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Government Medicine United States

Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad 961

Posted by timothy
from the righteous-anger dept.
theodp writes " I hope my father dies soon," Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote Saturday in a frustrated, angry, and poignant blog post. 'My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get. If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon. Because it's not too soon. It's far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent. I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.' Adams also had harsh words for those who would oppose assisted suicide, 'I don't want anyone to misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration. So I'll reiterate. If you have acted, or plan to act, in a way that keeps doctor-assisted suicide illegal, I see you as an accomplice in torturing my father, and perhaps me as well someday. I want you to die a painful death, and soon. And I'd be happy to tell you the same thing to your face.' His father passed a few hours after Adams wrote his screed. Challenged later by the SF Chronicle's Debra J. Saunders, an opponent of assisted suicide, Adams stood firm on his earlier words. So, can Adams succeed in convincing the U.S. where Dr. Jack failed?"
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Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @10:54AM (#45526597)

    This is one of those things were I think it should be legal (free will) but only if the person left instructions stating so in their will. "I, So and So, being of sound mind, state that if I'm ever in a coma with less than 1% chance of coming out of it (by the doctor's judgements) do so hereby state that I wish to be 'put down'" or some such.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @10:55AM (#45526613) Journal

    "I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

    "If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out."

    I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @10:57AM (#45526637) Journal

    For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

  • ahm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @10:58AM (#45526661)
    Saunders's response was rather confusing, esp the closing "Me, I don't want to live in a world where one group of people decides when another group should die."

    I guess it is not oppression as long as the choice you want is the one being mandated.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @10:58AM (#45526663)

    People should have the right to die, and more so, people should have the right to pass on that right to someone they know in the event they are unable to make that decision.

    Deaths such as that are absolutely agonising not only for the person, but for the people around them.
    It solves NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING. It is, as he said, quite literally legal torture. Fucking prisoners of war got less than that!
    No, they aren't going to pull a fucking cure out of their ass for most reasons someone is slowly dying like that, be is degenerative diseases of the brain or cancer slowly devouring them away or the countless others.
    If they found a cure for cancer literally right now, you'd still probably die from an already active cancer simply because of how long it would take for it to go in to not only phase1 trials, but actual public use. (given it was going to kill you in the first place that is)

    Yes, there are a billion and one legal loopholes that would need to be fixed, but that can be dealt with IF IT WAS ACTUALLY LOOKED IN TO.
    But no, too many religious nutjobs in government will prevent such a thing.
    Thanks, jebustards.
    It sucks because most religious people in general are pretty sensible and just use religion as guidance, but these fucktards ruin it for everyone else.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:02AM (#45526699)
    Dialing it back would probably be a good idea, but this type of rhetoric is pretty normal. Look at any news story involving rape, murder, torture, etc, and the comments section is filled with people who wish pain and death upon those responsible.

    In this case you have a group of well intentioned people who's activism is resulting in pain and suffering. While the activists involved try to see themselves as disconnected from the consequences and keep it impersonal, to someone where it is personal, that separation is rather false.
  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:04AM (#45526725)
    No, he really doesn't. This is exactly the kind of political discourse our nation has desperately needed for several decades. Can you think of a practical way to get billionaires to listen to people other than pointing guns at them?
  • by Score Whore (32328) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:05AM (#45526729)

    It's not about comas. It's about terminal illnesses where there is no chance of recovery and the only thing for the patient and family to look forward to are pain, loss of dignity, loss of autonomy, and significant emotional, personal and financial burdens. Assisted, end of life suicide already legal in Washington and Oregon and some parts of Europe.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:05AM (#45526731)

    "I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

    "If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out."

    I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

    It's obvious that years of torture of watching him become less and less the man he was and being able to do nothing about it because of people being too weak and narrow-minded to allow him to fix the problem has caused him to become bitter. Just as it would anyone else. Why would anyone propose assisted suicide? So much money is wasted on forcing people through life just so some people can feel a bit better about themselves for being "heroes".

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:05AM (#45526733)

    He was wishing that his father would be out of misery and is a proponent of assisted suicide. He saw his father suffer and become little more of a shell. The "wish" was as much for himself as for his father.

    And, he's right...if it were an animal, we'd have "put it to sleep" to ease its suffering.

    We get so caught up on religious dogma and how this would be murder or suicide that we forget the person is a human being being forced to live an existence they wouldn't choose for themselves.

    The other week, my mother's partner or 13 years suffered a stroke and was on life support. Thankfully, in our state, they support the concept of a living will - it gave her the authorization to take him off of life support. She waited until confirmation by multiple doctors on his prognosis. It was difficult. He has zero higher brain function and was being kept alive artificially with zero probability of recovery. He was 86. She authorized the removal of the machines and feeding tubes...just IV and pain meds (seems he was experiencing pain at some level). In 3 days, he passed peacefully.

    My mother is a religious and moral person - but, she feels it morally wrong to keep someone in that state, given their expressed wishes prior, alive for the sake of keeping them alive. If he had a soul, it passed when his brain function ceased. His body was just a shell. And, she felt he was in a better place.

  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:05AM (#45526735) Homepage

    Yes, but why should you have to suffer through the pain of a slow death by dehydration or infection rather then a quick painless overdose of anesthetic?

  • by Copid (137416) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:08AM (#45526799)

    I get the guys in pain, that his dad is in pain but if his mind is "98%" gone as he says then his dad is suffering less than he is. If his dad had a living will requesting to not be left on life support than it likely wouldn't be an issue. There are legal ways around assisted suicide, it just seems Scott would rather ignore them and point fingers like every other douche on the planet.

    Since we're using a person's vocation to decide whether or not their opinion is valid, what do you do for a living?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:09AM (#45526801)

    For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

    I personally think he went overboard too, but it is not exactly the same as 'not sharing your views'. Adams is making the point that it is _not_ an opposing viewpoint, it is actively harming other people. Something I agree with. I do not equate euthanesia opponents to torturers, but for the sake of argument: we would not let someone get away with torturing helpless people*, just because their view is that it is perfectly ok to do so. And yes, people do get punished, put in to jail or even put to death because their 'views' are unacceptable to civilized society.

    * Yes... I realize the irony there when it comes to the US treatment of certain terror suspects.

  • Re:Kill pact (Score:5, Insightful)

    by umafuckit (2980809) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:10AM (#45526809)

    Seriously, if that's your outlook on life/marriage I feel really sorry for your wife.

    Then you totally don't get it. It sounds like the poster you're responding to has an unconditionally loving and trusting relationship with his wife. They are both very lucky.

  • Re:Kill pact (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:10AM (#45526819)

    He didn't say he got married because he wanted someone to kill him. He said he never would have married someone who wouldn't.

    Not:
    "Lets get married so we can end each other's life when the time comes"

    More like:
    "I can't marry someone who doesn't love me enough to respect my wishes and end my life, even though it will be painful and difficult for them"

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:11AM (#45526829)

    I've always strongly believed in any adult's legal right to commit suicide (either via their own hand, or at the hand of a proxy at their request). I saw one of my relatives go with Alzheimer's and I *never* EVER want to go that way myself. There is nothing more undignified than losing your mind. And I (and everyone else) should be allowed to have a living will to specify that I be put down in such a circumstance.

    If Johnny Bible-thumper wants to live like than because he thinks Jesus wants him to, then that's his choice. But it's not mine. And it shouldn't be forced on me just because a bunch of senators need Johnny Bible-thumper's support to get re-elected.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:15AM (#45526901) Journal

    You've clearly never been around someone in the final stages of dementia.
    I can tell you this, I'll be checking out before I get to that point.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:15AM (#45526905) Homepage Journal
    That's the importance of having a DNR statement on your papers, will and have it available to the person with Power of Atty over you.

    You can state you want no heroic measures taken to prolong life and they will let you go. They won't kill you, but they won't go out of their way to keep you alive on machines.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:15AM (#45526907)

    Voters are given the erroneous impression that medicine can miraculously save them and want to be covered for anything, so they vote in politicians that mandate "adequate care"; when costs spiral out of control, they need to be socialized and distributed to those who don't subscribe to such foolishness and would choose cheaper plans if they could; and doctors, hospitals, and drug companies love it because it increases their revenues. You'd think that insurance companies would be against it, but they don't care anymore, since with ACA, people have no alternative but to pay whatever rates insurance companies demand or violate the law.

    Unless you arrange for dying far from hospitals and emergency rooms, you can now look forward to spending months as a living corpse generating revenue for hospitals in the future. Welcome to the financially bright new future of universal health care in the US.

  • by Racemaniac (1099281) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:17AM (#45526921)

    I don't agree
    If someone is torturing your family, are you gonna say you respectfully disagree with them, or honestly from the depths in your heart wish them a long and painful torture death too?

    He's just being honest, and maybe it's hard to understand if you don't share his situation and view where he holds these people responsible for causing his father unfathomable pain. But if you look at it from that perspective, his words make perfect sense.

    If someone came to your house and tortured your father to death, what would you wish upon them? Just because people are causing others a long, painful death in a less direct way, doesn't imo change the way i should feel about that. So to me his emotions make perfect sense, and i wouldn't think twice about saying the same thing in the same situation.

    It's great that you have your personal beliefs, act on them for yourself, but if it makes my family suffer, please die a fuckin painful death, asap. Sounds very reasonable to me, and i wish the same on those people.

  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:17AM (#45526925)

    No, I don't think he needs to dial it back. He is right, because it is only when we experience such things first-hand that we realize the truth. That is why he says what he says. When someone makes such a radical statement, don't just take it literally. Try to understand the context, and try to appreciate the underlying meaning.

    Those who oppose euthanasia are people who either (a) have dogmatic reasons for doing so (e.g., religion), or (b) have never witnessed a loved one go through a protracted and painful terminal illness. They aren't able to comprehend because they live a comfortable life and cannot imagine what it is like to be terminally ill and incapacitated.

    This is about the right to self-determination. It is about being able to have one's wishes respected after all self-control is lost. It is about the right to choose for oneself, as opposed to allowing the ideologies of others (complete strangers whose beliefs may have no bearing on your own) to legally prohibit you to make that choice because to them, it is about THEIR own abstract, moral discomfort, and not your own, REAL pain.

    I would not want such a thing for myself. But that's a decision I'm making now, in good health. Personally, I'd rather be made into a popsicle. Freeze me and thaw me out like a cheap TV dinner when mankind figures out how to cure what ails me. However, I absolutely would not stand in the way of someone else's decision. Who am I to decree what is right and wrong for other people? What gives me the moral right to claim that I know better than the family that is going through such a difficult time?

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:18AM (#45526949) Journal

    Opposing views, sure. But is wishing a painful death on those causing your father an awful death wrong? That the connection is just "informational" rather than physical is a rhetorical conceit.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:19AM (#45526967) Homepage

    I think comas are pretty rare. It is more the years or nearly mindless torture that modern medicine can create for a large number of people.

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:20AM (#45526979)

    I want you to die a painful death

    I don't know. But if he had left that one sentence out of his treatise\tirade, his argument would have been more convincing to opponents... perhaps. This is an emotional subject, but the discussion needs to be level-headed and practical.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:21AM (#45526991) Homepage

    My problem with this 'debate' is the hand-wringing by unaffected parties, and the inevitable illogical leap that next we'll be killing the old and infirm because they're inconvenient.

    Nobody is saying we're going to kill you, and nobody is suggesting we make this easy or something hospital staff can decide when they get tired of changing your sheets.

    But the people screeching the loudest about ensuring that other people do not have the right to choose their own death with dignity aren't even affected by it.

    If I was terminally ill, and would rather die at a time of my own choosing, that should be my right. It should not be someone else's right to prevent this from happening based on their moral objections to it -- because it's none of their fucking business.

    Usually when I hear someone fighting against doctor assisted suicide, they're doing it on purely religious grounds and expect the rest of us to care. It's usually just a much of moralizing old bitties who have said "killing anyone is bad, so you have to suffer, and if we let you die by your own choice next it will be us". I rank it right up there with someone trying to pass laws which define my morality and which has nothing to do with them.

    I've known a few people who have died after the long, protracted palliative care which didn't serve any purpose but to prolong suffering and keep up the pretense it's a better option than dying.

    And, I must confess, I share some of the same rage as Adams does on this. What your religion tells you about how you want to die has nothing at all to do with if I want to die in a long drawn-out process that serves no purpose. So I'm of the opinion that you don't get a vote about how/if I get to choose to die with some dignity.

    And if you want a vote in that, my vote is that you should also die a long and horrible death.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:21AM (#45527005) Homepage
    He didn't threaten anything. A politician who has voted against euthanasia has voted to force some people who want to die to suffer an incredibly degrading and sometimes inconceivably painful slow death which could easily be avoided. They've taken action to make that happen. Scott stating that he would enjoy killing someone who does that is nothing by comparison.

    He had to stand by and watch his father suffer because other people who didn't know his father decided that not only didn't he have the right to help him but that doctors are legally obliged to keep the suffering going for as long as possible. It's sick and it's wrong on a level that is hard to match.
  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc.carpanet@net> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:23AM (#45527033) Homepage

    > Well, he's a comic creator, not a doctor, philosopher or politician. He's somewhere up there with
    > Janitor or Central Park Mime in my book. Why he expects me to take what he says seriously is
    > quite curious.

    Even more curious is why I would take seriously the opinion of someone who so easily dismisses the opinions of others based on their job title.

    How about this....he is a man who has watched his father deteriorate and come to the brink of death while his own estate is pissed away for no reason but to keep him in this state longer. Sounds like a fucking expert in the topic at hand to me.

    > I get the guys in pain, that his dad is in pain but if his mind is "98%" gone as he says then
    > his dad is suffering less than he is.

    And likely he is. His dad likely isn't suffering at all anymore, his dad is already gone. The man he knew and loved and who raised him....doesn't even exist. All that is left is lump of living tissue being kept alive for the purpose of maintaining the legal fiction of a living man.

    The real problem here is the utter insufficiency in determining when a person is really alive or dead. Just because we can keep a hunk of meat alive doesn't mean we can keep a person alive. The person can be gone long before the meat starts to rot.

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:25AM (#45527073) Homepage Journal

    I don't get your suggestion, the TV show was actually quite clever by "adult animation" standards.

  • by ewieling (90662) <user.devnull@net> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:28AM (#45527127)
    I think if it this way: Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Euthanasia is a permanent solution to a permanent problem.
  • Strong words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:28AM (#45527145) Homepage

    This is just the kind of statement that we need these days to stop the deterioration of this country into the quagmire of idiocracy. I used strong words in a post against the creationists here yesterday and got modded down into oblivion. Enough with the feelings of the masses, and enough with being polite. We need some strong and nasty clue bats to wake up this country to start using their minds again instead of their "feel goods."

  • by PIBM (588930) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:30AM (#45527167) Homepage

    I gather it`s mostly so that they would understand the pain and then reason out they should rather have looked the other way and help legalize assisted suicide in light of their new experience. Wishing them such a death will often cause people to think about such a death for themselves and that could perhaps enlighten them on the real choice they would take when facing this decision about themselves.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:30AM (#45527175) Homepage

    Yep. $8,000 a month to watch somebody die slowly, painfully and inevitably. When the person being kept alive doesn't want it.

    After a year of watching this person's misery, they die and you're left with a bill you might never be able to pay off.

    They dies. Your life is in ruins. The mental scars of watching it for a year are far worse than if you just said goodbye and did it. Does that make sense to anybody at all?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:31AM (#45527191) Journal
    "At no point should anyone in hospice care die in pain."

    It's absurd; but I've actually heard people fretting about the risk of addiction presented by suitably aggressive pain control.

    Now, obviously, (for the sake of people who have painful but either temporary or chronic-but-livable-if-the-pain-is-managed), aggressive painkillers that aren't also hardcore opiates would be a nice thing to have in the pharmacy; but what kind of insane do you have to be to worry about whether somebody who is going to die, relatively soon, is going to develop a dependence on painkillers or not?
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:34AM (#45527233)
    Religious nutters have taken away your right to control your death... and you are concerned with the victim talking politely? Fuck that. He's not making threats either.

    If anything, the threats being made are AGAINST HIM. If he were to assist his father's death, the government would arrest him with guns and send him to jail, where he would be subjected to further threats. Foes of euthanasia were threatening him with force.

    If it's the indirectness that matters, pretend Adams said he would vote for a politician who would make it illegal to vote against doctor assisted suicide, under pain of long horrible death in a federal prison. Would that have been better? To me, that's a worse threat than the one he did make, but it's the one his opponents are essentially making.
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:37AM (#45527281)

    But is wishing a painful death on those causing your father an awful death wrong?

    Yes. If you're not a preschooler you would understand that two wrongs don't make a right. Revenge is evil you twit.

    I don't wish ill of those that sought to injure me directly -- I did not act with malice towards them, but in defense and with compassion I dealt only as much as required of my safety, nothing more. To harm without need goes against my fibre.

    Rallying opposition to the laws you oppose does not require wishing the poor fools who wrote them to die. Yes, if I realized that I would be dead either way in such an assault, I would not try to kill my assaulter and drag them into death with me. Life is too precious a thing for questionable fucks like you to cheapen it.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:40AM (#45527349) Journal
    I think a worse curse would be for the target to live forever, NO MATTER WHAT! Heat death of the universe, next big bang, next heat death of next universe, so on and so forth. The first 1000 years might be all fun and games, but long before the last stars dim, I'm sure you'd be wishing you didn't exist any more.

    So many people want to live forever the way they are at their prime. I don't, I would only want eternal existence if I was transformed into an entity that could enjoy it. Otherwise it would be hell and not heaven. I'd rather have complete oblivion, total nonexistence instead.
  • by geek (5680) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:40AM (#45527363) Homepage

    You've clearly never been around someone in the final stages of dementia.
    I can tell you this, I'll be checking out before I get to that point.

    I have actually and I can tell YOU this. You won't know when you're at that point.

  • by Above (100351) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:42AM (#45527385)

    I've had the unpleasant opportunities to watch a number of relatives and neighbors spend their last months tortured by the medical profession. I really can't find a more appropriate word, even though everyone involved means well. It is hard for both families and medical providers to assert that sometimes the best thing that can be done is nothing.

    Assisted suicide is only part of the issue, but perhaps it is where the conversation needs to begin. It is an option exercised millions of times each day on every animal except Humans as being more humane. However the conversation needs to continue from that point. I think of my 90 year old neighbor who had cancer. A type that if he was 30 surgery and treatment would have cured. One doctor wanted to operate, the other did not saying he would not make it. The family, ever hopeful, pushed for the surgery. What transpired after that was 5 weeks of torture. He did not do well in the surgery. Doped up in a hospital bed his wounds became infected, requiring another surgery. That necessitated a feeding tube, which then due to his poor condition also was infected. Finally after 5 weeks he was barely well enough to go home with 24x7 nurse care where he was able to somewhat peacefully pass away a few days later. The options here were all bleak, spend 3-4 months dying of painful cancer. Spend 5 weeks in the hospital undergoing multiple surgeries, doped up beyond belief. Assisted suicide, at the right time, might have been a good option. I have no idea what bills the family was left with as a result of all of this treatment, but I bet they added further pain after the fact.

    End of life care is not a simple decision. Everyone involved, patient, family, doctors needs to realize we can't extend life forever. They need to realize that sometimes doing nothing is a better option than doing something, or that sometimes the something to do is to go ahead and choose to end life on the patients terms.

    While for me this is 99.99% a moral and ethical issue, it is also a cost issue. For many patients more money is spent on their final month of medical care than in their entire life, because of these sort of heroic measures that lead to tragic outcomes. Fortunately I don't think saving money needs to be the primary concern here, but rather it can be a happy accident of doing the morally right thing.

  • by Frobnicator (565869) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:44AM (#45527437) Journal

    Yep. $8,000 a month to watch somebody die slowly, painfully and inevitably. When the person being kept alive doesn't want it.

    If the person doesn't want it, they have the ability to create a living will (advance healthcare directive) and to designate someone with a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

    Although it is generally not allowed to have a "kill me" suicide directive, you can include things like not using medical devices, not resuscitating, and not providing food or water or I/V nourishment while still getting pain medication.

    No need for $8000/month. A natural death can follow quickly, especially if your order says to give you no food or water.

  • by Ronin Developer (67677) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:44AM (#45527445)

    At some point, you have to ask yourself when leaving someone in a state with no zero chance of recovery and keeping them alive artificially is actually "doing harm" - not just to the patient but to their family. Only ones benefiting are those in the medical community taking the money to keep the person alive.

    It's a thin line - but, if the person made it clear they don't want to be in that situation, then fulfill their wishes. To do otherwise is to do harm.

    I don't advocate assisted suicide for people who can't live with the notion of paralysis or loss of limb. But, when there is no higher brain function? Seriously, dude.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:47AM (#45527479)

    Adams has a history of defending really stupid ideas (intelligent design etc.) on the basis of his personal philosophy, then walking the argument back as being an attempt to play devil's advocate or stimulate debate when it turns out he's off in contrafactual la-la land. I wouldn't take this as much more than an emotional internet outburst, and you can understand why he'd be emotional in this instance.

  • by tgd (2822) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:50AM (#45527527)

    You've clearly never been around someone in the final stages of dementia.
    I can tell you this, I'll be checking out before I get to that point.

    That is YOUR own choice. You can do what you want with your life.
    What you cannot do, and cannot expect is laws that enable other people to kill you legally.
    There is a world of difference between these 2 alternatives.

    Suicide is illegal, as well. So, really, there isn't. The cold hard legal fact is, you do not have a choice. You suffer until you die naturally. And, odds are even if it was legal to kill yourself, at that point you'd be unable to. So you will suffer until that suffering finally ends.

    The fucked up thing about it, is because of some bizarre more that was taught to people during impressionable periods of their life, they're completely unable to see the sheer inhumanity of guaranteeing that nearly every living person will suffer needlessly before they die.

    Its probably good you posted as an AC, because your position is so blatantly cruel and moronic, having even your virtual identity associated with it should be embarrassing to you.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:56AM (#45527603)

    Fuck all I can't believe the political shit people are spouting.

    THE PPACA AND THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS.

    It is simply giving the same consideration to their family members that they would a dog.

  • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <`slebrun' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:56AM (#45527609) Journal

    The difference between humans and animals is that doctors have industrial-strength pain-killers they will administer to humans. No matter how excruciating the pain, doctors can keep you drugged into a dream world, and can similarly keep you entirely unconscious for an indefinite period. If you could choose your method of departure, being drugged out of your mind on coke would be the near the top of most people's lists, so morphine or similar isn't a bad alternative.

    Not so. My grandfather had an interesting thing happen, where his intestine started dying by inches. They tried excising the dying bits, but the rest kept dying too. So, palliative care.

    They were quite frank about the fact that he was in enough pain that no painkiller they had would work on him. He was drugged into utter unconsciousness, yet still his face was spasming with pain. Yet when I suggested maybe they just up the dose, they said 'Any more would kill him.' 'Well, doctor,' I said, 'what are his chances?' 'None,' they said. 'He will die within a week. There's nothing we can do.' 'Exactly,' I said. And they looked at me like I was a monster, while they did everything they could to prolong his death. Not his life, his death.

    Yet if I treated my dog that way, I'd be up on animal cruelty charges.

  • by stdarg (456557) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @11:57AM (#45527623)

    Yes. If you're not a preschooler you would understand that two wrongs don't make a right. Revenge is evil you twit.

    Wait, so you think WISHING a painful death on someone is a form of revenge? Are you really superstitious or something? Is calling someone a twit also evil/revenge?

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:06PM (#45527757)

    So you get to starve to death or dehydrate.
    Excuse me if I don't consider death by organ failure over several days as "quickly". I don't think anyone would call that humane.

    We would put down a dog in that condition. Not let it starve or die by dehydration.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shilly (142940) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:11PM (#45527857)

    Except that Scott Adams has no power to make these people suffer the fate his father suffered. But these people, by their advocacy, do have the ability to ensure that others will suffer the way his father did.

    The wish and the deed are quite different.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:12PM (#45527883)

    If you did the last one, the first should soon follow.

    A great example of this should be any attempt to resuscitate on a patient with a known DNR should not be billable. Any attempt to bill for such unwanted service should be considered theft.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:13PM (#45527887) Homepage
    Well, let's see, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have both been heavily involved in massive charity to the developing world, especially in regards to malaria. Apparently some billionaires are more than willing to do so without having guns pointed at them. And then there's the Giving Pledge http://givingpledge.org/ [givingpledge.org] where a group of wealthy philanthropists have committed to giving most of their wealth to charity. That motivation is clearly partially out of peer pressure. So apparently peer pessure and empathy both work to get billionaires to listen, which is just like how normal people work. Imagine that. Of course, none of this is at all relevant to the issue at an, since neither assisted suicide laws nor the vast majority of our other laws are decided on by billionaires.
  • by Tanktalus (794810) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:13PM (#45527893) Journal

    Note that "not resuscitate" and "not using medical devices" are already legal. So is "sufficient pain medication to keep pain at bay, even though it may end my life earlier than not using it." Meanwhile, things like "starving to death" (withholding food, water), which, I'm told, is much more tortuous, or KCl, are not legal, as they have no purpose other than causing death, and, in the case of food, is not considered "extraordinary" effort - because we all eat, every day (for most of us), that's quite ordinary. Most of the discussion about assisted suicide is already moot, because a) it's legal, and b) it's not suicide (refusing extraordinary care is already legal).

    I would suggest that emphasising, and strengthening, normal palliative care, would take care of almost all "assisted suicide" requests. Education about what are already legal options would then neuter most of the assisted suicide arguments, especially the ones that seem to be most persuasive.

  • by Agent0013 (828350) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:15PM (#45527917) Journal
    It's also forcing other to live by your rules. If you want to live your way, fine. When you start forcing others to follow your beliefs you are no longer expressing freedom, but slavery. If I say you should not drink soda because it is bad for you, you can choose to listen or not. That is freedom of speech and freedom for you to choose your life. If I make it law that you cannot drink soda, that I have taken freedom from you. That is imposing my will upon you, that's the difference between these two actions.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:27PM (#45528105) Journal
    With enough morphine, it feels really good.
  • Needless cruelty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:34PM (#45528231)

    If the person doesn't want it, they have the ability to create a living will (advance healthcare directive) and to designate someone with a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

    That's not the same thing as having the right to pull the plug on someone. Furthermore many people are not able to create a living will. Children and those who are legally considered not competent or incapacitated (think coma) cannot authorize such a document. Furthermore while living wills and similar directives are a very good idea, they aren't appropriate for all circumstances and all people.

    No need for $8000/month. A natural death can follow quickly, especially if your order says to give you no food or water.

    I've had to watch close family die in exactly this manner through hospice. I wouldn't call it a quick death and it certainly isn't a particularly pleasant way to die. Basically the person is drugged up with opiates and they starve to death. I have nothing but respect for hospice and the service they provide but when the best they can do is let a person starve to death, that is to my mind needlessly cruel.

  • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:43PM (#45528387)

    Yeah, then tell us why the death penalty closely corresponds with the bible belt?

    Because without a death penalty, Christianity wouldn't exist.

  • Family decisions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:47PM (#45528461)

    If he has never expressed a desire to die rather than go on living in pain, then it isn't anyone else's decision to end his life.

    It becomes someone else's decision when he can no longer speak for himself. We decide to let people die all the time who have never expressed any thoughts on the matter. Talk to any hospice worker and they'll clue you in. I had an aunt who we had to place in hospice care and basically decide to let her die. They essentially drugged her up with opiates to keep her comfortable while she starved to death. It was the most merciful thing we could do for her that was legal. Fortunately we had a medical power of attorney through my mother but it very much was the family's decision to make. Happens every day all around the globe.

    Furthermore there are many people who are unable to legally or physically express a desire to die. Children, the mentally incompetent, those who are incapacitated etc. Some people are never able to speak for themselves legally.

    And as for the talk of torture, if he truly was as far gone as the article claims it's unlikely that he was actually experiencing any of that pain.

    You have virtually NO information regarding specifics of the medical situation facing Mr. Adams father. For you to glibly declare that he wasn't experiencing any pain is insulting and arrogant and almost certainly incorrect. You weren't there and you don't know the details and I'm guessing you aren't a medical professional either. (if you are I hope you never treat me) Maybe he wasn't mentally there anymore but that doesn't mean he wasn't suffering or in pain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:51PM (#45528539)

    I still haven't completely forgiven myself.

    You should. Nobody is God, all we can do is try to make the right decisions, each and every day. And being human, we'll never get it 100% right. If what you did you did because you think its what she wanted, then you did right.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:57PM (#45528625)

    Sounds expensive and pointless.
    If you are keeping someone unconscious until they die, you might as well be done with it.

  • by tgd (2822) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:01PM (#45528691)

    ...you can expect a really, really long jail sentence. And the health care in those for-profit prisons sucks.

    No, you can expect no death benefits, insurance payouts, pension or anything else to the family you leave behind.

  • by boskone (234014) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:16PM (#45528885)

    I thnk he underreacted.

    You are using the thread of prison, loss of freedom and potential death, to tell me my loved one must lie in pain for an indeterminate amount of time. Why don't you (the general you, not this poster specifically) statists go do something else and meddle with your own affairs?

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:17PM (#45528905)

    Based on a study of how many dead people?

  • by DroolTwist (1357725) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @02:19PM (#45529777)

    With enough morphine, it feels really good.

    I'm assuming you are trying to be funny. Guess what. You aren't (I realize I'm overly sensitive due to what we went through/witnessed; I am not trying to be a dick to you with that statement).

    Last Christmas I watched my mother (and my aunt shortly after) go through this. I watched her basically starve/dehydrate to death. No amount of pain medicine, that doesn't knock you out anyway, is enough to overcome everything associated with dying of cancer/dehydration/starvation.

    People who are against assisted suicide think that what she went through was 'humane?' Fuck them. We'll see if they have this same opinion once one of their close relatives goes through this.

    Before I die, assuming I know it will be coming soon, I will be moving somewhere where it is legal.

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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