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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:45 AM

Euthanasia. Twins born deaf and sought euthanasia after finding that they would also soon go blind.

Belgian identical twins in unique mercy killing
Identical twins were killed by Belgian doctors last month in a unique mercy killing under Belgium's euthanasia laws.

Telegraph
By Bruno Waterfield
13 Jan 2013

The two men, 45, from the Antwerp region were both born deaf and sought euthanasia after finding that they would also soon go blind.

The pair told doctors that they were unable to bear the thought of not being able to see each other again.

The twin brothers had spent their entire lives together, sharing a flat and both working as cobblers.

Doctors at Brussels University Hospital in Jette "euthanised" the two men by lethal injection on 14 December last year.

David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, told RTL television news the twins who died together had taken the decision to die in “full conscience”.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/9798778/Belgian-identical-twins-in-unique-mercy-killing.html

Physician-assisted suicide in the United States is legal in the states of Oregon, Montana, and Washington. Here in Massachusetts we failed to adopt this law in November 2012.

Personally, I'm torn regarding this issue tho I did vote in favor of such a law.

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Reply Euthanasia. Twins born deaf and sought euthanasia after finding that they would also soon go blind. (Original post)
Little Star Jan 2013 OP
hlthe2b Jan 2013 #1
Little Star Jan 2013 #11
tavalon Jan 2013 #22
hlthe2b Jan 2013 #23
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #2
dipsydoodle Jan 2013 #3
GETTINGTIRED Jan 2013 #8
marions ghost Jan 2013 #4
Little Star Jan 2013 #9
marions ghost Jan 2013 #14
Little Star Jan 2013 #15
progressoid Jan 2013 #18
marions ghost Jan 2013 #19
progressoid Jan 2013 #21
marions ghost Jan 2013 #25
progressoid Jan 2013 #28
marions ghost Jan 2013 #41
wickerwoman Jan 2013 #54
tavalon Jan 2013 #24
marions ghost Jan 2013 #26
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #65
marions ghost Jan 2013 #68
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #82
smackd Jan 2013 #5
tavalon Jan 2013 #27
Auntie Bush Jan 2013 #32
KamaAina Jan 2013 #42
Gormy Cuss Jan 2013 #44
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2013 #61
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #6
polly7 Jan 2013 #7
theKed Jan 2013 #10
Little Star Jan 2013 #12
tavalon Jan 2013 #29
sadbear Jan 2013 #13
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #35
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #37
sadbear Jan 2013 #40
RedCappedBandit Jan 2013 #62
sadbear Jan 2013 #71
siligut Jan 2013 #16
randome Jan 2013 #17
stevenleser Jan 2013 #20
tavalon Jan 2013 #30
JI7 Jan 2013 #52
JimDandy Jan 2013 #58
JVS Jan 2013 #63
ChazII Jan 2013 #75
Gormy Cuss Jan 2013 #76
dmallind Jan 2013 #31
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #33
cali Jan 2013 #34
dmallind Jan 2013 #36
cali Jan 2013 #70
dmallind Jan 2013 #81
Budgies Revenge Jan 2013 #46
Hoyt Jan 2013 #56
Aerows Jan 2013 #38
LiberalFighter Jan 2013 #39
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2013 #49
LiberalFighter Jan 2013 #50
KamaAina Jan 2013 #43
wickerwoman Jan 2013 #55
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #66
JVS Jan 2013 #67
ChazII Jan 2013 #78
Bonobo Jan 2013 #45
Little Star Jan 2013 #47
forestpath Jan 2013 #48
Deep13 Jan 2013 #51
JimDandy Jan 2013 #53
wickerwoman Jan 2013 #57
JimDandy Jan 2013 #60
forestpath Jan 2013 #73
HeiressofBickworth Jan 2013 #59
LisaLynne Jan 2013 #72
Little Star Jan 2013 #74
RedCappedBandit Jan 2013 #64
Puzzledtraveller Jan 2013 #69
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #77
ecstatic Jan 2013 #79
KamaAina Jan 2013 #80

Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:49 AM

1. This one really saddens me... but in this country, without a lot of personal resources...

they could be left to die together--deaf, blind, and helpless on the street. I hardly think the US can hold itself up as the "kinder", more humane nation any more.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:21 AM

11. It's heartbreaking.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:57 AM

22. They made a personal choice in a country that allows such humanity

Yes, it's sad, but it's also empowering to choose the time and method of one's leaving.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:58 AM

23. Yes... as much as I am conflicted on this one, I agree on that basic point

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:59 AM

2. This would not be even close to legal under the Oregon law, just fyi.

The law here gives the option to those who have a terminal illness only. "On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose."
Lots of information at the link. The case in the OP most certainly not legal in Oregon.

http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/Evaluationresearch/deathwithdignityact/Pages/index.aspx

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:00 AM

3. So sad.

Words defeat me.

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Response to dipsydoodle (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:09 AM

8. agreed...

....silence....

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:04 AM

4. Slippery slope

Euthanasia should be a legal choice in the case of terminal illness or vegetative state. But should we go to assisted suicide? That worries me. Of course otherwise people may do it anyway. It's hard to keep people here if they really don't want to be here. They will find a way to die.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:13 AM

9. Yes, people will find a way to die if they really want to...

no matter what any law says.

But should we make it more humane? Or would such laws make it too easy for people who are perhaps just depressed, etc.? Like I said, I'm torn regarding this issue.

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Response to Little Star (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:26 AM

14. For me the issue is

that people (even a medical person) might "help" a person commit suicide when they really just want to be rid of them. I think this is a real danger.

There is a state of depression that makes life unbearable. I have seen some come through it, especially as they age, usually with good treatment--which should absolutely come first. But if all treatment fails, should we let these people decide to end it in a better way--ie. prepare and tell their loved ones goodbye, not resort to guns, plan for things they want done after death? Probably so, if proper procedures are followed and their state of depression has been documented. I don't think I would trust our current health care "system" to do this the right way however.

As I said, what I worry about is another person or institution capitalizing on (or even promoting) the patient's depression in some way and benefiting from their death.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:30 AM

15. And therein lies the problem.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:37 AM

18. Other than on an episode of Law and Order, I think the likelihood of that happening is very slight.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:40 AM

19. Happens more than you think

...at the time of a death, people don't want to acknowledge what really happened....

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #19)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:52 AM

21. How do you know?

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Response to progressoid (Reply #21)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:00 AM

25. Let's just say

experience. I am associated with people in medicine who deal with dying all the time. The idea of assisted suicide only works if you trust the assistants...

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #25)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:03 AM

28. OK

So what you're talking about is murder?

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Response to progressoid (Reply #28)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:19 PM

41. Sometimes

people have different views about what is merciful. This happens when in fact it is not a person's place to make such a judgment, though they are well-meaning and trying to do what they themselves would want. I don't know if I would call it murder--more like a "death wish" where they honestly wish for suffering to be over,
for the "good" of the sufferer --and so they influence the situation, directly or indirectly. I've seen it a few times. And survivors often exhibit denial about the circumstances of death. In one case, I saw it clearly as murder. But murder that would be very difficult to prove. Most people (ie on a jury) are not equipped psychologically to evaluate such a borderline situation. Certainly there is opportunity for those whose intentions are not good, to take advantage of a person who has a death wish. And easily get away with it. Easily.

I'm just saying that assisted suicide is a slippery slope. Not every case is so cut and dried. There would have to be some very tight legal definitions to protect the innocent. You can't rely on notions of inherent good intentions of those assisting, be it family or others. If there were enough controls, OK. I don't know what those controls look like in Holland or how they may differ from here. That would be an interesting comparison.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:52 AM

54. This isn't a case of depression though,

it's a case of a demonstrable, measureable diminishment of quality of life.

I think physician assisted suicide should be available to people who have a desire to die and who can demonstrate that they have a medical condition which will no longer allow them to live independantly or without constant pain. Someone who was blind and deaf would certainly qualify. Someone who was crippled by arthritis to the point where they couldn't use the toilet for themselves would qualify. Someone on dialysis, in constant pain from neuropathy and facing multiple amputations would qualify.

People should be able to define for themselves a level of loss of quality of life beyond which they no longer wish to live and be assisted, having been screened and counselled for depression, in dying with dignity on their own terms.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:58 AM

24. That's my thought

It is important to make sure people who choose this route have adequate mental health care.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #24)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:01 AM

26. Right

otherwise you can imagine a host of abuses.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:13 AM

65. I don't want *any* state assistance in suicide, period. Very slippery slope, especially in these

 

neoliberal times.

If people want to die, they can kill themselves. No assistance is needed for one who really wants death.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #65)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 08:26 AM

68. We agree

I wonder if there is a difference between here and Holland because of the greater level of trust in a proportionally representative democracy where everyone feels they have a voice (ie. Holland)...vs. here--where the country is run on the ethics of American business (ie. ruthless and exploitative).

So what do you think of Oregon then? It is generally considered a progressive decision to allow assisted suicide there.

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #68)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:49 PM

82. i don't like it. & oregon isn't really very progressive.

 

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:06 AM

5. i'm not sure...

blindness and deafness? i dont know...this seems to be getting somewhere in the vicinity of 'kill me because i'm depressed' or 'kill me because my life is hard'...?

not that i could fathom just how difficult life like that would be. but something in me feels like there should be a line somewhere...debilitating pain, terminal illness, losing all motor functionality, etc.

not my decision, but i think i would have difficulty with this one. sad.

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Response to smackd (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:03 AM

27. I could imagine that losing both my hearing and my eyesight would be a deal killer

But not having faced that, I could be wrong. I would like the option to be available for me.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:43 AM

32. You speak for me too.

If these twins relied on sign language to communicate ...that would be a pretty awful situation to be in.

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #32)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 06:32 PM

42. Deafblind people use sign language

one fingerspells into the other's hand. Blind people also use this technique to communicvate with their Dea friends (I've seen it!)

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #42)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 06:37 PM

44. +1

I've seen it too.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #42)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:41 AM

61. Yes, there's an extended family in Louisiana that has a genetic disease in which

certain members of the family are born deaf and then start to lose their sight when they're in their thirties or forties. There was footage of them using not only fingerspelling but ASL by touch.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:06 AM

6. This is so very sad.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:08 AM

7. What a heart-wrenching story.

I can imagine the fear of knowing they'd be completely isolated from one another once blindness set in. It would be terrifying. While this case surprises me a bit ... I'm 100% in favour of physician-assisted suicide. I believe ending one's life in a dignified way is a basic human right. I wish my Dad had had the option.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:18 AM

10. People that want to die

Who really, truly, want to die, will find a way to kill themselves. Allowing a doctor to do it reduces suffering, pain, mess, and can provide an opportunity to have a real conversation with doctors, psychologists, and families about what is happening and why they want to. It can be compared, in some ways, to the abortion issue. Women, previously, who really, truly wanted abortions would get them. It would be painful, unsafe, and full of shame and worry - back alley "doctors", even coat hangers. Making it legal brings it into the light and removes shame and danger.

...And, cue the torrent of outrage from comparing those two topics.

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Response to theKed (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:23 AM

12. Everything you said is why I am so torn about this & why I voted in favor of this law for MA. n/t

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Response to theKed (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:04 AM

29. You won't get an argument from me on the comparison

I think they are both personal choice issues and should be handled in similar ways.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:25 AM

13. I wonder if they believed in the afterlife.

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Response to sadbear (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:23 PM

35. Why do you wonder? (It's likely not; the Dutch are pretty secular.)

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #35)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:34 PM

37. Being secular has absolutely nothing to do with spiritual beliefs. It only means people don't belong

to a religious organization or adhere to dogma.

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #35)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:12 PM

40. These guys were Belgian.

Seems like an easier choice if you believe there is something there after you die.

Yeah, deaf and blind sucks big time, but there's no way I'd end it all for that if I didn't believe in an afterlife.

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Response to sadbear (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 02:53 AM

62. I don't, and I would end it.

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Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #62)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:34 AM

71. You would end it if you were blind and deaf?

For me, there's still the taste and smell of good food and drink and the feel of a woman's body. I think that would probably be enough to keep me going.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:34 AM

16. There are things worse than death.

I don't know everything about these twins, but I do know that there are things worse than death.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:34 AM

17. The only point I would want to know is how much time they were given to rethink their decision.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:47 AM

20. I think Helen Keller showed that being blind and deaf doesnt have to mean a bad life. She had

a pretty big impact, not just on the disabled and how we perceive them, but on workers rights and organized labor.

I do have compassion for these guys. Just the idea of going either blind or deaf is upsetting and both at the same time is terrifying, particularly as others noted, with the scant resources for the disabled in the US. But I have Keller's shining example that would give me hope that my life could still have an impact.

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:05 AM

30. I don't think mine would and especially if I was going to lose the other in midlife

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Response to stevenleser (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:33 AM

52. But Helen Keller was very young when she went deaf and blind

it's easier when you start at such a young age and learn to deal with it than for it to suddenly happen later in life, especially when you have already been an adult for most of your life.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:58 AM

58. I think the opposite.

These men had a huge advantage over Helen Keller in that they had 45 years of sight. Helen never saw a flower, a color, the transparency of clear glass or relections of a sunset in the water. If these men had choosen to live, they would have had all of their memories of such sights to draw upon and to relate to each other and to the world around them.

I cannot come to any other conclusion but that they were cowards for choosing to let go of life so easily.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:08 AM

63. No, Keller had it way harder than these guys.

These men had fully developed understandings of communication. Keller went deaf and blind when she was on the cusp of being able to speak. Imagine how hard it is to teach a kid who never fully learned to speak and who doesn't know the alphabet how to spell things out with her fingers. Keller had to be taught language from the ground up. These guys already knew Dutch, were literate, and could fully understand what their communicative limitations would be. It's just a matter of learning a sign language that you feel instead of see.

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Response to JVS (Reply #63)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:20 AM

75. Good points. n/t

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Response to JI7 (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:29 AM

76. Easier, but not impossible

I knew someone who lost sight and hearing in his 50s. Still spoke to communicate but learned to "hear" others through his hands.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:06 AM

31. Pretty simple. Their lives, their decision. That's how a truly civilized society must see it.

I have no patience with those who would seek to impose an artificial and arbitrary barrier on how bad other people think someone's life must be in order to grant them a certain, dignified, painless way to end it of their own free will. Sure there's always the shotgun or the train or the tall building - but these ways risk and traumatize people who are and should remain uninvolved. The only possible reason to deny humans the dignity we extend to pets is temporary insanity - and not the bullshit circular reasoning lie that only the insane might wish to end their own lives, but those who truly are incapable of reasoning.

If we don't own our own lives, we are not free.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #31)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:47 AM

33. +1000 I was going to post the exact same, "Their lives, their decsion".

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Response to dmallind (Reply #31)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:55 AM

34. actually, no it's not that simple.

not when it involves another person. And physician assisted suicide most certainly does. And please, if there was only the shotgun and tall building than no one would ever ever od in order to kill themselves. You do realize that many people do just that, right?

It's because I support physician assisted suicide for those who are terminally ill that I do not support this.

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Response to cali (Reply #34)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:28 PM

36. Not necessarily, unless you include very tangential involvement.

Kevorkian's machine was simply filled by products you need an MD to prescribe. It's operation was enrirely patient-controlled.

OD's are also very easy to mess up - the risk of emesis, miscalculated dosage, unwanted interference resulting in painful treatment, the pain of many medications themselves. It's also the method of suicide FAR most likely to fail. 55% of US suicides are by firearm for a reason, with the next most common being by hanging - both guaranteeing trauma for the discoverer. OD's are an excellent argument FOR a more certain and controlled method.

Why is physician assisted suicide for a cancer patient any different? We are all dying, and choosing to control the timing and nature of that death should not be restricted to those with a narrow range of short-term prognoses. It should simply be a matter of expected benefits from continued life minus expected suffering from continued life resulting in a negative number in the opinion of the only person whose opinion matters one iota - the one whose life it is. If MD's get all weak-kneed about personal involvement, it is surely not beyond the wit of inventors and chemical engineers to combine painless anaesthesis with lethal substances in an entirely doc-free package. It really is very simple if we cared as much for human dignity as we do canine.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:00 AM

70. Want to shuffle of the mortal coil? You have my blessing. go for it.

but physician assisted? There society does have a voice and should have a voice. The potential for abuse is enormous and history is replete with good reasons why it shouldn't be as unfettered as you would have it.

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Response to cali (Reply #70)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:39 PM

81. Why should "society" have a voice?

Reasoning, sane people making the decision. Doctors willingly providing requested service. With those conditions, why do we - society - have a right to interfere? Doctors are not timid flowers who need our protection. Just like providing abortions, it's perfectly feasible to let the squeamish or objecting MDs opt out as long as the service is made available.

There is no more potential for abuse than there is for lawyers to fabricate fraudulent wills, and the same kind of protections would work in each case. Modern technology could even impose tighter restrictions, perhaps requiring video approval and patient-access only biometric/passworded initiation.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #31)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 07:14 PM

46. agree completely

If a person really wants to end their life, it's not my place to tell them they can't--anymore than it would be their place to tell me the same. I can council, I can try to persuade, but I can't order a person to keep living.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:55 AM

56. While not really that simple, still a good rule-of-thumb.

Though one. But if life just isn't truly worth living, people should not suffer when help us. . . . . . .

I'm leaning toward a compassionate death panel, for lack of better term.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:36 PM

38. They made their choice

They went with dignity by the hand of a doctor. They could have just as well jumped off of a cliff together or done something horribly messy instead.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 12:52 PM

39. If I were in their shoes I might be inclined to follow the same path.

I'm severely hearing impaired and near sighted. I remember getting fitted with a new hearing aid and it not working. It was at that time that I also found out that there were few manufacturers that made the type of hearing aid that I needed. I was depressed for a few days. If it turned out in the future that they stop making my type and my old hearing aids stop working it would make life difficult and I would feel very isolated.

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #39)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:26 PM

49. neighborhood woman is deaf & blind, lives a full life, participates at board meetings

signers sign into her hands. it's amazing to watch. the signer and deaf/blind woman sit facing each other, knee to knee. she cups her hands, their hands are within her cupped hands signing.

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:19 AM

50. The neighborhood and daily interactions would have to be right.

I don't think I would be lucky enough in that respect.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 06:37 PM

43. This is downright scary to people who live with significant disabilities

the vast majority of who very much prefer to be alive.

Becoming deafblind sounds scary, to be sure, but it needn't be a fate worse than death. There are even worldwide gatherings of deafblind people. In Seattle, a celebrity chef who's deafblind recently closed his fancy restaurant to focus on his high-end catering business! Seattle, in fact, is the capital of the deafblind world, thanks to a worker at the Lighthouse for the Blind there years ago. Deafblind people elsewhere managed to find out about it and began to settle there.

Perhaps these two people would have been better off in Seattle than wherever they may be.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:54 AM

55. Possibly that's true,

but I respect their decision about their own tolerance for loss of quality of life and hope that the same respect would be paid to my wishes when and if the times comes.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:14 AM

66. Yes. And such laws are a very slippery slope, imo.

 

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:20 AM

67. I agree. The lower the bar gets set for euthanasia, the more it becomes expected that the...

disabled will avail themselves of the choice. In turn the support system that would be built to meet these people's needs remains unbuilt and the next person with the problem faces it without the benefit of strategies for better quality of life having been developed.

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Response to JVS (Reply #67)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:04 PM

78. Agree with your comments

and that is why this makes me apprehensive.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 06:38 PM

45. Why do we say they were "euthanized" rather than saying that got help

in their desire to end their lives?

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #45)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 08:50 PM

47. Yep. There's one side of the coin.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:50 PM

48. Rest in peace. I completely understand.

 

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:22 AM

51. They were in control of their lives to the end.

They knew what blindness would mean and rationally decided not to live with it.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:42 AM

53. This was wrong

unless there is more to the story. They were not terminally ill or even close to it, which should be a requirement for qualifying for doctor assisted suicide.

Helen Keller didn't just endure what they so cowardly avoided, but rose above it and was greatly admired the world over for her nearly heroic endeavors.

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Response to JimDandy (Reply #53)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:55 AM

57. The law shouldn't require people to be heroic.

It should respect their ability to make decisions about their own health care and quality of life.

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Response to wickerwoman (Reply #57)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:12 AM

60. The law can,

should, and does in some jurisdictions require that you be terminally ill before allowing medically assisted suicides.

And, really, how heroic is it to simply continue being? They were not blind at the time of death. They had not even TRIED to live under the conditions Helen Keller was born with. Being afraid to try is not heroic.

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Response to JimDandy (Reply #60)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:52 AM

73. What judgmental bullshit!

 

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:02 AM

59. One of my very dear friends chose assisted suicide in 2007

She had ALS, she lost her ability to swallow, eat, talk, and was also losing the use of her hands, an awful thing for the artist she was. She lived in Holland but spent 4 or 5 months a year in the US. When she was here, we got together often. Once she was diagnosed she began to discuss suicide. We talked about it often and when she lost her ability to speak, she used a small computer-like device that talked for her while she used a finger to type into it. She first thought she would kill herself by some method. But, as another poster pointed out, there are problems with this -- miscalculations, errors, leaving one alive but in worse condition. Then there was the thought that her two sons (both adults) would likely be the ones to discover her. The end in store for her without assisted suicide was a loss of breathing muscles and strangling to death. In the end, she availed herself of the assisted suicide allowed in Holland. The law there was that she had to have two doctors certify that she was terminal and that her end was near. When she felt ready to die, she made application for the procedure. One of the doctors (who didn't know her - only met her once for the exam) decided she wasn't sick enough and denied it. A month later, she received the certification she needed. Her sons took her to a hospital where the procedure was performed -- she died a quiet death without struggle or pain. To chose assisted suicide is not easy as there are so many emotional issues surrounding death. She was more afraid of strangling to death than she was of being assisted to her end. She was a loving friend, a talented artist in several mediums, endlessly interesting and I still miss her after all these years.

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Response to HeiressofBickworth (Reply #59)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:37 AM

72. I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

I am glad she was able to have a quiet death, free from pain. I have seen many die at the end of terminal illnesses in pain and suffering and I have always hoped that eventually we as a society would find a way to be more humane.

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Response to HeiressofBickworth (Reply #59)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 09:52 AM

74. ALS is truly horrible. I'm glad that your friend had the choice of assisted suicide...

I had a friend with ALS who didn't have that choice here in MA. I'm sorry for your loss.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 03:12 AM

64. I can't see myself losing that much independence

Like another poster stated.. their lives, their choices.

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Response to RedCappedBandit (Reply #64)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 08:44 AM

69. Ultimately I agree but they still had each other

no matter what right? they had each others touch, their breath, life presence, now it's all gone, forever. All in all, utterly regrettable.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 11:47 AM

77. Wisdom, strength, courage, opportunity

(This subject of this thread was posted earlier yesterday on another DU thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022192407

I replied to that thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2192921, but I decided to copy the contents of my reply here since this thread is getting more traction.)



Basing an opinion or comment about a case of euthanasia on anything other than personal involvement is probably a very bad idea, but here goes.

From the statements in the articles I think these two gentlemen had a great understanding of their mutual situation and of what mattered in their lives. They had the wisdom to reach a conclusion on a course of action that would be most fulfilling of their lives. They had the strength and compassion to reconcile their decision with the shock, confusion, and probable anger felt by their family and friends, until all were accepting of the answer. They had the courage to spend 2 years living with their decision, while they struggled to find a doctor who understood the depth of their reasons for pursuing the path they choose. Marc and Eddy were fortunate to live in a country that gave them an opportunity to make a decision about their own lives and to act on that decision.

Now, pure speculation. When I read the story my first thoughts were...having spent 45 years together and knowing the challenges they would soon face with blindness and apparently other health issues, they would have asked each other that very hard question, "What will you do when I die?" And each brother would probably have answered that he would have no reason to live. So, let it be together.


My father died from consequences of dementia, probably Alzheimer's though no autopsy was done. He was a PhD chemical engineer and nuclear scientist. My family, mos ly my mother, had to observe as, over several years, he lost first his social, then mental, then physical abilities. The time between his descent into an essentially vegetative state until his death was too long. My older brother, only 65, is now in a care facility on a similar trajectory. Stories like this are commonplace. I suggest to my wife, that when I can no longer appreciate her, our dogs, music, beer, and being out in the beauty of the natural world, then she should mail me out of town. It's only half joking. I hope that our society becomes more enlightened so that if that day comes, the appropriate postage will be available: wisdom, strength, courage, opportunity.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:11 PM

79. I hope they got a second and third opinion

before assuming they would go blind. Recently I've learned that the fear and anxiety surrounding certain things that have not happened are often worse than what would be experienced if the event were to actually occur. There are several examples of blind people who did exceptional things; and as as others have pointed out, they had each other. I really hope they were at least given counseling before making such a drastic, final decision.

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Response to Little Star (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:57 PM

80. When someone without a disability expresses a wish to die, we offer them counseling

When someone with a disability does so, we (at least in Belgium) offer them... the syringe.

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