My life, my death, my choice...

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My life, my death, my choice...

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:10 pm

... this is a Sir Terry quote in an interview pre-Dimbleby Lecture about assisted suicide. If this is a subject you're likely to be upset by then please read no further :?

With my father dying over a month ago now, I've been thinking about this subject a hell of a lot since last summer, and mostly I'm 'for' this option provided the person and those closest to him/her are certain they want to take this course. It is a legal minefield however and with good reason, particularly for older people with dementia-type illnesses so I can see the cons as well :(
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:26 pm

Yes, Jan. I thought it was a good article. I am pro. I don't think it should just be something out of Futurama, where you step into a box and it zaps you, but I can see regulation and I understand where you are coming from with your Dad. My father's last year was a horror of conflicitng information, and his desires with propoganda from wicked stepmonster. Then the day of his funeral, she started cleaning out the closet... WHILE the wake was going on!!!!!!!!!! It was the oddest, weirdest way of dealing with the fact that she just wanted more room for her new clothes. Shoppng addict.
Aha! So, Bob's yer uncle... very clever.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:55 pm

I think it has got to be a good idea to provide a mechanism for assessing individual cases and providing a humane way of ending suffering.

I'd be interested to know what the other 50% of panorama viewers felt were the problems with it.

Thankfully things are finally changing.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:18 pm

I would guess that those who weren't in favour were most likely swayed by the murkier motivations for moving someone's ending to sooner rather than later - especially if the person is not in a position to speak for themselves or to make their true wishes known in some way. :(

We know this goes on already and whilst it may be done in the main for merciful reasons that are entirely within the wishes of the ill person, in countries where euthanasia is prohibited anyone performing a procedure or taking action to bring on death will get prosecuted or even imprisoned, often despite the patient wanting to die, as in the case of Kay Gilderdale just this week (she was acquitted of helping her daughter Lynn die).

It does go on just within the parameters of the law where the patient or their next of kin signs to say they should not be resusitated in the event of heart failure or massive stroke, or to have 'maximum' pain mitigation, where a slow encroaching and eventually lethal level of morphine will be administered, whilst keeping to the extreme limits of palliative pain management. Even there medical staff risk prosecution if there is a hint of suspicion that this is being done for financial gain - it really is a very fine line between being seen as an humanitarian or a criminal act to 'force' death in effect...

My dad I think would have taken this course (if it was a legal option) if he hadn't had my mum and two of my three sisters to consider - they just couldn't accept that he was at the end and wanted to help him fight 'it' as long as he could. He agreed to this on condition that he stayed at home until the end. We all helped mum with nursing him through the last few months, but if a way had been open to him to let him go more gently and without him losing all the independance and the liberty he loved I would have let him take it like a shot.

But it wasn't my decision of course. And it can't legally be anyone's decision in this country until the law is changed... :cry:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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The right to die when you choose

Postby veritee » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:05 am

I have personal reasons to want to support TP campaign on this .

There are many others reasons people may support this campaign to have a right to die if and when you choose and have a dignified death - below are my reasons.

Much love to anyone who has felt that this issue affects them.

Veritee

__________________________________________________________


I want to know how I can join his campaign about a right to die when you choose and in the manor you choose

My mum recently died of Alzheimer’s and many in our family have but I & my husband sadly was also diagnosed with HIV at the too old age of 55.
We did not know we had HIV until my husband got AIDS. He was a seaman for over 30 years who picked up HIV abroad, did not know he had and so gave it to me in our middle age.

While he was saved initially and survived AIDS in 2007 his health is not good and who knows how long he - or I have as we both had late diagnosed HIV and 'officially' he was hospitalised with AIDS and I to ‘officially had AIDs before we both went on HIV medications.

I am sure anyone reading this who knows only what the general public does about HIV infection will say ‘what is the problem?’ with HIV meds people with HIV have a long and healthy life?’

The truth is ‘some do’ but it is still the luck of the draw to an extent and all people with HIV, even treated and controlled HIV, have a far higher change of getting any number of different cancers including liver, breast, cervical, prostrate etc, heart disease and dementia than the average person without HIV..

And also there is almost two illnesses. Those diagnosed early, within a couple of years and during the latency period before any significant and lasting damage was done to your immune system and brain, and those with HIV diagnosed late, sadly we were diagnosed very late.

Before the newest HIV drugs came about in about, many who were diagnosed late simply did not survive long even if on medication.

But since the invention of HAART ( Highly Active Anti Retroviral Therapy) around 2004 many more survive their initial HIV, but many go on to die and quite slowly, of other complaints or dementia ( as no drug completely controls HIV virus in the brain and the longer it is left to wash round the brain unchecked the more damage it does)

So while the HIV meds do work the good prognosis applies to those diagnosed while still in good health before their immune system has been compromised the prognosis is still not good for those diagnosed as older people and those diagnosed late and to die of AIDS is not a pleasant death

But more to the point for me a VERY large number of people with HIV get HIV related dementia and this is more likely the later your HIV was diagnosed and if it has gone untreated for sometimes like in both my husband I.

Thankfully my husbands brain functioning seems OK despite the fact he has been closer to death from AIDs than me, his mind seems unaffected but mine is not.

I know I have the beginnings of dementia, but although have asked time and time again to be tested the NHS say I am too young - 57 - but I know I have it & that it is

NOT my imagination !!
The sad thing is you do know when your mental functioning is diminishing long before it becomes obvious to others - and it is sooooo frustrating

Anyway I want the right to die in the way I choose and to make the decision before I am unable to. I have watch several members of my family go through dementia / Alzheimer’s
But theirs started much older than me as it was not HIV related, I have all the cards stacked against me now in terms of keeping my facilities for much longer - And selfishly I have no wish to follow them in to the death I watched them have and forewarned and much younger.

Nor do I want to put my husband through the situation of having to look after me in this state when he also has late stage HIV


How do I join your campaign – what can I do to help while I still can be of use?

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Postby Lloyd Walters » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:01 pm

Frank Skinner wrote an article on capital punishment in The Times of January 15th. I submitted a brief comment which for some undeclared reason was not published online. Here it is:

Why not simply give long term prisoners the opportunity to volunteer for an assisted painless suicide ? Those who chose such a path would at least end their lives doing something positive for society.


I hope you see from this that I'm in favour of assisted suicide, and that my thoughts on the application of the concept to inmates of the UK's prison system are not deemed to be beyond the pale on this forum.
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Postby Dotsie » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:04 pm

Please don't come on this site just to talk cobblers.
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Postby poohcarrot » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:46 pm

Forum :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: Pale :arrow: :arrow: :arrow: Your comment.

I can't imagine why they wouldn't publish it. You don't come across as a complete stonebonker to me. :?
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Postby Batty » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:41 pm

Lloyd Walters wrote:Why not simply give long term prisoners the opportunity to volunteer for an assisted painless suicide ? Those who chose such a path would at least end their lives doing something positive for society.


I hope you see from this that I'm in favour of assisted suicide, and that my thoughts on the application of the concept to inmates of the UK's prison system are not deemed to be beyond the pale on this forum.

Are you prepared to lead by example??
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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:53 pm

Leave it at that please guys. This poster is obviously trying to annoy people, so don't rise to it. :wink:
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Postby Batty » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:05 pm

Image ... Image
Going to my school was an education in itself. Which is not to be confused with actually getting an education (Schultz)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:32 pm

Indeed - Ommmmmmmmmmm! :lol:

And back on topic and how Terry is suggesting assisted death (not suicide) can be legalised by slipping in a nice 'safe' bureaucratic layer into the equation in order to de-criminalise it. I worked for the government department that operates Tribunals and they do useful work in a number of fields such as employment law, Land law and a number of other areas including Immigration - which is where things get very murky indeed of course. :?

This is where I start getting 'iffy' about a Tribunal running something that most definitely comes under the heading 'basic human right'. It could be set up and in theory would solve a lot of the confusion and fear over what does and doesn't constitute an illegal decision to end someone's life and contribute to making that happen. Other countries get around this with things like 'living wills', but even then that's not infallible and there is always the worry about coercion on the individual to make such a binding declaration law-proof, or how to prevent legal/punitive action being taken against those who are charged with ensuring that someone's wishes are respected and carried out.

Historically in the UK people can dispose of their possessions and property once they are dead in their wills as they see fit without too much opposition (in the majority of cases contesting a will is pretty rare). Even if someone doesn't make a will there are still strictly monitored regulations on how their affairs are concluded and divided amongst their family. What I'll be interested in hearing tonight in Terry's Dimbleby lecture is how we can make the leap between what happens to our 'estate' after we die to actually providing for how we die. The main reason I'm concerned about this is that death is not predictable and not everybody's so organised (or so rich) that they'll sit down and make a will or state what they want done to allow them to die if that's necessary. And then there's circumstances where you can't state your views at all - if you're in a coma for instance, or you cannot communicate your wishes in some way.

In the same way, going to a Tribunal (as they currently are) takes time and money and often lawyers - we don't always have the time or the wherewithal, simply in terms of willpower which can be in short supply when you're seriously and/or chronically ill or if you're on life support with little chance of regaining consciousness. And what about mental ilnesses - which are all too often at the root of suicide and wreak havoc for the familes and friends left behind?

A Tribunal process has its attractions as a way of condoning merciful deaths unequivocably, but its also a time-heavy, costly and not too flexible a process that would I fear end up as being a last resort that only the well off or the truly desperate could practically make use of. Getting the law changed is unnegotiable, but the method by which people can be freed from pain and misery should be quick and uncomplicated and not left to unwieldy legalities when a speedy decision is needed. This would also assist in the heart-rending cases where families and health authorities have to take out injunctions to withdraw life support or to end life-preserving surgical/medical procedures - or to keep giving them. At present health professionals literally have their hands tied in life or death circumstances - a change in the law, even a small one, would help make this appalling dilemma much more humane and give the chronically sick and dying a real choice in how they depart this world.

Terry's lecture is about to start - I'm looking forward to what he has to say on this matter more fully. Whatever he says I hope he's listened to sympathetically by the people who can make assisted death happen.
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Dimbleby Lecture

Postby jimmaclean » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:21 pm

At the moment I am watching the Richard Dimbleby lecture whilst trying to type. I'm male so multi-tasking isn't easy.
I met Mr Pratchett many years ago at a Sci-Fi Con in Glasgow. I had a very polite and pleasant conversation with him, and have always been grateful he spent that time with a fan. If I'd realised at the time Iain M Banks was in the bar waiting for some-one to buy him a drink I may have said "Terry - fancy a pint?".
Anyway at the moment there is a very moving and relevant speech on the TV. Thanks to Tony Robinson for helping Mr Pratchett. In Scotland we have an MSP, with Parkinson's disease, introducing a bill regarding assisted suicide. I prefer Terry's phrase - assisted death. Mind you maybe it should be "Assisted Death With Dignity". I hope we can pass a law where this can be achieved. Obviously there must be strinent safeguards but if I ever find myself in that position I would like that option.
Anyway, for a first post, this is becoming long winded.
I would like to say " Terry - thanks for the books, laughter, and wry recognition of certain job descriptions. I am now in a managerial position and strive to avoid fitting the profile of those in a similar position in your books. Thanks for the conversation those many years ago in the SECC. And thanks for the bravery and dignity in your stance regarding your illness and desire to pass on to the next level of existence in a humane manner.
But mostly just thanks for bringing your imagination to all of us.
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Postby meerkat » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:46 pm

I cried and I laughed and I cried.
I thought it was sensibly argued free of jargon, understandable and he looked at both sides sensibly and with dignity.
When he spoke about people taking thier lives in various ways I thought of myself two years ago when the depression got too much, with the tablets all lined up and yes, I had thought long and hard and clearly about it before I did it. However, I didn't carry it out (obviously) as I appeared outside of myself and asked what the **** I was doing. It shook me enough to go and get help.
At the same time I was suffering the symptoms Terry described, i,e, of forgetting things names etc., dressing badly. Advised by a friend I asked the doctor if this was the onset of Altzheimers and was told flatly "you can't have Alzheimers as you can still remember things." At the time it didin't make me feel any better! Obviously my doctor wouldn't be in favour if I asked to go when I wanted to!
I saw just how much it cost him to have to hear someone else say it for him. Mind you, he still got a plug in for his books!
I like his idea of how to go! That's what you call style!
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:03 am

It was an excellent lecture even though I had at times to crane myself to see past the taller person in front we were in (a few of the fans )the back row having left it a bit later to join the queue for seating.

With a couple of jokes that would not be televised Tony did it well. :D

And welcome to the forum jimmaclean. :)
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