the right to die?
Debate Rounds (3)
I'd like to clarify what this debate is about, since I think Con has left it rather uncertain in his opening round. Based on our discussion, both in the comments and by PMs, he's generally arguing against physician assistance in the death of an individual. That includes both euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. To be absolutely clear: despite the title, this is not a debate about the right to die. The right of individuals to commit suicide is not up for discussion here. What we're discussing is the duties of physicians.
Con wanted me to begin arguing this round, so I will go ahead and post some arguments. I'll keep this brief, as my opponent has.
The Hippocratic Oath
Con mentioned it, so let's be clear on what it is. There are, essentially, 4 clear duties stated in the Oath: autonomy, beneficience, non-maleficence, and justice. The Hippocratic Oath is one of a doctor's most basic duties, ergo if these line up on either of our sides, we should accept that that side is correct in assessing the correct course of action for doctors. We can discuss this issue from any one of these 4 perspectives, and find reason to allow doctors the capacity to engage in these practices.
This is the most straightforward of the bunch. Both voluntary euthanasia and physician assisted suicide require that the patient engage in the entirely autonomous decision to either have the doctor directly or indirectly assist them in the ending of their lives. Under Con's view, we should deny them that autonomous decision.
This addresses whether a practitioner should act on the best interest of the patient. What is the best interest of the patient? Who determines what is best for them? Meeting the desires of the patients is an automatic good " a happier patient is one who who feels that their desires are met. Patients have to feel that their doctors will respond to their wishes, something they cannot feel if their doctors are limited in their capacity to respond to a given concern. If patients that are suffering wish to end that suffering (both within themselves and of their families), then they should be allowed to do so.
"First, do no harm." This is probably the most contentious piece of the Oath in this debate, though it probably shouldn't be. It's the polar opposite of beneficience, and should function in the same regard. What does it mean to do harm? I would argue that more harm is done by a) denying the will of the patient, b) either forcing treatment on them or forcing an end to treatment on them, c) requiring that they continue to suffer rather than offering them a simple and efficient means to end their lives. All of these showcase how Con's efforts to handcuff doctors clearly do more harm than good, and therefore they clearly result in the antithesis of this duty.
A very nebulous term, though in this case it's actually pretty well-defined. It concerns the distribution of scarce health resources, and the decision of who gets what treatment (fairness and equality). Again, I feel this one is straightforward. Many patients who are nearing the end of their lives require vast resources to keep alive, and those resources could clearly be better spent on the health care of people who both can live long, healthy lives and who wish to do so. Con's case requires that he decides what's allowed and what's not in terms of treatment, something my case does not. Hence he is the only one who is making decisions as to who gets what treatment, while my case seeks to expand treatment options.
With that, I'll end this round. I'll save rebuttal for R2.
Doctors are to keep life not take it . If a person wish to end their own lives, don't drag others into and think about it before you do a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Thanks again to Con. I'll be spending this round rebutting Con's arguments, both from R1 and R2.
The right to die is not compatible with the view of the medical and societal ones...The right to die is a issue that should be scorned and toss into the trash.
Con doesn't do anything to support these statement. He argues what doctors should do (which is the focus of this debate), but not that the right to die is itself incompatable with medical and societal ethics. I would argue that the right to die is just as important as the right to continue living. Death is an inescapable part of life, and the mentality that we should have no control over when or how our end comes denies us what is perhaps the most personal and important part of our life. Why should any right, even the right to life itself, be preferred to such an inherently important choice?
But let's be clear that this debate isn't about the right to die. We're discussing whether or not doctors should be allowed to prematurely end someone's life via their consent. Hence, issues like individuals committing suicide are not a part of this discussion, nor are they preventable under a system where we're acting to stop doctors from assisting. In fact, I'd argue that the incidence of these suicides is increased under a system where more patients feel that their deaths are out of their own hands, which is worse because these deaths are sudden and secret in an attempt to prevent intervention, making these outcomes worse on family and friends. We should also be clear that Con isn't denying means for "natural" deaths, which means patients can instead reject treatment, dying more slowly and horribly as a result. Their deaths may be dragged out over months or even years, destroying any measure of control these people have over their lives in the process. The alternative is to pursue treatments that are often deleterious and may only prolong life, but not health. None of these alternatives are better, and all show that under Con's case, the right to die is still upheld.
Suicide should not to be encouraged.
My case is not encouraging suicide. Providing the means by which someone could commit suicide does not mean any doctors are actively encouraging patients to pursue it.
Doctor are to save life. Not take it.
I'll address this more on his R2 arguments, but Con has not established that ending a life is not a form of treatment. What he's done is argue that "sav[ing] lives" should always be paramount. In the case where a life can be "saved", I would agree wholeheartedly. The problem is that a) there are a lot of people whose health has declined to the point where they cannot be "saved", b) treatments endeavoring to save those people would cause more harm than good, and c) the pursuit of extending life should not always be preferred.
It would violate their Hippocratic oaths
I've already shown that the Hippocratic Oath supports my position far better than it does Con's. It's up to him to show that there is a violation of the Hippocratic Oaths resultant from engaging in euthanasia and/or assisted suicide. He hasn't explained where that violation resides.
Taking or allowing someone is make a decision that not only effects them but the people around them such as euthanasia.
I agree. So does the decision to drag out a life that is lived in agony and without any control over one's circumstances. A family having to watch as their loved one dies slowly and painfully, uncertain if they will even be there when said family member dies is not better off than a family who can be certain that they will be with their family member in their last moments and that it will have been their choice. I would argue that the latter case is far better for the emotional health of all those involved.
Now you will tell me that humans do it to pets, but that is animal not human.
Actually, I wasn't going to address this, but since you brought it up, I'll cover it. Why do we put down our pets? Because we see them clearly suffering. We know that they have reached a point in their lives that they are not likely to live much longer, and whatever is left of their life could not possibly be something worth living. We love our pets dearly, and therefore we wish to end their suffering.
Why is this so different from human beings? Cats and dogs, in particular, can love us, and we can love them.[1, 2] That attachment is clearly strong and emotional. We empathize with them in their suffering, recognizing it based on our own experiences with suffering. The only major difference I can think of is that humans, unlike animals, can consent. So individual humans can decide when they've reached a certain threshold in their suffering, rather than owners interpreting it. That's actually all the more reason to support the ability to "put down" humans.
The allowing of a doctor taking life,even after a person begged for death is too questionable.
Why? What is it about a request for death that makes it any different from a request for treatment? Sure, it has very final implications to it, but many treatment choices can have very deep and important implications. Why is this questionable? For that matter, why should patient decisions be rejected? Isn't their autonomy explicitly important, as per the Hippocratic Oath?
The doctors and medical professionals first duty is to heal the sick and treat the injured.
Not so. I laid out their 4 chief duties in R1. For the sake of beneficience, these two things are required in most circumstances. But what about where the sick can't be healed, the injured beyond treatment? In an ideal world, this is all doctors would ever have to do, but that doesn't make them their first duty.
By allowing them to knowingly end life adds a new role,of death instead of life.
This isn't a new role. It's simply a different form of treatment, adhering to the very same Oaths that we both agree are so important. Many doctors lose patients, having to adhere to patient decisions to go off of treatment. Why is their participation in the ending of those lives any different?
Maybe, if a doctor did not want to end the person's life, if it went again is their beliefs, would they be required, to do it?
Doctors are not required to administer treatments. If they don't want to do it, they don't have to do so. There's no reason I have to support a requirement on their part.
If a person wish to end their own lives, don't drag others into and think about it before you do a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Con keeps assuming that anyone pursuing assitance for ending their life must have some "temporary problem", though the reality is that many of these patients are nearing the end of their lives. The end is coming no matter what happens, it's just a matter of the amount of control they have over the matter. And, for that matter, who is Con to say that anyone pursuing assisted suicide faces a "temporary problem"? Many of these people have been suffering over years or even decades. Why should he get to decide who is worthy of this form of treatment?
As for "drag[ging] others into" their deaths, I'd argue that death is always going to affect those around these individuals. Participation in the process is entirely up to the provider of that treatment. I don't see how refusing treatment or committing suicide oneself doesn't drag others into the situation.
I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius the surgeon, likewise Hygeia and Panacea, and call all the gods and goddesses to witness, that I will observe and keep this underwritten oath, to the utmost of my power and judgment.
I will reverence my master who taught me the art. Equally with my parents, will I allow him things necessary for his support, and will consider his sons as brothers. I will teach them my art without reward or agreement; and I will impart all my acquirement, instructions, and whatever I know, to my master's children, as to my own; and likewise to all my pupils, who shall bind and tie themselves by a professional oath, but to none else.
With regard to healing the sick, I will devise and order for them the best diet, according to my judgment and means; and I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.
Nor shall any man's entreaty prevail upon me to administer poison to anyone; neither will I counsel any man to do so. Moreover, I will give no sort of medicine to any pregnant woman, with a view to destroy the child.
Further, I will comport myself and use my knowledge in a godly manner.
I will not cut for the stone, but will commit that affair entirely to the surgeons.
Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient; and I will willingly refrain from doing any injury or wrong from falsehood, and (in an especial manner) from acts of an amorous nature, whatever may be the rank of those who it may be my duty to cure, whether mistress or servant, bond or free.
Whatever, in the course of my practice, I may see or hear (even when not invited), whatever I may happen to obtain knowledge of, if it be not proper to repeat it, I will keep sacred and secret within my own breast.
If I faithfully observe this oath, may I thrive and prosper in my fortune and profession, and live in the estimation of posterity; or on breach thereof, may the reverse be my fate!
The Hippocratic oath selectivity say that do no harm. Death is not treatment but harm. Death is not a prescription. Death is death. I have seen my family members in pain and and suffering and empathize with that, but never ever if no other options, would I request or allow them to end their lives. Life is precious. We, as humans, can not and will not play God. God wants us to end on his plan for us. Not our own. Life is life and death is death. Yes death is a natural and unavoidable event. But do naturally, there could always be a chance, that you could live on or be cured. Don't lose hope
So, I'm confused. Con states that euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. That's not true everywhere; there are several examples of countries in which one or both of these are legal, including in several U.S. states. But that's really irrelevant. We're not arguing about the current status of euthanasia or assisted suicide. As I said in the first round, we're arguing about the duties of physicians. Whatever the law says doesn't affect those duties, otherwise they'd change from nation to nation. Presumably all physicians carry the same basic set of duties, hence applying the law to determine whether they're sticking to those duties is entirely outside of the scope of this discussion.
Con then gets back to his original argument, stating that we should help patients and arguing that we have pain medication. Trouble is, not all pain meds work for everyone. Many people are refractive to pain medication, meaning that they will not get any better, and may get worse. Beyond that, given the extensive list of side effects that result from the use of pain meds, patients may be averse to the prospect of taking them, and thus be stuck choosing between 2 horrible options: suffering from the pain, or suffering from the meds. The argument that doctors can just treat the problem is, again, overly idealistic. Many patients can't or don't want to be treated in this way, some with good reason. Con's argument just reduces available treatment methods and relegates many of these people to a terrible existence on the way to their impending deaths.
I'm still not clear on why pets are "totally different." The fact that pets aren't equal to humans is accepted. The assertion that we have "more intelligence and conscious" will be accepted as well, despite concerns that it oversimplifies things. We do "OWN pets" and they are "property" of a sort. None of this counters the point I'm making. None of these factors affect our desire to end the life of a suffering pet. We want to end that life not because they're equal to humans, but because we see that they're physically suffering, something with which we can empathize. Their pain is our pain - on that level, they are equal to us. If anything, the increased "intelligence and conscious" we display provides a stronger reason to end the lives of humans than to end the lives of pets. As I pointed out last round, it's because of this that we can make rational decisions to end our own lives, thus actually consenting to end them, unlike pets. If nothing else, this exercise of autonomy gives us better reason to end those lives. The fact that they are not property, that they are making this decision themselves, is something that we should celebrate. Con is not at all responsive to my point that allowing this is done out of love for someone (or, in the case of an animal, something) that is suffering. It's a show of mercy for a life form that is beyond saving. Whether that life is owned or not doesn't change the fact that that mercy is desirable.
Con's response on the Hippocratic Oath is just utterly confounding. He posts the whole thing in its original form without citation (here is it ) and with very little analysis. Note that this is not the current version - the modern Hippocratic Oath is also in that link, and it was written in 1964. But that's really beside the point. He doesn't counter any of my previous analysis that there are 4 key duties that are ascribed to physicians in this Oath, but instead just repeats much of the same argumentation he gave before. He gives no response on autonomy or justice, so automatically he's dropping that half of the Oath supports my case and not his unequivocally. Even if you're buying that the other 2 pieces are uncertain, this is reason enough to vote Pro, as the Oath is the only objective basis we've used to determine what is and is not the duty of a physician.
But let's focus on beneficence and non-malfeasance. I already talked about "do no harm." As I said before:
What does it mean to do harm? I would argue that more harm is done by a) denying the will of the patient, b) either forcing treatment on them or forcing an end to treatment on them, c) requiring that they continue to suffer rather than offering them a simple and efficient means to end their lives. All of these showcase how Con's efforts to handcuff doctors clearly do more harm than good, and therefore they clearly result in the antithesis of this duty.
In other words, death is a treatment. Con hasn't explained how it's harmful to give someone the means to end his/her life early is a) not a treatment, b) harmful to anyone, or c) how keeping them alive is any better. He needed to do at least one of these things, yet all he's done is assert his views on the matter. Why can't death be a prescription? Physician assisted suicide often utilizes prescriptions of a deadly nature - that certainly seems like a prescription.
Con then goes off on a tangent, talking about his personal opinions on the matter. He says he would never "request or allow them to end their lives." Several responses. First, we're not talking about personal decisions. Con can go ahead and do what he wants under this system, never supporting any of its uses. That's his choice. If he pushes his family not to use it and argues to try and stop them, he can do that, too. Nothing about the implementation of the system puts him or his in harms way. Second, I don't think Con can ever put himself in the shoes of someone who would choose this route. Unless he's undergoing terrible, refractory pain, he can't understand why someone would make this choice. One day (and I hope for his sake, this won't be true), he may experience it, and be told that he's on the verge of death. He may well change his mind, and a policy that allows physicians to act would benefit him then. Of course, if he never ends up in those circumstances, nothing changes for him. Third, his views are in direct defiance of the duty of doctors. He would deny his family members access to this treatment, force them to adhere to his will, despite his claims that they are smarter and more "conscious" than pets. He would deny those family members autonomy and justice. He can choose to do that, but it is a doctor's duty not to do that. And that's what this debate is about - not what my opponent should do, but what doctors should do. And taking that step further, whatever deity exists - whether it's God, Yahweh, Allah, Zeus, Vishnu, Ra, or any other source of religious adoration - death is an inevitability we all must face, and life, any life, isn't always the best alternative. It doesn't matter if Con's God wants these people to suffer and die slowly rather than pursuing these ends. Whether they ascribe to Christianity or not, they have a duty as doctors that goes above their religious duty.
Yes, life is precious, but to argue that the continuation of life should always be viewed as paramount is absurd. Focusing treatment solely on the prolonging of life when many people are suffering and dying with no control over their fates is simply inexcusable, and it defies the basic duties to which doctors ascribe. Doctors aren't tasked with providing their patients with hope. They aren't tasked with allowing nature to take its course. Their duty is to do right by their patients. Only by allowing them the means to assist through prescription or euthanasia are they able to ensure that they can accomplish that goal, something that Con is actively seeking to deny them.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Kozu 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I have to vote Pro by default since Con never disputes any of his arguments made, such as Autonomy and Beneficence. Its almost as if Con didn't read what Pro had written and just repeats himself several times about how doctors shouldn't harm patients. Pro went to great lengths to explain how this "harm" from euthanasia is significantly less then the harms from not allowing it, I'm actually left convinced that there isn't any harm from it. The autonomy of the individual gets to be exercised, their suffering is reduced, and energy/resources that were spent on keeping the individual alive can be allocated elsewhere to save those who do actually have a chance at living. Con needs to understand that the problems of euthanasia patients generally aren't "temporary", and he should better consider the harms of keeping them alive when ultimately there's nothing we can do for them.
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