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Medicine The Courts Science

Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83 184

Posted by timothy
from the deserves-a-video-game-tribute dept.
theodp writes "Jack Kevorkian, the pathologist said to have had a role in more than 130 assisted suicides, has died from kidney-related complications on the eve of the 21st anniversary of his first assisted suicide. Kevorkian, who served more than eight years in prison for second-degree murder, had his story told in the HBO movie You Don't Know Jack. His antics and personality brought a certain approachability to a grim subject — the fundamental right of terminally ill patients to choose to die. 'I will debate so-called ethicists,' he once said. 'They are not even ethicists. They are propagandists. I will argue with them if they will allow themselves to be strapped to a wheelchair for 72 hours so they can't move, and they are catheterized and they are placed on the toilet and fed and bathed. Then they can sit in a chair and debate with me.' RIP, Dr. Jack."
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Jack Kevorkian Dead at 83

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  • by Qzukk (229616) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:03AM (#36336430) Journal

    Why would he have killed himself, when he didn't have a terminal illness and was actually expected to recover?

    Even if he was hospitalized with a terminal illness and in pain, who would have helped him kill himself?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:33AM (#36336514)

      Even if he was terminally ill, why should he be expected to end his life? Did he promote euthenasia, or choice of euthenasia?

      Captcha: altruism

      • +1 exactly

      • by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @11:13AM (#36337122)

        Did he promote euthenasia, or choice of euthenasia?

        Both, and much more.....

        Dr. Kevorkian’s views on euthanasia do not stop at “planned death,” but build to an ultimate conclusion. This is probably best expressed in the articles he has written over the years for the professional journal, Medicine and Law. In 1986 he wrote on human experimentation:

        The so-called Nuremberg Code and all its derivatives completely ignore the extraordinary opportunities for terminal experimentation on humans facing imminent and inevitable death. . . . Intense emotionalism engendered by the concentration camp atrocities of World War II has unfairly stigmatized this honorable concept and cloaked it in silence. . . .

        . . . Now that the benumbed sense of objective appraisal manifested by the Nuremberg judges has begun to wear off, at last it is conceded that they were wrong in concluding that nothing of value resulted from the illegal experiments. . . . The data are all the more valuable because similar human experiments can never again be done. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that a few of the medical criminals did the right thing (extraction of positive gain from inevitably total loss otherwise beyond their influence) but in the wrong way (without concern over consent or anesthesia) and in the wrong setting (created by the evil “laws” of a diabolical dictator.)[1]

        At the end of his article, Kevorkian offers a bioethical “Code of Conduct” for “any professional or lay individual in any way participating in experimentation on human beings facing undeniably imminent and inevitable death.”

        C.(1). Experiments may be of any kind or complexity. . . . C.(2). While a prospective subject is fully conscious, an experimenter may start any procedure which on thorough analysis portends no significant distress for the subject. . . . C.(3). Induction and irreversible maintenance of at least stage III general anesthesia is imperative before experimentation is begun on the following prospective subjects: (a) All brain-dead, comatose, mentally incompetent, or otherwise completely uncommunicative individuals. (b) All neonates, infants, and children less than (-) years old (age must be arbitrarily set by consensus). (c) All living intrauterine and aborted or delivered fetuses. C.(4). If the subject’s body is alive at the end of experimentation, final biologic death may be induced by means of: (a) Removal of organs for transplantation. (b) A lethal dose of a new or untested drug. . . . (c) A lethal intravenous bolus of thiopental solution. . . .[2]

        Kevorkian’s research into human experimentation began while he was in the residency program at the University of Michigan, and eventually led to his removal from the program.

        “While I was in my residency I was researching the idea of condemned men being allowed to submit to anesthesia rather than execution. While under anesthesia we could do experiments from which they wouldn’t recover, and then remove their organs. Now if you needed a liver or a heart, would you like to see a young healthy man or woman fried in the electric chair? No! But that Dark Age school told me I would have to drop the project I was working on or leave. So I left, and spent my last two years of residency at Pontiac.” While an associate pathologist at Pontiac General Hospital Kevorkian ran into more trouble. As part of an experiment he transfused cadaver blood directly into several patients. Kevorkian’s actions shocked the U.S. medical community, but no legal action was taken against him.

        “All it involved was taking blood out of dead people who died suddenly and then transfusing it into living people just like regular blood. The Russians had been doing it for over half a century, but instead of transfusing it directly into a person, they would s

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 04, 2011 @04:14PM (#36337858)

          A TL/DR summary of the above:

          1) He suggests that when a patient is going to die, and nothing can be done to prevent it, then it makes sense to perform medical experiments on that patient, assuming that consent can first be obtained, and that the experimentation can be done without causing any additional hardship to that patient.

          2) He suggests that the above could also apply to convicts about to be executed, again with consent and without introducing additional suffering.

          3) He suggested that blood could be transfused from someone recently deceased directly into the body of someone in need of a transfusion. The practical application of this procedure would be on the battlefield.

          4) He suggests that the idea of experimenting on consenting humans would be preferable to experimenting on non-consenting animals.

          All of the above sounds pretty reasonable to me.

          The questionable parts are at the end, where he expands on the concept of "planned death" to include some externally imposed deaths, and also suggests a market for human organs. Not much detail is provided for either, so I'll make no comment here.

          • by durrr (1316311) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @04:29PM (#36337916)
            The unreasonable part is that some moron can block my consent to such experiments. When did we redefine freedom as "what lawmakers decide".
            • by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @06:32PM (#36338546)

              The unreasonable part is that some moron can block my consent to such experiments. When did we redefine freedom as "what lawmakers decide".

              I think there is overlap with the ethics of selling human organs:

              Organ sales: Compromising ethics [nature.com]

              What proponents of the selling of organs for transplant call a 'choice,' I call the right to be cruelly exploited. Democratic societies have always limited our ability to harm ourselves, hence, workplace safety, child labor, or minimum wage laws that forbid a 5-year-old to 'choose' to take a dangerous, low-paying job. (Even when someone faces dire poverty, we do not permit him to sell himself into slavery.) Similarly, the laws barring organ sales are intended to protect those who, out of economic desperation, would be harmed by those with more money.

              What's more, it is a highly dubious proposition that selling an organ offers even the very poor meaningful recourse. A few years after taking such a perilous step, the seller is apt to find himself in unchanged economic circumstances, albeit with one fewer kidney and the attendant health risks. There are better ways to respond to the problems of poverty than by expanding the opportunity for the rich to harvest the organs of the poor. And there are better ways to reduce the waiting list for kidney transplants: I particularly admired FL Delmonico's noting what preventive medicine can achieve.

              It is true that we need to expand the pool of organs available for transplant, but there are ways to do that without endangering the most vulnerable members of society. One plan would make the use of cadaveric organs routine, switching from the current opt-in system to allowing those folks with, for example, religious objections, to opt out. It is curious that those who resist such an approach show more concern for the sentiments of the dead than the health of the living.

              The Hidden Cost of Organ Sale [columbia.edu]

              I assume you see nothing wrong with this, nobody in need of help? Three men charged in 'dungeon' castration [msn.com]

              Laws establish limits, its been that way since before recorded history.

              • by durrr (1316311)
                What if we consider the other end of the spectrum? A licensed MD doing x or y on a whealty and socially well adjusted adult person with full and informed consent and no benefits outside research?
                Obviously we only find blackmarket organ trade and charlatans running dungeons today when the legal restrictions choke out all opportunity for decent and formal alternatives. Same goes for drugs, you won't find ecologic and locally produced opium sold at competitive prices and lab verified for strength, smokeable i
            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              Playing devil's advocate for a moment the argument is this: The law is there to protect those who cannot protect themselves from the undue influence of others. For example an elderly person pressured to stop being a burden on their family, or someone with mental illness.

              In countries where assisted suicide is allowed a doctor has to certify that the person is of sound mind. That is nothing new, we have been doing it in legal matters like the alteration of a will or transfer of responsibility for a long time

          • 2) He suggests that the above could also apply to convicts about to be executed, again with consent and without introducing additional suffering

            This causes me concern-- I think the slippery slope of "how long will consent be mandatory" might apply here.

            4) He suggests that the idea of experimenting on consenting humans would be preferable to experimenting on non-consenting animals.

            Assuming of course that consent is always kept as the PRIMARY consideration-- not the fact that they are condemned, or terminally ill. I have no doubt there are many would would suggest that if someone is to be executed anyways, why not perform such and such an experiment on the unwilling prisoner.

        • by hey! (33014)

          The picture emerges is of a person who often had an important point to raise, but was more than a little creepy.

          His antics as a resident aren't disturbing because they involve a dead body; they're disturbing because they involved a *live patient*. What is more, he seems utterly incapable of questioning the wisdom and ethics of doing something to a patient just to satisfy his curiosity. In fact he seems a little self-righteous about the whole affair, as if they *only* basis to objecting to the procedure is

      • Well as someone who lost his sister in 07 to a long and horribly drawn out illness, watching as she slowly but surely fell apart with nothing the doctors could do to even stop the pain (she had a rare degenerating nerve disorder) I appreciate the work that Mr Kevorkian did and the price he paid to bring the rights of the suffering to the national spotlight.

        Despite our advances in medicine the are plenty of times where all medical interventions are useless and the pain simply can NOT be in any way controlled. While my sister wouldn't have taken the option no matter how much she suffered (she wanted to live long enough to see her oldest start college, she unfortunately died 6 months before he began) the simple fact is as intelligent creatures it should be our right to choose whether we wish to endure the suffering or not.

        The way I've always looked at it is this: if you would put an animal down rather than making it endure that kind of hellish suffering, then why in God's name would you make a human being go through that? By the end my sis's lungs were failing, she could no longer speak more than a word or two, couldn't eat or drink because her ability to swallow was failing, her nerves were lit up like pins and needles, and just the act of turning her could easily break bones. Why would anyone force someone to live through that? They should have the choice as intelligent beings to decide if that is how they want to be or not. To have it any other way is simple cruelty.

    • by KiloByte (825081) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:48AM (#36336592)

      He wasn't rendered helpless by his illness -- until his last visit to the hospital shortly before his death. And if this bout of illness would be staved off, he'd have a few more years of mostly fully able life. Most of us have some illness a good part of their lives -- be that bad blood pressure, diabetes, allergy or whatever else. He did succumb to his kidney problems, but was more able at the age of 83 than most of you will be.

      On the other hand, those who are rendered helpless -- trapped in a body that no longer works -- do suffer for no good reason. When you can't move on your own, have to fed and have your poo cleaned by others, and most importantly, have no hope of it ever getting better -- you're effectively in the most cruel jail.

      • by UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:27AM (#36336946)

        On the other hand, those who are rendered helpless -- trapped in a body that no longer works -- do suffer for no good reason. When you can't move on your own, have to fed and have your poo cleaned by others, and most importantly, have no hope of it ever getting better -- you're effectively in the most cruel jail.

        Certainly I do not want to be put in this awful position. However, my concern is that if doctor assisted suicide is legalized, the insurance companies will be significantly less motivated to treat seriously ill patients who choose to live. And eventually, even before they get to this stage.

        (We already have "quality of life" decisions being made before treatment options are presented to patients. Those who are perceived to have "too low a quality of life" are only offered palliative treatments.)

        • by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:53AM (#36337056) Homepage

          Personally, I doubt the motivation of health insurance companies would at all be driven by the ability of patients to kill themselves (which to some extent is an option many already have). At some point insurance companies stop paying for heroic measures anyway, and I doubt that the legal availability would impact that.

          Now, the consumer demand for insurance that covers more desperate treatments might very well drop if euthanasia becomes more socially acceptable, and that might impact what insurance companies are willing to cover. That is a bit more indirect than what you are suggesting.

          Most people don't realize it, but EVERY insurance company puts a price on life - and that includes national healthcare systems as well. If a $100k procedure would extend your life of an 85 year old quadriplegic by one day no insurance system on this planet would pay the bill. If the same procedure was likely to give a 15 year old a normal healthy lifespan (vs death in a few weeks) chances are most insurance systems would pay it (even private insurance in the US). The basic algorithm looks at how a treatment extends your life and/or improves the quality of your life - the more it does both the more it is allowed to cost. In the end everybody puts a price on life - we just don't like to talk about it.

        • Worrying that legal euthanasia may lead to trouble with insurance companies is only a problem in the very few, terribly uncivilized, western countries that do not have universal medical care paid for by taxes. Everywhere else the issues are to make sure the correct controls are in place so that only the truly terminal, that truly desire to die, and are competent to make that decision are euthanasized.

          Oregon has a very reasonable law controlling euthanasia in that state, and to the best of my knowledge it has not caused any medical insurance to be denied.

        • by tragedy (27079)

          But that should be less a reason not to legalize it, and more a reason to stamp on the insurance companies throats if they try to pull that, surely? From a strict resource-usage point of view, suicide by terminally ill patients (or those who will need lifelong full-time care), is a desirable thing since those patients use most of the resources (of course, medical accounting seems to be even wackier than military accounting, so who can ever really know) and so clearly it would be desirable to the insurance c

    • by OakDragon (885217)
      In b4 straw man, I guess...
  • by gratuitous_arp (1650741) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:12AM (#36336454)

    God bless you, Dr. Kevorkian

    • Fuck you, he was an Atheist, don't disrespect him with your bullshit.

      There goes a great man, who fought against the religious bullshit machine in the most difficult place possible to do so. Once more enlightened times reach this earth, he will be remembered as he deserves.

      • by ideonexus (1257332) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @09:28AM (#36336714) Homepage Journal

        "God Bless You Doctor Kevorkian" is a reference to Kurt Vonnegut's book of the same title. In that book Vonnegut, an atheist, explains how at a meeting of the American Humanist Society, after Isaac Asimov's death, he started a speech there with "Isaac Asimov is in heaven now, God rest is soul." which got a huge laugh from the assembly of atheists.

        So it's not an actual religious statement, but a semi-farcical one, acknowledging that we atheists do seem to be at a loss for words when it comes to comforting and consoling people over the recently departed. I try to focus on what a miracle it was that we get to experience the wonder of existence at all--statistically speaking. But I was at a complete loss for words when my friend's wife accidentally backed over their son playing in the driveway. What can an spiritual naturalist say to someone when confronted with that? Religion has it easy, they just say the child is in a better place. I don't know what we have... and until we have something, religion wins.

        Kevorkian led a long life in service of a greater good. What do you propose we as empiricists, spiritual naturalists, rationalists (call us anything other than the unscientific word "atheist" that defines us in a religious context) say to honor the dead and comfort the living? I'm genuinely curious.

        • +10 Informative, I didn't get the reference, I'll look into that.

          I don't like the idea of defining myself as an Atheist either, as Poe would have put it: de nier ce qui est, et d'expliquer ce qui n'est pas. (to deny what it is, and explain what it's not). But it servers me better than any other term for a simple reason: It's immediately understood by anyone. "I'm an empiricist" doesn't have the same ring as "Fuck you, I'm an Atheist" when said to a jeovah's witness on a sunday morning. So, out of pragmatis

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "I'm sorry for your loss, as a rationalist I can say, without a doubt, he is no longer suffering."

        • by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @10:15AM (#36336900) Homepage

          Kevorkian led a long life in service of a greater good. What do you propose we as empiricists, spiritual naturalists, rationalists (call us anything other than the unscientific word "atheist" that defines us in a religious context) say to honor the dead and comfort the living? I'm genuinely curious.

          IMO, if you have something on hand for that situation, your words are empty. Things like "god bless" and "he's in a better place" are just like "gesundheit" for sneezing. Things that are automatically said because you're supposed to. And since you're supposed to and not doing any thinking, they don't mean anything.

          I'd have some trouble figuring out what to say in that situation as well. What I would do is trying to figure out how I can help, and that's going to depend on who I'm dealing with. I don't think there's a formula for it.

          • by jfanning (35979)

            In Finnish you say "otan osa" which doesn't literally translate well to English. But it basically means I feel your loss, or I feel for you. Doesn't invoke any gods at all.

        • by houghi (78078)

          I don't know what we have... and until we have something, religion wins.

          I utterly and completely disagree. A religious person might say that it was in Gods hands or the person now is in Gods hands.

          That does not take away the pain.

          What we have is something all people have, regardless of religion. It is called compassion. The compassion is there for those who are left without a loved one.

          What I say differs from how well I know the person, how well he knows me and the relation to the person who died as well as

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          What can an spiritual naturalist say to someone when confronted with that?

          You're making the mistake that specific words actually matter. Consolation is consolation.

          And empty phrases are just that. Don't put to much stock into packaged "wisdom". If my loved one died, people yapping pointless shit to me would have little value. I know from my childhood. It's more them trying to make themselves feel better in an awkward situation than it is actually about consoling somebody.

          I don't know what we have... an

          • Great question.

            Nerds tend to be idealists, and hold the ideal of logic and rationalism as the absolute and the supreme. I used to be the same way. This approach works perfectly in math science and engineering, but often fails miserably in social settings, because it does not consider what I call the "people factor", or the human condition.

            In situations like that, it's not about logic -- it's not even about you. It's about emotion -- OTHER people's emotion. As such, even though I'm an atheist (an agnosti

  • There is no right more personal than to choose the hour of one's death. Fate robs us of it on one end and government attempts to rob us of it on the other. Fate is what it is, but government wants to control when you die because otherwise it messes up the spreadsheets.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SuricouRaven (1897204)
      Government, and religion. This is slashdot, where we blame religion for everything, but this time that is where the blame belongs. There's a lot of superstitious thought around - people who think human life is something magical and supernatural, which must be sustained by any means until the very last moment.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Government is amoral, especially ours. They do use religion as an excuse, of course, and even since the religious reich was mobilized they've been feeling their oats.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by uglyduckling (103926)
        Objections to assisted suicide aren't only about the act, they're about the process. In other words, many people (including myself) believe that it is impossible to make assisted suicide available without compromising the protection of those who do not wish to commit suicide, but might be directly or indirectly pressured to do so. This includes internal pressure (e.g. mental illness). I do actually disagree with assisted suicide on principle, but even if I were to accept that ideally people should have a
        • by Canazza (1428553)

          Exactly, there's a difference (Slight but crucial) between Assisted Suicide and a DNR Order. Personally, I think both should be taken on a case-by-case basis, Even a crippled, paralysed, motor neuron disease riddled man can still contribute immensly to the sum of human knowledge. Okay, not everyone who's permenantly paralysed is Stephen Hawking but you are still you and if you can communicate you want an Assisted Suicide you can still make a difference. Even if it's only to your family, or to one single per

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Oregon has legal euthanasia. To the best of my knowledge the main controls are:

            • Must have a terminal illness, less than a handful of months to live
            • Must be of sound mind
            • Must be in intolerable pain
            • Must have three doctors signatures saying you meet all the requirements

            So this prevents many of the abuses you brought up. I agree that you must guard against abuse, but I think that people should have the choice to end their lives when they stop being worth living, and there is nothing that can be done to fi

            • Sometimes add 'must move to another hospital first.' Many hospitals just refuse to permit their doctors to sign the paperwork under any circumstances.
        • ...there is a world of difference between deliberately causing death, and allowing death by not treating...

          Oh, legally, sure. Practically, however, it's a matter of dumb chance. Someone who wishes to die (and makes that as a clear, deliberated, rational, cool-headed choice) has to wait to 'luck in' to an incidental ailment that can be neglected to the point of lethality. The terminal cancer patient with pneumonia gets to choose whether or not to commit suicide by refusal of IV antibiotic treatment. An otherwise identical patient with terminal cancer but no pneumonia doesn't get that choice.

          If you accept that there is the potential for abuse by coercing individuals into legal assisted suicide (were such an option available), you also have to accept that there is the potential for abuse involving coercion of individuals into accepting (potentially) therapeutic interventions that they don't actually want. For physicians, there is much more incentive to enroll terminally-ill patients in advanced clinical trials than there is to coerce them into suicide.

        • even if I were to accept that ideally people should have a right to choose when they die, I would oppose its legalisation on the basis that the protection of the vulnerable (i.e. those who wouldn't wish to die early but by failure of the process end up doing so) trumps the desire of those who with a clear mind and without coercion do wish to die early.

          But the existing legislation does not "protect the vulnerable" - if they are pressed into suicide, it's going to happen anyway; it will just be that much more messy and painful due to methods involved.

      • by sjames (1099)

        There are any number of religions that do indeed believe that life is supernatural and magical and that it continues beyond the death of the body. Only some of them believe that euthanasia is a sin, others believe it's a form of ministry helping people on to the next phase of their existence. Don't lump it all in together.

      • Government, and religion. This is slashdot, where we blame religion for everything, but this time that is where the blame belongs. There's a lot of superstitious thought around - people who think human life is something magical and supernatural, which must be sustained by any means until the very last moment.

        Very true -and rather ironic, considering most major religions adherents (Xtianity and Islam, at any rate) claim to believe in a wonderful afterlife, and often treat physical reality like it's some kind of toilet where everyone should suffer and practice loads of self-denial; then you get rewarded at the end. They want everyone to endure this as long as possible. Then there's the whole Catholic anti-suicide thing that automatically lands you in purgatory. Nice. It's tantamount to sado-masochism.
        If we ca

        • Purgatory? No, it's a deadly sin. Straight to Hell.

          There is one possible loophole. In theory, a deadly sin can be confessed like any other - but it's obviously impossible in suicide. Almost. If you used some form of slow-acting suicide like a drug overdose, then you could confess the sin before it takes effect. The tricky part is getting genuine repentance. Some use of drugs may be required to provide a temporary mood lift or pain reduction to make sure you genuinely regret the suicide. It'd be tricky, dep
      • by formfeed (703859)

        Government, and religion. This is slashdot, where we blame religion for everything, but this time that is where the blame belongs.

        I agree to a large extent: Within Christianity suicide for any reason is wrong. This religious conviction is pushed on others. Even in a wider Western culture this conviction isn't held. In Greek philosophy the autonomy of the individual is more important, some allow suicide in case of terminal illness, some regard suicide as a way to maintain personal autonomy when forced into unethical behavior.

        But I think Christianity has a point with their slippery-slope argument: There could be a dangerous move from

    • Fate is what it is, but government wants to control when you die because otherwise it messes up the spreadsheets.

      Government wants to prevent us from having control of our own deaths. They want us to leave that to fate (except in case of a capital crime)

      (But see my earlier post)

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @08:21AM (#36336478) Journal

    The cruel irony about this debate is that people who want to (or need to) die are sentenced to an indeterminate amount of suffering before they actually die and people convicted to death have their lives taken for a crime they should spend the rest of their natural lives contemplating in a steel and concrete cell.

    The way the most despised are treated says a lot about a society, but the way a society treats it's least despised says a lot more.

    • What's sad (but I don't think ironic) is that so many people frame this debate as a choice between suffering and death. The choice should be between suffering and not suffering. In other words, if so many people are suffering to such an extent, rather than debating assisted death, we should be finding out why the care needs of a large number of people are not being met, and make the changes to health and social care that are needed. Only when we have done everything to ensure suffering-free life, should
      • by athmanb (100367)

        In the cases serviced by assisted suicide, "not suffering" is not an option. Even if given painkillers barely below the lethal dose, terminal stage cancer is still painful. This is a medical issue that is currently not solvable. Maybe we'll find a treatment for cancer in a few decades, but until then the only available choice is:
        - suffering, then death
        - death

        • That's untrue, and it's this sort of misinformation that makes proper debate on this issue difficult. The role of palliative care is to prevent pain (and other distressing symptoms) even to the point of hastening death. This is already legal in the majority of Western countries (as fair as I am aware), and physicians are allowed to give painkillers up to AND INCLUDING a potentially lethal dose if the patient is suffering. This is different to assisted suicide where the aim is to cause death, rather the a
          • by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Saturday June 04, 2011 @03:20PM (#36337616) Homepage

            No, it is true. In the final stages of cancer the pain is so overwhelming that if you are conscious you are in pain, not matter what drugs are given to you. Horrible, life destroying pain with no end.You would have to administer a general anaesthesia to stop the pain, but then the person isn't living any ways.

            I sincerely hope you never learn the truth of this first hand, or due to a family member suffering so.

            Administering enough analgesics to kill the patient is euthanasia.

            • by janimal (172428)

              Mod parent up.

              As I found out in my aunt's case of terminal cancer, a time comes, when the drugs administered are in doses that could kill (via liver failure, for example). The doses are then not increased, or alternate lighter drugs are given. In either case, the patient suffers extreme pain. The idea that modern medicine ensures no pain is a myth.

    • by baKanale (830108)
      It also seems like there is a decent sized overlap between those who support capital punishment and those who condemn euthanasia. I've frequently heard the claim from that crowd that voluntary euthanasia leads down a "slippery slope" to involuntary euthanasia and a "culture of death". If that's the case, then what does letting the government execute people lead to?
  • ...when you can pry it away from my cold, dead fingers. Except darn it, my carpal tunnel is killing me too. Aaargghgghhh

  • Only in the USA.

  • human rights (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khashishi (775369) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @02:13PM (#36337282) Journal

    To me, the debate on suicide is not about suffering, but about human rights. If we do not own our own physical bodies, what do we own at all? There is nothing more unequivocally yours than you. For a state to take control of your own body away from you is capital theft, akin to slavery.

    • A state also has the duty to safeguard and protect its citizens from harm. So while those threats usually seem to come from terrorism and environmental catastrophe, the ravages of severe depression can be just as formidable a foe.

      Now, of course, like Kevorkian I believe if you can demonstrate a severely reduced quality-of-life (ex. a terminal, incurable illness wracked with immense pain), then you're not just depressed--you're suffering needlessly. Sometimes you lack so much control over your own suffering

  • 1 goal, 130 assists.

    What, too soon?

    DG

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