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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » RIP Brittany Maynard (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mastermindreader
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On Nov 5, 2014, rockwall wrote:
For all those here that support and find laudable and brave her decision to end her life, do you feel the same about Robin Williams? Do you believe his decision was laudable and brave and deserves support? If so, I don't recall reading those sentiments on his RIP topic.


Completely different situations. Robin Williams was not facing a medical prognosis of a progressively painful death spiral within six months. Nor did he ever publicly address his rationale behind what appeared to be a spontaneous act born of acute depression.
mastermindreader
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On Nov 5, 2014, landmark wrote:

At what point (if any) would you make the choice to kill yourself?
At what point (if any) would you support loved ones killing themselves?
What is the range of motives that people have for killing themselves?
Is killing oneself an act of courage or an act of cowardice? Or is that a loaded bifurcation?


My personal answers, in order.

When I had a rational reason, supported by clear and convincing medical evidence, to believe that a slow, painful, death was unavoidable and imminent. I would also consider the effects, both financial and emotional, that my prolonged suffering and deterioration would have on my family and loved ones.

When I believed that the circumstances for them were the same as in my previous answer, and that they made the decision with a sound mind and based on solid evidence that impending death was unavoidable and that the only alternatives were death with dignity or a slow and painful deterioration accompanied by a savagely progressive and, finally, complete loss of physical and mental capacity.

Don't know. I'm sure the range of motives covers a broad spectrum, from deluded and or irrational reasons based on a mental disease or defect, to a fully rational conclusion that that a relatively painless death is a preferable outcome in a hopeless and painfully progressive terminal disease.

False dichotomy. It is not an either/or situation. Killing oneself can also be a completely irrational act that is neither brave nor cowardly.
S2000magician
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On Nov 4, 2014, magicalaurie wrote:
I've worked as a professional in a vet clinic and assisted far too many unnecessary euthanasias.

And at the other extreme, I've seen many animals who lead miserable lives, but whose owners cling to them desperately when they should be ending the suffering. We were at a barn that had a beautiful Dutch Warmblood horse (Mattie) who foundered (essentially, lost all her hooves). She was clearly in agony, could barely stand at times, and when she could, could barely move. Yet her owner kept her for another year before she finally allowed her relief from her suffering. It was heart-wrenching to watch.
rockwall
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Quote:
On Nov 5, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 5, 2014, rockwall wrote:
For all those here that support and find laudable and brave her decision to end her life, do you feel the same about Robin Williams? Do you believe his decision was laudable and brave and deserves support? If so, I don't recall reading those sentiments on his RIP topic.


Completely different situations. Robin Williams was not facing a medical prognosis of a progressively painful death spiral within six months. Nor did he ever publicly address his rationale behind what appeared to be a spontaneous act born of acute depression.


What makes you think it was spontaneous? From what I've read, it's something he had contemplated for a long time.
mastermindreader
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That may or may not be, rockwall. I simply don't know, because unlike Ms Maynard, Robin Williams gave no prior public explanation of what he was contemplating or why.

That's why it's really impossible to compare their cases. But, as far as I know, Williams was not suffering from a terminal disease and given only six months to live.

William's case seems to have involved severe depression from what I've read. But depression is a treatable condition. There is no denying, though, that it is a major cause of suicide. I neither applaud nor condemn Mr. Williams' decision. I simply accept that it was a decision he chose to make.

I cannot, and would not, judge. Nor would I use Williams' death as an example in support of death with dignity laws.
magicalaurie
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Jeff, you make very clear sense to me, FWIW. I wonder how accurate this article is:

http://www.people.com/article/Brittany-M......-journey

I wonder, too, if there are any plans to confirm her diagnosis of stage 4 glioblastoma at this point.
reese
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On Nov 2, 2014, tommy wrote:
I guess they are giving this stuff top billing because they are looking for volunteers.
Perhaps the most disgusting thing I've ever read on the Café.
mastermindreader
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Things get a bit muddied when we conflate voluntary euthanasia, as in Britanny's case, with involuntary euthanasia, as in the case of unwanted animals, or in cases where family members must decide FOR a patient who is non compos mentis or otherwise unable to express their own desires and preferences.

The real issue in the Maynard case, though, is really a legal one, given that most states do not allow physician assisted suicide.And that issue is:

Should a mentally and legally competent adult, who has been diagnosed by more than one physician as having a terminal and progressively debilitating and painful disease, and who fully understands the nature of his or her medical condition, have the right, under state and federal laws, to seek physician assisted suicide in order to avoid extreme pain and suffering that would, based on clear and convincing evidence, and to a reasonable medical certainty, result from allowing the disease to naturally reach its terminal conclusion within a time period of less than one year from the date of diagnosis?

If all of those conditions are present, my personal opinion is "Yes."

(Sorry if that sound verbose or overly legalistic, but I had to carefully lay out all of the conditions precedent that I believe should be present to legally and morally allow physician assisted suicide.)
magicalaurie
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Are you telling me, perchance, that my Dad is incompetent, Bob? He's perfectly capable of consenting or not, the doctor didn't give a damm about that. Really doesn't concern them at all. The arrogance of the medical system and the disposability of the elderly has a lot of very reasonable people very concerned these days. The connection to Britanny is in whether she faced a similar pressure. Reading her statements, there's a lot of mention of fear. S2000 summed it up pretty well, some decide what one should do. And there's tons of pressure these days to focus negatively. Who are you, S2000, to tell us what another should have done with their horse? That's not your call to make. And don't tell me the horse wanted to die. Animals are pretty good at dying when they're ready. And they're pretty good at staying alive and marching on while they can, too. Even if some find it "heartwrenching" to watch.
mastermindreader
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No, Laurie, not at all. Where did I say or imply ANYTHING about your Dad's competence?

I've simply tried to lay out my personal views as precisely as possible. Since your father is competent to make his own decisions, those decisions should be his alone. To over-ride the decision of a competent person regarding the choice of his own life or death is as repugnant to me as it is to you.

And I'm very sorry to hear that you have to go through this. In the two days following my girlfriend's open heart surgery last Friday, I was in great fear for her life after it was discovered that her heart was in far worse shape than was initially thought. Fortunately, and by the grace of God, everything turned out well. But having lost my wife five nine years ago in the same hospital I was very apprehensive.

(The only reason I mention my personal situation is to convey to you that I don't take death lightly. But I do believe strongly in an individual's sovereignty over his or her own body in matters of life and death.)
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"as in the case of unwanted animals, or in cases where family members must decide FOR a patient who is non compos mentis or otherwise unable to express their own desires and preferences."
S2000magician
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On Nov 6, 2014, magicalaurie wrote:
Who are you, S2000, to tell us what another should have done with their horse?

I'm the same (sort of) person who decided that many euthanizations of pets were unnecessary.

I gave you my opinion, as you gave us yours.
magicalaurie
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I may have said they were unnecessary. I didn't say the owners shouldn't have euthanized them. Jeff, does that make sense?
S2000magician
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On Nov 6, 2014, magicalaurie wrote:
And don't tell me the horse wanted to die.

As you have argued so strenuously that nobody here put words in your mouth, I'd ask you for the same consideration.

Nothing I've ever written here has expressed or implied that I think Mattie (or any other horse, or other animal) wants to die, or is, if left to its own devices, unable to die at the proper time.

I know how much Mattie was not left to her own devices; I saw it for months. You, on the other hand, do not. Without that knowledge, please don't judge my opinion.
S2000magician
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On Nov 6, 2014, magicalaurie wrote:
I may have said they were unnecessary.

It isn't a question of whether you may have or not; in fact, you did.
magicalaurie
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Of course I did. What do you have to say about the second part? I didn't say the owners should have chosen differently.
mastermindreader
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On Nov 6, 2014, magicalaurie wrote:
"as in the case of unwanted animals, or in cases where family members must decide FOR a patient who is non compos mentis or otherwise unable to express their own desires and preferences."


That's clearly just an example I gave of INVOLUNTARY euthanasia, which I have serious problems with.

The issue in the Maynard case is VOLUNTARY decisions made by competent adults. And that's ALL I have expressed an opinion on. (As I said, the issue is muddied when it is conflated with the issues surrounding involuntary euthanasia.)

Please don't read my words out of context. Involuntary euthanasia exists. You oppose it. I have serious problems with it. I respect your opinion. I can't help it if you don't respect mine, even though it is substantially the same as yours.
tommy
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Things get a bit muddied indeed when people say :

Quote:
On Nov 4, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Again, this case has nothing whatsoever to do with euthanasia. You're just derailing the topic.


Then later say:

Quote:
On Nov 6, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Things get a bit muddied when we conflate voluntary euthanasia, as in Britanny's case, with involuntary euthanasia, as in the case of unwanted animals, or in cases where family members must decide FOR a patient who is non compos mentis or otherwise unable to express their own desires and preferences.


There are various types of Euthanasia. So here from the BBC is a little thing which might help define our terms perhaps:

“Euthanasia is the termination of a very sick person's life in order to relieve them of their suffering.
In most cases euthanasia is carried out because the person who dies asks for it, but there are cases called euthanasia where a person can't make such a request.
“Forms of euthanasia
The different types of euthanasia, some of which may be seen as more or less acceptable depending on your outlook.
Euthanasia comes in several different forms, each of which brings a different set of rights and wrongs.
Active and passive euthanasia

In active euthanasia a person directly and deliberately causes the patient's death. In passive euthanasia they don't directly take the patient's life, they just allow them to die.

This is a morally unsatisfactory distinction, since even though a person doesn't 'actively kill' the patient, they are aware that the result of their inaction will be the death of the patient.

Active euthanasia is when death is brought about by an act - for example when a person is killed by being given an overdose of pain-killers.

Passive euthanasia is when death is brought about by an omission - i.e. when someone lets the person die. This can be by withdrawing or withholding treatment:

Withdrawing treatment: for example, switching off a machine that is keeping a person alive, so that they die of their disease.
Withholding treatment: for example, not carrying out surgery that will extend life for a short time.

Traditionally, passive euthanasia is thought of as less bad than active euthanasia. But some people think active euthanasia is morally better.

Read more about the ethics of passive and active euthanasia
Voluntary and involuntary euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia occurs at the request of the person who dies.

Non-voluntary euthanasia occurs when the person is unconscious or otherwise unable (for example, a very young baby or a person of extremely low intelligence) to make a meaningful choice between living and dying, and an appropriate person takes the decision on their behalf.

Non-voluntary euthanasia also includes cases where the person is a child who is mentally and emotionally able to take the decision, but is not regarded in law as old enough to take such a decision, so someone else must take it on their behalf in the eyes of the law.

Involuntary euthanasia occurs when the person who dies chooses life and is killed anyway. This is usually called murder, but it is possible to imagine cases where the killing would count as being for the benefit of the person who dies.

Read more about the ethics of voluntary and involuntary euthanasia
Indirect euthanasia

This means providing treatment (usually to reduce pain) that has the side effect of speeding the patient's death.

Since the primary intention is not to kill, this is seen by some people (but not all) as morally acceptable.

A justification along these lines is formally called the doctrine of double effect.
Assisted suicide

This usually refers to cases where the person who is going to die needs help to kill themselves and asks for it. It may be something as simple as getting drugs for the person and putting those drugs within their reach.”

-BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/o......ms.shtml
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LobowolfXXX
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On Nov 6, 2014, magicalaurie wrote:
I may have said they were unnecessary. I didn't say the owners shouldn't have euthanized them. Jeff, does that make sense?


Are you saying it's improperly judgmental to say that people shouldn't unnecessarily kill animals?
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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stoneunhinged
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Laurie asked if I think she makes sense, and I think she does--assuming she and I have understood each other.

When she says that she "didn't mean the owners shouldn't have euthanized them", she's saying that she doesn't presume to know the motives or rightness of their decision.

I think we are both loathe to judge--or praise--the decisions of others, but we would prefer people choose life over death.

So Lobo's question is a clever one. Laurie and are are judgmental people who do not want to judge, and it seems to be a contradiction to everyone but us.
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