My life, my death, my choice...

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Postby Mysticsypher » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:30 pm

What I found very interesting is that the Tribunal system that Terry cited as a possible method of assessing each case does exist but for a different purpose.

A few years ago the Mental Health Tribunals were created in Scotland to handle the majority of matters that were previously handled by the Courts. Previously there was a Sheriff (Judge or Magistrate south of the border) that made the desision. Now it is a panel which includes of a Doctor specialising in the mental health field, a solicitor of long standing with good knowlege of mental health law.

This principal could be easily adapted for the purpose outlined by Terry. However it is not the method, it is the moral issue.

Now I am all for assisted death for those with illnesses such as Terry and indeed his late father. Give someone control over their own lives. We are born, we grow up, we make choices that determine the course of our future, we can choose to alter the course of our future. There are always things that we cannot control or choose but I can and do believe that we have the right to choose the manner of our dying when the manner of our living has been taken out of our hands. We should be able to alter the course of our future when faced with such horror as those with these illnesses are.

I would like to think that the general public would back such a bill were it to be put forward but I do believe that, though many will support it, there would be such a backlash from it that the political parties would not wish to address such a controversial issue and would shy away from dealing with fobbing it off onto the next pack of cowards. Am I wrong to have so little faith in my fellow countrymen?

Pubicity and enlightenment is the key and Terry has embraced this wholeheartedly. All I can say is that we are all behind you and will support you in whatever way we can, big or small.

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Postby Tonyblack » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:53 pm

Welcome to the site Mysticsypher. :)

It's certainly a controversial subject and it's going to take a brave MP who puts it forward. But as terry said, the time is right to talk about it. It's no good ignoring it as that solves nothing.
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Postby Penfold » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:20 pm

Welcome to the site from me as well Mysticsypher. :)
Tonyblack wrote:It's certainly a controversial subject and it's going to take a brave MP who puts it forward. But as terry said, the time is right to talk about it. It's no good ignoring it as that solves nothing.

What Terry has been great at doing is the bringing of a previously taboo subject for discussion into the public realm rather than behind the closed doors of the BMA and other pro/anti organisations. One of the best ways for laws to be made/changed is often through the groundswell of support from the voting public. So I fully welcome the debate and might even watch Westminster Today should some MP actually have the nerve to introduce a Private Members Bill.
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Postby Mysticsypher » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:25 pm

Thank you for the warm welcome. Feel at home already! :D

I think that you might have already gathered that I live in Scotland but have any of you seen what has been happening with one of our MSP's Margo MacDonald? She has been campaining for sometime for assisted deaths to be introduced. In January she put forward the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill. Still to have a desision on it. Here is a link to her site which also contains links to the bill that has been proposed.

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/bi ... /index.htm

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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:00 pm

Hi and Welcome to the site Mysticsypher. :)
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 Sjoerd3000 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:03 pm

And welcome from me too :D
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Postby Fljotsdale » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:04 pm

Tonyblack wrote: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.


There is already a 'do not resuscitate' option available.
Last edited by Fljotsdale on Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A human right?

Postby Fljotsdale » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:08 pm

peterbarnes wrote: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?


I agree. And the lecture was terrific. Tony Robinson did a great job - though I have to say I would much have preferred Terry Pratchett to have done it himself. I don't think it was so much that he couldn't have read it - even though he has problems with his vision due to the disease - I think it possible he may have been afraid of breaking down and crying in the middle of it.
It made me cry. Yes, he made me llaugh as well. But mostly I just wanted to give him a big hug and make him better...
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Postby janet » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:46 pm

The main body of the lecture, delivered by Tony Robinson, brought obvious approval, on my TV screen at least (and I recorded it as it was past my bedtime when it aired) from Terry.
As Terry said, his illness is so covert as to make it difficult for the rest of us to appreciate that it is there at all so we must all defer to his decision for the main part of the lecture to be delivered by Tony, who did a fantastic job.
I was moved to tears at more than one point and, it appears that the audience there were similarly moved. One lady appeared on camera with a hanky crumpled in her fist and that would have been me too.
Dying is inevitable and sometimes it happens too quickly for anyone to control. I want my death , if it isn't of the quick, unexpected variety, to be based on my quality of life just as I have had the power to judge at the concluding days of several of the animals in my care. I've had to make the terribly painful decision to opt for a dignified and relatively painless end for some of my beloved critters when their eyes were telling me to help them get away from their pain and suffering. Why should it be different for me? If someone who loves me is there to hold my hand at the end I'll be ready to go.
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Postby kakaze » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:45 am

Except for cases of complete dependency (quadrapligia, coma, advanced dementia) I've never really understood how the legality of assisted suicide could really be an issue.

There are so many ways to kill yourself, from the simple (sitting in a running car with the garage door shut) to the more subtle and complex (extracting the nicotine out of cigarettes to give yourself a heart attack), and many of them are so easy to do, that it'd be impossible to prevent someone who actually wanted to die from using one.

There're even websites devoted to teaching people how (and, in Japan, introduce suicidal people so they can die together)!

In short; if I ever seriously decided to end my life, no government policy would stop me.
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Postby Penfold » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:32 am

I can see what your saying, Kakaze, but the methods involved in assisted death are a lot different from suicide and, I dare say, a hell of a lot less traumatic for friends and love ones to deal with.
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Postby Mysticsypher » Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:01 pm

I don't think that the arguement is that they have no idea how to end their lives. Terry himself stated in the debate the way he wishes to go. (it was at that point that I broke down in tears. It sounds so beautiful)
It would be the fact that without the assisted death legislation being in place the death certificate would record the death as suicide. It would be harrowing to the family and all concerned and, in Terry's case and those in the public eye, that is the way the media would convay it to the public.
Not to mention the fact that people in this position should not have to resort to looking up websites just to find out what is the quickest, painless and least destressing way in which to bring their life to an end.
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Postby kakaze » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:13 pm

I guess what I was thinking when I wrote that, was that there must be some reason other than the law that prevents suicide.

The main things that I can think of are:
1. Family (feelings & opinions)
2. Life insurance policies (which almost never cover death by suicide)
3. Fear (or, perhaps, shame?)
4. Knowledge
5. The law

The actual law I think is a pretty minor hurtle, seeing as you're pretty much beyond punishment, though it would be a big factor in assisted suicide.

Knowledge wouldn't be hard to get. I don't get the "they shouldn't have to go to a website" thing. If there were official assisted suicide doctors, wouldn't you still go to websites to research who's a reputable doctor?

I think the main disuading factors are the family's feelings and opinions, and the desire to help provide for your children in the form of any life insurance policy that you might have.

I think the biggest benefits of assisted suicide are the communication they help provide between parents & children, and the companionship during the procedure. I think that close communication with those you would leave behind is very important.

On a strange side-note, this topic made me learn something new. I used to live in San Diego and visited Tijuana every couple of months for the cheap shopping, dancing, and beer. I knew that a lot of people crossed the border to get low-cost perscription drugs, but I had no idea that there were "euthanasia shops" that sold pentobarbital (the drug used to put dogs to sleep) to tourists!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/21/world ... juana.html
http://www.globalaging.org/elderrights/ ... urists.htm

Still, if it were me, I don't think I'd use an injection. Why spend your last minute on Earth sticking a sharp piece of metal into your arm? I think I'd probably use an oxygen mask and inhale nitrous oxide (laughing gas) until I went to sleep. Now that sounds like a fun way to go!
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Postby Marianne » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:41 pm

I found it extremely moving- it said (rather: Terry said...) everything I feel about the subject, but so much better. I feel very very lucky to live in Switzerland, a country where I would be allowed to die in dignity in my own home - or garden - with the help and support of my loved ones- without fearing that they would risk prosecution. I so hope Terry will be able to chose his own time and way, and my heart goes to him and his family.
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Postby Tonyblack » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:54 pm

Marianne wrote:I found it extremely moving- it said (rather: Terry said...) everything I feel about the subject, but so much better. I feel very very lucky to live in Switzerland, a country where I would be allowed to die in dignity in my own home - or garden - with the help and support of my loved ones- without fearing that they would risk prosecution. I so hope Terry will be able to chose his own time and way, and my heart goes to him and his family.
Welcome to the site Marianne! :) It really was a very moving lecture.
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