Do atheists generally believe euthanasia is a good idea? Is it a religious concept to let God decide who lives or dies, while making the healthcare system do everything possible to keep someone alive- astounding hypocrisy in my view...
When and where do you think it's a good thing to do? Eg. Could we open beds in nursing homes once patients have gone catatonic? My mother, a baby boomer, feels this is an inevitability with our rapidly aging population. I'm not so sure, seeing the give it your all methods used even in palliative care sometimes.

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To me it is all a matter of circumstance.  A newborn which will suffer for days or weeks before dying is best served being euthanized straight away.  A parental decision in that instance is perfectly justifiable.  In any other circumstance involving a child it would be inappropriate.  For an adult that can make their own decisions I don't see any reason why we should restrict their right to die.  If they have poor quality of life and just want to end it then let them do it humanely and painlessly. 

Even some circumstances involving the elderly should be made by the family.  I'm in nursing and have seen people with dementia so bad that in their mind they are being repeatedly attacked and tortured.  As a nurse we are forced to watch and take care of the shell of what was once a person.  In most cases I think the person would want to be put down if they had the capacity to voice it.

It has to be viewed on a case by case basis, but overall I would say I'm pro euthanasia.

Any argument against euthanasia usually comes with the man made, infantile, ridiculous and hypocritical notion that life is sacred. It's sad there's even a debate about this. What someone does to himself is his own business. If I want to kill myself or ask someone to kill me if I can't do it, your clergy get no say in it, neither does anyone else.

This reminds me of this article some bitch wrote.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/9143449/Do-any-of-us-however-ill-...

but at least it was funny thanks to stanhope again.

http://www.dougstanhope.com/journal/2012/4/7/who-reads-these-turkey...

I find euthanasia passes most ethical tests, provided it's voluntary and stops the unnecessary suffering of the terminally ill, or ends the life functions of the irreversibly brain dead.

These are fairly rare situations, though, specially in cases of suffering. Modern medicine has the ability to virtually shut off the body's ability to feel pain. Take enough medication and you can endure unimaginable suffering with a blissful smile on your face.

My wife and I both have living wills. They're pretty straightforward. If my mind is snuffed, pull the plug on my body. If my mind is okay but my body is ravaged, then shower me with dope, and bathe me with sponges.

" Modern medicine has the ability to virtually shut off the body's ability to feel pain."  I can personally attest that this is not true!

@Doug

That's interesting. What happened to you? 

Fentanyl and oxycodone come pretty darn close to pain shutdown. There are limits of course. The body builds tolerance. Eventually the dosage required to relieve the pain also kills you.

But if I'm in that much pain, that's fine with me.

I, not unlike many people, have an idiosyncratic reaction to almost all pain meds.  Not only do they not decrease pain, they frequently cause severe stomach cramps, and itching.  And oxycontin drives me up the wall! 

Over the years after surgery and before and after dental work, I've taken both oxycodone and hydrocodone, and oxycodone trashes me. I sincerely don't understand how recreational users can become addicted to it. Hydrocodone, yes.

You're right Doug, the opiates are pretty good, but not perfect, and then it's complicated by the fact that human beings are doing the prescribing. (Don't tell them this, but physicians are not God). Then you add worries about addiction and overdose into the mix, and we are left with a lot of suffering people. I help with calculating doses for patients in palliative care and even there, where we aren't worried about addiction or overdose, well overdose a little, we don't do very well. I'm sorry you have pain.
There is no upper limit to opiate dosage.just FYI, I know that's a popularly held misconception, with respect.

There is no upper limit to opiate dosage.just FYI, I know that's a popularly held misconception, with respect.

I'm not a medical doctor but I'm married to an exceptional one. We have two friends, a married couple, who are MDs as well. One of them is an ER doctor. I assure you, none of them think they are gods, or even believe in gods.

Opiates have a dosage limit but not from toxicity. Administer too much and the brain stops telling the lungs to breathe. Cardiac arrest soon follows as the heart runs out of oxygen. That kills the patient.

However, there is a way to cheat death: use a ventilator. But then the patient can't move. He can't speak. He can't eat (so he needs a feeding tube). He can't even crap. But he can't feel pain.

Is it worth the trade-off? I wouldn't deign to decide that for anyone but myself. But if I feel no pain, my care is paid for, my mind is fairly sound, and I can still read and write, then dope me up, and plug in the respirator.

I already know what it's like to be jacked into a machine in a hospital. I'd gladly take that for months or even years, instead of the oblivion of death.

WRONG !

Ask anyone who has had extensive burns, bone cancer of any type or extensive physical injuries. I can testify to the latter, even intra-thecal opiates have limits. Anyway, i sincerely hope you never have to discover the limited extent of pain control for yourself.
Regards,
judith vd R.

I am a very loving and caring person, but I tend to view the world in a nihilistic way, whether I want to or not. That being said, I greatly support an individuals right to die in cases of sickness or whatever. Like always said, your body is your body. What you want to do with it is up to you, completely. It may be hard for some to accept something as devastating as death, but if you see the world in a very broad way it is really very arbitrary, life is. 

I may consider myself nihilist, but if I view life with wondrous eyes, and death is a part of life. 

I know I kind of diverged here, but I do think (consented)euthanasia is a good idea.

I think voluntary euthanasia is the right to receive humane assistance for suicide.  I do not think that you have to be terminally ill, or in exquisite pain, or brain dead to qualify.  If you want to die, why should anyone else have the right to stop you receiving the benefits of modern technology?.

I watched a video made by Terry Pratchett who is a prolific humorous sci-fi author (Discworld series).  He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and is documenting his progress in order to help others understand it, and to encourage research to find a cure.  He went to see how Dignitas in Switzerland functioned, and followed some people who went there to die, because they can't do this in the UK.

Before I saw the video, I had casually assumed it was OK providing the person wanting to die was in pain, or sick or whatever.  But now I really think about it, I think we should have available and assisted suicide freely available to everyone.  If you want the link, it is here.

Last week, someone jumped out of the window of the 5th floor in my London apartment block, and smashed to death on the concrete below.  My friend who stays there told me about it, and said she could see the bloodstains on the concrete despite the porters having tried to scrub it out with buckets of disinfectant and stuff. 

I used to date a train track engineer in London.  Do you know that when someone jumps under a train, that the track engineers have to clean up the mess and bag what they can?  These are engineers, not medical staff, and it is incredibly traumatic for them.  The train driver who has been forced to hit the "jumper" usually needs severe counseling and may never work again.

A business colleague I knew, shot himself in the head in his study one weekend a few months ago.  He left behind two young daughters and a wife.  I do not know why he did it, but I imagine the family will bear the scars for the rest of their lives, not to mention the mess he must have made in the study.

There are people who commit suicide in all manner of ways, but very few of them consider the aftermath, the clearing up of the mess, the trauma of those directly involved, the costs of the inquest, etc.

Why can't we have a clean, kind environment, where people who want to die, can go and do that without causing all the subsequent problems?  There could be counselors available if wanted, but not compulsory.  Who are we to decide that somebody may not take their own life, or be assisted by someone that they love?  Who are we, to deny them their choice to die with dignity, and with no pain, at the time of their choosing?

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