, Aussiescraperman & mute123 as to why they're against, though...? I'd be interested to know if anyone has any non-religious grounds against it....?
People getting rid of estranged or unpopular family members? Inheritance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^^ Are there any laws anywhere in the world that allow euthanasia to be "approved" by anyone apart from the person who's to be euthanised?
 

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^^ Are there any laws anywhere in the world that allow euthanasia to be "approved" by anyone apart from the person who's to be euthanised?
The only countries where it's legal are Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Belgium has rather strict laws for children which says that the child must be mature enough to understand what euthanasia is, must be in pain that isn't alleviated by treatment, must be verified by a psychologist etc. Luxembourg requires terminally ill to have a request approved by two doctors and a panel of experts and the Netherlands require that requests be voluntary, the patients are fully aware etc.

Edit: Basically the patient can request it but it has to be approved by a doctor and with children, parents.
 

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Kelli, I fully support it. People should have control over their lives and when they want their lives to end. As you know, I run an NFP in suicide prevention, so I'm all for keeping people alive and helping them enjoy it as much as possible. I think life is a precious opportunity that we have for such a fleeting period of time, so when that opportunity becomes a medically inescapable hell, then people should have the right to end their suffering.

Despite whether people personally agree with Euthenasia or not, what right do you have to tell other people what they should do with their lives? Fortunately, I've never been in the situation where I've had to see a loved one "linger", so I don't have that experience to draw from, but if my parents (or anyone else I know) were ever in that situation, I'd prefer them to leave this world of their own volition then being forced to live a life of agony.

I concede, though, that there are a lot of grey areas and any legislation would have to be very carefully worded.

I guess my big question is where is the line drawn between physical and mental anguish? Obviously something like terminal cancer is physically trackable and is an "easy" option for euthanasia. What about someone who has severe chemical depression and wants to end their life? What do we use as the measuring stick of "pain and anguish"...? Is it just physical degradation....?
What is your view on euthanasia for mental anguish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
^^ TBH, I really don't know... I can appreciate that mental anguish can be just as devastating as physical pain (not that they're mutually exclusive), but I've no idea as to how a benchmark could be set.... What are your thoughts on it?
 

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I'm surprised none of the religious nutjobs have floated in from the other thread to weigh in.

Mental illnesses are a tough one since while mental pain trumps physical pain, the possibility of remission is always there, and in some cases a person is incapable of making a proper decision due to their illness.

In the end it's freedom of choice - you should have the right to kill yourself if terminally ill.
 

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^^ TBH, I really don't know... I can appreciate that mental anguish can be just as devastating as physical pain (not that they're mutually exclusive), but I've no idea as to how a benchmark could be set.... What are your thoughts on it?
What Bleakcity said I think.

Ultimately to chose death is everyone's right, I hate how people go on about suicide being selfish, I don't think that, way to go to make people feel even worse. I think the sadder thing is when people suicide when there is a good chance they would have gotten better at some point. So for that reason I wouldn't think it was good to make it easier for people to do. Especially young people, feeling depressed is so widespread as to almost be a normal part of finding yourself out in the big wide world but not having found your place in it yet, and that would pass for a lot of them. If it happens when you're older, there is probably a long history of feeling bad, then you're better able to judge - either you know it passes eventually and you get on with it or whether you've had enough.

It's actually the 11th anniversary of my mum's death today, so I've been thinking about it. I swear to this day that a large part of why she gave up the fight to live, going off medication etc, was because she felt bad about inconveniencing everyone through a long illness. The psychological aspects of it are many and varied. I can see subtle manipulation being a real problem, it can be so insidious.

How easy is heroin to get? I think if I knew I had a terminal illness, while I was still well enough I'd go find enough to do the job, just to have on hand in case. Just knowing you had a way out would make you feel better, you might not even use it.
 

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As an individual, I will not choose to be euthanized. Suffering is not desirable; however I understand that it is a part of life. Suffering can expose some of the most beautiful aspects of life. White is brighter against a dark backdrop, as beauty contrasts to ugliness and love shines against hate. When I look back at the most difficult times in my life, I came out of them stronger, better, more humbled and more compassionate. I can look back on the difficult times with as much, if not greater fondness than the times that were smooth sailing. The times where you are at your lowest are the times you hold the greatest hope. Even if I am terminally ill and in pain, I know that there is still life and there is still hope. Euthanasia does not align with the individual I want to be.

As a family member, a friend or a colleague, I am there to encourage and support any person in my circle of influence who is terminally ill. I am there to laugh, cry, hold and care. I am there to walk with them with them until their last breath. I am there to encourage and give hope. Supporting euthanasia does not align with the family member or friend I want to be.

As a member of society, I support any measure that encourages people to value and accept life in all circumstances. A society where every person has others who will walk alongside them, especially at their darkest times. Where no one is seen as beyond their used by date by themselves or by others. A society where there is hope, even in hopelessness. Supporting euthanasia does not align with the society I want to see.

Finally, I watched as my four year old nephew succumbed to leukemia. At the end, he full of drips, tubes and life support machines, both internal and external. But he never ever gave up the fight. He didn’t want to die, but he couldn’t live. And for me, his memory is like a fire that burns in my soul. A fire that drives me to do and to be better. For me, to support euthanasia would be like throwing a bucket of water on that fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Suffering can expose some of the most beautiful aspects of life. White is brighter against a dark backdrop, as beauty contrasts to ugliness and love shines against hate.
I like your sentiment. It sounds like a statement from someone who has never been in extreme, prolonged agony, though. I feel as though your POV is heavily romanticised.

When I look back at the most difficult times in my life, I came out of them stronger, better, more humbled and more compassionate. I can look back on the difficult times with as much, if not greater fondness than the times that were smooth sailing. The times where you are at your lowest are the times you hold the greatest hope.
The difference is that through those tough times you had the luxury of hope - there was the possibility of things getting better. The whole point of euthanasia is for those who literally don't have that option. Euthanasia isn't for who are just sick - it's for those who have no prospect of ever healing.

I completely understand that if (heaven forbid) you're in a terminal situation that you'd choose to not euthanise yourself and I respect that. As Kelly's asked - I'd be interested in knowing whether you would allow your own beliefs to stand in the way of others making that choice for themselves?
 
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