Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What happened to the 'Death With Dignity' Bill?

After NZ First departed from parliament what happened to Peter Brown's Death With Dignity bill? Isn't it time for another party to draft a bill? Isn't this something ACT could usefully do? (As an aside I had a look at ACT's website to see if such a bill would fit with their philosophy or values and was surprised to find none described. And the 'Liberal' tag now gone, though it may have been gone for a while. But I remember reading about the most recent voluntary euthanasia debate in Rodney's autobiography and he was very sympathetic to the issue.)

Voluntary euthanasia is an issue for everybody and I couldn't agree more with the sentiments expressed by Dr John Pollock.

"I think an individual has the right to choose for himself how his life goes and how it ends. I don't think that it is fair or it is moral for somebody else to suggest that they know better and that they have the right to determine that you may not be helped to die."

...Under the current law, some terminally ill patients were left in the "most appallingly wretched states, sometimes akin to those who died of starvation in Nazi concentration camps", Dr Pollock said. "Ironically if we allowed a cat or a dog or a horse to reach such a condition we would be breaking the law and risking a prison sentence."

"I really do believe strongly that that we ought to have euthanasia and I think it's time to push. I would feel that the last few months of my life were worthwhile if I could stimulate a push to change this cruel law.

"The law won't be changed in time for me and the only way that I can legally end my life before it is due to end is suicide and that's the cruelty of it - not only suicide but suicide alone because if I top myself with my family present then I put them at risk and I think that's hideous. It's very cruel."

He said the law would give terminal patients the comfort of knowing help was available - if they needed it...

"I may not make use of it and that is a very important point to make ... just knowing it's there, just knowing it's a possibility is a huge comfort and relief."

22 comments:

Lucia Maria said...

It's also hideous and cruel to commit suicide in front of your family, irrespective of what happens to them afterwards.

The problem with "death with dignity" is that it opens wide the door for wholesale murder by physicians. The Dutch experience shows that many people are euthanised without their knowledge, because their doctor decides it's best.

Palliative care in those countries with legalised euthanasia decrease in quality as the expectation is if you are dying, you should do it quicker.

Elderly people will start staying away from hospitals because they will worry they will be killed if they enter one.

I had a Dutch friend who was incredibly worried that when her mother was dying, that she might be killed prematurely by the doctors caring for her.

Euthanasia is not one of the doors that should be opened. Just like abortion is now an option for every woman who gets pregnant, euthanasia will become one of the treatment options for anyone who becomes ill.

Anonymous said...

a very important issues.

Once euthanasia is available at a modest cost, many of the arguments for socialist healthcare, OPA homes, the pension, the codger-dole - hey even the dole itself all vanish.

Only with euthanasia readily available can individuals make rational decisions about the costs they will impose on their families if they need or are required to enter institutions.

Simple case: if a murder's family was billed the 3 million dollars his incarceration would cost, they may well consider euthanasia a much better option!

euthanasia will become one of the treatment options for anyone who becomes ill.

Absolutely!! and even for many. many who do not "become ill". That's why euthanasia must be one of the pillars of any realistic welfare/healthcare reforms, just as abortion is a key to any education reform.

MikeE said...

"The Dutch experience shows that many people are euthanised without their knowledge, because their doctor decides it's best."

It appears you cannot understand the difference between voluntary euthanasia with consent and capacity, and involuntary euthanasia, also known as murder.

James said...

The hysteria of the right wing "socialists of the Soul" is as silly and morally defunct as that of their Leftist comrades re the 90 days bill.

Lucia Maria said...

MikeE,

It appears you cannot understand the difference between voluntary euthanasia with consent and capacity, and involuntary euthanasia, also known as murder.

When voluntarily euthanasia is introduced into a country, giving doctors the power to kill, they tend to kill people who don't want to die as well. And just because the law says a person has to consent and a doctor has to do it, don't think that will stop nurses from murdering patients as well.

Blair said...

I'll have to whore this link around again. It's as true now as when I wrote it three years ago:

http://blairmulholland.typepad.com/mulholland_drive/2007/03/euthanasia_is_a.html

Euthanasia is NOT libertarian. It is abdicating your life to the whims of others.

Mark Hubbard said...

Again Lucia, as Mike said, you are arrogantly - as Christians and the Left are always arrogant - confusing voluntary euthanasia with murder. Freedom versus force.

I demand the right to die according to the manner I desire, when I desire: and that issue is none of your damned business.

There was a shocking documentary on TVNZ about three years ago that followed the lives of four kiwis with terminal illnesses who wished the right to die with dignity, and with their loved ones.

I still remember the old gentleman who wanted to die with the love of his family around him, and they desperately wanted to be with him, but they would all have been up on criminal charges if the were.

Or the lovely lady, a spinster, who had spent her life working in retirement homes, and did not want to die a vegetable in one. Scared witless that she would have a stroke and the decision would be out of her hands, she took a last trip to Norfolk Island which she loved, then committed suicide alone (stating what a pity it was she might have had ten good years left yet, but she wasn't prepared to take the chance of that stroke).

I wish TVNZ would play this doco again.

So, try having some compassion you callous b*$@^. I can't stand sanctimonious monsters like you. My life, my pursuit of happiness, my freedom to do as I want so long as I'm not initiating force on you is my right: so bugger off out of my life.

(More of them: I include Blair in this evil bunch also).

Mark Hubbard said...

By the way Monster Lucia, you - incredibly - say, quote:

"When voluntarily euthanasia is introduced into a country, giving doctors the power to kill, they tend to kill people who don't want to die as well."

If I was a doctor (which I'm not) I'd be furious at that comment. I am anyway.

Prove that assertion Lucia. You seem to believe it is your right to deem how I live my life, because you get to choose how I'm not allowed to end it, so you show me the evidence you feel gives you such omnipotent power over me. Provide the links please to doctors killing people who don't want to be euthanased.

(Or does this knowledge come from the mystical power of God speaking to you; voices in your head?)

James said...

Blair...are you peddeling you religious crap under the very thin Libertaian guise you insist on still wearing?

Euthanasia is perfectly in accordance with Libertarian principles and ones right to die when one chooses....how can it not be?It is probably THE most bluntly black and white Libertarian position of all.

Go away and read up on the topic buddy...I think you missed rather a lot...

James said...

Mark....scratch a "religious conservative" and the control freak socialist shows through....and not much scratching required.

Anonymous said...

How useless can a person be to not have the skill and foresight to sort this out for themselves?
When my time comes I will be well prepared and to hell with the law and anybody else.

Anonymous said...

How useless can a person be to not have the skill and foresight to sort this out for themselves?

The big problem is precisely that the useless people dole bludgers, sickos, dpb mothers and their loser kids, codgers on the codger-dole who haven't saved enough are precisely those who won't take care of themselves but expect us to take care of them!!

Well fine - but if someone hasn't bothered to look after themselves, all they're due from me or anyone else is 10 grams of Nembutal.

It's pretty damn clear NZ would be a much much better place if every single bludger (yeah the WFFers too) were given nothing but 20 gelcaps and told to take 'em.

ZenTiger said...

Prove that assertion Lucia


Try the hyperlink provided in her comment.

Shane Pleasance said...

My life, my decision.

My only reservation to the euthanasia debate (and I remain perplexed & furious that it could be a debate at all) is that the next step our governments would take would be to force doctors into performing the act.

Mo said...

morally speaking, consent is just enough. However in order to avoid political confusion, you need to be able to prove that.

Blair said...

Blair...are you peddeling you religious crap under the very thin Libertaian guise you insist on still wearing?

Where did you get that idea? You should examine my arguments and look at them on their merits. I don't see what euthanasia has to do with God at all actually. You could argue it both ways, so to my mind it seems unnecessary to cloud things with issues of faith.

As for thin libertarian guises, most objectivists peddle their religion as being libertarian, when it's just another excuse to tell people what is best for them. So don't challenge me to any pissing contests.

Blair said...

So, try having some compassion you callous b*$@^. I can't stand sanctimonious monsters like you. My life, my pursuit of happiness, my freedom to do as I want so long as I'm not initiating force on you is my right: so bugger off out of my life.

I am a very compassionate person. If I ever saw someone pretending they want to commit suicide, I would stop them.

I say pretending, because anyone who really did want to kill themselves would never put themselves in a position to be saved. They would make well sure that they did the job properly. Is it really a terrible thing to stop someone killing themselves? They can always try again tomorrow - their life is still there to take, and they only have to be successful once.

Anyone who wants assistance to kill themselves does not actually want to do it, by definition. They want someone else to do it. Therefore, they should be prevented from doing something that they don't want to do.

Anonymous said...

It is a morbid consolation to me to observe that an undignified death can be the final result of a life lived with a craven attitude wrt to ones own rights.

Mark Hubbard said...

Blair, we're not talking about suicide; we're talking about voluntary euthanasia.

You do know there is a difference; right?

Anonymous said...

morally speaking, consent is just enough.

nope. morally speaking, being unable to meet your responsibilities and duites as an independent citizen is enough.

If you're sentenced to prison and you can't pay the $100,000 per year minimum to keep you inside: nembutal time!

If you need hospital care but you decide not to pay for it - nembutal time!

If you can't affored to pay your rates, or (ideally) a truely flat $5000 per person tax - nembutal time!

If you apply to join a trades union or labour party - nembutal time!

Anonymous said...

Euthanasia is still illegal in Netherlands, but doctors can be exempt from criminal prosection if they assist death using a very strict strict procedure. Most importantly this requires being sure patient wants to die and both doctors agree the patient is under no duress from others to make this decisionand are of sound mind. Other requirements include the "unbearable condition" the patient suffers from cannot be relived further, another independant doctor agrees that all the necessary criteria is met, and the patient is asked if they have consulted with their family. The death must be reported to the coroner and all assisted deaths are reviewed by a specialist committee on a regular basis. Any doctor who does not comply with the rules will be liable for criminal prosecution so to talk of doctors deciding to put people down because they think it is a good idea is just rediculous. They could be charged with murder.

Anon said...

Voluntary suicide is not the same as euthanasia. The choice of the person dying is critical and paramount. That persons quality of life and control of their life is what's important. I can only talk for a person who has their full faculties and not sure how to handle the ones who don't but we must start somewhere. To watch our loved ones shrivel and starve and loose their dignity is a terrible price to pay for our inaction. Ask someone who has traveled this path, not someone who has not.