Sean Davison and Euthanasia

November 5th, 2011 at 4:27 pm by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

The anguish felt by this week was palpable. In 2006, Davison gave his terminally ill, 85-year-old mother a glass of crushed morphine tablets in water.

Patricia Davison, a former medical practitioner, was suffering from cancer and was in pain and distress. She had earlier tried to starve herself to death. When the authorities became aware of what Sean Davison had done from an early manuscript of Before We Say Goodbye, a book he later published on the last months of his mother’s life, he was charged with her attempted murder.

I know or knew Sean Davison. He was in fact the National Party candidate for Dunedin North in 1987 – my first election. I was the Regional Young Nats Chair. Sean was a lovely sincere guy.

Nothing I have read from the transcript of his trial has caused me to think any worse of him. I think he was a hugely loving son, who couldn’t bear to see his mother suffer. His crime, if you call it that, was putting her wishes above the law.

Stuff also has a profile of Sean:

By September 23, Pat had decided to go on a water-only diet

She was forced to try and starve herself to death, to stop her suffering.

He asked her emphatically if she wanted him to make her death wish come true.

She replied, “Please, I want you to help me die … you really are a good boy.”

On October 24 2006, the 33rd day on water only, Pat, despite a morphine drip, was in agony and implored her son to “bash me on the head”.

“I want to die tonight. I feel dreadful. I feel pain everywhere and I can hardly talk,” she told him.

No one should have to suffer like Pat Davison suffered. And no son should have to choose between the law and saving his mother from agony.

The law must be changed to allow . A dying person should be able to die with dignity. Of course there must be the strongest safeguards around euthansia, but to do that we need to legalise it. By keeping it illegal, you merely push it underground and increase the chances of a malicious misuse.

I hope the next Parliament confronts the issue. It would be a conscience vote, and needs an MP or MPs to submit bills into the members ballot.

Numerous polls have shown that most New Zealanders support euthanasia being available as an option for the terminally ill. It’s time to change the law.

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86 Responses to “Sean Davison and Euthanasia”

  1. nasska (10,912 comments) says:

    Many people will agree with you DPF but it will take a very brave MP, not totally focused on seeing out his/her working life in parliament, to see it through. For all the disapprobation heaped on Michael Laws he was the only member in recent times who had the guts to push for legislation enabling euthanasia.

    The god botherers will be along soon to ensure that your proposal gets thrashed…..something about the word voluntary doesn’t sit well with them.

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  2. berend (1,676 comments) says:

    Yes, killing your Mum is the highest form of love a son can show. There is simply nothing else you can do when your mum suffers. Just smother her.

    And I suppose euthanasia will get just as much safeguards as abortion.

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  3. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    This is a complex topic with no easy answers. I wrote about it after my mother died.

    Since then I’ve talked to the local hospice about it some more and may have changed my mind a bit – with the sort of care a good hospice provides it negates a lot of the arguments. But then my mother was lucky enough to die relatively quickly, albeit not particularly nicely ort as she would have preferred.

    It does come back to personal choice – but with rigourous and very clear safeguards required, and expanded hospice facilities (most people in the local hospice system don’t die in the hospice) so dying ‘naturally’ with reasonable dignity is available for everyone.

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  4. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    It’s time to change the law.

    No it’s not!

    By keeping it illegal, you merely push it underground and increase the chances of a malicious misuse.

    No – you increase the chances of the old and sick being bullied into prematurely ending their lives.

    I have seen people die and the palliative care they are given. Sometimes palliative care may shorten the last hours, who knows and to be frank who cares.

    There are things that the Government does not need to legislate for – we don’t need rules and regulations for everything you know.

    If there is an egregious ending of the life of a terminally ill person bring it to court, if it is a case of perhaps over zealous administration of morphine to someone in the last hours of life – let the Good Lord be the judge

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  5. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    What I take you to say Andrei is “Let MY good lord be the judge” and to hell with your opinion.

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  6. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    Andrei: There are things that the Government does not need to legislate for – we don’t need rules and regulations for everything you know.

    So you are suggesting rules and regulations on this are relaxed or removed?

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  7. Andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    No – I am saying let sleeping dogs lie.

    We don’t need all the crap of certifying consultants and a plethora of rules which will just get surreptitiously broken which will lead to even more relaxation until we are putting down people for just getting sick.

    Shit man look whats happened with abortion – hell we are killing off a quarter of our babies now and baby killing has become an industry

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  8. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    There is no dignity in death. When you are dead, you don’t care about how dignified you are. If you care about your dignity, then you don’t want to die enough.

    No, I will not help anyone die, no I will not vote to help anyone die, no I will not support or allow anyone to help anyone die. You want to get rid of the last best possession you have, you do it without my help or anyone elses. Only the living care about dignity, and that is because life has value and is precious. Your decision to take your own life is yours alone, and how dare you try to put that responsibility on someone else.

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  9. kowtow (7,953 comments) says:

    Abortion,civil union,parental notification,brothels,parental discipline……….all part of the “progressive”agenda that parliamentary elites wish to control and impose.

    This is supposed to be a democracy,to hell with parliamentary conscience votes,we need direct democracy and binding referenda.

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  10. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    I’d be prepared to initiate debate on this, it may be one of the Dunedin debates we do next year.

    And if I was in parliament I’d be prepared to be involved in introducing something on it – but what form it would take would have to depend on extensive research and gathering of public opnion.

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  11. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    Voluntary euthanasia is, from most secular ethical perspectives, morally acceptable. One of the few indisputable rights that a human being possesses is his right to exist. It is therefore his right to cede that right if he so wishes, as he owns that right.

    The exception are arguments that heavily weight the rights of those left to mourn (granted by a society that measures rights in terms of harms) but are generally considered subordinate to the rights of the one who wishes to die, even though great harm can be induced in the form of grief.

    For instance, should Kurt Cobain have been allowed to kill himself, because the collective grief he caused must surely have outweighed his own personal pain? However, this is an extreme example to illustrate a point.

    As far as metaphysical arguments go, only the feelings of those who adhere to these beliefs should be considered, as the philosophies themselves are based on false premises.

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  12. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    My question.
    Why did this guy go public?

    He should have just done it, shut and moved on if he was solely concerned with his mother, there would have been no PM, her doctor would have certified cause of death no problems.

    What disturbs me is that it appears he might have gone public to assuage feelings of guilt he has, public flagellation will prove nothing, politicizing this sucks hugely.

    BlairM – outstanding comment @ 5.47

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  13. berend (1,676 comments) says:

    Scott: One of the few indisputable rights that a human being possesses is his right to exist.

    Really? Obviously not if your life has been given you by the creator. Then it wouldn’t be your own to give back.

    And also not so obvious if you believe there might not be a creator: what about all around you? You really think you’re going to make then happy if you commit suicide? Suicide is a solution?

    And what about them in whose hand you are going to put the REQUIREMENT to kill you? Because that’s what it will become: a right to suicide. No doubt taxpayer funded and supported.

    Just for the occasional sob story taxpayers are now going to fund killing people outside of the womb too.

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  14. wreck1080 (3,813 comments) says:

    I’ve got a mate who’d love euthanasia to become legal — his old lady is a real witch.

    The safe guards would have to be huge.

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  15. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Andrei’s mum was suffering from cancer and was in pain and distress. She had earlier tried to starve herself to death.

    By September 23, she had decided to go on a water-only diet

    On October 24 2006, the 33rd day on water only, Andrei’s mum, despite a morphine drip, was in agony and implored Andrei to “bash me on the head”.

    “I want to die tonight. I feel dreadful. I feel pain everywhere and I can hardly talk,” she told Andrei.

    Andrei: No. Check out these abortion stats mum!

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  16. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    berend’s mum was suffering from cancer and was in pain and distress. She had earlier tried to starve herself to death.

    By September 23, she had decided to go on a water-only diet

    On October 24 2006, the 33rd day on water only, berend’s mum, despite a morphine drip, was in agony and implored berend to “bash me on the head”.

    “I want to die tonight. I feel dreadful. I feel pain everywhere and I can hardly talk,” she told berend.

    berend: No doubt you want the taxpayers to pay for this too. I’m not falling for your occasional sob story mum.

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  17. petal (705 comments) says:

    berend, I fully respect your right to your sincerely held views. I really hope you will never be placed in a position where you feel your views are tested. Having recently had a taste of death and the process of dying, it would take an unshakable faith in something to feel no conflict when your loved one is at death’s door in extremes of pain and yet the door won’t open for a long time. It’s not pretty, it rips the living to pieces, and it sincerely does nothing for the person that’s about to pass. May you never find out.

    —-

    @Courage Wolf 6:57pm: +1

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  18. Richard Hurst (797 comments) says:

    The issue is too hard, too complex for any of the current bunch in the House to deal with. In true Kiwi tradition we will all put our fingers in our hears and close our eyes until it becomes a really big issue when the baby boomers are all in their 80′s and 90′s and screaming for a dignifed end as they are kept half alive in crowded rest homes.

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  19. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Courage Wolf’s mother in fit of depression said I wish i was dead. so he shot her>

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  20. Positan (385 comments) says:

    As happens so often, any and all possibility of intelligent discourse seems to fall prey to the emotional hang-ups of those who can never allow themselves – let alone anyone else – the freedom to be sufficiently open-minded to peruse what possible advantage to those really suffering might lie in possible change to the law.

    Of course there’d have to be stringent safeguards – that’s a given – so why not examine all inherent possibilities with less self-centred circumspection and far more helpful input than has seemed evident from some of the input rendered by the negatively-righteous, religiously-closed mindsets among us.

    Look at the problem and try work out how those who might want to avail themselves of such option might thus be accommodated. It’s really not that hard.

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  21. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    berend says:- “And what about them in whose hand you are going to put the REQUIREMENT to kill you?”

    There would be no shortage of agencies willing to assist the suicide. Best to keep family out of it owing to perceived conflict of interest.

    Yes the agency would be acting on behalf of the government, but the government only represents the tyrannical majority, so those who object to euthanasia would have a clear conscience.

    Effectively, if you consistently express a wish to die and ask for assistance, you would have to sign over your right to live to the government. This would be a very rigorous process:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_in_the_Netherlands

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  22. Reg (544 comments) says:

    So we must have “stringent safeguards” to govern the best way to termnate the lives of depressed old ladies whose continued existence is a pain in the neck and a hold up to my anxiously awaited legacy.

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  23. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Reg’s mum was suffering from cancer and was in pain and distress. She had earlier tried to starve herself to death.

    By September 23, she had decided to go on a water-only diet

    On October 24 2006, the 33rd day on water only, Reg’s mum, despite a morphine drip, was in agony and implored Reg to “bash me on the head”.

    “I want to die tonight. I feel dreadful. I feel pain everywhere and I can hardly talk,” she told Reg.

    Reg: You’re just a depressed old lady going through a fit of depression, get over it!

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  24. MrTips (150 comments) says:

    The law must be changed to allow euthanasia. A dying person should be able to die with dignity.

    Well, all statements like that say is “I believe that someone who is dying has no dignity”.
    It is a false and dangerous premise to think that someone who is dying, no matter how inglorious or painful the situation might be, is incapable of going through that without dignity. It is putting the cart before the horse and the coffin before the process.

    And it says more about the reluctance or inability of individuals surrounding the dying person to help them through it. Its tough, I know and its not pretty – I’ve been through it three times in my family. But in each case, palliative care dealt to the pain and I would not trade those last days for anything.

    Suffering is part of life – it is an immature and weak society that promotes and legalises the cheapening of it.

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  25. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    Mr Tips, I was able and willing to sureround my mother and help her through her death, as best I could with expert help.

    She couldn’t eat properly for her last 6 months.
    I am sure her last weeks were against her wishes.
    Her last week she couldn’t/wouldn’t eat or drink, so I don’t know what killed her, dehydration, starvation, cancer or liver failure.
    I remember her last few moments vividly (from a year ago) – she opened her eyes and looked at me with something like fear and desperation in her eyes, she seemed to be pleading for the suffering to stop.

    She had first class palliative care. And I know she would have preferred to have skipped that last week if she was allowed. We had talked a lot before then about what she thought and how she felt.

    Why should you dictate to someone like my mother how her life should or shouldn’t end?

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  26. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Why should you dictate to someone like my mother how her life should or shouldn’t end?

    If you asked why would MrTips dictate to someone like your mother how her life should or shouldn’t end, the answer is very likely to be because he is a Christian and some pastor in his Church said God was against it.

    If you ever ask a scientist what would it take to prove to them that evolution is wrong, they will likely say if A, B and C are discovered, and they would be happy to discard evolution as a theory and replace it with whatever new evidence is uncovered.

    If you asked a Christian what it would take for them to realise that God is wrong though, they will likely answer with NOTHING GOD CAN NEVER BE WRONG and never change their minds no matter how much evidence you present to them. Which is of course why they’ll defend their positions on euthanasia no matter what, also creationism, homosexuality, etc.

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  27. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Why would you want a law change to justify taking an uncommon action? Surely an unintended effect would be the act of euthanasia becoming more common as per the increase in the frequency of terminations due to the liberalisation of the laws around abortion- and don’t start in on me – that’s intended to be a factual statement not not a pro-choice/life statement.
    Why do we have to legislate to allow us to feel justified in taking a particular action? Why can’t commonsense prevail. Soon we’ll all need a law to fart.

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  28. shady (251 comments) says:

    Reg – if Courage wolf’s mother was depressed and really wanted to be dead – she would have got the gun and shot herself – there would not be any blame attributed to Courage Wolf – or his brothers and sisters.

    My mother “was” that hypothetical lady you’ve all been quoting. She died 3 years ago after one year of fading away with esophageal cancer, and finally succumbing to thirst and starvation. The palliative care she received at the hospital was appalling which only increased the distress we were all in. Not all palliative care provides a dignified, peaceful end. Mum never did ask for us to do anything to alleviate her discomfort and pain. Although she did ask the hospital staff for a top up to the medazalam that she was on, bearing in mind she could barely speak, – the nurse told her/implied that we were trying to shorten her life – and wouldn’t give her anything because it wasn’t charted by her shithead specialist. Mum was a nurse, and an incredibly brave and beautiful lady. She was dying!!! And through lack of a decent specialist, her last days were apalling – I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. But I also know I couldn’t live with the guilt of putting a pillow over her head – and she would never have asked me. (After some days where she was subjected to having to ask to be topped up with the only drug prescribed her – Medazalam – another specialist happened to be on on the weekend, and when he saw what was happening, was disgusted. He then added morphine to her drip, and mum finally went into a coma. She still lasted another 4 days, but hopefully those 4 days were more peaceful and pain free than the previous week or more.)

    I think there should be legal mechanism by which our loved ones who are terminal and beyond help can take their end the way they want to – with dignity. I am sure Mum would have done this had it been available. One of the biggest stresses on her was the thought that her loved children and grandchildren would see her deteriorate in such a way. I wouldn’t have been anywhere else but by her side – but it is still painful recalling the terrible end she was subjected to.

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  29. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Monique Watson (136) Says:
    November 5th, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Why can’t commonsense prevail.

    Because there are a lot of ignorant religious people in this world.

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  30. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    And by the way Monique, don’t start in on me – that’s intended to be a factual statement not not a pro-religious/atheist statement.

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  31. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    I doubt you can legislate for all the factors involved in such a loaded decision. I’m a sook and hate to see anything or anyone suffer. I’m sorry to hear the stories of those who have lost loved ones to a drawn out painful death. I can’t even wave around the fly-spray without some sense of misguided guilt about who has the greatest right to life and would struggle to justify assisting in a suicide. But if all my senses and accumulated wisdom was were telling me it was the best coarse of action I might be the first to hand out the morphine cocktail.

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  32. coolas (115 comments) says:

    As many folk here I’ve had experience of loved ones dying. Cancer has been the toughest due to nature of the end. The hospice help, whether at home or in-care have been well managed: machine driver with morphine + valium. It’s like assisted suicide but well supervised. Rather than doing the whole euthanasia debate I’d like to see universal hospice care available to all terminally ill patients.

    ps. One aunty said goodbye when I visited her. She said she was going to die that night because she had talked about it with the hospice team. My uncle and cousins arrived as I was leaving. She knew. They knew.

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  33. David Garrett (6,786 comments) says:

    This is a helluva one…You can make a compelling and highly pursuasive argument for either side – as many have done above.

    Someone earlier had it pretty well right though…why did he (or Leslie Martin) feel the need to go public about it?

    My first wife was a nurse….a hugely compassionate woman…she told me that the “slightly more than necessary ” dose of morphine was prescribed by doctors in people’s last hours all the time…everyone knew that the dose would likely kill….no-one questione the docs or said anything….nurses who werent comfortable giving what was charted just let someone who was give it…

    On one level, that works just fine – until you have some fundy Christian nurse or person strongly philosophically against easing those in terrible distress into that good night…But then all the arguments about the old and infirm being subtly pressured into it scare me too…

    I just pray to my higher power (whatever the hell that is) that I am never called upon to be in this man’s shoes…cause one thing my wife was very very clear about was that palliative care does NOT always remove pain…and then there are the horrors like Motor Neurone Disease…little or no pain, but you eventually suffocate as the breathing reflex fades…..

    Maybe this is one where the convenient fiction we have now is best…

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  34. noskire (835 comments) says:

    For euthenasia to be legalised, then it would surely fall on a medical professional to perform the task. It’s the medical profession that needs to be leading the debate on this.

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  35. nasska (10,912 comments) says:

    Monique Watson

    I would be quite satisfied with an extension to the current laws that allow a person to make an enduring power of attorney. If they were permitted to indicate in advance their wishes to be given sufficient pain killers that they did not suffer even if these same analgesics hastened their end that should suffice.

    If this had been allowed Shady @ 8.28 would not have had to worry about his mother dying in agony.

    No doubt what I’ve proposed happens now but we have to remember that some doctors & specialists have the same god delusions as afflict a few of the commentators on this blog. If one of these nutcases is overseeing your death you’ll probably die screaming. Without enabling legislation your comfort during your final days hangs totally on the luck of having the right doctor.

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  36. shady (251 comments) says:

    Coolas 8.57, I couldn’t agree more.

    Courage Wolf – I suspect the specialist assigned to Mum was Catholic (nationality give-away), and her treatment was perhaps conflicted by that. The specialist’s nurse (not the ward nurse) rang me about three months later to see how I was doing and to apologise for what had happened. (I’ll bet the hospital would be pissed off if they knew) She also told me there had been changes made as a result of our experience.

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  37. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Noskire said:
    For euthenasia to be legalised, then it would surely fall on a medical professional to perform the task. It’s the medical profession that needs to be leading the debate on this.
    Perhaps they are silent, because their mission is to keep people alive not kill them?

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  38. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    As David says it’s not just about painkillers. My mother was slowly drowning as well, that was particularly tramatic in the last hour or so. About three days out she had an internal bleed. Over her last week she was virtually unrecognisable – but after she died her face relaxed back to sort of normal.

    And then there’s my father about ten years ago. His last few days he was in a nursing home hospital, as he went in he sais he wouldn’t be there long. He was helped with morphine, but it still wasn’t nice. Two days out he told me to piss off, there was no point in my being there. On his last afternoon I went in to find him in a very embarrassing situation, luckily I was able to keep visitors who were not far behind me out while I found a nurse to sort things out.

    I don’t think medical people will drive this debate, it has to come from the people. It’s on my list of debates we must initiate.

    The UK allows online petitions to debate issues in parliament, 100,000 names required. We have nothing practical at all for ordinary people to make things happen.

    That’s why I’m on a mission. One way or another we can force change. It’s not MMP that’s our problem, it’s a lack of numbers of people with the will to pressure for change.

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  39. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Courage Wolf’s, teennage daughter gets depressed, develops annorexia and loses all quality of life.
    She says “Dad I just want to die”. Courage Wolf tries every couselling service to no avail (except of course those terrible christians). Finally his daughter ties a rope around her neck and starts to climb a tree. Courage Wolf thinks I am glad I’m not one of the inflexible, ignorant christians that feel I should intervene in the legitimate desire of a person to exercise their right to end their life.

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  40. noskire (835 comments) says:

    Reg, that’s my point.

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  41. shady (251 comments) says:

    Reg – you’re just being a wanker. This debate shouldn’t even be about religion – it should only be about someone who is in the last stages of dying of a terminal disease being able to choose how and when they go. Ergo – that choice should not be deprived of them because of some people’s belief that only God can make that choice. Not everyone believes there is a God. Not everyone believes that their God would treat their loved one so appallingly.

    Each individual should have the choice according to their own beliefs.

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  42. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Euthanasia is a word derived from the greek language and literally translates to “good death”. This is as opposed to a bad death.

    The eutahnasia debate is not about choosing death over life, but rather choosing a peaceful death over a painful, less dignified long passing.

    My mother, in her last lucid moments, said she would rather throw herself under a bus. The Cancer and Dementia that robbed her of every last vestige of human dignity was always going to kill her, but society demanded that I assist in forcing her to go through every last painful moment.

    My mother was reduced to a frail, emaciated, confused, uncommunicative, incontinent wreck of a person. There was no dignity in death here. She was denied the right to dignity, so that the religious views of others should not be disturbed.

    If you believe that others should go through what I saw my mother go through, against her wishes, because of your beliefs, then I am truely sorry for you. I believe that being able to end such suffering is a great mercy.

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  43. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Possibly in people’s minds they associate it with encouragement. They certainly seem to.

    Perhaps that’s the publicity key, to break that association, if one wished to achieve cut-through.

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  44. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    Reg says:- ..”teennage daughter gets depressed, develops annorexia and loses all quality of life.”

    1) No country in the world that has legalized euthanasia will allow a mentally ill person to make the decision to kill themselves.

    2) Nor is mental anguish recognized as being “a state of insufferable pain”.

    3) If she is still under her parent’s guardianship, the choice isn’t her’s to make.

    Your analogy is meaningless.

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  45. Gulag1917 (815 comments) says:

    Lets eliminate ethics then we will have no problems, people will be able to thieve, kill amd destroy without any consequences. Unfortunately although there may not be legal/judicial consequences in most other areas of life there is.

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  46. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Gulag what ethical elimination is involved?

    Why can’t someone of sound mind end their own life with duly witnessed and notated process and hence, dignity?

    What’s unethical about that?

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  47. noskire (835 comments) says:

    Gulag1917 (89) Says:
    reid (8,948) Says:
    November 5th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Gulag what ethical elimination is involved?

    Why can’t someone of sound mind end their own life with duly witnessed and notated process and hence, dignity?

    What’s unethical about that?

    Agreed.

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  48. Gulag1917 (815 comments) says:

    They already can end their own life. There are too many complications, social, financial/wealth/economic and political factors that can make somebody’s “free choice” result in something else. Lets eliminate our enemies because they are old?

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  49. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    MrTips said:

    Suffering is part of life

    —————-

    What a revolting point of view!

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  50. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    So the debate is about ethics?

    Great. Tell me what is ethical about forcing someone, who is in the final stages of an illnes that WILL kill them, to suffer through all the pain and indignity of that illness, when we have the means to let them end their own suffering on their own terms?

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  51. daughter (1 comment) says:

    It is time to change the law.

    My mother was diagnosed with motor neurone disease about a year ago. It’s not that common, but about 100 people in NZ die from it every year. Your body slowly shuts down around you, towards the end your body is almost totally paralysed but your mind is unaffected.

    Hospice care is amazing, but even then they do nothing to hasten the end of life. My mother had a choice, to refuse a feeding tube and to refuse any fluids. She starved herself to death. I have no doubts that had euthanasia been an option she would have taken it at the point where she was no longer able to communicate – and she would have made this clear to her family and her lawyer that this was what she wanted. With all the advances in medical science it seems insane to me that people with such a terrible illness have to starve themselves to death or wait for months with their body completely useless, for pneumonia or something similar to take their life.

    We need to change the law.

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  52. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    My next question then:

    Why not just do it?

    Why do you as a son need the validation of professional troughers, ex lawyers, school teachers and union hacks?

    Just quietly go about your business ,hit the pump one too many times and go to work on Monday.( its been happening for years anyway)

    If you truly believe what you are doing is the right thing, do it, and act of Parliament will make no difference to your beliefs surely?

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  53. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    The simplest and most practical of ethical arguments is the weighing up of relative harms, referred to as ‘consequentialism’. This sums up the position of the commenters on this thread who are in favour of compassionate voluntary euthanasia.

    The opposing argument is predictably coming from the ‘moral absolutists’, who believe that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other contexts such as their consequences.

    Good to see reid visiting the liberals camp over this issue. He’s just a big teddy bear underneath all that Monty Burns rhetoric ;)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_absolutism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism

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  54. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    “Why not just do it?”

    Because it is a very serious issue that could be abused if the proper procedure is not followed.

    Otherwise you could end up with interested parties bumping off well off or ‘expensive to maintain’ relatives, or dumb nurses impulsively carrying out acts of compassion etc.

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  55. nasska (10,912 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    Could you have a look at the comment Shady 8.28pm made. Whether a relative wishes to end a dying person’s suffering is less pertinent to the thread than the wishes of the patient themselves. If that patient wants to pull the plug or more importantly not die in agony why should the personal or religious beliefs of their assigned medical practitioner stand in their way?

    As usual in these threads the debate gets framed by religious nutters pushing their half baked beliefs while completely ignoring the subject at hand…the person undergoing a needlessly painful death.

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  56. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    David Garrett (648) Says:
    November 5th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Someone earlier had it pretty well right though…why did he (or Leslie Martin) feel the need to go public about it?

    Why do victims go to the Sensible Sentencing Trust? The same reasoning. To make sure it never has to happen for anyone else.

    Reg – your parable shows exactly why Christians like you will never look at facts, and always let your rules determine the way you live, not by compassion. Christians are the most graceless people I know.

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  57. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    How?

    I am not a medical specialist. My mother was not self medicating. She was incapable. I had no access to drugs. Do I smother her with a pillow?

    This debate is not about the right or wrong of any action. It is about the legality or illegality of an action. I beleive that it is right to help ease the suffering of the terminally ill. I know it is illegal. That I, my wife and family would have to suffer the consequences of doing what I believe is the right thing, is wrong, and this is the crux of the debate at hand.

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  58. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Nasska

    I’d argue that if the person can still argue logically that they want to die they are still having a reasonable quality of life (totally objective that one I know but………) and by the time they would want their life to be ended they are incapable to logically argue so that decision will have to be made by others i.e a family member, health professional as to when the moment to push the button comes.

    My point is you as a son you have to do it, don’t try and take the pressure of yourselves by putting it in the hand of the state.

    If your mother is suffering , speed up her death, go for it, I know I will if I have to , I’m not judging or pushing any barrow, but it’s decsion for the individual, certainly not for those fucking idiots in Wellington.

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  59. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    Having actively opposed parliamentary attempts at Euth. in the past, I am well read and informed on this subject. Nothing of what Sean has said or done persuades me we should review current law. We are all sympathetic about his mum, but relatives die everyday and families grieve. Allowing others to determine infirm people’s death is a VERY VERY dangerous slope. There is a huge myth here…ignoring the inability of modern palliative care to remove pain and allow people to die with dignity. It is very sophisticated now.

    What we are often arguing for, in pro-Euth., is OUR control of death or removing the ‘pain’ of dying or being diminished. No-one I know who works for or has been thru a Hospice circumstance in anyway supports this interventionist approach. It is dangerous because of the wider impacts it has on attitudes about human worth.

    Logically speaking, if Mrs Davison’s ‘condition’ justifies her being put to death, then those suffering in the Sudan or Mogadishu without hope or a future, are equally justified in being put to death.

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  60. Dave Mann (1,190 comments) says:

    I have found this thread great reading so far…. thanks everybody.

    Its good to read intelligent (and sometimes a bit caustic, but to good effect) debate without the name-calling, insults and threadjacking which often happens here.

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  61. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Shady 10.08am and Nasska 9.02am
    Abuse doesn’t add weight to your argument.

    Courage Wolf; next time you are in hospital ask the kindest nurses about their religous beliefs. You may be surprised.

    Moral absolutism draws aline in the sand. Without which you head down the slippery slope to moral anarchy.
    Step 1. You define a fetus as non-humam – can be discard.
    Step 2. You appeal to a persons sense of compassion to twist the debate to justify hastening the demise of the terminally ill.
    Step 3. You then proceed to use this agument to those that we asume have a low quality of life.
    Step 4. Then why not help out those that want to commit suicide.
    Step 5. killing has now become an acceptable solution to societal problems- lets start on the religios nutters!!

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  62. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Slightlyrighty

    I fully agree with what he did I am not anti it at all but, my original point was with the Sean case, no one needed to know what he did, he is before the Courts only because he wanted to be, self flagellating himself.

    Personally I think if he did this to politicize what he did he deserves to be jailed. It should have been between mother and son not Stuff and the Herald or KB.

    In your for instance, the crux of the debate is I believe like I hopefully explained above , is you want the state to enable you to act without any feeling of guilt over your actions, my argument is that the last people you want involved in this are politicians.

    As for how you carry out the act itself, if you truly beleive it needs to be done, how does not matter

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  63. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Hey look Reg, I can play the make random comparisons game too:

    1. God in the Bible murders people.
    2. It is OK to murder people.
    3. God allows for rapists to marry rape victims.
    4. Becoming a Christian means you can rape then marry people.
    5. [Insert countless number of horrific shit from the Bible.]
    6. [Insert slippery slope.]

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  64. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    My third question:

    Why didn’t Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Dr Death, follow the advice that he propounded when he became terminally ill?

    Or was he was just another serial killer?

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  65. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    Courage Wolf: [Insert countless numbers of horrific shit NOT from the Bible: Hitler, Pol Pot, Mai Tse Tung, ad nauseum].
    Your one-sided anti-Christian bashing is tiresome.

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  66. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    iMP claims:- “Logically speaking, if Mrs Davison’s ‘condition’ justifies her being put to death, then those suffering in the Sudan or Mogadishu without hope or a future, are equally justified in being put to death.”

    No it doesn’t.

    We’re talking about people that we can no longer help (other than to ease their suffering), as opposed to people we could, in theory, either feed, or teach how to feed themselves.

    eastbay says:- “Why didn’t Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Dr Death, follow the advice that he propounded when he became terminally ill?”

    Because he didn’t choose death. He wanted to live. And yes, he was a serial killer. A kind, compassionate serial killer.

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  67. iMP (2,345 comments) says:

    But Scott, if we are unable to help thousands suffering and dying of famine, disease, and hunger due to access, political or financial reasons, should we not euthanise those thousands too? to be fair. Those people are dying more horrific deaths than elderly people in western hospitals with drugs, nurses, dr.s and family around them.

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  68. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    iMP (364) Says:
    November 6th, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Courage Wolf: [Insert countless numbers of horrific shit NOT from the Bible: Hitler, Pol Pot, Mai Tse Tung, ad nauseum].
    Your one-sided anti-Christian bashing is tiresome.

    Those people were all created by God, just as Satan was created by God. The reason the Christian bashing is one-sided is because the opposition in threads such as these or abortion or homosexuality are always made up of people from the retarded Christian side.

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  69. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    The reason the Christian bashing is one-sided is because the opposition in threads such as these or abortion or homosexuality are always made up of people from the retarded Christian side.

    CW your ignorance is profound. I’m a Christian and I’m in favour of this. How do you explain that?

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  70. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    You are a Christian and in favour of euthanasia? Then I applaud you, good sir. No doubt Andrei will have something to say about you not being a true Christian and that if you were a true Christian you wouldn’t be supporting murder and Reg will say if you are a Christian who supports euthanasia you must support the killing of babies and what have you.

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  71. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    iMP says:- “should we not euthanise those thousands too?”

    No, for two very simple reasons.

    1) They don’t want to die.
    2) There is realistic hope that they can be saved from their suffering through means other than euthanizing them. Euthanasia is the *last* resort.

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  72. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    reid says:- “I’m a Christian and I’m in favour of this. How do you explain that?”

    Only you can explain it reid. The bible is clear. Thou shalt not kill.

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  73. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    The point really is CW that many people who aren’t familiar with Christianity presume they are familiar with it in exactly the same way racists claim to authoritatively understand how coloured people operate when in reality, one has no idea, if one has never lived that life. For how can a white person understand what it’s like to be a coloured person, in any society? One can of course imagine that and to the extent of ones’ empathy one can achieve accuracy but its only ever an approximation.

    Yet, just exactly like racists, many people who aren’t familiar with Christianity completely ignore this call of caution to the wise, and loudly proclaim, just like racists, that they confidently understand everything about Christian thought processes and therefore, we know, for a fact, how they will think on this or any other issue.

    The funny thing is, a lot of the people who think like that, really hate racists, or so they say. Isn’t that hypocritical of them, CW. Dreadful people, aren’t they.

    Thou shalt not kill.

    Yes Scott and that means is you shall not murder. What’s that got to do with this discussion? Try again, and der.

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  74. nasska (10,912 comments) says:

    Courage Wolf

    I have to back ‘reid’ in this instance. A god botherer he may be but he does hold moderate views in contrast with the straightjacketed xtians who normally derail threads such as this.

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  75. David Garrett (6,786 comments) says:

    Coming back to the actual issue….

    The person (daughter??) who posted about her mother with motor neurone disease emphasises the point that it is not just about pain relief…I cannot imagine a worse torture than being totally lucid while one’s body slowly shuts down around you, to the point where you suffocate.

    And whoever said these people publicize what they did “just like the Senbsible Sentencing Trust’, you are both truly stupid and clearly have never met any victim members of SST. Victim members of SST primarily join for the support of the only people can truly “know what [they] are going through”….they very rarely write books.

    PaulEast has it right: the most likely reason for Davison to have done this is some kind of expiation of guilt, and/or, perhaps, to draw attention to the terrible situations the status quo throws up…Although she came across as slightly whacky, I believe that was Lesley Martin’s motivation… I have seen nothing in the comments on this thread which convinces me there is a better overall solution than the compassionate nurses and doctors Scott Chris so derides quietly carrying out a patients wishes….our laws are littered with excellent examples of the law of unintended consequences in effect…

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  76. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    reid says:- “Yes Scott and that means is you shall not murder. What’s that got to do with this discussion? Try again, and der.”

    der? lol. You just make it up as you go along reid to the tune of your inner child.

    The exact Hebrew wording of this biblical phrase is “lo tirtzack”.

    Dr. Reuben Alcalay’s Complete Hebrew /English Dictionary states that “tirtzach” refers to “any kind of killing whatsoever.” The word “lo,” as you might suspect, means “thou shalt not.”

    If you could get over yourself and discuss this like an adult, you’d realize that this translation is the root of the problem.

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  77. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay said:

    My third question:

    Why didn’t Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Dr Death, follow the advice that he propounded when he became terminally ill?

    Or was he was just another serial killer?

    ——————-

    Because Dr Kervorkian wasn’t in pain. He lapsed into unconsciousness and no attempts were made to resuscitate him when his core functions shut down.

    Do you not understand this? The euthanasia debate is about the lessening of *pain* and *suffering*.

    I sincerely hope you never have to experience the excruciating and unrelenting pain of advanced stomach or bowel cancer – the type of pain that no drugs can relieve.

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  78. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Gump

    I think I understand thanks, thats typed really really slowly just for you.

    My point in mentioning Kevorkian is he was a serial killer guised as someone doing something noble, he preyed on depressives notably women.. it is a very slippery slope when the state gets involved. I am saying if it crops up in your life ,do it, if its to be done, you do not need my vote for this.

    And Gump I presume you have experienced this pain have you? Thats just a wee aside for the emotive tone in your comment.

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  79. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    “My point in mentioning Kevorkian is he was a serial killer guised as someone doing something noble, he preyed on depressives notably women.”

    Rubbish.

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  80. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Not rubbish, read up before you open the key board and make a dick of yourself again

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  81. Griff (7,001 comments) says:

    DPF
    “The law must be changed to allow euthanasia. A dying person should be able to die with dignity. Of course there must be the strongest safeguards around euthansia, but to do that we need to legalise it.”

    100% legal not the present death and say no more.

    Med staff need to have legal protection to do this.

    We should have the right to chose dignity in death .

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  82. Dazzaman (1,132 comments) says:

    “Quality of life”, “dignity in death”……what are they? Just catch phrases pure & simple (there’s another!). I’ve witnessed some of my old people die in great pain & with tremendous dignity at the same time………Some of our people are living degrading lives without any physical pain or infirmity.

    Dump the silly platitudes will you.

    Andrei is entirely correct. Like abortion, assisted killing will extend & become a profitable industry for the unscrupulous. They’re doing it against old peoples wills in the Netherlands as we speak.

    Arse-backward fucking social liberals.

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  83. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    eastbay says:- “Not rubbish, read up before you bla bla bla”

    I don’t read tabloids.

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  84. Positan (385 comments) says:

    As this thread has now displayed so many times – there are none so blind as them that WILL NOT see.

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  85. mike tan (433 comments) says:

    For all those supposed “libertarians” that frequent this blog, why shouldn’t a rational thinking adult be allowed access to facilities that enable them to end their own lives? If life is a gift, then shouldn’t the receiver of that gift have the right to reject it? If someone can rationally determine that their future pain and anguish outweighs their future happiness then why shouldn’t they be allowed to make a rational decision to end their lives? Why should they live in fear of being locked away? Why should someone determined enough to end it all have to resort to a dangerous, painful method that needs to be carried out in secret and isolation and might possibly be endangering to innocent bystanders? One might say that the future is uncertain, but the counter to that is, who are you to dictate what somebody else does with their life?

    I also find it interesting that many people think it is morally acceptable for the physically ill to be provided access to assisted suicide facilities but they disagree that the same should be available to the mentally ill. Is Depression not a crippling disease that can be fatal? A often unopened can of worms is the hypothesis that the mentally ill actually have more of a right to assisted suicide as their lives (suffering) will persist for much longer than those who are physically ill and dying. I personally believe that the facilities should be available to both groups, as a libertarian who believes in personal liberty (and sometimes regrettably, supports the ACT party) i think that anything less than this is both immoral and unacceptable.

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  86. Gulag1917 (815 comments) says:

    The majority might support it but the majority have supported lots of other causes over decades without success. Euthanasia is a dead duck and I doubt very much it will be made legal. Some people are losing this debate by their reactions.

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