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Miclaus Maria-Luiza

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Do you agree with euthanasia? (for humans)

I recently had an argument with 2 of my teachers on this subject. Whenever asked whether they agree with euthanasia or not they were either avoiding to answer or they were completely against it without bringing any arguments to support their opinion.
As far as I've noticed this is a very controversial and sensitive subject but I couldn't find anyone to debate it with.
Both my history and my religion teacher found their safety saying that Jesus says humans have no right to take away anyone's life but they didn't share their personal opinion.
Basically my belief is that endeed we do not have that right but in some cases,when for instance a certain person is too sick and hasn't got any chance of getting better and that person doesn't have the streght or the will to fight anymore and their desire is to die,shouldn't they be given this right?

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    May 27 2013: No, I don't agree. People can always revive, so they should be kept alive until dead. What is your argument for euthanasia?

    However, if someone tells you they want to die, I don't know the answer. On the one hand, it is their life, so they should have a right to end it. On the other hand, we, the outsiders, know their life might be better, might improve, so we should prevent them from ending it. I would say someone who wants to die should have the right.
    • May 27 2013: You want an argument for euthanasia, I'll give two: 1) Unbearable constant pain which cannot be relieved by any available medication. 2) A terminal condition which leads you to an unavoidably pitiful end. There may be more, but this two I know from first hand.
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        May 28 2013: right, George, but are these arguments for euthanasia, or the right to commit suicide. If I understand euthanasia, it is given where the person is unconscious and cannot make a decision themselves. In that case, we would not know if the person is in pain, we cannot assume they are in pain, thus we cannot, secondhand, make the decision to end their life. As far as the pitiful end, well, again, if the person is unconscious, we cannot make the decision to end their life even if we perceive them headed for a pitiful end, because we don't know if the end is coming, they may get better and return to conscious life.
        • May 28 2013: In the case of an unconscious person you just cannot know if keeping them alive is an act of kindness or an act of torture, drawing a line between extending life and elongating agony can be extremely difficult even for highly trained and seasoned physicians, so whatever decision you make in the behalf of the unconscious person can be an act of humanity or a crime, and you may never know. On the other hand I don't think the concept of euthanasia should be limited to unconscious people... what if you are diagnosed with a disease which will disable you completely in a matter of months? would your life still be worth living? what if such disease is not covered by your insurance? what if you don't have insurance? is it ethical to rest the burden of your disabled self on your relatives? how long would they stand it? what if you don't have any relatives? what if you are homeless? is it ethical to classify as "suicide" the act of requesting medical help to end your life under such circumstances?
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        May 28 2013: Well, George, if we didn't know whether the person was in pain or not, I think we would have to attempt to extend life with the idea that they might not be in pain, and they might recover. Wouldn't we have strong clues as to whether they're in pain, in other words, if they're lying there unconscious and not groaning or moaning, wouldn't it suggest they're not in pain?

        If you are diagnosed with a disease that will disable you...well, the problem is that noone has a crystal ball. You may be diagnosed with that prognosis, but you may be the person who beats the prognosis, sometimes people do do better than the doctors predict. So I'd still keep the person alive.

        As far as the financial question, I don't have such a ready answer. I would tend to think one's relatives/society should bear the financial burden until it becomes too heavy a burden, in many situations in life one has to decide between competing claims and this seems like one.
        • May 29 2013: You may be right, physicians are not gods, however their training makes them reliable sources of information, so when 2 or 3 of them give you the same prognosis, is very unlikely all them be wrong... yes you will might be stronger than the disease, but what if you see your body degrading steadily without any improvement? what if additionally you start loosing mental clarity?... I don't think the feelings of that moment would be easy to cope with, would it be worth living a bitter (rest of your) life? would your relatives deserve to be mistreated? would they be willing to understand you? who's going to take care of you? for how long? does that person (or institution) has the physical and financial strength to sustain you until the unavoidable?
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        May 29 2013: I don't know, George, I suppose if someone started losing mental clarity there's always a chance they could get it back. So I'd still avoid euthanasia. But I could envision a point where the chances that a person would get better are outweighed by the drain the person is making. Would you agree with that? Where would that point be, or how would you know if you've reached it?

        Did you say you had some personal experience with these issues? What was it?
        • May 29 2013: Preservation of life must be the main priority for any health related professional, no doubt about it... however as a patient I believe I should have the right to decide when a disease (or pain) is making my life not worth living any more... specially if I am in a terminal stage of the disease. I don't know for you, but in my case, I wouldn't want to see my wife and children sacrifice their health and financial safety just because I was too greedy to avoid to say good bye on time.

          I didn't say I had personal experience, I just said I knew a couple of cases from first hand, but I am sorry, I rather prefer not to comment on that.
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      May 29 2013: I do not agree with taking someone's life without permission no matter how bad the state is. However, should a person ask for his/her death than I think they should be given the right.
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        May 29 2013: So far that's about where I am on it, too, Miclaus.

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