Incurable diseases

  • Thread starter Lisa!
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Lisa!
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So I have this pretty crazy question in my mind that always bothers me. Imagine a person who's suffering from an incurable disease and is willing to die. This sick person knows his condition would become worse and worse evryday and there would be no hope to cure his sickness. and living longer for him means tolerating more awful pain. He really wants to die but he doesn't want to do it by himself and wants someone( his doctor or nurse...) to do it for him. Now the question is: is it immoral if that person accepts his request and kill him by changing the dose of his drugs for example?

PS I'm not going to kill anyone since I'm not a doctor or nurse. So don't be afraid of answering to my question!:redface:
 

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  • #2
Curious3141
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Lisa! said:
So I have this pretty crazy question in my mind that always bothers me. Imagine a person who's suffering from an incurable disease and is willing to die. This sick person knows his condition would become worse and worse evryday and there would be no hope to cure his sickness. and living longer for him means tolerating more awful pain. He really wants to die but he doesn't want to do it by himself and wants someone( his doctor or nurse...) to do it for him. Now the question is: is it immoral if that person accepts his request and kill him by changing the dose of his drugs for example?

PS I'm not going to kill anyone since I'm not a doctor or nurse. So don't be afraid of answering to my question!:redface:
This is a terribly complex issue, and a lot has been said about it. Ethical principles and moral views vary from individual to individual, and in a lot of cases, the law makes a very clear stand on the issue.

The issue is far too complex to be explained in a post here, so you should google a few things : "physican assisted suicide", "Hippocratic oath" (and relevance to modern medicine), "euthanasia", "active euthanasia", "passive euthanasia", "double effect", "right to die", "living will".

I'm sure you'll get a much more complete understanding of the issues involved. Following that, you can start a more directed discussion. :smile:
 
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  • #3
Lisa!
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Curious3141 said:
This is a terribly complex issue, and a lot has been said about it. Ethical principles and moral views vary from individual to individual, and in a lot of cases, the law makes a very clear stand on the issue.
The issue is far too complex to be explained in a post here, so you should google a few things : "physican assisted suicide", "Hippocratic oath" (and relevance to modern medicine), "euthanasia", "active euthanasia", "passive euthanasia", "double effect", "right to die", "living will".
I'm sure you'll get a much more complete understanding of the issues involved. Following that, you can start a more directed discussion. :smile:
Thank you very much!:smile: It's laways good to have someone who points you in the right direction.
 
  • #4
I don't think euthanasia is immoral if it's what the patient wanted. Now on the other hand if the patient is in a coma so someone else just says, "ah just kill 'em. It's what they would've wanted" well that's different. But if the patient themselves wanted to die, then it wouldn't be immoral to accomodate that request.
 
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There are some people who will maintain that anyone who wants to die, regardless of their circumstances, is not mentally competent to make the decision. It's a variation of Catch22.
 
  • #6
I haven't heard that one before. Then again I've never really talked about this topic before..

But if I heard someone say that I would not believe them. Everyone is different and has different values; the desire to live (in whatever circumstances) is not a universal norm or requirement for mental stability.

Like if someone says that you're nuts if you don't like baseball.. Yeah THEY may really like baseball. Nothing is universally desired or appreciated. The one thing I think comes closest is music, (do you know a lot of people who don't like music?) but life? No. We can't impose values on people.
 
  • #7
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In Joseph Heller's novel, Catch-22,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch_22" [Broken]

"catch-22" is a military rule, the circular logic of which most notably prevents anyone from avoiding combat missions:

One may only be excused from flying bombing missions on the grounds of insanity;

One must assert one's insanity to be excused on this basis;

One who requests to be excused is presumably in fear for his life. This is taken to be proof of his sanity, and he is therefore obliged to continue flying missions;

One who is truly insane presumably would not make the request. He therefore would continue flying missions, even though as an insane person he could of course be excused from them simply by asking.
During the Terri Shiavo thing, there were any number of discussions that relied on this sort of logic.
 
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  • #8
russ_watters
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The Catch-22 does not apply to Terris Schaivo (or any similar living-will case) because in such cases, the person makes their wishes known before getting into that situation, nevertheless, it is an interesting twist on the issue (and there was a good Law and Order episode about it).

Anyway, my personal opinion is that assissted suicide - even physician assissted - is morally right. I do not interpret the hippocratic oath to mean that a person should be required to live in pain. Pain is harm - "do no harm" means don't cause pain.
 
  • #9
Curious3141
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russ_watters said:
The Catch-22 does not apply to Terris Schaivo (or any similar living-will case) because in such cases, the person makes their wishes known before getting into that situation, nevertheless, it is an interesting twist on the issue (and there was a good Law and Order episode about it).
Anyway, my personal opinion is that assissted suicide - even physician assissted - is morally right. I do not interpret the hippocratic oath to mean that a person should be required to live in pain. Pain is harm - "do no harm" means don't cause pain.
FYI, the Hippocratic oath never contained the words "Primum non nocere", or "First do no harm". That may have been a Hippocratic saying but it was not in the oath. This is a common misconception amongst non-medical laypeople.

What *was* indisputably in the oath was the following : "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel"

which is a clear proscription against physician assisted suicide.

Reference : http://www.geocities.com/everwild7/noharm.html

Interestingly, immediately after it is a proscription against abortion as
well, and that has been pretty much disregarded by most modern doctors.
 
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  • #10
It also prevents medical proffessionals from helping administer a lethal injection, therefore ensuring that whoever provides the anesthesia in the procedure to ensure a humane death does not know what they are doing.
 

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