My life, my death, my choice...

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:23 am

Who's Wee Dug wrote: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

Deeply, deeply envious of you now WWD :shock: :lol: I thought Tony was bloody brilliant - was there a tele-prompt because he never looked at those notes once so far as I could tell? :shock: :D

As for Terry - he looked so composed even though some parts obviously were upsetting for him. He is just so my hero :D
"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 Batty » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:37 am

The speech was brilliant!
Terry was obviously trying not to cry (at times) and Tony Robinson did an excellent job.
I did wonder where you were, Dug! I wasn't expecting to see Nigel Planer or Jeremy Irons in the audience.

I'm so pleased I saw the lecture, though. Well Done, to all concerned!
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Postby Phoenix » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:30 am

Just to clarify a point- Kay pleaded guilty to assisting suicide, but denied and was acquitted of attempted murder. So she did help Lynn to die, but it was at Lynn's request.

I have to admit a personal interest in this subject too, so my opinion isn't entirely unbiased. Lynn (who I knew as Jessie- her online pseudonym) was a friend. We 'met' online a few years ago and although I miss her deeply, I understood her desire to be free from pain. Terry's speach tonight was wonderful and echoed things that Jessie herself had said. It is good to see it coming from people who the matter concerns, as I think they are the people we should be listening to the most. Personally, I do struggle with the idea of assisted death and the risk of it being taken out of the patients hands and other people deciding who's life is worth living, but I agree with Terry that this is a fear, rather than something that would become inevitable.

I don't think you have to come out on one side or the other, I don't believe there's only a choice between care and dignity in death. However, I know that care can't always make someone's life comfortable and if even with all the medication and care possible, they are still suffering terribly, then who am I to insist that person must continue to endure. But then, trying to get that belief transcribed in law would be a much trickier task... As trying to apply one protocol to every single person always is.

Anyway, I'm not sure that made a whole lot of sense, but that's how I feel. I was never good at believing in absolute rights and wrongs. Today has been pretty tough and emotional, I still find it hard listening to reports about Jessie- even the good ones like tonight's Panorama- but I'm thankful that Terry made such a balanced and well thought out argument (although I wouldn't have expected anything other than that) and that it got the audience it deserved.
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:48 am

I'm not sure how long it will be available, or if it can be viewed from outside the UK, but the lecture can be viewed here.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:20 pm

Yes he did glance now and again but would not see that, and on the plinth there was a reflection of text but being where I was seated it was a bit diffucult to see the lectern.
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:22 pm

Batty wrote:The speech was brilliant!
Terry was obviously trying not to cry (at times) and Tony Robinson did an excellent job.
I did wonder where you were, Dug! I wasn't expecting to see Nigel Planer or Jeremy Irons in the audience.

I'm so pleased I saw the lecture, though. Well Done, to all concerned!
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Batty quite a few of us went to the pub later to meet up with the broken drummers monthly meet in Paddington.
He willnae tak' a drink! I think he's deid! , on the other hand though A Midgie in yir hand is worth twa up yir kilt.
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Postby Penfold » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:12 pm

I had to wait until I got home from work this morning and was really looking forward to see the lecture only to discover to my irritation that the timer had managed to cut off the end of the program Image so thanks for the link Tony. :) It turns out that I didn't miss quite as much as I had feared. :D

I thought it was absolutely brilliant, well thought out and reasoned with acknowledgements to both sides of the argument. A big thank-you and well-done as well for Tony Robinson who did real justice to Terry's speech.

By the way, welcome to the forum Jimmaclean
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A human right?

Postby peterbarnes » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:38 pm

For me, the key point in the lecture was that the current Terry Pratchett wanted to take 'power of attorney' over the Terry Pratchett of the future, when he might no longer have the faculties to control his destiny.
I think that I should be able to draw up a legal document with a solicitor, while I am still of sound mind, which stipulates that I should be assisted to die when certain conditions are met. For me this would be when I don't know where I am and I don't recognise my family, but others might have different criteria.
If a doctor certifies that I meet those conditions, my solicitor should be able to apply for a court order authorising a willing doctor to administer a lethal drug.
The safeguards here seem complete, a solicitor to represent my interests in the drawing up of the document, a doctor to certify that the conditions exist to trigger my request to die, and a court (or a Coroner's tribunal) to ensure due process.
Why not?
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:49 pm

Hi peterbarnes and welcome! :)

Or how about a legal document that says 'withhold medical treatment if I am unable to communicate'?

If me heart stops beating, for example, you should be able to have a legal document that you carry around that says 'do not resuscitate me'.

These are called Living Wills and while they fall a little short of what Terry is talking about, they are certainly close.
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Postby Penfold » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:11 pm

Welcome to the Forum peterbarnes :)

Tonyblack wrote:Or how about a legal document that says 'withhold medical treatment if I am unable to communicate'?

If me heart stops beating, for example, you should be able to have a legal document that you carry around that says 'do not resuscitate me'.

The doctors and surgeons at the hopital actually said they would not try to resucitate me if I could not breathe unassisted when they switched off my life support machine. My family agreed with this decision as it was expected that I would be suffering from severe brain damage. If the doctors had been unable to make this choice my 70 year old mother would have been forced into looking after me, a brain dead invalid staring into space day after day for the rest of his (un)natural life. That thought alone absolutely terrifies me, let alone being extremely hard on her.
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Postby Batty » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:28 pm

Tonyblack wrote:These are called Living Wills and while they fall a little short of what Terry is talking about, they are certainly close.

January last year I was having a heart operation at Basildon hospital. Every patient was asked to sign the admission papers etc., which included a document that asked if the patient had a Living Will?
One elderly lady asked the nurse what a Living Will was, only to be told by the nurse that it was just a will, and if she had a will then she should sign it.
The lady duly did as advised.
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:50 pm

Batty wrote:
Tonyblack wrote:These are called Living Wills and while they fall a little short of what Terry is talking about, they are certainly close.

January last year I was having a heart operation at Basildon hospital. Every patient was asked to sign the admission papers etc., which included a document that asked if the patient had a Living Will?
One elderly lady asked the nurse what a Living Will was, only to be told by the nurse that it was just a will, and if she had a will then she should sign it.
The lady duly did as advised.


:shock:
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Postby Bouncy Castle » Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:50 pm

Dammit.

I forgot it was on.

Am currently trying to watch it on iPlayer, but because of my internet connection (a dongle), it keeps "buffering".

I've sent a message to a workmate and asked if he can download it to a memory stick for me.

God bless you, Terry.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:14 pm

Tony wrote:... Or how about a legal document that says 'withhold medical treatment if I am unable to communicate'?

If me heart stops beating, for example, you should be able to have a legal document that you carry around that says 'do not resuscitate me'.

These are called Living Wills and while they fall a little short of what Terry is talking about, they are certainly close.

'Unable to communicate' probably wouldn't go far enough as it needs to specify/define permanency for one thing. My father, when he went into the hospice to be assessed for home nursing had a 'no resuscitation' form to sign and mum had to countersign it as next of kin - how easy was that? Just an additional sentence on the usual consents when anyone undergoes surgery. There are degrees of consciousness to be considered as with Penfold where people are on life support, but even there we have potential for the nay-sayers to start clamouring because now there can be medically-induced comas for instance, which might/can be abused. As Terry has put it - this isn't compulsory, but it does have to be self-elective and there does need to be regulations in place to ensure that everyone, including the medical practititioners, are protected from the law itself, as well as from the unscrupulous people that are around and prey on those who cannot look out for themselves.

In that respect Terry did 'gloss' a little. The reason for the edginess over assisted death as a right, is because the solitary elderly especially are vulnerable to the Harold Shipmans of this world and only a few days/weeks back there was yet another care home manager in court over alleged fatal doses of medication where there was financial gain. There have to be clear safeguards in place for this to work.

I was mulling over the Tribunal option that Terry's offering to guinea pig in here already and I really do think that this option would make the process far too laborious and complex. So why not look at it from the other end of the life-span. Yes, I'm talking abortion and really it's the same argument - could not your choice of how you die be treated in a similar manner to someone's right to curtail a life growing inside them? Slight difference of course. A woman chooses to terminate her child under certain conditions and justifications - in this country she has to have two doctors certify that carrying that child to term will seriously impair her health in some way. Why shouldn't you be able to do the same when you have lived long enough and need to end it? By all means have a lawyer added to the equation if that is seen as a safeguard, but for gods sake don't make people coldly apply for it when there might still be years of quality of life left to them - or simply because they might change their minds at a later date and would want to be resusicitated or whatever. It can't be locked down so finitely and when accidents come into the equation with younger, completely healthy people then what happens there where there's literally no time to think about it or it's impossible to ask them?

Maybe combining something that encompasses the abortion criteria, surgery consents and organ donation that can be registered as a matter of course, for every case where someone is diagnosed with a life-detracting disease/illness/'condition'(because dementia/Alzheimers doesn't kill you physically :roll: ). People could be given the opportunity to tick a box effectively, that says they are open to the assisted death option, if/when they deteriorate and then, when the time comes, they can say 'go ahead I'm ready now', or, if they're not able to say that, their wish is registered and they can get assessed medically (and legally if needed). Next of kin would probably need to be considered in this perhaps but at least it's all there on record and something less to worry about? :(
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Tue Feb 02, 2010 9:47 pm

Phoenix wrote:Just to clarify a point- Kay pleaded guilty to assisting suicide, but denied and was acquitted of attempted murder. So she did help Lynn to die, but it was at Lynn's request.

Whoops! :oops: Thanks for correcting that Phoenix - I had seen that in the reports then promptly got confused and couldn't recall if it was a murder or manslaughter charge :roll:
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