Killing yourself home alone

October 15th, 2013 at 6:28 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A coroner is calling for Parliament to make up its mind about after an elderly woman chose to suffocate herself with a handmade contraption in her Lower Hutt home.

Widow Edna Gluyas, 85, waited for her family to leave from a visit and lay down in her bed for a final time, alone, before setting in motion the process that would kill her on August 3, 2011

What an awful way to be forced to go, because there was no legal option for ending her life.

Less than two hours later, her daughter returned to find her dead by what Wellington Regional Coroner Ian Smith has determined “euthanasia by suffocation”.

In his report, Smith calls for Parliament to confront the issue of euthanasia – a topic that has long been dodged.

“Once again this death raises the vexed issue of euthanasia and, as I have recorded in past cases, this process simply will not go away, and it will be necessary for Parliament to address this matter yet again.”

I agree.

Three weeks ago, Labour MP Maryan Street withdrew her End of Life Choice Bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia, amid fears that it would become a political football during election year.

Street withdrew it because her caucus bullied her into doing so. They just didn’t want to be associated with a controversial election in election year. So instead people like Edna Gluyas will have to continue to kill themselves with no opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones, in order to escape from their chronic pain.

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132 Responses to “Killing yourself home alone”

  1. RRM (9,773 comments) says:

    My invisible, imaginary creator spirit says people should not be allowed to do this.

    They must suffer as Hungabunga (may He be praised) intended.

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  2. Mark (1,471 comments) says:

    Surely the coronor is making a political statement with his finding of “euthenasia by suffocation” instead of “suicide by suffocation”.

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  3. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    “Forced to”,”have to”

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  4. Rufus (652 comments) says:

    I’m sorry – did I miss something? She wanted out, she got it. Does she care at this point how she managed it?

    RRM – you’re being a cock.

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  5. Rufus (652 comments) says:

    The realist/cynic in me realises that euthanasia too will be legalised.

    This generation has no respect for life. We kill them in the womb,we kill them when life gets too tough.

    More convenient that way. Mustn’t have to deal with the tougher aspects of life, you know – having to raise those inconvenient kids, or look after those dependent oldies, deal with pain, suffering, hard work.

    And then it’ll become normal.

    And then oldies will go into hospital for relatively minor surgery, and none seem to wake up. Economics, my dear.

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  6. Mobile Michael (441 comments) says:

    Mrs Gluyas chose not to request pain releif and other medication to help with her conditions, which may have disqualified her from any potentially legal mechanism for euthanasia. Had she seen her doctor and been prescribed pain and other relief from her conditions first she may have found her quality of life improved that she would not feel tue need to kill herself.

    This case shows the thin edge of the wedge of old people euthanised so they are not be a bother to others.

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  7. Grant (435 comments) says:

    What a pity she didn’t wait till the establishment of the glorious socialist utopia that we’re all moving towards.

    Then some kind doctor would have done it for her…
    G

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  8. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    In my experience, terminal sufferers don’t want to be killed so much as they want to die peacefully and without pain. Good palliative care should be our first priority. It is a shame that many families oppose putting their elderly parents into rest home care or that some elderly people feel they shouldn’t sell the house to pay for it (squandering their estate).

    That’s a better alternative to the normalisation of suicide. Still, if we must have it, let’s not give it the veneer of medical treatment by making it a physician’s job. Let lay people set up as licensed executioners.

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  9. Rufus (652 comments) says:

    So I talk to my old relatives in the home country, and hear their horror stories and how they’re so afraid to go to hospital, because old people in hospital don’t come back. And I think, how lucky are we to live in NZ where we don’t condone euthanasia. Oh wait…

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  10. Nigel Kearney (970 comments) says:

    She was not terminally ill. She had pain due to arthritis but didn’t like going to the doctor. And she was sad because her dog died. I don’t object to euthanasia in principle but I hope that people like this will not qualify for it.

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  11. Pete George (23,428 comments) says:

    Good palliative care should be our first priority.
    Yes, it should be. But even the best palliative care does not always prevent suffering and extreme indignity.

    That’s a better alternative to the normalisation of suicide.
    It’s an alternative that should be as available and as good as possible, but it shouldn’t be an exclusive alternative.

    If people want to choose euthanasia (or suicide if you want to call it that) then that should also be an option, a choice. Like palliative care it should be done in the best way possible.

    That it may never be the choice of some people should not mean it shouldn’t be available to others with different preferences and needs.

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  12. Pete George (23,428 comments) says:

    Nigel, if euthanasia was a choice and able to be discussed openly then this example may have been prevented.

    Some people fear becoming incapable of ending their life by choice later so do it while they feel they are still capable of doing it. This substantially increases the chance of them doing it while temporarily depressed rather than as a rational choice.

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  13. Yoza (1,774 comments) says:

    Once you hit 70 you should be allowed free and unrestricted access to cocaine and heroine.

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  14. Scott Chris (6,019 comments) says:

    Three weeks ago, Labour MP Maryan Street withdrew her End of Life Choice Bill to legalise voluntary euthanasia, amid fears that it would become a political football during election year.

    So much for standing on your principles. Not as if Labour has much to lose either.

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  15. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    I certainly didn’t work my guts out — half-kill myself in fact — so my estate can be gobbled up by a (highly profitable) business keeping old people alive hydropically. Everyone should be issued with an “Exit Kit”. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin with caviar and heroin … A daily supply!

    My guess is there will always be a few doctors who will kill patients, many doctors provided they can say their primary concern is relief of pain. In other words, they know the treatment will kill the patient, but death is a side effect.

    What about the oldies who are just vegetables? A fundamental problem is the feeling one must do it before one has completely lost one’s marbles, because no one else will. One can’t expect one’s children to help out, even if in a good position to do so. This does need rational discussion, not an appeal to gods here and there and everywhere.

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  16. seanmaitland (493 comments) says:

    My perspective on this, having had 3 grandmothers (one step), a grand father and a great aunt pass away in the last 5 years, two of them from alzheimers, one from lung cancer and two from old age related health problems, is that it should only be allowed for degenerative diseases such as alzheimers and motor neuron type diseases.

    Cancer shouldn’t be allowed. People in pain shouldn’t be allowed to. People who are old and have no family and don’t want to live shouldn’t be allowed to.

    I was previously of the mindset that you shouldn’t fullstop, and that life is precious, but after experiencing degenerative diseases its not a nice legacy or thing to happen for anyone involved. A big problem in NZ is the nursing care is absolute rubbish, and a lot of staff at homes are there for the paycheck, not to make a difference to the end of people’s lives.

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  17. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    @Scott Chris. If you’re drowning does standing on principles offer much buoyancy .. keep your head above water?

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  18. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    Yeah well………youth in Asia will kill your grandma for less!

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  19. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    I’d recommend this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Compassion-Death-Humphry-Euthanasia/dp/0688122213

    The blurb really doesn’t do justice to how utterly shamefully a cancer sufferer was treated by a group who’s motive is supposedly “caring”.

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  20. labrator (1,897 comments) says:

    This case shows the thin edge of the wedge of old people euthanised so they are not be a bother to others.

    Presumably if euthanasia was legalised you couldn’t get assistance without notifying family members via your GP. It may in fact stop some older suicides by opening a dialog with their loved ones that they feel like a burden. Maybe the family will step up to the plate?

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  21. itstricky (1,770 comments) says:

    So instead people like Edna Gluyas will have to continue

    Sorry? You are trying to infer that it’s the opposition’s fault for this pain? What is the Government’s stance on this supposedly important issue?

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  22. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    A coroner is calling for Parliament to make up its mind about euthanasia

    Hm, here’s me thinking the law banning it was parliament being clear.

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  23. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    Well put Scrubone………..anyone reading all these current ‘pity cases’ would think that humans have only just started dying from illness in the last 10yrs.

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  24. Scott Chris (6,019 comments) says:

    If you’re drowning does standing on principles offer much buoyancy .. keep your head above water?

    Dennis, one could try standing on one’s principles…

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  25. eszett (2,392 comments) says:

    They just didn’t want to be associated with a controversial election in election year. So instead people like Edna Gluyas will have to continue to kill themselves with no opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones, in order to escape from their chronic pain.

    So whats stopping a national MP picking up thebill instead then? Surely they wouldn’t let such considerations as introducing a contoversial bill in an election year get in the way.

    Please go ahead and lobby that a more libral minded National MP picks this up. Such a bill could only pass with some National votes, so there must be some who’d be up for it.

    When National does it it’s persuasion and political common sense, when Labour does it, it’s bullying.

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  26. iMP (2,352 comments) says:

    After we’ve terminally sorted out people who have some pain, maybe we can move on to people who don’t have completely fulfilling lives and struggle with other difficulties. The disabled, Down Syndrome, people with dementia, unwanted children (oh, we already do them, in the womb, the most unsafe place on the planet), politicians who don’t win….[please add to list]…

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  27. iMP (2,352 comments) says:

    Eszett, Labour will re-slate the bill after they become Govt. in November next year. Cowards. Three years to promote Utopia and ignore the people.

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  28. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    Yeah, I know what you mean Imp:

    ……..a man’s wife finds out that she is adopted and goes in search of her natural mother, only to find out that she is the product of rape…….so her husband kills her as ‘no one should have to live with the consequences of rape’.

    Oh well……unlike feminists……at least Muslim males are consistant with ‘not having to live with the consequences of rape’!

    The world is upside down now…. and that’s the way they say it should be!…..fuck me.

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  29. Dave Mann (1,200 comments) says:

    The coroner Ian Smith who (reportedly) determined “euthanasia by suffocation” should be sacked immediately if that is really what he said. For a coroner not to know the difference between ‘suicide’ and ‘euthanasia’ is unforgivable, seeing its his job to determine cause if death. Is this guy an idiot?

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  30. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Cato (706) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Still, if we must have it, let’s not give it the veneer of medical treatment by making it a physician’s job. Let lay people set up as licensed executioners.

    So if you don’t get your way you advocate making things even worse by taking the medical profession out of the equation and thus any ability to have objective standards implemented based on medical science? This betrays an ideological attitude which is clearly preoccupied with something other than minimizing human suffering.

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  31. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Is this guy an idiot?

    That’s probably a little harsh. But he certainly has a completely inappropriate agenda. He should resign.

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  32. RRM (9,773 comments) says:

    Dave Mann… well the guy disagrees with you… therefore clearly yes, he’s an idiot.

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  33. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    iMP (1,604) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 8:46 am

    After we’ve terminally sorted out people who have some pain, maybe we can move on to people who don’t have completely fulfilling lives and struggle with other difficulties. The disabled, Down Syndrome, people with dementia, unwanted children…

    Slippery slope blah blah blah.

    I think you’ll struggle to find many people that agree with the examples you raise. But likewise many will not agree with the strict ideological (i.e. religious) stance that you take that says that there is never a time when euthanasia is the more humane course of action. Slippery slope arguments are not really a constructive way to determine when such action is justified. Although you think there is never any justification, slippery slope arguments are no counter to those that do.

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  34. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..For a coroner not to know the difference between ‘suicide’ and ‘euthanasia’ is unforgivable,….”

    The ‘contraption’ is usually where they take lots of pills -and maybe alcohol- they then put a large bag – usually a rubbish bag – over their heads and cellotape it around their necks.

    In other words they don’t ‘suffer’ from suffocation – but are comatose from drugs.

    And that is why the coroner has not stated that she ‘suffered a terribale death’ or words like it.

    How I found this out was through the Australian media, when they announced how Rene Rivkin killed himself.

    In other words, legalising euthanasia is pointless.

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  35. ChardonnayGuy (1,197 comments) says:

    Let’s face it, this is going to be an academic discussion until and unless the New Zealand Medical Association changes its professional stance on the issue of voluntary euthanasia/PAS. Until and unless it does so, Section 179 of the Crimes Act 1961 will stay in place, which makes it an offense to ‘aid and abet suicide’. At the moment, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg are the only states to have decriminalised and regulated voluntary euthanasia, while Switzerland and the US states of Vermont, Oregon, Washington state and Montana have all decriminalised assisted suicide.

    And John/imp, my friend? You left out transsexuals. What about Nathan Verhelst and that case in Belgium, where an obviously bipolar transman should have been offered counselling and psychotherapeutic support but wasn’t? Which is stirring up some interesting debate about end of life issues within the LGBT community here, let it be noted.

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  36. nickb (3,686 comments) says:

    Probably wildly inappropriate, but I laughed out loud at this:

    In 2004, euthanasia campaigner Lesley Martin was found guilty of attempting to murder her terminally ill mother, and jailed for 15 months.

    I would be shitting myself if I was getting a bit old and senile and my daughter was a high profile euthanasia campaigner!

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  37. mandk (949 comments) says:

    The problem with the pro-geronticide movement (let’s call it what it is) is that it will deflect attention away from finding better ways of removing pain to finding better ways of killing people. Old people will increasingly be coerced into agreeing to it, in the same way that women who are found to be carrying pre-born babies with Down’s etc are increasingly being coerced into baby-killing.
    Oh, brave new world!

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  38. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..And John/imp, my friend? You left out transsexuals. What about Nathan Verhelst and that case in Belgium, where an obviously bipolar transman should have been offered counselling and psychotherapeutic support but wasn’t?…”

    Fucken bullshit Shoddy.

    That link was posted the last time DPF had a thread on euthanasia.

    He had six months of counselling.

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  39. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Slippery slope arguments are not really a constructive way to determine when such action is justified.

    In this case, there’s no argument – the slippery slope is an observed (and rather horrifying) fact.

    Interestingly, (as pointed out above) any law allowing assisted suicide would have prevented this woman receiving such assistance. So right there you have the slope already operating in the minds of those who support this, even before the law is passed.

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  40. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    Man has evolved in an environment where essentially loss of the ability to look after oneself meant death, and it is still that way for the vast majority of the world population.

    His GP put my old old grandfather in geriatric hospital, which he hated, so he got a taxi home, a couple of hours away. He wanted his independence, even if it killed him. I think this happened more than once.

    My 90-year-old mother said to me one day, as I wiped her bottom, “What a bloody nuiance I turned out to be.” Poor old thing sat in her chair all day counting to herself, trying to keep a grip. Doped to the eyeballs and not knowing if I had been with her all day or just walked into the room. Thank goodness she had a massive heart attack and died. I was numb for months, but I wouldn’t want her back. I loved her too much.

    My poor 98-year-old father sat in his chair not talking to us or taking any interest in anything. A prudish and intensely private man, he sat there soiling his pants. In the end he just wanted to die, not linger on for ages in a living hell.

    I don’t want to end my life with my children hating me. If I’m a nuisance, I want to go quickly and painlessly.

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  41. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    “So if you don’t get your way you advocate making things even worse by taking the medical profession out of the equation and thus any ability to have objective standards implemented based on medical science? This betrays an ideological attitude which is clearly preoccupied with something other than minimizing human suffering.”

    Why would that make it worse? There’s no medical need to involve a physician in the act of homicide, other than giving the practice the pretence that it’s somehow “health care” when it is an execution. That’s not a good enough reason to me to upend the 2,500 year tradition that doctors “will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such council.”

    It is the task of a physician to save life. It is the task of an executioner to take it.

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  42. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    nickb (2,831) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 9:07 am. In 2004, euthanasia campaigner Lesley Martin was found guilty of attempting to murder her terminally ill mother, and jailed for 15 months.

    I seem to remember that the police prosecuted not because she helped her terminally mother, but because she made a fuss about it publically. I believe that is the police policy in the UK. A blind eye in terminal cases.

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  43. Chi Hsu (100 comments) says:

    Street withdrew it because her caucus bullied her into doing so. They just didn’t want to be associated with a controversial election in election year. So instead people like Edna Gluyas will have to continue to kill themselves with no opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones, in order to escape from their chronic pain.

    DPF writes as if anyone in the National Party would have the balls to put forward such a bill. Why aren’t you holding your own party to account for their cowardly inaction instead of criticising others?

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  44. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    I don’t want to end my life with my children hating me. If I’m a nuisance, I want to go quickly and painlessly.

    As your own story demonstrates, if your children hate you because you need care in your old age, that says something about them, not you.

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  45. Pete George (23,428 comments) says:

    Chi Hsu – this is one that a National Government simply wouldn’t attempt. A Labour Government may not either. It is the type of issue that gets raised via Member’s Bills.

    There’s a number of other things unlikely to ever be raised by a National Government, for example cannabis law reform. Even Greens don’t seem very keen on promoting that any more. National are probably just too conservative, but have Greens become too timid?

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  46. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    ChardonnayGuy (713) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 9:06 am
    Let’s face it, this is going to be an academic discussion until and unless the New Zealand Medical Association changes its professional stance on the issue of voluntary euthanasia/PAS. Until and unless it does so, Section 179 of the Crimes Act 1961 will stay in place, which makes it an offense to ‘aid and abet suicide’.

    Doctors are not bound by their union, are they? I don’t think the country should be held to ransom by a union anyway. Most doctors won’t want to perform euthanasia, quite understandably I think, but some will – based on what happens abroad.

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  47. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    scrubone,

    In fairness, it might say something about the values he’s inculcated in them. But I don’t think we should all have to raise children in a culture desensitised to homicide/suicide just because of that person’s choices.

    Do you know, it really makes me sick the way some children pressure their parents against using their hard-earned assets to obtain quality care in their twilight years. It really reinforces the idea that the best thing you can leave your kids isn’t money, but the skills and the means to be able to support themselves. When kids come to bank on getting a payout at the end of their parent’s life, it’s just awful.

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  48. nasska (11,138 comments) says:

    The unbelievable cruelty of the anti-euthanasia brigade never ceases to amaze me. To satisfy part of their religious creed they advocate for the continuation of laws forcing others to die in physical or mental agony.

    It’s only left to hope that they never have to witness or personally undergo the suffering they are so keen on.

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  49. Redbaiter (8,309 comments) says:

    Oh gawd, more deep meaningful stuff from another of Kommieblog’s regular boring obsessives.

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  50. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,771) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 9:35 am. As your own story demonstrates, if your children hate you because you need care in your old age, that says something about them, not you.

    I don’t want my children going through I went through, thanks, on my acount. And I’ve seen healthy old people die looking after ill demanding spouses.

    It must take a profound love to finish off someone you love who wants to go.

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  51. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,771) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Good comment.

    However I believe children who hate their parent’s because they are old, and a ‘nuisance’, actually says something about the way those people have been raised. As parents we give our children unconditional love – we get up all hours of the night, sit with them when they are ill, cope with them through their teenage years, and give give give. It is the greatest honour one can have – the chance to repay our parent’s for what they gave to us during our lives by providing for them, and helping them in their last years of life.

    In my opinion, any child who thinks of their parent as a nuisance, was obviously spoilt bloody rotten as a child

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  52. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    @Redblatherer. Yes, clearly the problem with voluntary euthanasia in your case is that it’s voluntary. ;)

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  53. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    Street withdrew it because her caucus bullied her into doing so. They just didn’t want to be associated with a controversial election in election year. So instead people like Edna Gluyas will have to continue to kill themselves with no opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones … .

    Of course, the “controversial” nature of the issue could be largely negated if John Key came out and said he personally supported law reform in the area (as he did with same sex marriage). Or, there are a whole bunch of back-bench National MPs who could take over this bill and reintroduce it. Or, even better, there is a Government that could bring the measure before the House on a conscience basis (as it did with the age of purchase for alcohol).

    But, of course, National is every bit as scared of the “controversial” nature of this issue as Labour is – and I don’t see ACT making any noise on it either. So if you want to go throwing around the blame for people having “to continue to kill themselves with no opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones”, you might be a bit more honest about that fact.

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  54. mandk (949 comments) says:

    nasska “To satisfy part of their religious creed …”

    Who mentioned religion?
    And they call religious people bigots!

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  55. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @nickb

    “I would be shitting myself if I was getting a bit old and senile and my daughter was a high profile euthanasia campaigner!”

    ———————-

    Lesley Martin became a euthanasia campaigner after the death of her mother. Her mother’s suffering was the event that catalysed her beliefs.

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  56. MT_Tinman (3,094 comments) says:

    nasska (7,662) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 9:44 am
    The unbelievable cruelty of the anti-euthanasia brigade never ceases to amaze me. To satisfy part of their religious creed they advocate for the continuation of laws forcing others to die in physical or mental agony.

    It’s only left to hope that they never have to witness or personally undergo the suffering they are so keen on.

    Actually I rather hope they do.

    I’ve noted over time that the anti-euthanasia brigade are also ardent Yahweh botherers, anti-abortion and strongly pro killing everyone who disagrees with them on these issues.

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  57. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    @Judith. Well, my mother certainly thought she was a nuisance, and said so. Some people don’t want to be a nuisance.

    Of course, you mix with people who spend their entire lives being a bloody nuisance. A very expensive nuisance and nonsense. Living a lie… So you’re biased. :)

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  58. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Cato (708) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Why would that make it worse? There’s no medical need to involve a physician in the act of homicide…

    Obviously it is a question of when such an act is justified. That decision should be guided by medical science. If there is a slippery slope to worry about then we must employ medical science as a basis to regulate under what circumstances it can be allowed. By rejecting the involvement of medicine you seek to ensure that things go very badly, just so you can make a point. Even if you disagree with euthanasia, lay people as executioners is much worse than medical practitioners whose expertise might influence under what conditions suicide is considered as an option. That you advocate the worse option says a lot about your attitude. You seem more concerned with setting yourself up to say “I told you so” than to try and minimize the dangers that you purport to be concerned about.

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  59. Nostalgia-NZ (5,094 comments) says:

    AG 9.51. I agree, unfortunate to see this issue politicised.

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  60. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    AG,

    Not that I want to expose your ignorance on these matters but the Prime Minister has in fact said that he “broadly supports” the concept of voluntary euthanasia. So I think your j’accuse is misplaced.

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  61. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Dennis

    Sure, no one wants to be a nuisance Dennis, but it is up to their children to assure them they aren’t.

    Did you tell your mother after all she had done for you, caring for her in her old age was the least you could do? Did you make her feel like she was a nuisance, by making a big deal of what you had to give up or change in order to see to her needs?

    I believe in informed euthanasia, I do not believe that people with elderly parents should plan their lives in any other way than around the possibility that they may have to care for their parents when they are elderly. When people get on with their lives without that thought in mind, of course the parents feel like they are being a nuisance. But when it is part of the everyone’s plan, that one day when you’re old, the family will care for you – then it becomes ordinary, not a bloody great problem.

    As people are living to much older ages than ever before, these are conversations we should have all been having from the time that we reached adulthood. To have conversations about care arrangements, once a person has become weak enough to need it, of course is going to make them feel like they are just a huge problem that should go away.

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  62. Nostalgia-NZ (5,094 comments) says:

    Horne you seem pre-occupied with the thought of people hating you, very understandable in your case.

    ‘If I’m a nuisance, I want to go quickly and painlessly.’

    Something seems to be lost on you.

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  63. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    That doesn’t mean a doctor has to be involved in the actual killing of a person. A doctor can easily give a certification as to the mental capacity of a person – they do for a hundred other things. They often disagree about the extent of the capacity, but, hey! it’s just a human life.

    So if you have that, then any old person can give someone else a pill, or an injection or a deadly cocktail. And you don’t have to tear up one of the foundational concepts of medical ethics that first separated the idea of medical science from with-doctoring in the first place.

    It’s not about “I told you so” – there are plenty of those in other euthanasia regimes around the world where physicians are implicated in state-sanctioned homicides. It’s about allowing euthanasia, but not in a way that allows its proponents to avoid confronting what it really is by dressing it up as something that it manifestly is not – i.e. medical care.

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  64. Judith (8,532 comments) says:

    @ Dennis

    I forgot to answer your cheap shot.

    My mother never felt she was a nuisance, and I never thought of her as one either. Nor my great-aunts who I cared for until they were 98 and 99 respectively. I think that says a lot more about me, than your comments about your Mother say about you.

    Anyone that thinks of one of their loved ones as a nuisance, doesn’t deserved to be loved. How so inconvenient for you that your Mother interfered with your life – a life you wouldn’t have had if she hadn’t given it to you.

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  65. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…….Judith (4,143) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 9:50 am

    However I believe children who hate their parent’s because they are old, and a ‘nuisance’, actually says something about the way those people have been raised. As parents we give our children unconditional love – we get up all hours of the night, sit with them when they are ill, cope with them through their teenage years, and give give give. It is the greatest honour one can have – the chance to repay our parent’s for what they gave to us during our lives by providing for them, and helping them in their last years of life.
    In my opinion, any child who thinks of their parent as a nuisance, was obviously spoilt bloody rotten as a child……..”

    And all that’s coming from a pro baby killer!!!!!!!!!

    Don’t you have any principals Judith?

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  66. Nostalgia-NZ (5,094 comments) says:

    “broadly supports”

    Political ‘hedging.’

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  67. Graeme Edgeler (3,280 comments) says:

    A coroner is calling for Parliament to make up its mind about euthanasia

    And if it makes up its mind by saying “no”, will this coroner be sated?

    And didn’t it make up its mind when it voted against Peter Brown’s Death with Dignity Bill?

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  68. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    The unbelievable cruelty of the anti-euthanasia brigade never ceases to amaze me.

    Read the book I mentioned above, it’ll cure that, I guarantee it.

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  69. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    @Judith. Judith, I was not taking a cheap shot at your family. I was talking about your friends. You know, the murderers you “mix” with.

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  70. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Cato (710) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 10:09 am

    That doesn’t mean a doctor has to be involved in the actual killing of a person. A doctor can easily give a certification as to the mental capacity of a person – they do for a hundred other things. They often disagree about the extent of the capacity, but, hey! it’s just a human life.

    Suggesting that those who support euthanasia are indifferent to the significance of human life is merely an attempt at distraction. The importance of human life is precisely why a doctor should be intimately involved in the process and not merely handing out certificates while exercising only a cursory interest in those whose fate they are deciding.

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  71. eszett (2,392 comments) says:

    iMP (1,604) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 8:49 am
    Eszett, Labour will re-slate the bill after they become Govt. in November next year. Cowards. Three years to promote Utopia and ignore the people.

    Yes, and they should.

    Seek broad consensus and have a broad, rational and serious debate on the issue.
    Not letting it been highjacked and derailed by demagogues, who just want to stop any such bill at all cost.

    A debate about a topic like that should not take place in an election year if you want any kind of serious discussion about it.

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  72. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    However I believe children who hate their parent’s because they are old, and a ‘nuisance’, actually says something about the way those people have been raised. As parents we give our children unconditional love – we get up all hours of the night, sit with them when they are ill, cope with them through their teenage years, and give give give. It is the greatest honour one can have – the chance to repay our parent’s for what they gave to us during our lives by providing for them, and helping them in their last years of life.

    Absolutely.

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  73. SGA (983 comments) says:

    When someone who is losing much of their physical and cognitive (in particular) abilities calls themselves a ‘nuisance’, what do they mean? Some might actually mean that they regret being a ‘burden’. For others, perhaps, I suspect that it is a euphemism – it’s a way of saying that they hate what is happening, and hate even more that things are just going to get worse.

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  74. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ (4,056) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 10:07 am
    Horne you seem pre-occupied with the thought of people hating you, very understandable in your case. ‘If I’m a nuisance, I want to go quickly and painlessly.’ Something seems to be lost on you.

    [deleted by DPF]

    [DPF: 50 demerits. You are now on 90.]

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  75. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “….That doesn’t mean a doctor has to be involved in the actual killing of a person……”

    Very true Cato,

    The last time the NZ government were involved in killing it’s citizens -those who were born that is- they simply used a hangman.

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  76. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    I listened to the coverage of this in the MSM this morning and like a number of others on this thread, struggle with it.

    Probably in keeping with many here, those of us in late middle age have the experience of caring for a no of elderly relatives with various conditions. But I am not sure that the lady in question should be a pathfinder for law reform.

    My personal perspective is shaped by recent (current) experience of caring, along with other members of the family, with an elderly relative in the end stages of one of the nastier blood cancers. The oncology folk have been terrific, as have intensive care. For all its faults, the public system can really step up to the plate. They have worked hard on maintaining a palliative care regime that strikes a balance between pain relief and enabling him to be alert to what is going on – particularly with his grandchildren.

    And for someone who has worked very hard all his life, farming, the indignity of the total dependence on others (especially now that he is in hospice care) has been hard to bear. But he gets it, that this team of family and professional caregivers are all working around the clock for him – and are willing to do so. So he is going to finish this journey the same way he has lived his 80 years, by not throwing in the towel.

    Perhaps by demonstrating to our own kids that we are willing and able to make this sort of effort for our parents – they will get the picture that its what families do. I don’t particularly relish the idea of being a burden on my kids – but I hope that if there is ever a time when I feel like giving up, I will remember of the last few months of a guy just hanging on for tomorrow’s visit from his grandkids.

    Maybe I will get comfortable with the idea of the concept of opting out as an alternative – in time. But I’m not there yet and I can’t help wonder how the family members feel. The coroners report doesn’t suggest a lack of care – but if it was me I am afraid I would be left thinking that I hadn’t worked hard enough to show that care.

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  77. AG (1,823 comments) says:

    @Cato,

    Not that I want to expose your ignorance on these matters but the Prime Minister has in fact said that he “broadly supports” the concept of voluntary euthanasia. So I think your j’accuse is misplaced.

    Fair call. I withdraw and apologise.

    Having said that, he actually could turn that “broad support” into legislation before the House. The fact he hasn’t shows that National is just as scared of the political fallout of the issue as is Labour. And that is all the point I wish to make.

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  78. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..Suggesting that those who support euthanasia are indifferent to the significance of human life is merely an attempt at distraction. The importance of human life is precisely why a doctor should be intimately involved in the process and not merely handing out certificates while exercising only a cursory interest in those whose fate they are deciding….”

    That’s distraction Weihana!

    Doctors can do all of that………….then the state executioner can fulfill his role…..’hers’ if you feel you could do it!

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  79. Mk12dr (1 comment) says:

    Edna Gluyas was my Nana. She remains one of the most intelligent people I have ever known. My family lived right next door to her for the fifteen years prior to her death, she was not lonely, nor was she under the impression that she was a burden. She was always a supporter of voluntary euthanasia and she taught me that life is a wonderful thing but that it is yours. She did not want to become an invalid or so bedridden that she could not do all the things she loved about life. I can only hope that should that choice ever be mine, that I should be allowed to make it for myself.

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  80. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    I resent very much the insinuation that my saying I don’t want to be a nuisance says something about my children. Daughters in particular have enough to deal with in life with careers and children and keeping a husband content without wasting resources on senile old people whose lives are pointless. That’s my thoughts, not theirs.

    I’ve seen many cases of children having enough of their parents and wishing they’d simply depart so they could get on with their lives. Whether they would euthanase them is another matter. That’s why the move has to come from the oldies themselves.

    The Eskimos had the answer. Out onto the ice when you lost your teeth. Painless if the cold got you before a polar bear… ;)

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  81. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Weihana,

    I’m not distracting, I’m just pointing out that given the routine differences between qualified health professionals on whether an elderly person has or does not have mental capacity to give, say, an enduring power of attorney – I’m not that confident when it comes to deciding whether or not that same elderly person has or does not have the mental capacity to request that their doctor kills them.

    But you haven’t given me a single reason for why doctors should be the one to actually kill their patients. Once the determination has been made that someone is of sound mind, and they decide they want to committ suicide, it doesn’t take a medical professional to give them an injection. It’s not easy to botch like, say, a late term abortion is.

    Healthcare is the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. Euthanasia is none of those things. As a homicide, it is in fact the opposite. There’s no need to debase the practice of medicine by folding them together.

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  82. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    @Cato. You suffer from psychological splitting. It’s a false dichotomy you present. You decide what doctors should do, who are you? A god? In the end, death is the only answer to our illness and infirmity.

    Sooner or later it may be a choice as to where resources should go, in the best interests of our species. Let’s talk about it sensibly now.

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  83. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Charming Dennis. Do you think the old Eskimos had much to say about it?

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  84. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Cato (711) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I’m not distracting, I’m just pointing out that given the routine differences between qualified health professionals on whether an elderly person has or does not have mental capacity to give, say, an enduring power of attorney – I’m not that confident when it comes to deciding whether or not that same elderly person has or does not have the mental capacity to request that their doctor kills them.

    But you haven’t given me a single reason for why doctors should be the one to actually kill their patients. Once the determination has been made that someone is of sound mind, and they decide they want to committ suicide, it doesn’t take a medical professional to give them an injection. It’s not easy to botch like, say, a late term abortion is.

    Healthcare is the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. Euthanasia is none of those things. As a homicide, it is in fact the opposite. There’s no need to debase the practice of medicine by folding them together.

    Which is kind of like saying the judge who sentences a prisoner to hang has nothing to do with the hanging because the judge doesn’t carry it out personally. Your position makes no sense. But I do think you have a point as to deciding when a person has sufficient mental capacity. It’s a difficult question. But I don’t agree that a strict approach, as you favour, is any better as I think unnecessary suffering is just as much a concern as euthanasia laws that are too relaxed. The difficult question must be addressed and avoiding the question in favour of ideology is no solution in my view.

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  85. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    Just because we’re living 10-15yrs longer than we were 30yrs ago doesn’t mean we’re living better.
    The last ‘tea party’ chimp was euthanised last week http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11138860
    The only reason I see for not allowing this for humans is the misapprehension that we’re somehow special & the delusional thought that as a suicide you’ll be damned.

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  86. wf (416 comments) says:

    Poor Edna, of course she waited until her family had gone out! She didn’t want someone to come in and ‘rescue’ her, with all the awful attention from family and doctors that would follow. I’d do it the same way.

    Families should listen to their old people, should understand how they feel, and maybe accept with a good grace when they express their desire that life not be prolonged.

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  87. coolas (115 comments) says:

    My 92 year old mother hasn’t eaten for 12 days. She isn’t hungry because her bowel is blocked by a tumor and her body is slowly closing down. My sister and I have been trained up by the hospice to medicate her, and cater to her needs. Pain, anxiety, nausea are all managed with drugs. We’ve given up full-time work so one of us is with her 24/7. A carer comes for an hour a day. Last night when we said goodnight, she smiled her gorgeous smile, and giggled, “I love sleeping with Harry Belafonte.’ He was crooning ‘brown skin girl,’ on the stereo by her bed.

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  88. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    What? So the judge who passes judgment should also put on the black hood and flip the switch? The doctor isn’t passing a judgment, he’s certifying a fact. So the more correct analogy would to be the jury who determines the facts. But neither should carry out the execution of the guilty man and nor should the doctor of his or her patient.

    A doctor certifies that a person is fit to appoint an attorney, but he or she doesn’t then carry the responsibility for whether an attorney is appointed, who is so appointed, and what the attorney does.

    Simply put, there is no reason for it other than to dress it up as health care. It’s not.

    Tell me this, if your parents suffered from debilitating Alzheimers and had left an advance direction to be put down, would you follow it? Would you be confident that the advance direction should be irrevocable or that she hadn’t changed her mind? We’re not talking about a civil matter like a contract here, but somebodies life.

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  89. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    Mk12dr(1) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 10:35 am
    Edna Gluyas was my Nana. She remains one of the most intelligent people I have ever known. My family lived right next door to her for the fifteen years prior to her death, she was not lonely, nor was she under the impression that she was a burden. She was always a supporter of voluntary euthanasia and she taught me that life is a wonderful thing but that it is yours. She did not want to become an invalid or so bedridden that she could not do all the things she loved about life. I can only hope that should that choice ever be mine, that I should be allowed to make it for myself.

    Thank you for your contribution. Says it all, really.

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  90. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Pathos is not the end all and be all of reasoning.

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  91. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    Cato (713) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 10:54 am
    Charming Dennis. Do you think the old Eskimos had much to say about it?

    They accepted death as we all must, Cato, as they accepted life. Under the circumstances the burden of old people threatened the whole family’s survival.

    Don’t imagine this will not happen to us. There is no Plan for mankind’s future, we must make our own. There will be an end to resources for old people. Decisions about who gets what are already made. The only real difficulty is who gets what of others’ money, not there own.

    I’ve never understood why those who believe in a perfect afterlife should be so frightened to go.

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  92. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    “I’ve never understood why those who believe in a perfect afterlife should be so frightened to go.”

    Isn’t it weird that it’s the people who claim not to be interested in religion that talk about it the most and are always injecting it into conversation? It’s strange to have the people who probably know the least about the subject are the ones constantly propounding on it.

    “Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds…” That Terry Eagleton quote is just so salient.

    Of course, eskimo senicide was not nearly as common as myth would have us believe – but it’s an interesting insight into the cold utilitarian mindset of folks like Dennis Horne.

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  93. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    So, Cato, you don’t believe in the promised afterlife? Or do you find it embarrassing to talk about.

    As to my mindset, what do you really know? That I looked after Mum until she died, and helped my brother look after Dad until he died?

    What do I know about you, Cato? A good brain but the Catholics got to it before it was fully developed, perhaps?

    And as I’ve noticed before, there’s nothing quite so unforgiving as a crossed Christian.

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  94. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    What my religion is and the exact nature of my religious beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with you and nothing to do with this matter. I agree that it’s inappropriate to support public policy positions on narrow sectarian grounds but, for some reason, the only people who ever quote bible verses on Kiwiblog are atheist trolls.

    Morality and religion aren’t the same thing. It’s quite possible to recognise moral precepts without being religious. Or are you an out-and-out nihlist?

    What I know is that you think senicide is justifiable on utilitarian grounds. How do I know this? You said it.

    Stop being so obsessed with other people’s religions – debate what they actually say.

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  95. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne (1,785) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 10:28 am
    Nostalgia-NZ (4,056) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 10:07 am
    Horne you seem pre-occupied with the thought of people hating you, very understandable in your case. ‘If I’m a nuisance, I want to go quickly and painlessly.’ Something seems to be lost on you.
    [deleted by DPF] [DPF: 50 demerits. You are now on 90.]

    I’ll say goodbye now, then, Farrar, before you sack me and I join the Rowan. Did I mention any names? No, just that one of your regulars killed two people. Don’t old demerits expire?

    There was a school boy called Rowan
    Whose reports were less than glowin’
    His vocab was sparse
    His arguments a farce
    So after some abuse DPF said: Get goin’.

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  96. Dazzaman (1,137 comments) says:

    Pushing suicide & murder again, let’s be realistic that’s all this euthanasia is…….pure madness!

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  97. Dennis Horne (2,343 comments) says:

    Cato (716) Says: October 15th, 2013 at 12:01 pm. What my religion is and the exact nature of my religious beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with you and nothing to do with this matter.

    Of course not, Cato, of course not. No, no no. ;)

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  98. Dazzaman (1,137 comments) says:

    It must take a profound love to finish off someone you love who wants to go.

    Horrendous selfishness Dennis.

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  99. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Dazzaman

    “Pushing suicide & murder again, let’s be realistic that’s all this euthanasia is…….pure madness!”

    —————————-

    Supporters of euthanasia are motivated by a desire to reduce unnecessary human suffering.

    That is not madness – it is compassion.

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  100. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Cato

    “Healthcare is the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. Euthanasia is none of those things. As a homicide, it is in fact the opposite. There’s no need to debase the practice of medicine by folding them together.”

    ———————-

    Healthcare exists to reduce pain and suffering – both mental and physical.

    Euthanasia provides relief for unbearable pain and suffering, and it is therefore part of Heathcare.

    If you believe that Doctors should be compelled to prolong lives of untreatable pain and suffering, then i would suggest it is you who is debasing the practice of medicine.

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  101. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Except, as Cata has so capably pointed out, healthcare professionals are overhwlemingly opposed to ‘voluntary’ euthanasia as a gross violation of their duty to treat illness and injury.

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  102. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Euthanasia provides relief for unbearable pain and suffering, and it is therefore part of Heathcare.

    “‘Death’ provides relief for unbearable pain and suffering, and it is therefore a valid treatment.”

    Yea, that doesn’t work.

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  103. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Yeah – it’s a bit like saying bombing poor neighbourhoods relieves inequality.

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  104. MT_Tinman (3,094 comments) says:

    scrubone (2,774) Says:
    October 15th, 2013 at 1:03 pm
    Euthanasia provides relief for unbearable pain and suffering, and it is therefore part of Heathcare.

    “‘Death’ provides relief for unbearable pain and suffering, and it is therefore a valid treatment.”

    Yea, that doesn’t work.

    Yes, it does!

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  105. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “….Supporters of euthanasia are motivated by a desire to reduce unnecessary human suffering….”

    Hardly Gump…….most would be pro-abortion…..the babies do suffer….you can see that on the monitors…..when the baby is injected they reel away from it…..ect

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  106. muggins (3,341 comments) says:

    In my opinion it is all about quality of life.
    You see elderly people at rest homes with their mouths open, continually having to have dribble removed, leaking from all orifices, not having a clue what is going on, what the hell is the point of living like that.
    And then with others who are mentally ok, but in a great deal of pain even with the use of drugs.
    Of course those with advanced Alzheimers or dementia no longer have the ability to end their lives because they just are not capable of doing it so they just lie around for a year or two staring into space until their vital organs shut down.
    One of my workmates who had advanced cancer at the age of 60 and was in considerable pain, despite the drugs he was receiving , begged the doctor who was looking after him to put him out of his misery. Two days later he was dead. Was he given a little to much morphine? No-one will ever know. But I am sure that sort of thing happens,we just never hear about it for obvious reasons.

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  107. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..Euthanasia provides relief for unbearable pain and suffering, and it is therefore part of Heathcare…..”

    Well in that case……so that everyone is happy…….we can simply put them into a human induced coma…….and then wait until they die of natural causes…..it won’t then matter if it’s months later and the family have all given up visiting…..it’s the pain that matters….right…..or is it dignity…..what’s dignity again?

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  108. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Harriet

    I’d suggest that you know nothing of suffering or dignity.

    Your idea of compassion involves babies being carried to term with severe and untreatable congenital conditions like Harlequin ichthyosis. Here’s some pictures in case you are unfamiliar with the disorder.

    https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=harlequin+ichthyosis+baby&tbm=isch

    Are you capable of imagining the unrelenting pain that these poor creatures must suffer as their skin literally disintegrates around them?

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  109. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Weird – in gump’s world, Hippocrates debased the medical profession.

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  110. hj (6,831 comments) says:

    People are opposed to euthanasia because it means the other group is in control.

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  111. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    What “other” group?

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  112. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Cato

    Hippocrates died almost 2,400 years ago. So it isn’t surprising that most of his ideas are now out of step with modern medical thinking.

    The Hippocratic Oath has for many years been superseded by the Declaration of Geneva.

    http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/g1/

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  113. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    LOL at the thumbs down on the last comment.

    FACT: Hippocrates founded the medical profession and western medical science.
    FACT: The Hippocratic Oath forbids prescribing a: “deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect”
    FACT: The prohibition on doctor assisted euthanasia has more or less persisted intact since the late 5th century BC.
    FACT: The Medical Association is implaccably opposed to euthanasia on ethical grounds.
    FACT: Gump essentially wrote that for the medical profession to uphold one of the founding ideals of the medical profession is tantamount to the medical profession being debased by the medical profession.

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  114. Harriet (4,777 comments) says:

    “…..I’d suggest that you know nothing of suffering or dignity………Your idea of compassion involves babies being carried to term with severe and untreatable congenital conditions like Harlequin ichthyosis. Here’s some pictures in case you are unfamiliar with the disorder…..”

    Healthcare NZ’s idea of compassion is to allow in 2012, 93% of abortions under ‘women’s mental welfare’.

    Abortion is then not safe, legal and rare is it – for babies?

    Is euthanasia going to be ‘safe legal and rare’ too? Or are we going to have some other meaningless and untruthful slogan?

    We should hold a competition here at kiwiblog to design a logo for health dept letterheads for euthanasia.

    I’m submitting the Grim Reaper, as that’s about as truthful as you will get – eventually!

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  115. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Cool – the Declaration of Geneva – itself a rewriting of the Hippocratic Oath, not a replacement – provided by the World Medical Association. Which is, by the way, also implaccably opposed to euthanasia on medical grounds.

    And of course most doctors take the Hippocratic Oath anyway.

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  116. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    I’d like to weigh in with my opinion, but Cato has said it all really. The doctors are right on this one, and departing from their comprehensive ethical framework carries great risks of unintended consequences.

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  117. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Then there’s the WMA statement on the matter in 1987:

    “Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.”

    Which was affirmed in 2005 as:

    “Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically. However the right to decline medical treatment is a basic right of the patient and the physician does not act unethically even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient.”

    So yeah – those of us who wish to retain an important principle of medical ethics are somehow debasing them.

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  118. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Of sorry, I didn’t know that the WMA had updated its statement a few months ago to:

    “The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and

    The World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.”

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  119. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Cato

    The Declaration of Geneva contains no instruction or prohibition against euthanasia or abortion. This is a deliberate and significant difference from the Hippocratic Oath.

    It’s also a fact that most doctors don’t take the Hippocratic Oath. Which is somewhat comforting given that the Oath requires them to swear upon the Gods of Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea.

    And thank you for posing the WMA statement in it’s current form. Do I need to explain the difference between “is unethical and must be condemned” and “strongly encourages … to refrain”?

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  120. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    The bad news Mr & Mrs Jones is that your son was involved in a car accident that has left him a paraplegic with severe brain damage that will require him to have constant 24/7 attention probably from yourselves for the rest of your lives. The good news is we did everything in our power to save him.

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  121. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    No because condemning something and refraining from participation in it are different things.

    The WMA itself sees clear continuity between the Hippocratic Oath and the Geneva Declaration – notwithstanding differences in language. The latter clearly refers to the duty of a physician to uphold the ethic of life. As the BMA said when recommending the revisions `The spirit of the Hippocratic oath cannot change’

    The Hippocratic Oath remains a more poetic illustration, which is why I am apt to cite it. However, that the policy in question is adhered to is manifest in the fact that medical associations everywhere, including here, continue to be indefatigabley opposed to euthanasia as unethical quite apart from its illegality. No frantic Wikipedia-ing by you will change that.

    The weird thing is, I would bet that very few lay people would be aware of that opposition, or its strength.

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  122. princesspenelope (1 comment) says:

    Edna was also my Nan. She was a powerhouse; an absolutely remarkable and independent woman. For her, a life without her dignity and independence was not a life she wanted to participate in. Just as those who are ill or dying have the right to choose to live and carry on, those who do not wish to carry on should also have the right to make that decision themselves. Decriminalising assisted suicide should not affect those who do not choose that path, however those that do not agree with it are in fact affecting others who would like the legal right to choose that path. My Nan chose to do what she did, at the time she did it, because she knew that if she waited she might not have been able to do what she had always planned on her own terms. Nan was the only person qualified to judge her own quality of life. I have always been, and always will be, incredibly proud of my Nan and support her decision unreservedly.

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  123. mandk (949 comments) says:

    gump at 1.39

    Yes, harlequin icthyosis is nasty, but it is very rare and it is increasingly treatable

    You might want to have a look at this link
    http://www.firstskinfoundation.org/content.cfm/Ichthyosis/Harlequin-Ichthyosis/page_id/547

    I wonder what the young woman featured would have to say about being offered as a candidate for supposed perfect death.

    Why does killing people have to be the answer?

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  124. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Cato

    “However, that the policy in question is adhered to is manifest in the fact that medical associations everywhere, including here, continue to be indefatigabley opposed to euthanasia as unethical quite apart from its illegality. No frantic Wikipedia-ing by you will change that.”

    —————-

    Everywhere?

    Not in the Netherlands – the Royal Dutch Medical Association has supported a patient’s right to seek physician assisted euthanasia since 1984. It’s a similar situation with medical associations in Belgium and Luxemborg. In countries like Canada, the Canadian Medical association is neutral on the issue.

    Physician assisted euthanasia is not considered unethical or illegal in a number of developed countries. So it’s a nonsense to suggest that it’s universally condemned.

    Medical associations represent the views of the members. And what do Doctors think about this issue? Here’s a link to a study that involved over 10,000 Doctors in the USA.

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731485

    You should pay close attention to question three:

    “3. Should physician-assisted suicide be allowed in some cases?

    Yes, 45.8%
    No, 40.7%
    It depends, 13.5%”

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  125. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @mandk

    Harlequin ichthyosis is a spectrum disorder that consists of several distinct sub-types.

    The severity of the disability differs considerably in each individual case.

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  126. mandk (949 comments) says:

    @ gump,
    Maybe so, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the condition is increasingly treatable.
    Nor does it answer the question: why does killing people have to be the answer?

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  127. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @mandk

    Some variations of the HI are treatable. However many are not treatable and the sufferer dies in unthinkable agony as their body literally disintegrates around them.

    Some diseases simply aren’t treatable with our current medical techniques, and babies are in no position to end their own suffering. Death is the only respite in those – and many other – cases.

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  128. mandk (949 comments) says:

    @gump,
    Your answer seems to be to “play God” and decide whether or not to attempt treatment.
    A few years ago HI was invariably fatal. Now it’s not because doctors and parents decided that killing does not always have to be the answer. An increasing number of people with HI are leading rich and fulfilling lives.
    I am sure that there are other diseases and congenital defects where the same applies.

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  129. kowtow (8,175 comments) says:

    In Belgium you can get yourself topped when you’re not happy .

    Terminal illness and extreme pain don’t enter the equation.

    The cases being used here are just propaganda to get the Act passed ,after that it won’t be long before open season is declared.

    Politicians here claim it will be tightly controlled……yeah right.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2440086/Belgian-transsexual-Nathan-Verhelst-44-elects-die-euthanasia-botched-sex-change-operation.html

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  130. BlairM (2,317 comments) says:

    Well gee, I was feeling a bit down in the dumps today. I wanted to kill myself, but I didn’t have the guts to do it. I hope they pass a law that lets someone else do it so they don’t get charged with murder afterwards.

    You think that’s wrong? How dare you judge my pain! How do you know how much pain I am in? Surely if I say I am in pain, that should be enough for somebody to be allowed to kill me? No?

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  131. Dazzaman (1,137 comments) says:

    gump

    Supporters of euthanasia are motivated by a desire to reduce unnecessary human suffering.

    That is not madness – it is compassion.

    Rose tinted idiocy more like it.

    Till those, as anecdotal evidence and I’m sure actual evidence show, that those with ulterior motives (I’m not pointing strictly at greedy relatives) see it as a cost containment exercise & we get into the situation that the Netherlands is in right now where they are seeking to stretch this madness to vulnerable yet healthy groups (children). Belgian doctors are already seeking greater remuneration for euthanising patients. With health budgets being stretched already, especially with growing elderly populations, we will no doubts see medical cost as a very real consideration when euthanasia is reality.

    If you really want to be compassionate advocate for increased palliative care, more & cheaper private health insurance options, amongst other options. More murder & suicide is not compassion…..did I really have to spell that out?

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  132. gump (1,617 comments) says:

    @Dazzaman

    “If you really want to be compassionate advocate for increased palliative care,”

    ——————–

    For a number of serious medical conditions there is *no* effective palliative care.

    If you are willing to ignore the pain and suffering of those people, then you it is you that suffers from “rose tinted idiocy”.

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