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Contradiction Surrounding Assisted Suicide

DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/28/2013 7:12:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
So, I've always been a supporter and advocate of the right to physician-assisted-suicide or assisted suicide or right-to-die or whatever.

However, thinking on it now, I wanted to bring up an issue for right-to-die advocates.

The issue is the fact that suicidal ideation is often considered to be, when serious, a symptom of mental illness in and of itself--it's not recognized as mentally healthy, or something one who is mentally healthy can do. So, with that being the case, how can we determine if, say, a terminally ill patient truly is of sound mind in their decision to die when we still currently view suicidal ideation from non-ill people as being a sign of mental illness, or that person NOT being of sound mind?
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
tulle
Posts: 4,445
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6/28/2013 7:47:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The difference is a terminally ill person knows when and how they're going to die, and it's completely out of their control. Physician-assisted suicide is to prevent them from living a quality of life that they don't want at a point when they can't do it themselves.
yang.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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6/28/2013 7:50:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:12:35 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
So, I've always been a supporter and advocate of the right to physician-assisted-suicide or assisted suicide or right-to-die or whatever.

However, thinking on it now, I wanted to bring up an issue for right-to-die advocates.

The issue is the fact that suicidal ideation is often considered to be, when serious, a symptom of mental illness in and of itself--it's not recognized as mentally healthy, or something one who is mentally healthy can do. So, with that being the case, how can we determine if, say, a terminally ill patient truly is of sound mind in their decision to die when we still currently view suicidal ideation from non-ill people as being a sign of mental illness, or that person NOT being of sound mind?

As you say, it is a possible symptom, but not a necessary indicator. It may not be a symptom of a mental illness or, even if it is, that mental illness may not be one that impairs the soundness of mind.

If I'm taking Xanax for depression, does that mean I can't sign contracts or be held liable for crimes I commit?
Yin
Posts: 23
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6/28/2013 7:54:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Physician-assisted suicide" really ought to be called "physician-controlled suicide" because that is what it is; an abuse of the physician-patient relationship, a superior-subordinate relationship.

When phrased as "physician-controlled suicide" no such contradiction exists.
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/28/2013 7:56:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:50:42 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 6/28/2013 7:12:35 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
So, I've always been a supporter and advocate of the right to physician-assisted-suicide or assisted suicide or right-to-die or whatever.

However, thinking on it now, I wanted to bring up an issue for right-to-die advocates.

The issue is the fact that suicidal ideation is often considered to be, when serious, a symptom of mental illness in and of itself--it's not recognized as mentally healthy, or something one who is mentally healthy can do. So, with that being the case, how can we determine if, say, a terminally ill patient truly is of sound mind in their decision to die when we still currently view suicidal ideation from non-ill people as being a sign of mental illness, or that person NOT being of sound mind?

As you say, it is a possible symptom, but not a necessary indicator. It may not be a symptom of a mental illness or, even if it is, that mental illness may not be one that impairs the soundness of mind.

If I'm taking Xanax for depression, does that mean I can't sign contracts or be held liable for crimes I commit?

What I'm really trying to get at is where do we draw the line between socially accepting suicide one would normally associate with PAS, and trying to get psychological help for others who want to commit suicide.

In other words, it is generally agreed that a person choosing PAS has to not have be impaired in their judgment. However, we consider wanting to commit suicide an impairment in and of itself for "normal" people, and we urge them to seek psychological assistance.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/28/2013 7:58:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:54:44 PM, Yin wrote:
"Physician-assisted suicide" really ought to be called "physician-controlled suicide" because that is what it is; an abuse of the physician-patient relationship, a superior-subordinate relationship.

When phrased as "physician-controlled suicide" no such contradiction exists.

So am I right to assume you're against it then?

Also, I take strong issue with the implication that the a patient is somehow subordinate to his/her physician when ultimately the patient is the one who accepts or rejects suggested treatment by a physician.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
ClassicRobert
Posts: 2,487
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6/28/2013 7:59:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:54:44 PM, Yin wrote:
"Physician-assisted suicide" really ought to be called "physician-controlled suicide" because that is what it is; an abuse of the physician-patient relationship, a superior-subordinate relationship.

When phrased as "physician-controlled suicide" no such contradiction exists.

Lol Yin, I call dibs on the debate against you with Euthanasia.
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drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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6/28/2013 8:03:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:56:58 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
At 6/28/2013 7:50:42 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 6/28/2013 7:12:35 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
So, I've always been a supporter and advocate of the right to physician-assisted-suicide or assisted suicide or right-to-die or whatever.

However, thinking on it now, I wanted to bring up an issue for right-to-die advocates.

The issue is the fact that suicidal ideation is often considered to be, when serious, a symptom of mental illness in and of itself--it's not recognized as mentally healthy, or something one who is mentally healthy can do. So, with that being the case, how can we determine if, say, a terminally ill patient truly is of sound mind in their decision to die when we still currently view suicidal ideation from non-ill people as being a sign of mental illness, or that person NOT being of sound mind?

As you say, it is a possible symptom, but not a necessary indicator. It may not be a symptom of a mental illness or, even if it is, that mental illness may not be one that impairs the soundness of mind.

If I'm taking Xanax for depression, does that mean I can't sign contracts or be held liable for crimes I commit?

What I'm really trying to get at is where do we draw the line between socially accepting suicide one would normally associate with PAS, and trying to get psychological help for others who want to commit suicide.

In other words, it is generally agreed that a person choosing PAS has to not have be impaired in their judgment. However, we consider wanting to commit suicide an impairment in and of itself for "normal" people, and we urge them to seek psychological assistance.

I imagine that would be a judgement call as to whether or not the desire for suicide is a reasonable reaction to the state of their current situation, taken as a holistic assessment.

Chronic intense pain as a result of an incurable terminal illness? Yeah, it's reasonable to want death as and end.

A- on a math test? Suicide is not a normal response.

Somewhat arbitrary? Yes. Not particularly quantifiable? Sure. But really the only way to have both worlds.
Yin
Posts: 23
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6/28/2013 8:08:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:58:23 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
Also, I take strong issue with the implication that the a patient is somehow subordinate to his/her physician when ultimately the patient is the one who accepts or rejects suggested treatment by a physician.

You shouldn't. Yes, the patient may accept or reject any treatment by a physician (I'm not sure I would call death a "treatment" if it is what is it a treatment to exactly?). However, is the patient the person who ultimately accepts or rejects what a physician suggests, after all it is the physician who ultimately administers the "treatment".
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/28/2013 8:10:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 8:08:20 PM, Yin wrote:
At 6/28/2013 7:58:23 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
Also, I take strong issue with the implication that the a patient is somehow subordinate to his/her physician when ultimately the patient is the one who accepts or rejects suggested treatment by a physician.

You shouldn't. Yes, the patient may accept or reject any treatment by a physician (I'm not sure I would call death a "treatment" if it is what is it a treatment to exactly?). However, is the patient the person who ultimately accepts or rejects what a physician suggests, after all it is the physician who ultimately administers the "treatment".

Still, yes. Physicians in the US are not only tightly bound ethically, the Hippocratic Oath, but further are so hamstrung by the threat of lawsuits that, yes: in the US health care industry, the patient is king.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Yin
Posts: 23
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6/28/2013 8:18:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 8:10:36 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
Physicians in the US are not only tightly bound ethically, the Hippocratic Oath
Only to the physicians who adhere to ethical standards. What about the unethical physicians? Yes, they exist.

At 6/28/2013 8:10:36 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
but further are so hamstrung by the threat of lawsuits that
Again, threats are only meaningful to physicians who believe they stand to lose by such lawsuits. What about the physician who is no perturbed by such threats?

We have laws against murders, yet murders still occur. We can have ethics and laws prohibiting abuses, yet such abuses will still occur.

I would like to agree with you that patient ought to be king. I would also add that I was once a fervent supported of physician-assisted suicide.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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6/28/2013 9:41:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is what wills are for. Stipulate that you would like to die in that situation in the will. If you still feel that way when terminal, then the will proves that you were of sound mind when you made the decision. You can also have witnesses testify that you wanted this to happen. Some of my elderly relatives are members of the Hemlock Society, and I would testify as to their wishes, expressed cogently and explicitly for over a decade, if I ever had to in order that they might have their final wishes honored.
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- Hilaire Belloc -
DetectableNinja
Posts: 6,043
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6/28/2013 9:46:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 9:41:41 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
This is what wills are for. Stipulate that you would like to die in that situation in the will. If you still feel that way when terminal, then the will proves that you were of sound mind when you made the decision. You can also have witnesses testify that you wanted this to happen. Some of my elderly relatives are members of the Hemlock Society, and I would testify as to their wishes, expressed cogently and explicitly for over a decade, if I ever had to in order that they might have their final wishes honored.

Okay, I know that the Hemlock Society (now Compassion and Choices) is a good organization promoting patients' rights. However, I gotta say their "Who We Are" page is almost satirical: "We are experts in what it takes to die well."
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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6/28/2013 11:50:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:12:35 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
So, I've always been a supporter and advocate of the right to physician-assisted-suicide or assisted suicide or right-to-die or whatever.

However, thinking on it now, I wanted to bring up an issue for right-to-die advocates.

The issue is the fact that suicidal ideation is often considered to be, when serious, a symptom of mental illness in and of itself--it's not recognized as mentally healthy, or something one who is mentally healthy can do. So, with that being the case, how can we determine if, say, a terminally ill patient truly is of sound mind in their decision to die when we still currently view suicidal ideation from non-ill people as being a sign of mental illness, or that person NOT being of sound mind?

IMHO if a patient is deemed terminally ill, they should have the right to assisted suicide, regardless of mental state. If their mental state is subject to question, then whomever has power of attorney in such situations can make the decision.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
llamainmypocket
Posts: 253
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6/30/2013 5:59:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/28/2013 7:12:35 PM, DetectableNinja wrote:
So, I've always been a supporter and advocate of the right to physician-assisted-suicide or assisted suicide or right-to-die or whatever.

However, thinking on it now, I wanted to bring up an issue for right-to-die advocates.

The issue is the fact that suicidal ideation is often considered to be, when serious, a symptom of mental illness in and of itself--it's not recognized as mentally healthy, or something one who is mentally healthy can do. So, with that being the case, how can we determine if, say, a terminally ill patient truly is of sound mind in their decision to die when we still currently view suicidal ideation from non-ill people as being a sign of mental illness, or that person NOT being of sound mind?

It depends on what sound mind means... If a sound mind is one that is operating in a healthy manner and a healthy mind instinctively desires to live then bypassing that instinct is not healthy and therefore not of sound mind.

If we're just talking about basic reasoning then I think that could be achieved by a mental health analysis and a polygraph test. Mental health analysis to make sure they can reason and a polygraph to make sure they aren't lying.

I see your point that we can't rationally apply the meaning of sound reasoning to be that of mental health and use a different meaning for others. I think the later method comes from the idea of mercy being applied to those in pain.

I say, nature got it right and let people do it themselves. If they aren't physically capable then let's talk about that kind of assisted suicide. The wholesale slaughter of those who say they want to die but don't kill themselves is a bad idea because those people are liars. They want pity or attention and that's what we should give them.