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Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

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  • Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8490062.stm

    Sir Terry Pratchett says he is ready to be a test case for assisted suicide "tribunals" which could give people legal permission to end their lives.
    The author, who has Alzheimer's, says he wants a tribunal set up to help those with incurable diseases end their lives with help from doctors.
    [snip]
    Sir Terry wants to see measures put in place to ensure that anyone seeking to commit suicide was of sound mind and not being influenced by others.

    "At the moment if someone assists someone else to commit suicide in this country or elsewhere they become suspect to murder until the police decide otherwise," he told the BBC.

    "I think it would be rather better if a person wishes to die, they could go see the tribunal with friends and relatives and present their case - at least if it happens, it happens with, as it were, authority."

    A legal expert in family affairs and a doctor familiar with long-term illness would also be part of his proposed "non-aggressive" tribunals.
    [snip]
    More than 1,000 people were surveyed for the poll carried out for Panorama.

    It found that 73% of those asked believed that friends or relatives should be able to assist in the suicide of a loved one who is terminally ill.

    While there was clear support for assisted suicide for someone who was terminally ill, if - as in the case of Ms Gilderdale's daughter - the illness was not terminal, support for assisted suicide fell to 48%.

    Responding to the Panorama poll, Director of Care Not Killing, Dr Peter Saunders, said: "To argue that if you are terminally ill you deserve less protection from the law than do the rest of us is highly discriminatory as well as dangerous.

    "Many cases of abuse involving elderly, sick and disabled people occur in the context of so-called 'loving families' and the blanket prohibition of intentional killing or assisting suicide is there to ensure that vulnerable people are not put at risk."
    There's more in the article, I wasn't sure what TG's rules are on quoting part of or all of an article. Regardless, those should be the main arguments for and against physician assisted suicide, and I'd be interested to hear thoughts. Personally, I'm all for the idea provided a suitable body of information is presented to the patient (and I don't mean the same way that people seeking abortion are presented with "information") and a satisfactory length of time is permitted to ensure hasty decisions aren't made. Oversight, obviously, would need to be strong to prevent doctors from unduly influencing the patient, but in general, I feel like people should be able to chose when and how to die
    I can ADS using more than a 2x without significant stutter! This was a good patch.

  • #2
    Re: Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

    A description of requirements for self determined death should be able to be included in a living will, there is no real difference between someone saying 'don't revive if X' and 'if X then help me give up by doing X'. I agree with Terry that there should be a way to determine that the person is of sound mind at the time of the decision, and I wouldn't put it all on family members.

    If the person is of sound mind when creating a living will, all it would need is to be signed by a doctor and notarized.
    I'd say two persons with no interest in an inheritance and one medical doctor to verify the authenticity of the decision if the person is diagnosed with any mental facilities issues at the time of the decision.

    If contested prior to the event, have a judge approve the decision.
    If contested after the fact then it can be investigated if:
    One of the persons who signed off have benefited from, or had interest in an inheritance prior or after the determination.
    There is a strong indication of foul play.
    If convicted of falsifying documents that lead to a death that was not intended the person(s) should be prosecuted with premeditated murder.

    There could be additional restraints on the method of ending, but it would need to allow for special health circumstances.
    |TG-6th|Snooggums

    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

      Well, there is one notable difference, and that is that one of the two involves a doctor's action. We treat active behavior very differently from passive behavior both legally and morally, so I can completely understand why this is no exception. However, I'm inclined to agree with the idea that there shouldn't be a difference in this instance.
      I can ADS using more than a 2x without significant stutter! This was a good patch.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

        Originally posted by Razcsak View Post
        Well, there is one notable difference, and that is that one of the two involves a doctor's action. We treat active behavior very differently from passive behavior both legally and morally, so I can completely understand why this is no exception. However, I'm inclined to agree with the idea that there shouldn't be a difference in this instance.
        The goal of doing no harm should include dragging out a painful death in my opinion, but I am not in the medical field. The focus on keeping blood flowing despite horrendous injuries should be be contrasted with the patients wishes. For example a serious burn victim can currently be treated with painkillers but if they choose to die they have to let the injury run it's course instead of being able to simply take something to end it. I think this actually promotes harm when the patient is already going to die by dragging it out painfully.

        This of course does not mean that I don't want people who have severe burns and want to live to be put to death. I'm just saying the ones that decided ahead of time and still want a quick death can get one.
        |TG-6th|Snooggums

        Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

          That's still absence of care contrasted with introducing elements designed to kill. He's got Alzheimer's, not anything immediately terminal. A DNR order wouldn't do much for him, but physician assisted suicide will. One is perfectly legal in the US and UK, the other currently isn't.
          I can ADS using more than a 2x without significant stutter! This was a good patch.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Terry Pratchett ready to test physician assisted suicide tribunal

            Originally posted by Razcsak View Post
            That's still absence of care contrasted with introducing elements designed to kill. He's got Alzheimer's, not anything immediately terminal. A DNR order wouldn't do much for him, but physician assisted suicide will. One is perfectly legal in the US and UK, the other currently isn't.
            I think you misread my example, I think the burn victim should be able to take something to end their life instead of waiting for DNR conditions.

            I want a doctor to be able to kill, or provide a way for the patient to kill themselves, through introducing elements designed to kill when the conditions are such that living longer is more harmful than a self determined end. It is just a matter of escalation from being able to determine your own death when in physical pain to other conditions like mental health deterioration. Alzheimer's is not curable, only treatable, just like a severe physical injury.
            |TG-6th|Snooggums

            Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

            Comment

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