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The Right to Life?

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  • The Right to Life?

    I just happened to catch this news story on the TV yesterday, 'Patient loses right-to-food case.' You can find more information about it from the following links:

    I think it is up to the individual who is suffering to decide for themselves if they want to continue to live in these situations. Anyone else have any thoughts on the issue?

  • #2
    It said that if patients are no longer able to communicate their views, doctors must judge what the patient would want...
    (Emphasis mine)
    Now, that's down right stupid. I think someone who actually knows the patient should make that decision, such as a spouse or parent. If a close relative such as a spouse says they know the person would not want to live, then fine. But arbitrarily making that decision for someone when you haven't gotten to know them well is completely asinine.

    And Professor Irene Higginson... said there were cases where giving food and water artificially could do more harm than good.
    Really? I'd love to know how. Since mental faculties are not impaired, one would have full awareness of their slow death by starvation. I don't think anyone would volunteer to die that way. No one wants to suffer a painful death.

    The most poignant quote:
    Society is so negative about disability that it encourages the view that being disabled is a good enough reason to end someone's life.
    Quite right. And I'd add that this is due to society's squeamishness regarding the disabled and not any sort of benevolence.
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars


    • #3
      I think someone who actually knows the patient should make that decision, such as a spouse or parent. If a close relative such as a spouse says they know the person would not want to live, then fine.

      Except if one has a greedy spouse (or parent?): "Oh, yes, Henry would want to be taken off of Life Support (so then I'll get all of his money/property/ bwahahahahahha)

      I think people should be able to make The Decision for themselves in a Living Will.

      And provided one doesn't change one's mind before getting in that condition.
      Madness is always the best armor against Reality


      • #4
        A 'Living Will' should cut both ways. If people can write down their wish to be put out of their misery, when they can no longer suffer the effects of their illness, or communicate, then they should also be able to put their wish to survive, at all costs, down too.

        Living in Holland certainly sharpens one's appreciation of having a choice in the matter of 'voluntary' euthanasia. Or, in this particuliar case, 'in-voluntary' euthanasia.

        Hell, while I'm on the subject, this is a country (Holland), where the Government recently decided that organs and spare parts can be harvested from the recently deceased, automatically. If you don't want to be harvested, you have to opt-out, by filling in some official form, or other.

        It's ironic that Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron (New Worlds 1967), should have cause such a furore in its day, with questions in Parliament and all. Here we are, right now, living in the miserable, Corporations, ultra-rich and spin-meister mediated future, where humans can be farmed like cattle, that the book predicted Thirty years ago.


        • #5
          DeepFixer - as the patient was on the British NHS there would be no spousal medical bills.

          (Although this actually does suggest a good reason why British doctors shouldn't be making such decisions - the costs are incurred by the hospital and the doctor will be thinking 'this machine is costing money that could be better spent elsewhere' or even saving other lives . . on the other hand, that probably is something more people should consider).