The Instigator
Tgraygaudet
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheMan2
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2012 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,236 times Debate No: 24312
Debate Rounds (5)
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Tgraygaudet

Pro

Euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering.(1) With that said if we do this for our animals that we love so very much why not do it for our loved ones who are suffering from cancer or other terminal illnesses.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
TheMan2

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting topic, I would like to of course accept their definition and begin with my argument.

I personally am forced to negate this argument for 2 main points of contention.

1: There is always the chance for recovery.
2: In many cases a well informed decision cannot be made.

1: THERE IS ALWAYS THE CHANCE FOR RECOVERY
First: What we have to firstly realize is that regardless as the the kind of pain you may be in due to whatever illness you may be suffering regardless as to whether or not it has been determined as terminal there will always be a chance for recovery and you should never be allowed to take away this ever present chance. (1) In 1984 a man by the name of John Matzke was told by his doctor that he only had 18 months to live from a malignant melanoma (skin cancer). He was told by his doctor to give up and say his final goodbyes to his family. Instead he spent his last time alive working out and strengthening his body. Several months later he returned to his doctor to discover that his cancer had entirely disappeared. He died 18 years later from a re occurrence of the same cancer in his brain. If he had been euthanized those 18 years of his life would have been wasted. (1) The same article goes on to give a statistic that up to 1 and 60,000 people who have been diagnosed with a terminal disease go on to a spontaneous and miraculous recovery that add many years to their lives. While it may be an uncommon occurance to take these chances away from the sick seems incredibly unfair and should not be allowed to be put forth.

Secondly we also of course would have to look towards things such as botched tests, wrong diagnosis, lack of knowledge about diseases on the doctors end to lead to a wrongful fatal diagnosis, (2) up to 80,000 wrongful diagnosis happen in the united states alone every single year, and to allow these wrongful diagnosis to lead to death is simply unacceptable

2: IN MANY CASES A WELL INFORMED DECISION CANNOT BE MADE

As we can see by evidenced by the level of suicides in the united states alone ((3) 34,600 deaths every year) people while under any kind of stress, whether that be the stress of a failed relationship or in this case the stress of being told you have a fatal illness as well as the pain from said fatal illness can lead to incredible stresses and would very easily lead to a bad and entirely fatal decision to be euthanized. With my previous point of there being the constant ability to get better and have some sort of recovery. Your ability to make a educated decision will be seriously lowered by all the stress and possible misinformation that you could have been given.

As a result of these two points its absolutely necessary to negate this resolution to save human lives.

(1)http://discovermagazine.com...
(2)http://digitaljournal.com...
(3)http://www.nimh.nih.gov...

Sorry that I couldnt make my argument longer but its late where I live and I wish to go to bed. So thank you for the interesting exercise and i look forward towards your response.
Debate Round No. 1
Tgraygaudet

Pro

Rebuttal:

THERE IS ALWAYS THE CHANCE FOR RECOVERY

"What we have to firstly realize is that regardless as the the kind of pain you may be in due to whatever illness you may be suffering regardless as to whether or not it has been determined as terminal there will always be a chance for recovery and you should never be allowed to take away this ever present chance."

Oregon was the first state to pass a Death With Dignity (DWD) Act which it did in 1994 after a Citizen Initiated Referendum. However, this law was not finally implemented until 27 October 1997. (In the intervening period, the Act was subject to legal challenge which prevented it being used; this is why the Northern Territory was the first place in the world to experience VE legislation.)

These Death With Dignity Acts allow people who are terminally and/or hopelessly ill to ask their doctors for lethal medication. Patients must make two verbal requests and one written request that is fully witnessed. Two doctors must agree on the patient's ‘diagnosis, prognosis and the patient's capability'. The patient must administer the lethal medication themselves.(1)

"The same article goes on to give a statistic that up to 1 and 60,000 people who have been diagnosed with a terminal disease go on to a spontaneous and miraculous recovery that add many years to their lives."

Pinning down spontaneous remissions has been a little like chasing rainbows. It's not even possible to say just how frequently such cases occur—estimates generally range from 1 in 60,000 to 1 in 100,000 patients. < This is what is actually said...Key word is ESTIMATES which means it isn't known it even states pinning them down is like chasing rainbows which means there is no way of telling how many occur.

Needless to say the chances of possible complete and total recovery after being diagnosed with a terminal illness is a slim to none chance. People should be able to decide whether or not to take the chance of if they want to live or not.

IN MANY CASES A WELL INFORMED DECISION CANNOT BE MADE

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. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act requires the Oregon Health Authority to collect information about the patients and physicians who participate in the Act, and publish an annual statistical report. (2) < The decision is closely analyzed BEFORE administering the drug so they take into account the stresses and everything else before deciding whether or not they should give it to you.

Also I would like to point that Euthanasia is also a whole lot cheaper than actually paying for medicine and health insurance only to die in the end.

"Savings to governments could become a consideration. Drugs for assisted suicide cost about $35 to $45, making them far less expensive than providing medical care. This could fill the void from cutbacks for treatment and care with the 'treatment' of death."(3)

Not to mention 3 out of 4 Americans are for Euthanasia. (4) The article does also mention that Americans are not too fond of how the wording is with said topic but in the end it is all the same. People want to take their lives to end their suffering.

1. http://www.exitinternational.net...
2. http://public.health.oregon.gov...
3. http://debatepedia.idebate.org...
4. http://www.gallup.com...
TheMan2

Con

Rebuttal:

Humans and animals can be compared in the terms of euthanasia

"With that said if we do this for our animals that we love so very much why not do it for our loved ones who are suffering from cancer or other terminal illnesses."

What is done with today's animals simply cannot be compared with any kind of medical treatment of humans. Euthenasia is used on animals in many cases as a first resort, if we look to somewhere like a horse hospital we're going to see a broken leg leading to a murdered horse. As humans its our job to whenever possible to provide the best quality of life as humanly possible for every member of our species, and as long as some one is living it will always be possible for a improved or more any quality of life. With animals any kind of euthinasia is more done to attempt and protect the humans. Either from financial loss of paying pet bills, emotional distress from a dying pet or to protect other humans from either a vicious or rabid animal. So any kind of comparison cannot be made.

Because of the difficulty of telling how many or often spontaneous recoveries happen they cannot be used

"Key word is ESTIMATES which means it isn't known it even states pinning them down is like chasing rainbows which means there is no way of telling how many occur."

While there may be no easy way to tell how many or how often these kinds of miraculous cures occur does not by any means mean that you can never expect them to happen. Medical science and a complete knowledge of the human anatomy does not exist at very least as of now and to expect that every single person diagnosed with a terminal disease and thus should be euthanized to save suffering and money we're taking away the last hope and the last several months of live to every person with these terminal diseases.

"Also I would like to point that Euthanasia is also a whole lot cheaper than actually paying for medicine and health insurance only to die in the end."

Regardless as to the outcome of the debate in the terms of saving lives and preventing suffering money should never come into the issue. There is no monetary value to a human life and with the ever present chance of recovery even though it may cost additional money for the overall system then to just kill the people putting a drain on it. A similar response to something such as homeless would be to simply send out death squads to round them up and kill them. While it may save money, the value of a human life cannot be left out, regardless as of how much time they have left or how unlikely it is that they will survive.

"Not to mention 3 out of 4 Americans are for Euthanasia. (4) The article does also mention that Americans are not too fond of how the wording is with said topic but in the end it is all the same. People want to take their lives to end their suffering."

Polls again should have very little to do with this topic. There was a time in american history when the majority of Americans believed that slavery was a perfectly acceptable and humanitarian practice. With big issues such as these public belief behind these topics that will influence the lives of thousands you cannot leave it up to simply the majority to decide what is right and wrong. And with the people whom this actually effects being unable to make an accurate decision as I stated in my previous argument no one is truly qualified or has the right to make a decision such as whether or not to have a person euthanized or not you cant allow popular belief which is subject to inherent biases to make these kinds of life decisions for people.

"These Death With Dignity Acts allow people who are terminally and/or hopelessly ill to ask their doctors for lethal medication. Patients must make two verbal requests and one written request that is fully witnessed. Two doctors must agree on the patient's ‘diagnosis, prognosis and the patient's capability'. The patient must administer the lethal medication themselves.(1)"

While it does sound reasonably good on paper to give patients the option in reality cannot work. The only reason to preform the kind of procedure of lethal medication would be for extreme and excruciating pain, the people in this condition will likely be medicated with pain killers and be simply unable to make a truly rational decision either due to the excruciating pain or from the consumption of these pain killers. A stable mental condition simply cannot be achieved by any meaning of the word. So I have to disagree with the existence or the implementation or implementation of this death with dignity acts simply on the grounds that you cant allow these patients to make a decision about their medical future.

Thank you very much and i look forward to round 3.
Debate Round No. 2
Tgraygaudet

Pro

"What is done with today's animals simply cannot be compared with any kind of medical treatment of humans. Euthenasia is used on animals in many cases as a first resort, if we look to somewhere like a horse hospital we're going to see a broken leg leading to a murdered horse. As humans its our job to whenever possible to provide the best quality of life as humanly possible for every member of our species, and as long as some one is living it will always be possible for a improved or more any quality of life. With animals any kind of euthinasia is more done to attempt and protect the humans. Either from financial loss of paying pet bills, emotional distress from a dying pet or to protect other humans from either a vicious or rabid animal. So any kind of comparison cannot be made."

Who is to say a human life is more valuable than that of the animals that are euthanized every day. Humans feel we are of a more deserving species because we can communicate and have gone through many revolutions in the industrial world.

"While there may be no easy way to tell how many or how often these kinds of miraculous cures occur does not by any means mean that you can never expect them to happen. Medical science and a complete knowledge of the human anatomy does not exist at very least as of now and to expect that every single person diagnosed with a terminal disease and thus should be euthanized to save suffering and money we're taking away the last hope and the last several months of live to every person with these terminal diseases."

If a person would like to end their suffering early and not find out their future who are we to tell them no. It is our right, we fight for freedom yet have no freedoms on whether or not to end our own suffering from a sickness. Not to mention we are going to die eventually why not be able to choose when to do so.

"Regardless as to the outcome of the debate in the terms of saving lives and preventing suffering money should never come into the issue. There is no monetary value to a human life and with the ever present chance of recovery even though it may cost additional money for the overall system then to just kill the people putting a drain on it. A similar response to something such as homeless would be to simply send out death squads to round them up and kill them. While it may save money, the value of a human life cannot be left out, regardless as of how much time they have left or how unlikely it is that they will survive."

Money is always part of the equation as much as you claim it shouldn't be. We spend 2.3 Trillion dollars a year on average. (1) Imagine how that would reduce if people were able to end their suffering.

"While it does sound reasonably good on paper to give patients the option in reality cannot work. The only reason to preform the kind of procedure of lethal medication would be for extreme and excruciating pain, the people in this condition will likely be medicated with pain killers and be simply unable to make a truly rational decision either due to the excruciating pain or from the consumption of these pain killers. A stable mental condition simply cannot be achieved by any meaning of the word. So I have to disagree with the existence or the implementation or implementation of this death with dignity acts simply on the grounds that you cant allow these patients to make a decision about their medical future."

We as humans make our decisions regardless of a mind set. People at the hospital I work at will make DNR's (Do Not Resuscitate) documents while hopped up on morphine or vicodin or oxycontin. If they are able to make legal documents such as that then why can't they decide to end their life. Also if they want to end their suffering chances are they chose not to take any medications in hopes they will die faster. Needless to say people who want to die and end their suffering will do so regardless of the law, so why not make it easier and cleaner for them in the end. It is mere selfishness to watch people lay there and suffer until they die just so everyone else can say their goodbyes. Also if they decide to end their life on a certain date they will become more relaxed on knowing when, then they can focus on all the legal matters that stress most terminally ill people out anyways that way they can die knowing their matters are settled and their family is not stressed. They can also go and say goodbyes and go to counseling with immediate family so they too can be ready for the passing of their loved one.

1. http://www.kaiseredu.org...
TheMan2

Con

"Who is to say a human life is more valuable than that of the animals that are euthanized every day. Humans feel we are of a more deserving species because we can communicate and have gone through many revolutions in the industrial world."

Well I do support helping animals wherever possible you cant really make the assertion that as a society we value animals equally as humans. (1) This article explains more in depth as to why animals are not equal to humans and simply cant be treated the same. We can see from this that you simply cannot look at animals in the same light as people.

"If a person would like to end their suffering early and not find out their future who are we to tell them no. It is our right, we fight for freedom yet have no freedoms on whether or not to end our own suffering from a sickness. Not to mention we are going to die eventually why not be able to choose when to do so."

While i do support a person's inherent right to many things the right to death is not included as one of them. (2) According to wikipedia 10 - 20 million people attempt suicide every year. According to my opponent since those people at that moment in their life wish to die its the job of doctors to then kill all of those people. But instead what we do is we send these men and women to psychologists where they can feel better mentally. The same should be done for these patients rather then allowing them while in this weak mental state to make this permanent life decision.

"Money is always part of the equation as much as you claim it shouldn't be. We spend 2.3 Trillion dollars a year on average. (1) Imagine how that would reduce if people were able to end their suffering."

Again using the same argument as before: If human life was all about money then we should kill all of the homeless because they're a drain on the economy, depressed and dont produce anything. Of course we cant do this because its imoral and the same goes for euthanasia.

"We as humans make our decisions regardless of a mind set. People at the hospital I work at will make DNR's (Do Not Resuscitate) documents while hopped up on morphine or vicodin or oxycontin. If they are able to make legal documents such as that then why can't they decide to end their life."

I agree, we do make decisions regardless of mindset but this isnt a good thing as my opponent would like you to believe. The fact that you can sign your name in several places on a forum doesnt mean that you can make a well thought out decision. I broke my collarbone and was on Oxycontin for 2 weeks straight. During that time I still had basic motor functions of course and could sign my name if I wanted but I was just lying in bed smiling, incredibly high for 2 weeks straight. If someone asked me to make a life choice while under these conditions I would have been able to fill out a forum but it would have been impossible for it to be a well thought out decision. Regardless as to my own experience you cant ask people to make life and death decisions while hopped up on narcotics. Its ridiculous to assume that you can.

(1)http://www.skepticcanary.com...
(2)http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
Tgraygaudet

Pro

So are you saying this man does not have a right to have euthanasia? Some terminal illnesses are not reversible, and the only option most people under the terminal illness umbrella have is they have to wait to die. I feel this video that I could only find it in parts I believe explains my argument using people who are choosing euthanasia as a great defense of why we should have it here.
TheMan2

Con

This is a very sad video. But this man still has a quality of life, he can still spend time with his wife, he can still do last things, travel see one last part of the world. Its his choice to be killed but as a result he is going to loose out the last part of his life. His wife obviously loves him, he can still move, he can still talk and while he is in pain and obviously wants an easy way out he doesnt have the right to hurt his wife and family in this way.
Debate Round No. 4
Tgraygaudet

Pro

"This is a very sad video. But this man still has a quality of life, he can still spend time with his wife, he can still do last things, travel see one last part of the world. Its his choice to be killed but as a result he is going to loose out the last part of his life. His wife obviously loves him, he can still move, he can still talk and while he is in pain and obviously wants an easy way out he doesn't have the right to hurt his wife and family in this way."

He says in the video the next thing that is going is his ability to swallow. He is on a ventilator meaning he is barely able to supply his body with enough oxygen. If he continued and went in the manner in which you claim he should have gone he would then be placed on a feeding tube which his wife would have to clean and and replace every two days. After he is placed on a feeding tube and has his ventilator the only possible way for him to die is by some medical mishap such as infected bedsores or some form of neglect somewhere down the line. It is too my understanding that we hate seeing our family suffer and most people comfort themselves at funerals or when talking about a deceased love one that they say things like "he did not suffer" or "she went quick and easy." so why on earth would the families of those present in this video be any different. Also as sad as it is to see or hear someone in your family say "I am dying slowly and just want to end it now." I am almost certain that a family will come to amends because it hurts a lot more to see someone you love and care for in pain emotionally because their family HAS to care for them or physically because their bodies can't take the treatments any longer. With that being said and this being my final argument I will say that last year my grandmother who had stage four pancreatic cancer decided to take this method she was not on pain killers and she was of clear mind. She came to our house told us what was going on, we went to family hospice therapy and they talked about it in full detail, she had a goodbye party, she settled ALL legal matters so no fights would occur when she was gone. She did not want her grandchildren present during her departing so we flew to Switzerland but went sight seeing while our parents went to my grandmother's aid. It was videotaped so if we did want to see it we could, but my mother said it was so peaceful that she was not truly sad until the wake and funeral in America. I, myself feel I healed emotionally a lot faster with the way she decided to go then the way my other grandmother went and I was exceptionally close to both. Anyways I feel it should be a right to decide whether or not we would like to live out our lives or not. I mean most people, not all, who decide this way are elderly or have seen what they wanted to see already, or have accepted the fact all in all you can't run from death it will take you when you least expect it so why not be able to decide when you get to die or not, you know your body better than anyone else in the world.
TheMan2

Con

Again a very, very sad story and im incredibly sorry for your loss, but my belief remains the same. It is simply impossible to make a well thought out and informed decision while on a massive amount of pain killers and immense pain. The man in the video as well as your grandmother were in obvious pain but they still do have a quality of life. Im not particularly religious and unless you believe in a afterlife euthanasia is murder with any way you look at it, because unless you believe in some kind of life after death then death is truly the end. As in, even if your in pain your still alive and can have positive emotions and thats what life is about, pushing through the pain and hardships to have more experiences even if you know you going to die like we all are. And to take away those last experiences can not be condoned either by me or by society. So in short, by killing these sick people who really aren't thinking straight we're taking away the last of their experiences before they enter the emptiness of death.

Thank you very much for my first and very interesting debate on this site.
Debate Round No. 5
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