The right to decide
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14-07-2012, 10:52 AM
The right to decide
As some of you might have seen in the "This That and the other" section, my moms bf might be dying soon and if not, he will be very damaged once he gets out of coma.
This got me thinking again.
I had these thoughts before but it is kind of a dead end...

We have the right to decide about our bodies and lifes in most ways.
We may get sick and just decide not to visit a doctor.
We may get tatoos which is, if you think about it, creating a colored scar.
We may pierce our bodies EVERYWHERE.
We may even get those piercing like implants.
We may split our tongues, shape our teeth.
We may surgically change our sex.
We may walk barefeet on broken glass.
We may juggle with sticks that are on fire.
We may cycle without helmet.
We may swim in contaminated water.
We may eat healthy or kill ourselves with unhealthy food.
We may work out
We may practice our brains
We may see the dentist regularily
And so on and so forth...

But once we are in a hospital, our right to do with our body as we wish is gone.
Why is that so?
If I am clear, just like now, as I am writing this, I can tell the whole world that in case I get so damaged that my life will not be worthwhile anymore, please turn every machine of and stop treatment, let me go.
I can also tell everyone who knows me that I don't want to receive blood transfusions.
I can refuse to take the medicine, my GP prescribes.
But the second I am in a hospital, all this is gone.
As long as there is noone who may speak my will and decide these things, I am fucked.
In my case, I have my hubby, who knows perfectly well of my wishes in such a situation - and I know his. But say I don't have a partner, I am single, no kids, an orphan maybe...
No way that anything is happening the way you wanted it to. You are going to be a vegetable until the doctors decide that it makes no sense to keep the machines running, and that can take damn long. And actually, if you do get well, you are fucked because you have to pay a lot of money for them not acting as you wanted them to.
I am not sure if it would help to have a note with you at all times, in your wallet or so, which says your wishes, and if that would be respected. JW's wish to not receive blood transfusions are being respected for example, and that might be a way to die actually.
And the dieing is another topic. Not sure how deep I may go into that here, as we have minors so I will keep it "minor-fine". In my opinion I should not only have the right to live and stay healthy, I should also have the right to die when and how I decide > at least with a bit of dignity. Euthanasia would be a way but for some weird reason there are only two countries who allow it (as far as I know).

that's it for now.
I hope this is "minor-fine" - I left chunks out that I wanted to write for that reason.
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14-07-2012, 11:30 AM
RE: The right to decide
This is a big issue in Canada right now.

The right to die just went through the courts and it was decided that it would be legal to have assisted suicide here, given certain qualifications. However as can be expected, it is being appealed. Cause, you know... why let people choose things for themselves.

I am 100% for people choosing how they want to die.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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14-07-2012, 01:33 PM
RE: The right to decide
I am for the right to elect assisted suicide. It can be a slippery slope though. Do you draw a line somewhere? What if someone is severly depressed and wants to kill themself? The liability to the doctors from the families of those who may elect this path would be high.

"Well behaved women seldom make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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14-07-2012, 01:53 PM
RE: The right to decide
It'll likely bum most people out who watch this, but Frontline did an amazing episode called The Suicide Tourist.


It profiles a gentleman and his wife as they go through the decision of choosing to die before his ALS would make it physically impossible for him to take his own life. Once again, the Swiss come through in making things legal that other countries insist on denying to their citizens.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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14-07-2012, 02:10 PM
RE: The right to decide
mhall, that is why you are being checked out by a psychologist and declared sane or something. of course they won't assist you just because you have a depressive episode.
And even if so. That's nature. Animals that don't function well, die. Humans are animals, too... I know that sound cruel

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17-07-2012, 09:49 PM
RE: The right to decide
(14-07-2012 02:10 PM)Leela Wrote:  mhall, that is why you are being checked out by a psychologist and declared sane or something. of course they won't assist you just because you have a depressive episode.
And even if so. That's nature. Animals that don't function well, die. Humans are animals, too... I know that sound cruel

I agree with you as far as being deemed sane or insane by psychologist, but sometimes these things are subjective. I'm just playing devil's advocate here, as I do support assisted suicide.

"Well behaved women seldom make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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22-07-2012, 06:55 AM
RE: The right to decide
(14-07-2012 01:53 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  It'll likely bum most people out who watch this, but Frontline did an amazing episode called The Suicide Tourist.
It profiles a gentleman and his wife as they go through the decision of choosing to die before his ALS would make it physically impossible for him to take his own life. Once again, the Swiss come through in making things legal that other countries insist on denying to their citizens.

The video is blocked in the very country it's about... great ^^

Our conservatives are against this law too and switzerland is currently regulating it a bit more (for Organisations as Dignitas). Most accept the right to decide when and how you want to die, but discussions get heated over suicide tourists (i guess this is part of the documentary?) which is why this may be prohibited sooner or later.

To be more precise our laws allow:
active (to a degree) and passive indirect assistance to suicide
in contrast to active direct assistance to suicide which would be killing on demand (which is a light form of killing and less punished - even less if it's out of mercy)

Passive direct assistance: Allowed within the borders of Palliative Care for deadly illnesses
Active indirect assistance: Allowed if it's letting someone die who only lives with the help of machines by turning them off
Passive indirect assistance: Allowed. Normally done by handing out a deadly drug, which the person has to swallow out of his/her own free will.

Every one of those forms is of course against the law if the assistance has mainly selfish reasons

The latter is the way Dignitas and other organisations choose (and only if you are terminally ill). So someone who can't take the drug out of free will can't be assisted.

Suicide and assistance to suicide are generally allowed - backed by our highest court. But on the other hand no one is obliged to help. So no doctor has to give you the deadly drug if it's against his belief system or his conscience


As for patient rights in hospitals or treatment in general. This was a gradual fight over many decades. In the last 10 to 15 Years living wills and your "suspected / probable" will were generally accepted. As of next year this will be codified law. You can actively refuse any treatment or certain treatments, you can decide what is to do in certain situations (e.g. what to do if there's a high probability you will never gain the ability to act again (im sure there's a better term for this?)) and you can name a person you trust (everyone not just family) to decide for you etc.
If you are conscious this is possible at any given time, if not, your living will (which can be deposited at your insurance's place to be sure this will be seen) or your suspected will counts.
Treatment done against your will is punishable by law (injury) and therefore you don't have to pay anything (well not that it matters since everyone has to have health insurance) - on the contrary for every error they did you are granted compensation.

Just to give you a bit of insight how things could be organized ^^ But I think this is still quite conservative
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22-07-2012, 07:14 AM
RE: The right to decide
My solution - no next of kin, no emergency contact, DNR/ Organ Donor. Thumbsup

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22-07-2012, 12:21 PM
RE: The right to decide
I used to have an organ donor card, by now I don't anymore because I would be pretty useless unless the persons immunesystem is much better than mine... my lungs would be completely useless for example, because I have asthma. What would be good, my heart is doing great, I could donate that... eyes... yeah they are fine but I am a bit weirded out by the fact that they reuse parts of the eyes... dunno...

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22-07-2012, 05:46 PM
RE: The right to decide
(14-07-2012 11:30 AM)lucradis Wrote:  This is a big issue in Canada right now.

The right to die just went through the courts and it was decided that it would be legal to have assisted suicide here, given certain qualifications. However as can be expected, it is being appealed. Cause, you know... why let people choose things for themselves.

I am 100% for people choosing how they want to die.
Why let people choose for themselves?
Because if you're in a situation where you want to commit suicide you likely have some form of depression or mental illness. In both cases you're head is not in the right place and again in both cases often treatment is available.

I think if you offered an assisted suicide service then it would almost just become too easy, why spend thousands upon thousands and years and years treating them when you can just kill them and be done with it. Sure it wont always happen but you can bet your bottom dollar there will be cases that families can't afford or simply don't want to help the person in question.

Sure this process could work, like being required to being assessed by several doctors, minimum required time spent in a hospital, court hearing etc.. etc.. But it's like any other process, it will be abused.

As for illness, well that's a little different.

Also, I doubt a note carried around in your wallet would hold up in court as having much bearing on doctors decision not to mention open for corruption.

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