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Oh please just kill me now!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Superfantastic, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Superfantastic

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    As most have probably heard, Dr. Jack Kevorkian died last week.

    His books have been on my 'Reading To Do List' for a while, but I've still never done more than watch his interviews, which are always interesting. I remember first hearing about him as a kid and thinking he looked like a psycho, which, combined with my child's perspective on what he was trying to do (kill people!), made me believe he was, in fact, a psycho. I've since learned the opposite appears to be the case.

    While he never acheived his goal of having hospital wings dedicated to assisted suicide, he did ask questions that others didn't have the courage to ask, and I believe played a large role in pushing us closer towards becoming a more enlightened society.

    The most admirable thing about him, to me, is that he appears to have been fighting this fight almost entirely alone, in terms of the medical community. He often said that many doctors agree with him, but they wouldn't say so publicly.

    Focus: What do you think of the man himself, and the fight he used to lead?

    Focus the Second: Assisted suicide -- yay or nay? Do you think it's moral? Would you want the option for yourself or a loved one, and/or do you agree it's a step towards a more enlightened world?

    Alt-focus: If you were going to end your own life, and you could do so in any (perferrably entertaining) way possible, how would you do it? Eat bacon non-stop until you die from bacon sweats? A reverse gang-bang until your heart gives out (for guys, obviously)? Just a whole crap load of heroin? Or something weird?
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    This is a timely thread given Jack Kevorkian's recent death. What immediately came to mind for me was this.

    Let's treat this as a Tuesday Sober Thread, which means that the no-politics and no-religion rules are suspended for THIS THREAD ONLY, but the stay-on-topic and no-asshole rules still apply. Be respectful of each other and no HERP DERPing, please. Be understanding that while this may be a wonderfully academic subject for some of you, it's also deeply personal to others.
     
  3. scootah

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    Focus: I never really had any interest in the man himself. His interviews and personal manner seemed weird and irritating. But I pretty much agreed with his politics, and respect the lengths he went to for his convictions.

    Focus the Second: I absolutely think it should be an option. I've known a few medical professionals who have risked their careers to give an ethical gift of mercy to a patient. I've known a few patients who were desperate for someone who was physically able to do what they couldn't. I have no idea why we deny the elderly, with no hope of recovery or quality of life resumption, the kindness that we'd show a dog or a horse.

    Alt-focus: Roman Orgied to death would be a pretty awesome COD. Lust, greed and gluttony are my favourite sins.
     
  4. CharlesJohnson

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    Focus: Watch his interviews. I think the dude was a bit out of his rocker. Either it was age and weariness, or the fella was just a smidge unbalanced. I really don't think he was all there, at least towards the end.

    Focus the Second: No fucking contest here. A man should be allowed to live his life as he pleases so long as it brings no harm to another. He should be allowed to leave this earth in the same fashion. I've been to hospice. I've seen the infirmed. I've seen what families do to people without a living will. It disgusts me. I've seen an old man literally rot before my eyes. It is not heroic, just, pretty, or human. He sat moaning in his bed for months because he could not form words or thoughts. He shit himself, he could not feed himself, he could not swallow without it going into his lungs. He was unable to close his mouth so the roof of his mouth became caked in crud and infection. His organs slowly turned on him. Then he turned grey one morning and finally died. His last breath was more of a sucking as his lungs failed. I may have been a kid, but if it was legal, if I had the wherewithal, I would have put the pillow over his face myself. I've put down animals in a more humane fashion. Anybody against a humane death (fuck the term euthanasia) deserves a punch in the cunt. The fact people have a platform deriding this RIGHT to a human being is one of the most malignant disgraces in this world.


    Alt-focus: I would super glue my hand to a top hat AND the hat to my head. Around my neck would be piano wire.. So when I jump off a tall building the wire would decapitate me and I would be able to tip my head/hat to everyone watching, "G'mornin', gentleman!"

    Seriously, any flamboyant suicide attempt should give a nod to Cannibal Corpse. Half their songs are about people offing themselves in the worst fucking way.
     
  5. Bryan

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    I'm not sure I could say "make it so" if a loved one were to request assisted suicide. What if they're erroneous in their judgment and outlook on the rest of their life? One could argue then I would otherwise be potentially selfishly keeping him or her alive to assuage my guilt or cowardice, and that might be true.

    However, I would definitely take the option for myself. To be old, be in pain, and to not have a sound mind or body to me seems like a special kind of hell or at least purgatory. Once people get to a certain age biologically (as opposed to chronologically) you're not even really yourself anymore.
     
  6. Stealth

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    A dude I know who who should know better told me a while ago that morphine makes people "lose the will to live".

    I should have pointed out to this dickhead that if you are on high doses of morphine you are either
    a) in pain ... lots of pain and
    b) possibly dying anyway.

    So being high doses of morphine one would be gratefull for the pain relief and if you were dying it would ease you through into death. From what I understand, this is often done unofficially by some doctors anyway.
     
  7. mazian

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    This.
    I've worked in hospitals before, and I've seen people being kept alive through feeding tubes and whatnot, because none of their relatives wanted to be the one who said "let him go".
    Seeing an old lady who can't talk, move, or do anything at all cry because you remembered to turn on the radio so she doesn't have to look at the ceiling in an otherwise silent room all day kinda breaks your heart.

    I think one should definitely have the option to end his/her life, if the decision is made when fully aware of what they're doing.
    On the other hand, if relatives have to make this decision it should be a bit more regulated, but still possible, so that no one can just "get rid" of people.
     
  8. Binary

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    I'm for the idea of assisted suicide for patients with grim futures, but Kevorkian himself was actually not so noble. A guy I know showed me this link:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://thechp.syr.edu/death_with_dignity.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://thechp.syr.edu/death_with_dignity.htm</a>

    The page is slanted to the viewpoint, obviously, but there are a fair number of questionable findings there, especially the last four cases listed:

    I looked up some other articles after reading this and it looks like Dr. K would simply off anyone who asked, regardless of health, mental status, circumstances, etc. No consideration of counseling, other alternatives, multiple visits to ensure its what they wanted...

    There is certainly a cause here. I'm just not sure Kevorkian actually represented the cause.
     
  9. lust4life

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    When my dad was diagnosed with cancer (colorectal that matasticized to his liver, stage 4), I prepared myself for his death, but not for his dying. He lasted about 2 years after the diagnosis and surgery, but that last year his quality of life (and it's impact on my mother's) was horrible. All the chemo may have given him those few more months, but they were months of breathing in agony and not really living.

    That being said, if I'm placed in similar circumstances, I would want the option to end it. I don't want my wife and kids to have to go through what my family did just so I could eke out a few more breaths just for the sake of staying alive as opposed to living.

    As for how, well 3 years ago yesterday I OD'd on 360 mg of Xanax. All I remember from it was waking up in the ER with a tube in my throat as they pumped liquid charcoal into me, and then fell unconscious again. No pain, no nothing. So, if circumstances warranted, I'd want to go that route again.

    The problem is, what constitutes warranting circumstances can get blurry.
     
  10. Juice

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    If you want out and yore suffering then why not? The fact that healthy bureaucrats get to decide whether or not a terminal patient gets to die peacefully instead of suffering is insane. I probably wouldn't do it as I'm religious and that influences my personal perspective, but then again I'm not terminally ill and in a large amount of pain. As for others, everyone should live the way they want, and die the way they want.

    As for me, If I had to do it I'd jump out of an airplane with a pack labeled "parachute" but when I pulled the cord it was a spare tire or picnic basket, like in a cartoon.
     
  11. Hoosiermess

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    Focus the Second: Assisted suicide -- yay or nay? Do you think it's moral? Would you want the option for yourself or a loved one, and/or do you agree it's a step towards a more enlightened world?

    When my grandpa was dying of congestive heart failure he made a comment to the effect of "If an animal was suffering this much it would be put down". It is difficult to watch a loved one die and I would also think it would be difficult to let them give up and let go, even if that would end their suffering. I am sure he would have taken the option of assisted suicide were it available to him and I think I would to. Moral? I'm not sure I'm the one to answer that but I've done enough in my life that could be called immoral that I doubt this could be held against me.

    I might say it is a step forward considering people have been offing themselves for years and assisted suicide is at least painless and sure from what I've heard about it. It has to be better than a bullet that "just misses" the sweet spot or a tree that doesn't quite stop the car fast enough.
     
  12. Disgustipated

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    Focus: I didn't know much about him, but he always struck me as the creepy sort. That's not the best persona to advocate euthanasia. But I do agree with his sentiments.

    Focus the Second: Unequivocally for. I watched too many people, my mother included, fall out of this life backwards - scared, in pain, unable to control their own bodily functions and eventually reduced to a husk whose sole energy is spent in maintaining a tenuous grip on life. I sure as hell don't want to go that way, and would not expect that anyone else should have to either. I firmly believe that allowing a person to choose the timing and circumstances of their own demise in the face of certain death is much more dignified and humane than waiting to be reduced to a wreck. Sure, death is certain and on the cards for all of us. But there's a big difference between "going to happen somehow, someday" and "you've got final stage liver cancer, and about a month to live."

    What's ironic is that the medical profession, especially nursing staff, have long had techniques that assist in terminal cases. For example, with my mother they kept upping the morphine dosage to "keep her comfortable", until she slipped into a coma and passed away. Then there's the infamous "Catholic Drop", which you don't hear much about any more.

    Alt-focus: I think it would be cool to be a daredevil suicide mission rescue agent. Give me the jobs that are too insanely dangerous for anyone else to risk. Even if I fail...I win.
     
  13. Binary

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    I don't know if this is ripped off from somewhere, but a rather disturbed acquaintance of mine described how he'd like to go.

    1. Choose a building in a public place right next to a busy sidewalk (e.g. in New York City)
    2. On the roof, affix a length of piano wire to the building, maybe half the building's height. Tie it around your neck.
    3. Affix a length of strong rope to the building, and bind it around your ankles. The rope should end about ~10 feet above the ground.
    4. Squirt a lot of superglue on your hands and place them on the sides of your head.
    5. Jump.

    This, in his mind, would result in your head being severed about halfway to the ground, and end with you dangling upside-down, arms outstretched and still holding your severed head, gravity pulling the maximum amount of blood from your body, with the whole scene right at eye-height for passers-by.
     
  14. kuhjäger

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    This was posted in a thread on Fark.com that pretty much sums up my feelings:
     
  15. Eastcoaster

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    Second Focus: Completely agree with what's already been mentioned. I think the day will come that they legalize assisted suicide (euthanasia, whatever) if for no other reason than taking some stress off of the healthcare system. People are being kept alive in states that would be considered cruel and unusual punishment if it were a dog while at the same time taking up beds in hospitals. During the recent outbreak of H1N1, there was quite a debate about what to do about respirators. The hospitals only have a limited number of them, which are all in use most of the time. What happens if, for example, a 35 year old single mother of two kids (working, not on social assistance - so we'll avoid that argument), requires one and there is a 90 year old, barely functioning man who needs one to breathe? This old man has no quality of life (obviously) but does have normal brain function, requires constant care, but could possibly live for another year or more. Take him off the respirator and he dies, keep the mother from using one and she dies. What happens? I know what I'd do. And I know what I'd want done if I was that old man. Maybe that IS what he wants, but now he's in no state to let that be known.
     
  16. Binary

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    Maybe. But isn't there some responsibility on the part of a doctor, who is ostensibly an expert in his field, charged with the trust and lives of patients, to ensure that death is the right choice for them?

    I'm not saying he should choose for them. But people suffer from a range of emotions, intelligences, life experiences, etc. that might cause them to be making an incomplete decision. Is it not the responsibility of the person performing these procedures to make sure that someone who is depressed, but has no diagnosable medical problem, has considered the alternatives to dying?

    That responsibility is removed when someone takes their own life, but I feel like someone who goes to a doctor for a procedure like this needs to be treated with more care than, "sure - whatever you want." Doctors are considered pillars of trust; a doctor agreeing to euthanize you is tantamount to saying, "I agree with what you are doing."

    It's not that the practice is abhorrent, but this particular doctor appeared to do a lot of this without the care, diligence or caution necessary.
     
  17. Frebis

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    I'm just glad that Dr. Kevorkian died doing what he loved doing.
     
  18. PIMPTRESS

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    Kevorkian was an odd dude, I tend to think he just saw things from a different angle. We all have our own filters that we perceive things through, and someone who assists in death in naturally going to alarm some part of your psyche.

    I believe that we have the right to off ourselves, even if we aren't terminally ill. Yeah, I said it. People who struggle with being a productive member of society and who slowly kill themselves through drug or alcohol abuse should be able to get it over with. We have to thin the herd somehow, I find it quite natural that some would lay down to die, so to speak.

    In order to make this a dignified option, the patient would need to complete some testing and be certain of the gravity of their decision. They would have to discuss their death plan with doctors and ideally, those affected by this decision.

    Having this option may reduce the undignified discovery of a corpse in the house, by children and such. This option being accessible would probably free up some space in hospitals, prisons, and treatment centers. I am sure some of you would not agree that this is humane, but it seems logical to me.

    How would I want to go?? I don't, not yet.
     
  19. kuhjäger

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    In a survey of those who have chosen assisted suicide, they tend to be much better educated, and have worked more years.

    Much like the willingness to suck dick or take it in the ass, having a college degree makes you more willing to take the assisted suicide route.
     
  20. Binary

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    What does a survey matter?

    This isn't about the majority, or finding averages of education/work experience. Actually, it's just the opposite: I don't at all expect that the majority of assisted suicide patients are just looking for a doctor's confirmation that they off themselves.

    However, when you're dealing with a permanent consequence like killing someone, all of the patients should be treated with the same caution and consideration. They all need to know what their options are and to be evaluated individually. Mentally ill patients, especially - depression, for instance, might cause short-term decisions like this to seem like a good idea yet may be very treatable, or it may just be a particularly bad bout of depression that will go away in coming weeks.