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Brian Cox
  • Brian Cox
  • Cardiff By The Sea, CA
  • United States


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Euthanasia: In favor or opposed?

Some questions to get you thinking:

Should patients be allowed the right to die?
Are doctors obligated to assist patients with their dying wish?
Should assisted suicide be illegal?


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    Jun 26 2012: I have read all your comments, including the comments in "The Right to Assisted Suicide" conversation posted by Stewart. From what I have read, it seems that most are in favor of euthanasia under a certain pretense. Many of you have highlighted that in certain cases of unbearable, progressive suffering, you would consider assisted suicide.

    However, I want you to consider a world in which doctors could write a prescription for euthanasia. How would that change our perception of doctors? Current practice dictates that a doctor must always keep you alive and well, regardless of your circumstances. If euthanasia was legalized, a doctor would suddenly be involved in the prescription of death.

    Do you think only certain factions of doctors should be considered Euthansizers?

    Would this be similar to those who conduct abortions?

    How would you be referred to these types of doctors?
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      Jun 26 2012: I think it all plays on the doctor's right to not treat someone, so a doctor who didn't want to euthanize a patient could just refuse to do so. So in this case you build a data log of doctors who are willing to do it and you get refereed to them.
      I think it would be incredibly cruel and arrogant to call such doctors dealers of death as the media surely would, they would be doing a very brave act and a real act of treatment for those who wish to die.

      p.s are you studying at Queens Belfast? if so what are your thoughts on it?
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        Jun 27 2012: Yep! Going into my 4th year, passed all of my exams as of yesterday. Queen's is a great Uni. It's hard for me to compare as NI is very different from from America, but I find the curriculum to be very clinical, hands on, and inclusive of lots of patient contact. I think I miss the sun most though!
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          Jun 27 2012: Ha try living here for 16 years with rain almost every day. I my self am thinking about going to Queens or Trinity in Dublin, not to do medicine though. O well enjoy your final year, and if by chance there's a sunny day you should go to the Mournes sometime.

          p.s At first I totally thought you were the physicist Brian Cox
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          Jun 27 2012: Brian, As a new (almost) doctor and consistant with the theme ... I assume you will return to the US to practice .... what are your thoughts on Obamacare and the included Death Panels and associated "control" of doctors and the medical profession. Your conversation will become imposed law and this conservation and opinions to the contrary mute. The role of doctors and the medical profession will be forever changed. Will this influence where you chose to practice .... Your views on the government intervention into the medical profession and regulating medical decisions please.
      • Jun 29 2012: Unfortunately, I disagree with your view. How can it be a doctor's right ? Is it the doctor who is having to undergo all the pain and suffering or is it the patient himself ? Does the doctor hold the ability to understand the patients emotion? No. The patient coupled with his closest family members are the sole beings who hold this ability and thus, in my opinion , it is the patients right to take this decision, rather than the doctor himself
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          Jun 29 2012: Yes but doctors by law have the right to not treat someone, if you walked into a hospital with a broken arm or anything, the doctor has a legal right not to treat you.
        • Jul 17 2012: Doctors are not doctors so they can kill people they are doctors to heal and save people. They do not have the right to kill their patient just because the patient or the family of the patient demands it. That is not a doctor's job. Their job is to heal and save lives. Killing patients is not in the job description.
    • Jun 26 2012: It all depends whether the patient can make their own decision about it, whether there should be a thing like a DNR but for euthanizing, where the patient has signed a thing beforehand.

      As about the doctors, I think there should be "courses" for that, so only trained, professional and experienced doctors can do this, rather than any old doctor, because no doubt there would be loads of scandals and inquiries about this sort of thing.

      If the patient is too incapacitated to make a decision (i.e too much pain or a coma), there should be something like a general consensus among the closest family.

      In the end, I quote the famous Game of Thrones "you will see exactly what life is worth, when all the rest has gone"
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        Jun 27 2012: The problem is that most euthanized individuals may lack the competence to simply 'sign on the dotted line.' Additionally, it may be impossible to provide evidence otherwise.

        At the minute, no programs for euthanization exist as the process is still an illegal process. Your proposal has been considered previously, but many doctors (palliative care and anesthetists included) feel euthanizing is contrary to their vocation. They argue they would lose patient trust if they were able to provide a euthanizing service.

        It is a difficult balance between patient competence, motivation, family pressure, and medical opinion. However, even if all parties are in agreement, no single person typically wants to be responsible for the permanence of ending someone's life.
        • Jun 27 2012: I don't think I explained myself properly, I mean like, at any point in ones life, someone can sign a paper saying that if they are in a state where it's just going to be endless pain and suffering, then the option of euthanasia is possible.

          I can understand why doctors feel that way, because they live to save people. But I guess that the way I see it is that a person can be saved through death. I know I'd much rather be put out of my misery than be suffering in one way or another.

          However, I know if it was my mum or something which was in this condition, there would be a big part of me not wanting to let go.

          Also just slightly off topic, I find it a bit strange how many countries 33 states in America (I think it's 33...) can give out the death sentence, but not euthanasia. I know thats a bit of a weird thing to say, but if people are so morally just to say when someone can be put in the chair or not, they can rather do that to someone rather than help someone relieve their pain.

          But again, it's different to passing the sentence than actually carrying it out I suppose. I think however, whoever passes out the sentence (talking about both capital punishment and euthanasia) should do the deed. I suppose its harder in terms of euthanasia, because if the patient decides they want it, then they are supposed to kill themselves...

          I dunno, I'm kind of arguing with myself now haha
        • Jul 17 2012: To Rob the death penalty is also horrible. Innocent lives have been taken by use of the death penalty as well as innocent lives that were taken by use of mercy killings.Abortion is another euthanasia that takes innoncent lives. It is just too much killing and all needs to stop.
        • Jul 17 2012: The problem with dnrs is they are used to kill people by psychopath medical staff who do not want to treat. An example of this would be when the medical staff gives an endless supply of sedatives and other pain narcotics while the patient is already in a medical emergency coma from another drug overdose. the staff yells out dnr and sedatives all at the same time. It is truly unbelievable that even psychopath medical staff can be such incredible low lives as that.This patient is not even the slightest bit terminal.
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      Jun 26 2012: Whose idea is that doctors keep me alive and well? Sorry but that's my job. If I have a health issue I seek out the doctor or if I have pain or a broken bone or something.

      I don't think it will ever get to the point where doctors can write a prescription for it. First of all, the pharmacists will not be willing to fill that script and imagine trying to transport or store it safely. I think it should be an in-office/hospital or bedside procedure with the physician in attendance to pronounce.

      I also agree with Stewart, there will be physicians that can ethically help and others that cannot based on their own morality. That needs to be respected. Maybe there should be a sub-specialty or board certification in thanatology. Evidence based practice and such. I think the best physician for this is the general practitioner who has developed a therapeutic relationship with the patient and has a broader understanding of the situation and ramifications of the decision. They would also know the patient, hopefully for years, and can best coordinate the procedure into a treatment plan.

      I think there is a huge difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. I would really have to think about Rob's suggestion that the family and physician can end someones life, even in a coma. Imagine the possible abuses there. I would have to think about it.
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        Jun 27 2012: It is definitely a controversial issue and I understand how passionately you feel about this issue. I am merely attempting to provide the opposing view for your consideration. I think this issue is too quickly dismissed as 'patient choice' when all parties involved need consideration. Exactly as you have pointed out, if euthanasia or assisted suicide were legal, would there be abuses? legal ramifications? sustained family guilt?
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          Jun 28 2012: No, I think you are wrong. I have been in these situations many many times. Not assisted suicide but code or no code. The ONLY person that should have any say is the patient. Believe me they are not happy if you resuscitate them and prolong thier suffering because the next of kin panics and makes us jump on their chest. Unfortunately most of the world thinks like you do, or should I say, most of the world is afraid of lawsuits from the family members who do not die.

          It is patient choice and everybody else should stay out of it. There would be no abuse at all if we could get that in place.
        • Jul 17 2012: To Brian
          I do think that if it were legal it would be even more dangerous. There are psychopath and lazy medical staff who do not mind killing people. I could just see them telling the family of the poor patient/victim that the patient is suffering so lets abide by the patients wishes and kill them, or if the patient said ahead of time they would want to be euthanized if they went into a coma the psychopath doctor could simply put the patient in a drug induced coma and the patient is euthanized. Euthanizing can also cover up drug overdose mistakes made by doctors. If we do not make it so easy for drs to cover up mistakes by use of euthanasia then maybe there would not be as many mistakes made. There should also be heavy consequences for doctors who do use euthanasia.

          I have seen dnr being used to kill as well as no drastic measures. These two things are legal and are being used in the wrong way by what I call psychopath doctors. Also euthanasia is being used even though it is not legal. So with that said, I can only imagine what would happen if it were legal in the medical field.

          Instead any medical staff who participates in it should spend their life in prison maybe this will set an example to the psychopath uncaring lazy doctors. It seems the only thing that will make a psychopath do the right thing is the fear of prison. That would at least help the situation although not stop it completely.

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