Terminally ill patients should be given the option of assisted death
Debate Rounds (5)
1.) first round is acceptance only. the debate will start in round 2
2.) when you use a source you must paste the link in the debate
3.) Do not plagiarize
4.) no religion
5.) Be polite, don't swear.
This debate will be on terminally ill patients having the right to assisted death. I will be on the pro side.
"A scientific study of people with terminal illness published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that fewer than one in four expressed a wish to die, and all of those who did had clinically diagnosable depression.... Effective psychotherapeutic treatment is possible with the terminally ill" 
My opponent says there is no treatment available when drugs don't work, but pain can be managed, and in the worst case scenario a person can be frozen until a cure is found. Letting someone give up on hope is wrong,
It is also wrong to put someone in a position where they have to help someone end their life. No-one can accurately say how long someone has to live, and whether a cure will be found in time. We should not give up on anybody or have a negative view of life.
People who don't want someone to die who want to spend more time with someone are not selfish, they love that person, and love is not selfish.
Women may say if you love/respect me you'll do this or that. But doing what they tell you to do i.e. "respecting their choice" would end a relationship with them, as respect is not shown by simply doing what someone wants you to.
Telling a terminally ill person that you understand their pain and will let a doctor kill them is the same. You are not actually respecting their choice. Think about the message it would send to everyone else if it were legal to assist someone in killing them self, you'd be saying that a disabled person's life is less precious when in fact all life is equal and worth living.
If assisted suicide is legal and considered okay, people are more likely to feel a burden to other people due to there being an option to end their life. People will have less respect for life especially disabled or older people, which leads to misery, which leads to a weakened immune system, which then leads to illness. So basically more people will be terminally ill if it is legal for someone to assist someone killing them self. If you want less people to suffer then assisting someone to kill them self should remain illegal.
My opponent says 'They are no longer the person you once knew' which I think devalues terminally ill people. Everyone changes, no-one can be like before, pain is what makes us who we are, and is the reason we can be loved. A natural death is therefore something that no-one should fear.
As for the pain. Yes it can be managed, but that does not mean the pain will go away. The further into the illness the patient is, the more pain there will be because of the illness spreading and taking over their body. Drugs can only control so much, and a doctor can only give so much medicine before it becomes dangerous. By dangerous I mean too much medicine could cause an overdose, or could cause other side effects such as difficulty breathing which would add more pain for the patient. As for freezing the patient, I am not sure what you mean, but I am going to assume you are talking about cryogenic ally freezing. To be cryogenically frozen the patient must first be pronounced dead. It is illegal to cryogenically freeze someone who is still alive.
There are scientist and doctors out there who are always looking for a cure to every known disease out there. however, it takes time to find a cure, and once found it takes an average of 7 years to get the drug into the market. Given how most terminal patients only have 6 months to live, they won't have time to get the drug. Some illnesses do take longer then 6 months to kill, such as aids. However, most patients don't think about ending their suffering, or don't want to end their suffering until it is too much for them to handle. There are certain medical things a doctor looks at to determine the amount of time a terminal patient has left such as how far a cancer has spread and how fast the illness is taking over someone's body. They might not always be accurate, but it is only a guess, which most of the times is pretty accurate. it might not be accurate right down to the last second or minute or hour, but it is close.
Selfish is defined as lack of consideration for another. in the case of a person not letting someone make the decision to end their pain is selfish because they are not considering the fact that the person is suffering. With assisted death, the patient can choose when to end their suffering. That would give the patient time to spend with their loved ones and they would know how much time they have left with them. It would also save the patients family from having to watch their loved one suffer in pain.
Respect is defined as deep admiration for someone. when you respect the patients decision to end their pain it is not sending a message that their life is less precious than anyone Else's. It is saying that you respect that person's decision. They have a right to say what happens in their life. to say that they don't have a decision is sending a bad message to others. it is kind of like saying you don't think they can make their own decision, as if they were incompetent.
Legalizing assisted death would not cause more terminal illnesses. If it is legalized it gives the terminally ill patient more options. It gives them control of the illness. They won't lose respect for themselves because they are given another option.
Saying that a terminally ill patient at the end of there life is not the person you once knew is not devaluing the patient. it is simply stating that the person who once was able to run miles without stopping, loved to laugh and hang out with friends, and paint, is no longer able to do that. they lost the things they loved and once looked forward to doing every day. yes they still have their family, but they can't do anything with them like they could before the illness which causes sadness. You would be watching someone who once was happy and always had a smile slowly wither away in the pain into someone unfamiliar to you.
Their is nothing to fear but fear itself. so why should someone fear death, and not knowing when they will die? Giving the patient the option to end their pain would put them more at ease and give them time not to fear, or lessen the fear of death.
A lot of people simply agree with what the majority think, however if the majority of people want rape to be illegal it doesn't mean it should be, if the majority want murder and robbery to be legal should it? The majority are not always right. My first point I made in round two is that there are a considerable number of people who are terminally ill who don't wish to die. It doesn't matter if it's not above 50%, the fact is it is possible to be terminally ill, in chronic pain, and believe that life still has meaning and value, and is worth living. Negative feelings like depression, and despair can and should be treated. There are many different treatments, not just drugs e.g. talking helps.
A healthy person will want to live. People who want to die are mentally unwell, allowing someone to make a decision to end their life when in such a mental state is irresponsible. You say the main reasons patients want to die is due to their pain and them thinking they should have a right to choose. However we should be encouraging people to live no matter the degree of suffering, and encourage cures and better treatments. If we legalize assisted suicide then there is no point trying to find better treatments because the answer to pain and suffering is to just kill people. Surely it is wrong to take away people's hopes and wrong to tell people they should kill them self.
In the below video, a doctor gave a terminally ill person 3-5 years to live, she is alive 8 years later. Her son likes to see her, and see him succeed yet she wants to end her life. It is selfish to kill yourself when you are loved, and everyone is loved. Her daughter is selfish too, she says her mother only has her voice, that's it, and doesn't want to see her mum suffering so wants her mum to kill herself. Her daughter says she had plans but not anymore, this must make her mother feel guilty and a burden. Nobody should feel this way. Perhaps she was saying those things to inherit money sooner. Whatever her reason she was only thinking of herself.
This terminally ill woman only wants to end her life because the option exists. If it didn't exist her daughter wouldn't say those horrible things that make her mum feel like her life has no value or meaning anymore. How can the younger generation believe life has meaning when they don't believe there is when you're older or disabled?
What happens when a child is terminally ill? A child isn't old enough to make decisions for them self, is it okay for a parent to choose for them?
It is illegal to freeze someone who is still alive because cryotechnology is in its infancy but things can change quickly, it doesn't necessarily take 7 years, have you considered medical trials? Also it will one day in the near future be possible to store a person's consciousness on a computer chip and upload it into a robot. Who knows what the future holds. Imagine if you told someone you love that they should kill themself and a day later you find they didn't have to die, and here was a way they could have been saved from their illness, you could never forgive yourself.
You don't need to believe that terminally ill patients should be given the option of assisted death in order to acknowledge they are suffering, or to show you care. You say that a patient who chooses when they die is given time to spend with loved ones, wouldn't they have more time to spend with them if they didn't kill themself? Why is it so important to know how much time you have? Most people don't know how long they have to live, who would want to know? Only a mentally ill person would look forward to dying, and providing them a date to look forward to prevents them from enjoying life, seeing the positive side. Decisions should not be based on fear, such decisions are irrational. Saving people from having a small chance of witnessing someone die slowly and painfullly is not taking the terminally ill person's feelings into consideration. People don't have an obligation to die in a way that doesn't cause distress to those who are unfortunate to watch helplessly. People should not be expected to kill themselves ever.
Of course, if you tell someone they should kill themself like in the video I showed, you are saying that the persons life is no longer worth living. If it were worth living you wouldn't tell them to kill themself. Who are they to say whether someone else's life is worth living anyway? I don't understand how someone can feel incompetent as a result of not being allowed to have help killing themself, they'd definitely feel incompetent if they have help though as there are people who kill themselves without any help.
Negative emotions lead to a weakened immune system . This makes the body more vulnerable to illnesses including those which are terminal. Options can't control illness. Legalizing assisted death will no doubt cause more terminal illnesses. No-one can feel good about helping someone die, or receiving a time when a person can expect to die. A terminally ill patient may be visited more often in a shorter space of time, but any visitors will find it harder to be their self or enjoy the time they have with someone whose time of death they know. Would people use bereavement services after a terminally ill person's death?
You mention that a terminally ill person is not the same person people once knew, and we should be sad when people can no longer do the things they used to do, but the truth is there are many things they can do which can bring a smile to their face like road trips, and maybe things they haven't done. They will only become unfamiliar if you tell them their life has no meaning or value because if they are depressed it is more difficult to overcome that.
The fear of death will rise if terminally ill people can have help killing themself, as people will not be able to focus on enjoying their own life when they know the time and place someone close will die. What if a terminally ill person can't gulp the poisonous drink at the last moment? That would spread fear of death especially if you become terminally ill yourself. Having a date gives you time to fear death which you would normally not have to worry about.
You said that a lot of people simply agree with what the majority think, however in the poll above, it does not state whether or not the people involved knew the other candidates choice or if it was a private vote. If it were a private vote, then your statement could be considered invalid for this particular argument. Yes, the majority of people ( I would hope everyone would agree with this) want rape to be illegal, and it is, as it should be. So is murder and robbery. However you can look at murder and assisted death as two different things. Yes, they both involve ending someone's life, but murder is done illegaly, violently, and without the consent of the person being murdered. Where in assisted death, it could be done legaly, non violent, and with the consent of the person who wants it done.
There are terminally ill patients who don't wish to end their life even with all the pain and suffering they are going through. And that is perfectly fine. If assisted death is legalized, it wont be forced on the patient. It is only an option that is open to them. Yes , there are treatments for depression, which can occur in terminally, and non terminally ill patients. But we are talking about the physical pain caused by the illness, not the mental. Even though that is just as important.
People who want to die are considered mentally unwell when there is no physical pain involved with that feeling. When you are talking about a terminal patient wanting to die, you see it more as they are in physical pain, and nothing can fix it. Terminally ill patients and physically healthy patients with a mental disorder who want to end their life are two different things. A mental disorder can be treated with medicine, and if the proper steps are taken to help this person such as therapy, are taken, they won"t die from it. They are not given an amount of time they have left to live because if correctly handled they could live for a long time and not die from the illness, but of old age. A terminal patient, however, can only be treated with so much medication, and they are given an amount of time they have left to live. They cannot stop death from coming. They cannot end the pain they will feel as the disease progresses.
There is always a point to finding a cure. The people who are terminally ill now, might not have the time to see that cure. But as we continue to search for the cure, why should we let those who don't have the chance to see it, suffer? Cancer is an illness that has been around for ages. At one point it had no way of being treated, but now it does. Some cancers are still looking for a cure. Just because assisted death becomes an option, doesn't mean we stop looking for cures. It only means that until then, we don"t let the people with the disease suffer. We give them the option to stop it.
Like I said in my last argument. It is only a guess at how much time the terminally ill patient has left. As for the video, if you actually sit down and listen to what is being said, you can see and hear how this illness effects not only the mom, but the family. Yes, the son said he doesn't want her to die, but who wants to see a loved one die? And as for the daughter, what she says is that she has been there through the whole illness, from the diagnoses to the time she is at now where she is bedridden and cannot do anything but talk. She says that before her mom's illness took over, they used to be able to go places, have plans, do things together that not only the daughter enjoyed, but the mom as well. And now because of the illness, the mom cannot do anything. What she was saying was not because she WANTS her mom to die, but because she doesn't want her to suffer any longer. I encourage everyone who is following this debate to watch the video. It is only 3 minutes long, but it is perfect for my part of the debate. You can understand all the emotions going through the patient and their family.
She doesn't want to end her life for the solo reason being that it is an option, because if you listen to her speak, you will know that at this time, it is not an option. She is in pain. She doesn't want to live like this, she doesn't want to get to the point in her life where she is answering people with blink once for yes and twice for no.
Terminally ill children have the right to make a decision about their health as well, even though a parent can override their choice. A child who is terminally tends to have a higher maturity level then a healthy child due to the circumstances. In the video I have linked below it shows a 5 year old girl who is terminally ill. Her parents gave her the decision to choose heaven or hospital for the next time she gets sick.
Medicine trials are what i was referring to. When a medicine is released and in a trial period, it is only given to those who fit the criteria. Not every patient can get it. It takes time for the medicine to be processed and used in daily medicine. If the patient decides to end their life, and a cure is near to being found that can be used on that patient, they would be informed before they made the final decision to end their life.
Sure the patient could have more time to spend with family if they decided not to choose assisted death, but if the patient chooses assisted death, they know when they will die, and they will know how much time they have left to spend with their family.
In the link below is an article about a 29 year old woman who has brain cancer. In this article it tells you everything that I have been saying, or have tried to tell you. It is a great article with a lot of good points that I believe not only you should read, but everyone else as well.
Mentally ill patients are not the only ones who cannot wait to die. If someone is terminally ill, they want to die because of the pain they are in, and because it is their choice to decide how they want their life to end. Sure not everyone knows when and how they will die, but in the cases of those who do now, and they now they are dying because of an incurable illness, why not give them the option to end the pain and give them the choice of when to end it?
As for taking a terminally ill patient on a road trip, that is not a good idea. If they are at the end stages of life, then their immune system will have trouble fighting off viruses. At that point, something as simple as a cold, could kill them. It is also may be physically impossible to take a terminally ill patient on a road trip. If they are in a lot of pain, they could also have a hard time enjoying the things around them.
People already have the right to refuse treatment, they don't have to be hooked to a life support machine and suffer or even take medication. They can have a dignified death already . Deathwithdignity.org says "The patient"s primary objective is not to end an otherwise open-ended span of life, but to find dignity in an already impending exit from this world. They"re participating in an act to shorten the agony of their final hours, not killing themselves; cancer (or another common underlying condition) is killing them." However a dignified death can be achieved without killing yourself. And how can killing yourself make you worthy of respect? The answer is it can't. Fearful people will tell you anything. The message sent to people suffering with depression is that suicide is okay sometimes.
If you ask anybody if they think suicide should be legal, the answer will be no way. So why do so many believe in assisted death? It is because they are told that Physician-assisted dying isn"t suicide legally, morally or ethically, and that patients are already dying and therefore are not choosing death over life but one form of death over another.  These are yet more lies, of course drinking something that you know will kill you is suicide whether you are terminally ill or not. It is also wrong to discriminate by allowing some people but not others the right to kill them self. Everyone is equal and should be treated as such. Supporters of assisted suicide may tell you that paralyzed people can't kill themself, and should be given the same "right" as other people even though no-one has a right to commit suicide. What we should do is encourage people to enjoy the life they have, and not give up hope or be miserable or waste their life.
If cancer patients kill themselves rather than undergo treatment, then medical research to cure cancer is unnecessary and will not receive much funding. Suicide laws remove incentives to improve life, this is more important than trying to stop pain. It is true at one point cancer had no way of being treated, and people who could be saved will die because of an assisted death law. This is one reason why we shouldn't give up on hope. There are people who are terminally ill who can live many years longer than predicted and even those with weeks to live can enjoy life, see video below
In the video I showed in the previous round the son makes his mum feel bad by saying he doesn't feel happy progressing in life because her mum can't progress. Her daughter makes her feel worthless and a burden too, she says she doesn't want to see her mum suffer but instead of making her feel better she says she'd like her mum to die. Assisted death law causes family members to think they don't have to be strong for someone, and make it possible to make someone feel worthless without nobody saying a bad word to them. The mother's fear of blinking for yes or no is unrealistic like all fears are. It is wrong to enable people to reduce the quality of someone's life, so that it can end sooner in order to inherit something sooner or make life easier.
Just because someone has a person's permission to do something doesn't mean they should. The little girl in the video made a choice based on a lie (just like those told they'll have a dignified death) about going to heaven and having to wait to see her parents in happy land. If children who are terminally ill can have assisted suicide, what's next? Will everyone be allowed to kill themselves? Will you even have a choice?
Spending more time with family is better than dying sooner, you may die before a cure is found. I still don't know why it is so important to know exactly how long you have to spend with family and friends. Family members and friends will not be comforted, they will find it harder to enjoy their own life because they'll be counting the days down and have less time with someone they love. They'll feel guilty enjoying life when they could be spending time with someone with little time left. Assisted suicide means a lot of people will witness someone close die, it is unlikely they'd witness someone die if it were illegal,
The 29 year old woman in your sources says "My question is: Who has the right to tell me that I don't deserve this choice? That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain? Why should anyone have the right to make that choice for me?" - Clearly, she thinks that anyone who opposes assisted suicide wants her to suffer. The reality is no-one is making any decision to make her suffer, or saying she should suffer, people who oppose assisted suicide are just against her killing herself because they think she should enjoy life, and set an example to others i.e. show others that life is worth living.
Yes, patients do have the right to refuse treatment. However, with a terminal illness, there is not treatment. That is why it is called a terminal illness. They are only given the medication to help with the pain, which will eventually take control of their bodies, and a respirator to help them breath near the end of the illness. When a patient wants to die with dignity, they usually mean they want to die before the illness takes over so much that they cannot do anything by themselves. As the lady in the video you showed in your last argument said. She didn't want to get to the point where she was answering questions with blink once for yes and twice for no. She wanted it to end before she got that bad. We are not sending messages to people with depression saying that suicide is ok. We are NOT talking about mental health issues in this debate.
So many people think assisted death is ok compared to suicide because they are for different reasons. Suicide is done by people who are depressed or have another mental disorder that CAN be treated. Assisted death is done by patients who are terminally ill, in pain, and CANNOT be treated. People who are terminally ill are choosing one death over another. Let's say that you were suffering from a terminal illness. At one point, the pain will be so bad that no drug will be able to treat it. You could spend days in that kind of pain. What would you choose? To die before the pain gets so bad it can't be controlled, or to suffer with that pain for days and die with it? Assisted death would be a more comfortable death for a terminally ill patient. They won't have to feel the uncontrollable pain surge through their body as they are about to die. Somebody who is paralyzed can still live their life without pain if the paralysis is not caused by a terminal illness. Therefore they would have no reason for assisted death.
Terminal illness has NO cure. So a terminally ill cancer patient would have no treatments that would work to cure the disease. Legalizing assisted death does not mean that they should stop looking for a cure for the disease or that the research would receive less funding or that it would remove the incentive to improve life. It only means that until the cure is found, we don't let people suffer in pain.
As for the video. Every terminally ill patient handles things differently. That is why assisted death would be an OPTION. Not something that is forced on them.
In the video in your previous argument, the daughter and son are not making the mom feel worthless. They asked the mom what she wanted. She wanted to end the pain. The daughter wanted what was best for her mom. She wanted what her mom wanted. To end the pain. Saying that the moms fear of answering question by blinking is not realistic is a lie. It is what can happen to terminal patients near the end. They are placed on a respirator to help them breath, so they cannot speak, or the muscles in their body just simply stopped working, so they cannot say anything.
The parents gave the child the choice of heaven or hospital because the next time she got sick with something as simple as a cold, she would have died. If she chooses the hospital, they would only keep her hooked up to machines until she died. If she stayed at home, she could die peacefully in her own bed with her family. What she was told was not a lie. They were only telling her what I told you in the way that a five year old would understand.
Even if a patient does not choose assisted death, their family will still be counting down the time they have left with them. The reason it could be so important to a terminally ill patient to decide when they die is because it could be a comfort to them knowing that they won't have to die in so much pain and they will know exactly when they will die. Yes, not everyone knows when they will die. But in the case of a terminally ill patient, they do have and assessment of how much time they have left.
Even without assisted death, the family would still witness the terminally ill family member die. It is not something they can stop from happening.
In the article I shared with you she is making the point that no one can make this choice for her. No one has the right to make the choice for her. It is her life. She wants to make the decisions about it. You said "The reality is no-one is making any decision to make her suffer, or saying she should suffer". When you do not allow a terminal patient the option of assisted death, you are making the decision for them.
Since this is the last round I will summarize the key points to my argument below:
the patients right to choose what happens in their life
to end the pain
it is inhumane to let someone suffer against their will
statistics show that most people want to legalize assisted death
terminal illnesses have no cures
Just because assisted death is legalized doesn't mean you stop looking for cures
* just to clarify, this debate has nothing to do with mental illness.
No-one wants to suffer, or see someone close suffer, and if told by a doctor they have no hope of getting better, it is easier to focus on ending that pain rather than thinking about positive things and others that make you happy which lessons pain. People are generally selfish, they think that having an extra right is always a good thing and having less rights is a bad thing, but often fail to think what it would mean if people can have an assisted death.
Wanting to end your own pain is not selfish, however ending your pain by killing yourself is definitely selfish as you'd be thinking of yourself and not others. Not wanting to see your family see you suffer is not a good reason to kill yourself and doesn't mean you're thinking of others since killing yourself is not the only way to stop others see you in pain. Whether you suffer or not is determined by your way of thinking. Not all people who are terminally ill want assisted death, this is proof that it is possible for everyone to enjoy life, find meaning to the very end.
Would you like to be invited to a party but at the end you watch a family member die? Even if you don't watch, you'd have a last vivid memory of them moments before they died instead of remember something positive from yesterday or another time. They might say goodbye but those words would hurt. You may not support their decision, but you'd have to come and support them through being there or else you might not get along very well with your family. Isn't it wrong for someone to kill them self believing they are a burden and things will be better without them?
Making assisted suicide legal would send the wrong message that suicide is okay sometimes. Somebody who wants to kill them self is mentally ill! Pain and disability is not a good reason to kill yourself. All life is worth living, allowing certain people to kill them self devalues life. No respect will be given to those who need it most for example those who are disabled and in pain, more people will die by assisted suicide. People with disabilities who choose to get on with their life won't want to hear people say they are ending their life before they become like them.
Terminally ill people are not simply choosing one death over another, they are choosing to die earlier as a result of having a mistaken belief. I'd much rather choose to suffer with pain and feel it is worth living than die earlier feeling my life is not worth living, even if my actual death is a bit less painful. Death happens pretty quickly and is nothing to fear. We should strive to enjoy life to the fullest whatever our condition. People who are paralyzed and so feel no pain but who have a terminal illness might still want an assisted death due to suicidal thoughts. Eventually everyone will be able to kill themselves and people will not value your life or anyone else's.
Legalizing assisted death means less funding for cures, less reason to seek cures. The easy quick solution to an illness will be taken - help them kill themself - it saves money. People's lives won't mean anything.
Is it right to give a suicidal man a knife so he has the option to slit his throat, or should we tell him that life is worth living. Having options sounds like a good thing but some options are best not having.
The mom in the video I posted is made to feel worthless, anyone in pain would want to end pain, her daughter says she'd rather her mum die. This is not what is best for her mum even if that is what she says at that time. The mother openly discriminates against disabled people saying that she'd rather die before she is disabled. People who suddenly become disabled will really struggle to find new meaning in life. In the other video, the girl can't understand the choice she was making, one she is too young, she was told about heaven when she is impressionable.
If someone doesn't choose assisted death no-one will be counting the days on the calendar, they will carry on living their life without guilt. Knowing exactly when someone is going to die is not comforting, if you are in pain and thinking the pain will end then, you are looking forward to dying i.e. not existing, rather than looking to enjoy life while you can.
Without assisted death the whole family probably won't witness the terminally ill member die, they might die peacefully in their sleep. Gathering the whole family and friends to witness you kill your self will not make you value your life more or think of positive times. You'll probably be looking at people who didn't turn up etc.
Saying 'no' to assisted suicide is not making any decision for them. It is possible to shorten your life already by refusing treatment and die in dignity. No-one is saying 'terminally ill should suffer', people want others to value the life they have and value other people.
Thanks for having this debate with me. Vote Con
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