spikeychris 20:17 03 May 2007

Active euthanasia occurs when a doctor administers medication knowing it will shorten a patient's life.

Dying with dignity or active murder?

FE takes spikeychris off Christmas card list.

  Kate B 20:21 03 May 2007

Dying with dignity - provided the doctor is 100 per cent sure it is the express wish of the patient.

  Bingalau 20:30 03 May 2007

Has FE got a christmas card list?

  oresome 20:51 03 May 2007

"Active euthanasia occurs when a doctor administers medication knowing it will shorten a patient's life."

The doctor may well administer medication that shortens the patient's life, but this may not be the primary reason for the medication. It may just be a side-effect and under those circumstances cannot be called active euthanasia in my opinion.

As to whether anyone has the right to choose to terminate their life early with the collusion of the medical profession, I would say yes in very limited circumstances.

  DrScott 21:17 03 May 2007

is a subject that divides many, especially doctors. Personally I don't believe doctors should ever be put in the position where they should feel under pressure to kill anyone. Furthermore adequate palliative care facilities would allow the vast majority of people to die pain free and with dignity in a calm and relaxed environment.

The main issue is for those with ALS / motor neurone disease, where the condition is not immediately life threatening or painful - it's just a very slow death which can't legally be hastened with opioids.

A solution is to enable the terminally ill a facility by which they could choose their own destiny, that they themselves would be enabled to end their own lives. However, there are those who are desperate for their suffering to end, yet can't muster the courage to actually end their life.

It's a terribly difficult question and in the main I am against it. But each case has its merits and perhaps with the permission of a court for a particular case, euthanasia could occur.

Of course anaesthetists are ideally placed to ensure painless and guaranteed deaths. Of the doctors who sadly commite suicide, anaesthetists never get it wrong and it's always peaceful.

  TOPCAT® 21:22 03 May 2007

believe that it should be legally allowed in this country. With all hope gone and with a debilitating, painful illness getting progressively worse, then I certainly would wish to die with dignity while I could.

I know that life is precious and beautiful but there comes a time, for some poor souls, when it can turn into a hell on earth and euthanasia would be a merciful way out. TC.

  Jak_1 21:34 03 May 2007

To put the onus on a another person to end a life is a heavey burden for that person. Who are we to put that burden upon another?

Exerpt from the original 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.

To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.

Full modern version of the Hippocratic Oath:
click here

A difficult and emotive subject.

  TOPCAT® 21:45 03 May 2007

but I have heard that the modern Hippocratic Oath is not now administered in some medical schools around the world. In some quarters it is described as the Hippocritic Oath, I believe. TC.

  polish 22:36 03 May 2007

with dignity peoples lives are sometimes prolonged but not always what is right for the patient.
a friends father in law has recently died but was a unable to reconise anyone feed himself etc not a very dignified existence.
animals are not allowed to suffer so why humans

  Belatucadrus 22:59 03 May 2007

Vivisection, Euthanasia what's next ? You clearly seem to be in cage rattling mode or are we contributing to some Beeb project ? A Panorama special on the moral decline of the computer geek.

  Forum Editor 23:30 03 May 2007

for a court's authority for euthanasia to be carried out.

It's all very well to talk about the 'dignity' of dying, but consider this:

Imagine that a law enabling doctors to carry out euthanasia was to be passed - might it not very quickly become a temptation to treat senile patients a bit like dogs? can you not see the time when some doctors would be advising relatives to do away with aunt Elizabeth, because she has no quality of life? Elizabeth may be unable to understand what's going on around her, but still have the desire to live. Why should some doctor collude with relatives to end her life?

I've said many times to my children that I wouldn't want to get to the stage where I was simply a bundle of humanity, sitting in a chair all day, incontinent, unable to comprehend the world or its doings. "If that was to happen, slip me a pill or something" I say.

But that's because I'm not in that state now - I can only try to imagine it. Suppose the time came, and although I couldn't communicate I desperately wanted to cling to life, even though I might have earlier signed a document expressing a wish to be shuffled off this mortal coil in such circumstances?

Who decides what 'dignity' is, anyway? Dignity for some people might be a living hell for others - how do you make the decision that digity has ended, and what's the opposite of dignity anyway, is it degradation, or simply a lack of dignity? Perhaps lots of people, when they're very ill, don't much care about dignity, perhaps they're just focusing in on their illness, fighting it with every breath they take, perhaps in such situations there's no room for dignity - we're into primeval survival mode, and all thoughts of self-image are pushed right out of the picture. It's relatives and loving partners who care so much about the dignity of their seriously ill loved ones, not the people who are teetering on the brink.

There are, I grant you, situations where patients are in full possession of their faculties, and yet in more or less constant pain, and unable to fend for themselves. Their future holds nothing except more of the same, and for many such people there comes a time when death seems to offer a way out, an end to the interminable suffering. For these people, able to articulate their desire for an assisted death, I think euthanasia should definitely be an option - but only with the consent of a court. Otherwise I would be extremely reluctant to offer a blanket law, a euthansia charter, which might be open to all kinds of abuse and misuse.

On the other hand.............I reckon I could now go on and write a reasonably well-argued case in favour of a euthanasia law. It's that tricky a subject.

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