Mallard on Euthanasia

January 5th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

blogs:

A UK commission headed by a former lord chancellor has found in favour of assisted dying.

is a conscience vote in parliament. In Hutt South all candidates from parties that got into parliament said they would support the first reading of a bill.

My view has firmed on the issue over the last decade and unless evidence to a select committee highlighted something I am currently not aware of, or if there was a major drafting error I would support a bill through all stages.

Not that I will get a vote, but if I did I would also vote for such a bill through all stages, so long as it was drafted competently.

Also like Trevor, my views have firmed up over the last decade. Coming from a medical family I used to have serious reservations about any change that may see doctors have any role apart from prolonging life. But we already see passive euthanasia on a daily basis.

The turning point for me, was Rodney Hide’s newsletter about the death of Martin Hames. The cruelty of what Martin was forced into doing, made it clear to me that the status quo was not acceptable.

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104 Responses to “Mallard on Euthanasia”

  1. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Something very close to my heart. My dear old Mum has Parkinsons, has for over 20 years now, a shell of the big strong lady she used to be – was a great runner in her time, qualified for the Comm Games team in the 50’s. She is in care now, a tiny frail shell, with no quality of life and little understanding of what is going on around her and no recognition of her family at all.

    That isnt life. If I had bigger nuts, I would hold her one last time, tell her I loved her, and make use of her pillow to end it for her. I love my Mum so very much, but she does not deserve to endure this after a long and fulfilling life, and not be able to say goodbye to her family.

    We must discuss and address this as a country, and make some grown up and informed decisions.

    Love you Mum xx

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  2. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    It is important any such legislation has checks and balances. Some will try and guilt elderly family members to agree to an assisted death rather than use up their ‘inheritance’ on rest-home and hospital fees. There are scum out there who will do this.

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  3. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    It’s horrible we can’t kill mum in this country without the state stepping in.

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  4. Dick (80 comments) says:

    In before Andrei comes here and compares this to abortion.

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  5. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    It’s odd that we keep ramming life down people’s throats whether they want it or not.

    Ultimately it should be freedom of choice for any individual, with sufficient support, checks and balances. In most cases it would be quite straightforward.

    We shouldn’t avoid addressing this because some people come up with some theoretical worst case scenarios.

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  6. beautox (422 comments) says:

    I used to believe in euthanasia. But Mac Doctor changed my mind. I suggest anyone who is truly interested in this subject read what he has to say

    http://www.macdoctor.co.nz/category/euthanasia/

    I now think that legal euthanasia would be an even bigger evil than the current situation.

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  7. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    I now think that legal euthanasia would be an even bigger evil than the current situation.

    Of course it would – the reasons why lefties promote it is because it would grow Government and provide nice little earners for their mates as “consultants” to sign the death warrants of those citizens considered to be beyond their “use by dates”.

    [DPF: You could try debating the actual merits and drawbacks of voluntary euthanasia, rather than pretend it is some sort of Nazi eugenics programme]

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  8. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    Andrei

    You’re just worried that someone might check back on your Kiwiblog comments & realising that you don’t have all your cornflakes in one box, the doctors might send you back to God.

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  9. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Heh: the host Goodwin’s the thread!!

    I also was strongly in favour of euthanasia, and MacDoctor gave me pause. I think that there are times when a person should be able to choose to end their own life – if you don’t own your life, what do you own. But I’m not convinced that examples like hmmokrightitis work for me.

    Personally, I’m not religious. So my belief is that once I die, it’s all over – I’m not going to some better place in the sky. On that basis, in general terms, every day above ground is a good day. So, if I’m in pain every day, then maybe dead is better (however, MacDoctor says that if you’re in pain every day, your doctor isn’t doing their job). Beyond that, even if I’m severely brain damaged, so long as I’m still happy, then I’d rather someone didn’t kill me just because I’m not as smart as I used to be. So……is hmmokrightitis’s mother happy (but not the woman he once knew), or is she actually unhappy and she would rather be dead. If the latter, then sure, she could choose to end it. If the former, I’m not sure he should have the right to make the decision on her behalf.

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  10. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    [DPF: You could try debating the actual merits and drawbacks of voluntary euthanasia, rather than pretend it is some sort of Nazi eugenics programme]

    I did – “voluntary” euthanasia would not stay “voluntary” for very long. People would decide that people were no longer capable of acting “in their own best interest” and decide for them. And a bureaucracy would grow up around this.

    You think I’m wrong?

    We are all fated to die and there is suffering along the way – it is part of life.

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  11. pq (728 comments) says:

    some them dudes what down there in Christchurch Doctor told me it happens every day.
    I said thanks dudes, I come to your hospital with references form cousins, if not good to live any more

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  12. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    hmmokrightitis says:- “tell her I loved her, and make use of her pillow to end it for her”

    Presumably she wants to die. Otherwise it is not voluntary euthanasia. It is murder.

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  13. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    I am against euthanasia and made my feeling quite plain regarding both my parents who were dying. The issue never really arose in discussion. We just let nature take its course with the dying person being made as comfortable as possible. We just had to wait and did so until in gods good time they past away. I am firmly against a person emotionally involved administering medicine which could tempt that person to take their parents life. We have an example of a nurse and a doctor giving medicine to their parents and taking their parents lives. Both professionals should never have been placed in that position. and deserve very serious condemnation.

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  14. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    I will come back and haunt any sanctimonious bastard who forced me to live one second longer than I want to because of their bloody silly superstition.

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  15. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    Many of these posts show there is no simple answer. One thing that concerns me is that such legislation will be voted on by a conscience vote by MPs. There is no evidence that MPs have more of a conscience than the rest of us. Many think there is anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Surely such legislation if it is ever enacted should have to be approved by a referendum as there is no Upper House.

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  16. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    On a more serious note I have made it clear to my family and friends that, should the occasion arise that I am no longer compus-mentus, they should let me die/kill me.

    I’m for euthanasia only if the person dying is still able to make the decision or has at an earlier time stated this is their wish.

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  17. big bruv (13,895 comments) says:

    Happy to pull the trigger for you Tinny. Just let me know where you have stashed your fortune first…..

    Failing that, let me know where you hide the twelve year old scotch.

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  18. DavidC (179 comments) says:

    big bruv
    My good scotch is in the small sideboard in the family room. I recommend the Jura superstition.
    Please don’t use a gun tho, I like guns and I don’t want the anti gun nuts given any more ranting excuses!

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  19. kiwi in america (2,453 comments) says:

    In June of 1993 my mother lost her battle against breast cancer and passed away. Notwithstanding the progress made in recent years with oncology technology, especially in the treatment of cancer related pain, my mother’s last few months were spent in considerable discomfort. In addition to the rapid loss in weight due to being unable to eat or hold down food, the cancer had spread so far through her lymph glands that her flesh on her back, shoulders, chest and arms was literally rotting away to the extent that her arm had to be partially amputated due to the dangerous spread of gangrene. This meant that, in addition to the indignity of her deteriorating incapacity, she (and her family caregivers) had to endure the smell of this terrible process.

    Like anyone who has had to watch this awful process, I thought about many of the issues surrounding euthanasia. While I (and others within the family) had not contemplated it, I did raise the issue with my mother not long before she died; just before the extremely high doses of morphine necessary to stay on top of her pain had so interfered with her mind as to prevent her from rational thought and speech.

    She gave me the most remarkable and unexpected answer and one I wish to be my contribution to this vexed and emotional debate. She looked at me with concern in her eyes as if to question why I should ever raise the mere possibility. “Why would I ever consider it? – for I have learned more about life and myself in the last 6 months of my life than in all the rest of my life put together”! Coming from the mouth of one whose 60 years up until that date had indeed been full of beautiful, rich and diverse experiences, this was indeed a most profound statement.

    It caused me to reflect at the time on a series of truly remarkable events that had occurred in my life in the months leading up to her death and in the midst of her frequent suffering. As I thought about what she said, I thought that euthanasia would have robbed me of some of these profound experiences. Space does not permit the repeating of so many of these experiences but a few will suffice.

    My mother had endured much hardship and emotional pain. Her childhood had been emotionally abusive and fraught. She had brought some of the baggage from those experiences into her marriage and the rearing of her children. Yet she had tried valiantly to break the cycle of neglect and had given of her all to her children, raising them to the very best of her ability. She suffered from the wrenching emotional trauma of a marriage break up under the most tragic of circumstances simultaneous to her battling cancer and yet in spite of these handicaps, over the many years, she had touched many many lives with her kindness and generosity of spirit as witnessed by the 700 or so people who attended her funeral.

    Many beautiful and treasured hours were spent at her bedside talking, reading, laughing and crying and receiving what could only be classified as her last tutoring. Our youngest brother was barely 16 and she was concerned for his happiness and stability in his life without her steadying influence. There was a steady stream of friends and well wishers who came from the four corners of NZ and the globe to spend time with her and say their last good byes. There were dozens of heart-warming, moving letters from her many friends and acquaintances that she had universally touched. There was the retelling of stories involving moments with my mother, both touching and humourous, that were unknown to us (and anyone else) except to the teller and my mother. There was a veritable outpouring of love that filled our home and filled our lives and touched all who came to be with her that, to this day, has profoundly and permanently changed my life for the better. My mother was able to let go of much of her past traumas and had a unique capacity for empathy and understanding that she was always willing to freely share with others. The palliative care nurses were transfixed by her serenity and love commenting to us frequently on her attitude to her impending death in comparison with the many others they had cared for. Much of this occurred in the last four months of her life in the midst of increasing pain and incapacity.

    Her last four days were spent at a hospice as we were unable to feed her the huge volume of morphine tablets required to control her pain. By now she was as gaunt and thin as a concentration camp victim and unable to speak, eat or drink any water. All we could was soothe her lips with water and ice-lollies. On the night before she died, I lay with her in her bed brushing and stroking her hair, talking with her, holding her and reassuring her that it was not much longer until she would be released from her suffering. When I finally left to go, she grasped my hand ever so tightly and looked lovingly into my eyes, as her eyes were all she had left to communicate with. I will never forget that look – it was of love; of gentleness; of kindness; of gratitude; of peace; of serenity; of completeness and of a women whose remarkable journey was in every way complete and that she was at last free to go.

    My mother had been as a youngster a rather raw and unprocessed piece of coal and had become, by the time of her death, the most beautiful and glittering of diamonds. By her own admission, and as I look back on those days I have to wholeheartedly agree, those last few months before her death had been an integral and vital part of that process. Notwithstanding all the pain associated with her dying, I would not trade those precious experiences for all the wealth and status in the world and, had she opted for euthanasia, perhaps some of those experiences would not have been ours or hers to have.

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  20. lilman (959 comments) says:

    Not a fan of assisted death,but will review that when the next labour govt gets in as good,honest men like Trev will be at the helm!!!!!
    God shoot me now!!!!!

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  21. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    and make some grown up and informed decisions.

    yeah so those who disagree aren’t grown ups or sensible decision making people.

    there in one you’ve got my vote in one.
    Against the killers baby or adult.

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  22. Steve (4,562 comments) says:

    I am sure Euthanasia is already working here. The painkillers are a drug overdose when the body is malfunctioning

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  23. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird says:- “Many of these posts show there is no simple answer.”

    I disagree. The question is, “Do you own yourself?” and the answer is, “Yes”.

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  24. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    “I disagree. The question is, “Do you own yourself?” and the answer is, “Yes”.

    Okay, genius write the legislation that will absolutely prevents abuse which in the worst case scenario amounts to murder for us.

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  25. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    Steve

    This came up in another thread recently. Although there are excellent & dedicated palliative care experts & many have the humanity & mercy to keep a dying person pain free even if it may hasten the end religious beliefs do not exclude doctors from working in this field.

    If the doctor charged with overseeing your death is a religious fruitbar who believes that his/her god requires everyone to suffer til the end your death will be very unpleasant. What a person worships is their own affair but the law as it stands means that you, the patient has no say.

    Change is needed & is needed now.

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  26. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    The question is, “Do you own yourself?” and the answer is, “Yes”.

    And you are free to end your life whenever you wish – you are accountable for your own actions.

    That is not the same as ending someone else’s life.

    There is ambiguity surrounding the things that may or may not be done in the last hours of life and that comes down to conscience.

    My Father got pneumonia in the end – should it have been aggressively treated or should nature be allowed to take its course with palliative care? The later was chosen, maybe a day or two of extra life could have been bought, maybe not. Who knows – it was his time of that there was no doubt.

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  27. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird

    I reckon that an add on to the law covering Enduring Powers of Attorney would be worth looking into. After all we can indicate in advance how our assets will be treated & by who….also who can make personal decisions on our health & welfare. It wouldn’t cover people who hadn’t made a will or given PA but it would in most cases allow someone to indicate their preferences in advance & without any hint of coercion.

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  28. big bruv (13,895 comments) says:

    Andrei

    How much of your attitude toward Euthanasia is shaped by your religious beliefs?

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  29. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    We had a reasonably civilized debate on this a month or two ago.

    My opinion is the same as it was then, if there is someone suffering and death may be be needed to be sped up a bit to end suffering go ahead and do it. Why would I need a politicians seal of approval especially from a terminal low life like Mallard.

    All the passing of legislation will mean is that guilt will assuaged abit because politicians said its OK

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  30. labours a joke (442 comments) says:

    Kiwi in America

    Very..very touching. Thanks for sharing.

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  31. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    Paul, lets start again for the benefit of those not in the last debate. If you read my initial post on this thread the seal of approval should come from all voters not just the politicians. Assisted suicide or euthanasia is not allowed anywhere in the world I know of without legislation to at least not attempt to prevent or at least not minimise abuse.

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  32. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Kiwi in America

    ditto

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  33. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’m not sure that the legal position needs changing. The law as it stands maintains a clear difference between suicide and homicide. Even when a person has stated a clear intention that they would prefer to be euthanized in certain circumstances, it still comes down to another individual’s decision to take a life.

    Understandably, the Police are fairly conservative and tend to charge people with the relevant offence if there is evidence of murder, manslaughter, or assisted suicide. The courts have tended to show compassion in these circumstances.

    The medical profession also maintains a firm ethical line – treating conditions rather than seeking to end life.

    A major difficulty in moving from the present status is that it will make the dividing lines fuzzier and fuzzier. The experience in countries that have moved this way, notably the Netherlands, is not very encouraging.

    As for worrying about a ‘politician’s seal of approval’ – I think we can respect laws as being a little more than the opinion of an individual one doesn’t like.

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  34. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird says:- “write the legislation that will absolutely prevents abuse which in the worst case scenario amounts to murder for us.”

    Obviously I’m not a drafter of law, but presumably there would be a very rigorous procedure involved to ensure the person in question is making a completely self interested decision to voluntarily end their life, and that they are consistent in this view.

    The Dutch euthanasian process and legislation could make a reasonable template to adapt to our needs:

    :arrow: “Euthanasia in the Netherlands is regulated by the “Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act” from 2002. It states that euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are not punishable if the attending physician acts in accordance with criteria of due care. These criteria concern the patient’s request, the patient’s suffering (unbearable and hopeless), the information provided to the patient, the presence of reasonable alternatives, consultation of another physician and the applied method of ending life. To demonstrate their compliance, the Act requires physicians to report euthanasia to a review committee.”

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

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  35. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    The law probably doesn’t need major change. Suicide is legal…..homicide is not as you state. It wouldn’t be necessary to have hospital death squads roaming the wards ready to put down dear old Mum just because the relatives think she’s a bit of a nuisance. That is the argument the god botherers use to scare off those who would otherwise support the right to die.

    All that is needed is to remove the crime of aiding & abetting a suicide (or whatever it’s called) from the statute book. Give the person whose suffering is more than they consider life worth a choice by which they can push the button.

    It, as Pauleastbay notes, occurs now. I would like to see law guaranteeing the means to end it all should a terminal patient wish.

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  36. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    I wonder what was happening to my friend Ian who had confirmed he did not want to be resuscitated? They wet his lips, bathed him, did not feed him and had him on a drip which contained morphine until he died.

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  37. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    nasska

    I don’t think it is as easy as that. So you legalise aiding and abetting. Someone sets up a business in NZ to ‘help’ sufferers out of this world. Such businesses already exist and are touting for custom.

    We already have enough difficult questions as it is. How would we define a terminal case? How do we guarantee that someone’s choice to die is a free and appropriate one?

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  38. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    We’re not discussing an otherwise healthy but depressed person who is not getting the Prozac or counselling they need. We are following the hypothetical case of someone in the final stages of a terminal illness. Possibly by not setting any limits on “aiding & abetting” I left my intent up in the air.

    We define “palliative care” as care offered when a cure is not possible. I see no problem in defining a “terminal illness” along the same lines.

    To ensure that there was no element of coercion in the decision why not a psychological evaluation?

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  39. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    Before anyone need answer your question mikenmild, at what point did anyone have to prove to you their choice to die was a ‘free and appropriate one?’

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  40. Michael (909 comments) says:

    I’m reasonably agnostic on voluntary euthanasia. I don’t want to limit the relief from suffering, but I get concerned that elderly people will feel that they will be less of a bother if they get a needle jab and die. Especially elderly women who have been widowed. Probably a bit early, when it’s mainly baby boomers who are in their 70s and 80s then I’d be more comfortable with the safeguards working as intended.

    And Trevor Mallard is not correct is his recollection, Paul Quinn spoke against euthanasia at the meeting I went to where it was a specific question from the organisers. He did not support it going to select committee. However, Trevor was very open about his support for voluntary euthanasia at the time and said he would actively pursue it.

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  41. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    nasska

    I think we start getting into an area where quite a few legally enforced criteria would have to be established. If you were to envisage an approach similar to that applied to abortion, with certifying consultants, psychological evaluations etc, we can see where that has effectively become abortion on demand. Not that I see euthanasia as the same as abortion, but very similar problems of definitions come into play.

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  42. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    I don’t see the problem. If we start from a point that suicide (for any reason) is legal then you would have to accept that a person has a right to death should they wish. If we’re queasy about helping terminally ill people to follow their own wishes I would suggest:

    1) Psychological assessment.

    2) The act causing death must be made by themselves.

    It is their life & their choice to end it……it is not & shouldn’t be our business.

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  43. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    Agree, we must have the debate.

    If my dog is terminally ill and in agony, and I fail to euthenaise it, I potentially break the law.

    If it is my dear old mum, vice versa.

    Go figure.

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  44. Yvette (2,820 comments) says:

    Kiwi in America – thank you

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  45. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    orewa1

    The law as it stands will have been drafted with the influence of the churches. I’ve never understood the reason for the opposition of the Abrahamic religions to suicide…..possibly they were losing their congregations from people topping themselves rather than endure the boredom of the sermons & prayers.

    The dog’s welfare was probably legislated for by sane secularists.

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  46. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    At the end of the day it’s my decision as a sovereign individual to die regardless of what then rest of the world thinks….and if someone is consensually willing to assist me in a free trade agreement to do so then that’s perfectly moral and fine and still no business of the rest of the worlds..

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  47. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    Michael, my experience with old ladies (I have a lot) is that they will fight every inch of the way.

    Big Bruv, There is a heap of good red wine to drink and great company to drink it with (including your good self) but when the occasion arrives you certainly have my authority to pull the pin on me – you will know the time, I will be proclaiming, loudly, the the Good Guys of Canterbury will need to kneel to the lowlifes of Wellington.

    At that stage I will be delusional and pulling the pin on me will be a kindness.

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  48. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    KiA.

    Thank you for sharing your touching story. It is obvious that the passing of your mother was a very profound and meaningful experience which her apparent lucidity only added to. Sadly it is not always the case.

    In 2004, I lost my mother to breast cancer. She had fought this disease valiantly for 14 years. That she fought so hard for so long suprised no one who knew her. She was a tough nut who had been widowed twice, raising 2 boys on the way. She was a strong, vibrant woman who had done it tough, surviving in occupied Europe as a child, moving to the other side of the world to carve out a life for herself.

    She knew that the end was coming. It transpired that the cancer had spread to her spine. I do not know if it affected her brain at all, but the onset of dementia suprised and shocked us all. She became less and less the woman we loved, and less and less the person she wanted to be. Early on, as she was becoming aware of her diminished capacity, coupled with the aggressive nature of the cancer she now faced, she confided in me that she would rather step out in front of a bus and get it over with.

    Before she could put such a plan into action, her capacity diminished rapidly to the point that she could no longer look after herself and we had to place her into care. Her weight plummeted, her memory vanished. For the last 4-6 months of her life she degenerated from a vibrant woman to an emaciated, uncommunicative, incontinent shell of a human being, completely unable to rationalise the pain she must have been feeling, and unable to have the dignified death she wanted, which was denied to her.

    KiA. My memories of my mothers death would have to be the opposite of how you remember your own mother’s passing. The look in her eyes as she passed was painfully fearful. They lacked even the spark of rationality that would have allowed her the hope of release from pain at her passing. We could not talk in the days, weeks or months leading to her death. She lacked the capacity to do so. I visited, often. As much out of love as out of a sense of duty. It hurt to see her in pain. However, that law of the land dictated that she suffer to the last, even though we have the ability to relieve that suffering.

    My mother could not read letters from friends. Those who visited, if they were recognised, may have said their last goodbyes, but it would have meant nothing to my mother, who would have forgotten the visit soon after. There were no stories to tell, as they were forgotten. My last memories of my mother were not happy ones. They weren’t touching or humourous experiences, but terrible and harrowing ones.

    I wish that she could have had the good death that your mother had, KiA. She did not. She had expressed a wish to avoid the suffering that she went through, but other people determined that she suffer to the last. While voluntary euthanasia is not for everyone, and is the exception rather than the rule, it should not be denied to the willing and justifiable few just to assuage the beliefs of those who see the situation differently, and see fit to impose those circumstances on all, regardless of the mitigating factors in play.

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  49. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    The generation that was given the right to abort, now is in the hands of the generation that may approve euthanasia. There’s an awful symmetry there. And in the end it’s the poor and vulnerable that will bare the brunt of this – the unwanted and the unloved. Labour has truly lost its way, and put another bullet in the idea that they are the political party of compassion.

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  50. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    As far as I am concerned Mallard is, for once, on the side of the angles on this matter….good on him.

    Funny how so many “freedom loving righties” become soul socialists when the matter of other peoples lives and choices over death are concerned….fucking hypocrites.

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  51. annie (539 comments) says:

    Legislation decriminalising voluntary euthanasia for terminally ill patients is long overdue – palliative care and hospice treatment have not reached the stage where all patients can be guaranteed a reasonably comfortable passing.

    With all respect, I have to disagree with MacDoctor, who is painting voluntary euthanasia as something it is not. Allowing terminally ill patients in pain to request the means to complete a civilized and timely suicide is not the same as getting rid of the burdensome elderly, and allowing one will not inevitably lead to the other as long as legislation is properly drafted. To suggest otherwise is dishonest argument.

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  52. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    MacDoctor is allowing his religious nonsense to cloud his usual rationally thinking mind.

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  53. Dazzaman (1,140 comments) says:

    I did – “voluntary” euthanasia would not stay “voluntary” for very long. People would decide that people were no longer capable of acting “in their own best interest” and decide for them. And a bureaucracy would grow up around this.

    In effect, involuntary euthanasia, which is what is occurring in Holland.

    It’s disgusting what will happen when an unintended…”industry” pops up when so called “amoral” and “caring” actions become legalized.

    Mallard is exactly like the imported Chinese duck we had for Christmas dinner…full of grease, tasteless and nowhere near enough bloody meat on it.

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  54. Dick (80 comments) says:

    As with abortion… If you are against it, don’t get one. Likewise in this instance – euthanasia should be legalised, and Kiwi in America’s mum can choose not to be euthanised, whilst slightlyrighty’s can choose to be euthanised.

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  55. kiwi in america (2,453 comments) says:

    Dazzman is right – if voluntary euthanasia was exactly that then the ethics surrounding this debate would be a lot easier to manage but the Dutch experience teaches us that things can go seriously awry. As slightly righty pointed out, each death is different and to SR I’m sorry your experience was so harrowing. I guess I neglected to mention that my mother’s death was almost as harrowing for us all, I just chose to focus on the silver lining in the dark cloud in my description. It is never nice to see suffering and my mother suffered enormously but somehow it refined her rather than destroyed her.

    Having learned so much from my mother’s death makes one sensitive to the death of friends’ family members and others I meet. I have seen a large variety of responses to death and dying and not all are healthy. It is not uncommon for the inconvenience of care for a dying relative to prompt a few to see euthanasia as an easy out. I have often said that the loss of a parent is a special life lesson that no one would ever volunteer for and yet is a vital part of the tapestry of life’s experiences and learning. My mother’s suffering taught me huge unique emotional lessons that could be learned no other way. But the unpleasantness of the experience when you are in the thick of all the horrors of someone rotting away before your eyes can frazzle even the strongest person and the stresses and strains inherent in the care and even the mere observation of a debilitating death can lead to irrational behaviour and rash decision making even in normal every day life decisions let alone something as profound as whether to teminate someone’s life prematurely.

    In discussing this issue with Mum’s GP it was clear that things like accidental overdosing was a lot more common than I’d imagined precisely because the experience of slighly righty is not uncommon. Whilst acknowledging that some cases are so harrowing and horrific that such a course of action would be understandable, I feel strongly that to enshrine this ability in law would lead to unintended consequences that in this case are irreversible.

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  56. grumpy (261 comments) says:

    Pretty dodgy post DPF. Didn’t you check the commission out?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2082627/Lord-Falconers-bogus-report-assisted-dying-fool-nobody.html

    Among other things they want to introduce kiling off old people as an alternative to rest home care.

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  57. Keeping Stock (10,340 comments) says:

    KiA and slightlyrighty have, through their sharing, highlighted what a minefield this would be. No two deaths or terminal illnesses are the same, and if government (small g intentional) tries to legislate on a one-size-fits-all basis, there is the potential for a law which is far too liberal, and which could easily be open to abuse.

    As a Christian, I believe that life is precious. I can however imagine situations where an argument could be made for voluntary euthanasia, with the accent on the word “voluntary”. I believe that this is an issue where we must proceed with caution, not with the kind of enthusiatic and zealous abandon that Trevor Mallard is suggesting. After all, death is very final, and who would want a death on their hands where the preservation of life could still have been an option

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  58. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    I have looked after a lot of dying patients. These days there is a lot of care and compassion available to them. The issue to me seems to be in the observers rather than the patients..the patients are going through a natural process which many of them understand , but those around them often don’t seem to understand this process. It is some sort of divorce from suffering , living , dying. In my experience men are often less able to see things clearly.
    I couldn’t believe the foolishness of the woman involved in the recent case , supposedly a doctor , she didn’t seem to know that going without food is not enough..As long as she kept drinking , she could say alive.
    To me Euthanasia is going against nature and there is something very cowardly about it. It can easily cross the line into eugenics.

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  59. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    The funny thing about Mallard’s position on this is that in terms of his political career he should have been euthanised about 2 elections ago. He’s walking dead himself….

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  60. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    … mallard … euthenasia …

    I couldn’t possibly comment.

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  61. iMP (2,385 comments) says:

    It is no one’s sovereign right to die, anymore than it is your sovereign right to smuggle cocaine into NZ inside your body. And those wanting to die almost always ask another sovereign person to kill them. Funny that.

    NO NO NO, this is a line in the sand. Euthanasia erodes the inalienable sanctity of human life and people’s rights to live , no matter how disabled or ‘worthless’ which we must always safeguard. It is a slippery slope well smoothed by the emergent politics of the National Socializt Workers Party in sophisticated Germany. been there, done that.

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  62. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    joana.

    In those situations where you have looked after a lot of dying patients, have you ever come across one who was suffering to the extent that you wished, for compassionate reasons, that the terminally ill patient would die sooner rather than later so that their suffering would be relieved? Are you even open to that thought?

    It may be that you do not wish death on anyone, but death is part of the process of life. The only variable is how we die. In the case of the terminally ill, some may be without pain until very near their death, like my Dad. I have fond memories of him cracking jokes with the nurses, complaining about the coffee in hospital, and smiling, laughing and being at peace. He died that afternoon. As I have shared earlier, my mothers passing was another matter.

    If I could, at the time of my passing, face it as my Dad did, I would. If I was destined to die as my mother did, surely I could, if I wished to, exercise a right to face my inevitable death in the manner of my own choosing?

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  63. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    I was in favour of my friend Ian’s decision to not consent to being resucitated. He often spoke to me about it and pre-paying his funeral and so on. However I remained disturbed when finally faced with the reality of it, his pending death – because what I was witnessing was the authorities not administering the care which may have kept him alive. I was struck then that I was actually seeing the ‘living’ example of sanctioned euthansia. From that, I have been able to hold different views of what a person must be allowed to decide for themselves about their own lives. The problem with this debate in this forum is that it isn’t dealing with specifics. Each have their own view of particular situations ranging from the elderly feeling worthless and decided to end it all and so forth. Some sort of definitions must be arrived at regarding one’s decisions on the right of live, definitions that do not avoid the reality that many will suicide anyway regardless of what the law says.
    Although I didn’t agree with the conclusions joana made above, she is pretty much on the mark that many of us are hung up on this issue, whereas those actually facing death have a different perspective.

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  64. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    iMP.

    You confuse Euthansia and Voluntary Euthanasia. You talk of the sanctity of human life. I agree with you on that point, and human beings should not be killed because others feel that their life has no meaning. That is murder, plain and simple.

    Voluntary euthanasia differs for a number of reasons. Firstly, the patient will be suffering from a disease where death is the only outcome. The issue then becomes should we force the patient to go through every last painful stage of the illness, or do we allow the patient, of their own volition, to face the death they have accepted is near in the manner of their own choosing.

    Secondly, Voluntary Euthanasia is a decision made by the patient themselves, not a decision forced on another for less compassionate reasons.

    It still astounds me that people require human beings to suffer in conditions that, should we allow our pets to exist in, would be called inhumane. Euthanasia is a word derived from the Greek Language, and literally translates into “Good Death”. This is an important distinction that is missed by many opponents. It is not about choosing death over life, but about choosing a good death over a bad one.

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  65. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    the sanctity of human life.

    If that was really such a big deal then we would double taxes and double our health spending, spend much more on building safer roads, regulate the hell out of boating, and get draconian on unhealthy food and drugs.

    People – all of us – make lifestyle choices and decisions all the time that compromise the ‘sanctity of human life’.

    Giving a few people the choice to ease their way out of a terminal illness slightly sooner is very quite minor in comparison. yep, it’s a tricky issue that needs to be carefuly thought through, but we should at least be prepared to debate it rather than fool ourselves about relative sanctity.

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  66. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    PG

    Quite. Perhaps you have just highlighted society’s greatest hypocrisy. And the Church’s from the year dot.

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  67. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    My concern is the many of the scenarios given don’t sound like voluntary euthanasia to me, they sound like someone deciding that someone else wouldn’t/doesn’t want to live. This was kind of where MacDoctor’s logic went – he was in favour of euthunasia in situations where the person, in possession of all their faculties, made a decision to end their life. The problem is that making a choice to end your life is usually seen by doctors as demonstrating mental health issues. Many people want to die because:
    a) They are in constant pain. MacDoctor reckons this is a sign of poor palliative care – nobody should be in constant pain, get a new doctor
    b) They feel like they’re a burden on their family or the system. This is more someone guilting you into ending your life than a choice
    c) They feel their life is worthless and cannot go on. Lots of teenagers also feel this, and we don’t generally think they should kill themselves (other than sometimes their parents wish they would….) – it’s usually seen as a sign of depression that needs treatment

    In short, once you step through the reasons, you come the conclusion that a significant proportion of those who might make a choice to end it are actually in situations where we probably shouldn’t respect their choice, as their choice suggests that they weren’t in a position to make the choice.

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  68. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    iMP,

    It is no one’s sovereign right to die, anymore than it is your sovereign right to smuggle cocaine into NZ inside your body.

    Actually you’re wrong on both counts. But leaving the drugs issue aside, whose permission do I have to ask in order to die? Yours?

    It is a slippery slope well smoothed by the emergent politics of the National Socializt Workers Party in sophisticated Germany. been there, done that.

    You’re claiming that the Nazi’s culling of undesirables actually started out as a voluntary euthanasia program and, because of a “slippery slope,” descended into mass murder. Do you have any evidence for such a claim?

    I’ll save you the trouble. No, you don’t. Because it’s just something you invented. A wholly fraudulent argument.

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  69. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    I watched my 80+ year old grandfather go through 5 or 6 strokes and at the end be incapable of even wiping his own a**e (I say that because as a strong 15 year old and only women in the house at times I often had to lift him out of bed, put him on the commode etc) and begging us to let him die. He could just mouth words but that was about it. He was still alert but trapped in a body that no longer worked.

    About 7 years later my mother died of cancer – took a year – untreatable and even with medication agonisingly uncomfortable in the last weeks as she struggled to breath. She also asked to die in the end. She was in full control of her faculties.

    I don’t see how we can be so uncharitable and cruel as not to allow people their own choices of how to die if they’re suffering. We’re nicer to our pets. It’s obvious that there would need to be careful checks and balances but claiming that allowing this will lead to abusive topping of old people is like saying abortion will lead to infanticide in New Zealand.

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  70. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    slijmbal: I’m more OK with it if we’re talking shortening someone’s life by 2-3 days, and skipping the pain of those last moments. So long as they can make that choice themselves, I don’t really see what harm can come of it. We’d need to be pretty certain they were nearly dead. For people who might live for a couple of years or even more, but who just think their life isn’t worth living anymore, I wonder how we can be certain that something wouldn’t change to give them a different opinion.

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  71. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    PaulL

    ‘I wonder how we can be certain that something wouldn’t change to give them a different opinion.’

    This is talking about hope, your ‘hope’ for others that things might change to give them a different opinion. Something doesn’t sit right with that notion, forbiding those their own decisions so that others might be ‘certain’ about things which frankly might be none of their business.
    Seems for some this debate is from a distance clouded by worries about their own mortality.

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  72. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @PaulL – I don’t see 2-3 days cutting it in many circumstances especially with modern medical treatements but yes I’m talking about the ability to choose to die when life is unbearable and one knows that it’s just a matter of time.

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  73. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    slijmbal: strictly speaking, even someone almost middle aged like myself knows that it’s only a matter of time, and I have days where I feel that life is unbearable. Am I a candidate?

    Nostalgia-NZ: the point is that at some points in a person’s life, a desire to die really indicates a mental health issue, not a reasoned decision that we should assist them in. The question is where and why we shift from thinking they’re probably unwell and need help to thinking that their desire is rational, and further, that we should assist them in their desire. Like I say, at the very end of someone’s life, when it is very clearly terminal and death is close, I can understand it and even could imagine making it legal, with appropriate safeguards. But more than a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, I just have concerns about the potential for mistakes/misinterpretations/poor decision making. And of course I worry about the slippery slope from one to the other.

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  74. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    At the risk of taking the discussion down a rabbit hole, I see this as having parallels with my position on abortion. It’s not an absolute, it’s a matter of degree. I’m broadly OK with the morning after pill. I’m broadly OK with termination in the first trimester. I’m broadly OK with termination after rape or incest, or where there are significant health issues involved. I’m not particularly OK with late term abortions, and not OK at all with killing children straight after birth (as still occurs in some countries). It’s a continuum – and to some extent I think the discussion is easier where people agree it’s a continuum and rule out the extremes (i.e. helping someone in their last few breaths…probably OK. Killing them at 25 because looks like they’ll never amount to much….not so OK).

    By doing this we remove many of the straw man arguments, and get down to the meat of it – is it OK to help someone to die when they have a year or more left to live, and they believe they don’t want to continue on? If so, in what circumstances, and why is it different for this person than for someone who is 18, or 25?

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  75. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @PaulL – deciding to cut short severe suffering when there is no hope is an utterly rational decision and does not imho reflect any mental issues and you know very well what I meant by a matter of time so I presume you are trying to make the point that it is a value judgement.

    We seem to stuck on the point that some see this as a kindness if done correctly and others see it as the start of legalised murder that will lead to all sorts of unnecessary deaths.

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  76. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    “Okay, genius write the legislation that will absolutely prevents abuse which in the worst case scenario amounts to murder for us.”

    There is already a law against murder, so I am not sure what your point is Chuck. Maybe you’re sugesting that a doctor and maybe a lawyer with no vested interest need to witness a person’s decision to take their own life. It can be done. Some people will get uptight about legalised euthanisa just as some got uptight about legalising homosexual acts. But more than 20 years after such acts were legalised, we realise the sky hasn’t fallen in because it’s not compulsory. :)

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  77. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    “others see it as the start of legalised murder that will lead to all sorts of unnecessary deaths.”

    I suspect those people haven’t thought through the issue. If they were asked what they would do if their beloved pet was in regular pain and/or had zero quality of life, I suspect they would want their pet euthanased, and of course it happens every day. We provide more care for animals than we do for ourselves.

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  78. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Comparisons with animals “I wouldn’t let my dog suffer”, etc are not really relevant to a discussion on voluntary euthanasia for humans.

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  79. annie (539 comments) says:

    iMP (417) Says:
    January 6th, 2012 at 8:37 am

    It is no one’s sovereign right to die…

    Really? How does that work then?

    1. Define right.
    2. Define ‘sovereign right’.
    3. Explain how come no-one has it, other than in your delusions.

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  80. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    slijmbal: no, not deliberately misinterpreting, agreeing. I agree that close to end of life it makes sense. I have a problem with determining exactly when close is – I see it as days maybe weeks, I think you’d extend to months. But we’re in the same territory there.

    So, two points I’m trying to make. Firstly, the law has no sensible sanction against those ending their own lives – there’s no real way to punish someone who commits suicide. We try to discourage it in various ways, but I think if these people had the means to end their own lives, we wouldn’t even be having the discussion. So really, this is a discussion about having the right to ask someone else to end your life, or even more complex, having the right to delegate to someone else the decision to end your life (i.e. a living will).

    Secondly, in order to verify that someone has correctly made a decision to end their life, we need to be confident that they were in a state to make that decision. We seem to agree that someone in the last days of their life could choose to end it, or maybe a carer or other person could decide to end it and we’d probably turn a blind eye. Equally, I think we’d agree that someone who is reasonably healthy and 25 years old shouldn’t be making a decision to kill themselves, and that someone else who is enlisted in trying to assist them kill themselves should really be referring them to a mental health specialist or support line rather than going ahead and helping them. I’m using these two extremes to then ask the question as to where we’d like to draw the line. Clearly it’s somewhere in the middle, the question is where and what attributes help us to make that decision. Is it the closeness of death (and if so, how do we know for sure?) Is it the level of pain (and if so, why cannot we administer pain relief instead?) Is it the level of physical or mental ability (e.g. “their brain was gone” or “they couldn’t even wipe their own backside anymore” – and if so, what about Stephen Hawking?) Is it just within that person’s control to decide, so even if we suspect mental illness we just go with their wishes?

    It is a complex area, I don’t think it’s all that amenable to short answers. And when you’re talking (literally) about life and death, it is important. Before we change things we’d have to be really clear that the new world wasn’t going to be worse than the old.

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  81. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    PaulL
    ‘Like I say, at the very end of someone’s life, when it is very clearly terminal and death is close, I can understand it and even could imagine making it legal, with appropriate safeguards. But more than a few days or maybe a couple of weeks, I just have concerns about the potential for mistakes/misinterpretations/poor decision making. And of course I worry about the slippery slope from one to the other.’

    Well, perhaps we are agreed and it is definitions – that are your primary concerns, which is perfectly reasonable.

    As for depression, I think that needs to be removed from consideration because I don’t think there is argument from anyone that a depressed person (without attendant critical, life ending health issues) would ‘qualify’ for potential voluntary euthansia. Of course depressed people kill themselves in great numbers anyway, but that is another issue.

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  82. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Yes – I agree, but the point that MacDoctor made very eloquently was that it’s easy to work out that it’s the depression talking in someone younger/less ill – the fact that they want to kill themselves is considered evidence that they are depressed. If you’re ill or near death, the assumption seems to be that you’re not depressed. As soon as we accept that some requests to die in this circumstance would be valid, we have to find another way to reliably determine if someone is depressed. His assertion seemed to be that we don’t really have one – at least not one reliable enough to deal with a life or death question.

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  83. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    mikenmild says:- “Comparisons with animals “I wouldn’t let my dog suffer”, etc are not really relevant to a discussion on voluntary euthanasia for humans.”

    I disagree. I think the comparison is relevant in that we tend to be more objective about our pets because they are exempt from any religiosity and issues surrounding financial self-interest.

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  84. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    Joana “To me Euthanasia is going against nature and there is something very cowardly about it.”

    Isn’t keeping someone alive using human technology equally going against nature?

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  85. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Scott

    The difference for animals is they don’t get any say in decisions to put them down. It’s really an analogy for involuntary euthanasia. But hey, if you want to leave it to someone else’s judgement when to put you out of your misery, there might be a Kiwiblogger or two willing to do what they might deem a service to humanity.

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  86. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    mikenmild says:- “The difference for animals is they don’t get any say in decisions to put them down”

    Fine, which is a valid point, however there are other parallels which *are* relevant which I have just referred to. The two issues are not mutually exclusive.

    You may wish to focus on the power of self determination which is irrelevant in the case of animal euthanasia, however when it comes to deciding whether or not a plug is to be pulled on an unconscious or mentally damaged human, the responsibility may lie with the primary caregiver.

    As for the last sentence of your previous comment – don’t be a dickhead. Are you here to debate the issues or not?

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  87. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    You’re getting a little touchy, Scott.

    The two major dangers with euthanasia are where voluntary becomes involuntary (a sick or elderly person electing death under pressure) and where it is applied by a caregiver (some people will just have a natural talent for deciding when patients should be euthanased – Harold Shipman springs to mind).

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  88. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    mikenmild says:- “The two major dangers with euthanasia are where voluntary becomes involuntary”

    Yes I agree. I think it would be wise for anyone writing a will to include instructions pertaining to mortal authority in the event of one’s irretrievable mental demise.

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  89. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    PualL

    ‘we have to find another way to reliably determine if someone is depressed.’

    This is an unnecessary diversion. I doubt anybody facing death would not be depressed in someway. But that is a long way from a 22 year opting out because they feel depressed, want to die, and seek voluntary euthansia. Aren’t most of us talking about terminal illness, undue pain and suffering from which there is no recovery – any of those won’t fit into the happy as larry brigade, but what right does the state have in them deciding they wish to die. The slippery slope idea is irrelevant, you seem not to want to put to see because you don’t know all the possible outcomes, somebody facing a painful death knows the ultimate outcome and should have the choice to die the good death as somebody earlier described it.

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  90. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ: the suggestion is that we change the law to allow voluntary euthanasia. To do so, we have to agree who can get it and who cannot.

    I agree that there are people who are literally on death’s door and we’re talking a matter of days of difference, I’m relatively comfortable with a law that gave them the right to voluntary euthanasia.

    I agree that a 25 year old whom is depressed should not have the same right.

    Therefore, the mooted law needs to have some way to describe the difference between those two. I don’t see how we can write a law that actually achieves that, therefore I see a slippery slope. The question I’m asking is how you believe such a law would be crafted. Or are you just trusting that our government cannot screw this up (given everything else they screw up, seems to me to be odds on they’d screw this one up too).

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  91. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    There has been a number of posters who refer to the sanctity of human life. I would ask that these people also give thought to the dignity of human life.

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  92. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    PaulL.

    I like to see the Law Commission report on it and make recommendations, the sooner the better.
    As written above we are already seeing ‘passive’ euthanasia and I think the glaring cases (were voluntary euthanasia might apply) already distinquish themselves – capturing those into law would be sound, along with a study of the elements of the recent criminal trials of ‘assisted’ deaths. On one point that might have been overlooked, legislation of this type would help protect those that might otherwise be ‘helped’ to die by a distraught, or even calculating, family member or friend.

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  93. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Slightly rightly
    No..but I have two siblings who are terminally ill so maybe their deaths may alter my views.
    Zapper ..yes I agree..keeping people alive on machines is a huge issue and cost in the US and probably worldwide. Intervention to die and intervention to be kept alive are both interfering with a natural process.
    When people describe the great suffering deaths of their parents on here I wonder if somehow their parents missed out on proper palliative care , possible through living in a small town or because of some other reason.

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  94. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    “Comparisons with animals “I wouldn’t let my dog suffer”, etc are not really relevant to a discussion on voluntary euthanasia for humans.”

    Why not? The point is that we don’t argue whether it’s good that animals suffer or whether we should intervene. But when it comes to human suffering, some of us are a little nervous. Maybe someone could explain why it’s good to end animal suffering but bad to end human suffering.

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  95. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    IMP…you are a fascist fool. There IS sovereign right to die…you have it because you own your own life and by default have the right to end it if you choose…be you 25 or 95. God,Gaia and the government have no say in the matter.

    And it is my right to use cocaine if I so choose..and if state thugs try and prevent me then I am perfectly within my rights to beat them by smuggling it in….You don’t owe any moral respect to criminals violating your rights.

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  96. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    joana.

    I live in Wellington so physical access to palliative care was not the issue. The fact is my mother had expressed a wish to die rather than suffer, and at the end I believe she could not communicate her suffering well enough to make effective palliative care possible.

    I do hope that your siblings get all the care they need, and that they stay as well as they can for as long as they can.

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  97. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Those against assisted suicide (which is what I believe is rational, justifiable and necessary) appear to deliberately widen the argument to euthanesia i.e. killing people. I believe the argument about the right to choose the manner of one’s death when death is inevitable is one that is difficult to disagree with. Putting people down when they’re past it is obviously not acceptable. Letting people top themselves early especially when some older people’s ability to decide is potentially compromised is not on – having depressed people get themselves killed is also not acceptable.

    It’s not that hard to make rules and boundaries. There will be grey areas but within tight boundaries. What’s the problem?

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  98. nasska (11,510 comments) says:

    God frowns upon suicide…… he’d rather kill you himself.

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  99. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I just heard a comment from a guest on Kim Hill’s show this morning that raised another very good reason for caution. The guest, who is writing a new book on how we treat death, made the point that in medical decisions there are very large error rates, including misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment and incorrect medication. His point of view was that if fairly straightforward conditions such as pneumonia can be misdiagnosed or incorrectly treated 60% of the time, we should be very cautious about medicalising decisions to terminate someone’s life.

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  100. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    Crikey mikenmild. Bugger what you heard on the radio, the majority of critical medical conditions are not misdiagnosed. Caution is fine, but right now in NZ there are people in critical health being denied the right to voluntary euthanasia, whilst elsewhere a silent consent takes place that allows people to passively euthanise. Pneumonia might be able to be misdiagnosed, but what about inoperable cancer where a person is wasting away, kidney or liver shut down. I hope you are not suggesting that we need a perfect medical system before we can deal with relevant, and everyday problems that are causing people to die without dignity and with unnecessary suffering.

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  101. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I’m not suggesting that at all. I’m merely pointing out one of the very many practical difficulties that stand in the way of moving from the present legal approach to ending life.

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  102. Nostalgia-NZ (5,206 comments) says:

    Right, so I won’t cancel my airline tickets on the basis that sometimes planes crash.
    Yes, care is needed. I think slimjbal covered that fairly well above.
    Who will we persuade to table a private members bill?

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  103. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    Thanks for your kind words Slightly. We also have another family member who is terminally ill..so three at one time is a lot to cope with as you would know.

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  104. Michael (909 comments) says:

    @MT Tinman: I hope you rephrase your comment about experience with little old ladies.

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