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Access: Right to die?

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  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to steven crawford,

    No it isn’t, it’s an individual, asking for the right to decide how she wants here doctor to treat her illness.

    Seriously, I agree,

    But, in terms of; "I am dying of this illness. In all probability it will cause me pain and suffering that I am not prepared endure. I want the right to ask my doctor to prescribe and/or administer a drug that will kill me, to spare me this pain."

    Not all the other stuff.

    Not all the "abject humiliation and loss of dignity through dependence on others for my most intimate cares" crap.

    Because that is the daily reality for very many New Zealand citizens. It is fact, it is life, there is no avoiding it.

    And yet, with the proper care, from the right people who can perform these tasks without diluting dignity, a good and productive life can be had. An enjoyable life.

    And a little less of how intelligent and determined and accomplished we are...because it kind of implies that those who do live with what others consider to be "unbearable humiliation", are somehow less....

    And, this whole thing could have played out in comparative privacy...out of the glare of the media.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    Lecretia is not asking for her illness to be treated. It is fatal and she knows that. There is no "treating".

    This is about who has the power to decide where the boundary between life and death sits. Until now, the law has set that boundary very conservatively in favour of preserving society's interest in people not removing themselves from society over personal preferences about how their life ends.

    In this court case, we see the relationships between individual personalites and social stereotypes about disability.

    How far do we bend social norms to fit personal drives and vice versa?

    If one person is terrified of people helping her go to the toilet, is that enough to set the boundary between life and death there? If one person reckons the boundary lies at death via skydiving for him, how many other people do we bind to that level of adventure?

    We all die eventually. Disability is normal before that, including incontinence and having someone else wipe your bottom. I've personally seen people negotiate their dignity in those situations better than most of us can imagine.

    Is that enough to beckon in the risk of people deciding they are a burden? Glad I am not that judge.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    it kind of implies that those who do live with what others consider to be "unbearable humiliation", are somehow less...

    bloody lawyers

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    bloody lawyers

    miserable, slimy, bottom feeding scumsuckers...

    Having said that, with tongue firmly in cheek, foot in mouth, same lawyer spoke with equal passion and conviction on behalf of the HRC at the Appeal Court in Attorney General (for the Miserly of Health) v Margaret Spenser.

    He seemed to 'get it'...I was moved...and I wonder if he has any idea of the possible impact of his words on behalf of this client, on those whose rights he was defending last October?

    But...whoever pays the piper....

    bloody lawyers...

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I actually respect their craft. Working with a QC in supporting a friend against a big govt department showed me lots.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    and they are human....

    I was trying to transfer Peter from wheelchair to car one afternoon by the side entrance to the High Court in Auckland. We were parked on a slope, and things were not going to plan...disaster loomed. Up stepped besuited and begroomed well known QC, and he immediately held the chair in place while I hauled from the inside of the car.

    How did he know that was exactly the right thing to do? Most folk tend to try and take the wheelchair away....

    Turned out his son was born with a physical disability...nice guy, his wife was lovely too.

    I was wondering today what he'd make of all of this....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    How far do we bend social norms to fit personal drives and vice versa?

    In this case, it's a "personal drive" I can relate to. I do understand the appeal of having control over that final act, of being able to make the choice about when is enough.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The lawyer mentioned that she didn't want anyone cleaning up her bodily fluids. But what does she think happens after you die?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So do I. Only wish it had been easier for her to talk with people living with conditions like incontinence, using personal care services, etc, to reassure her about those aspects. Bigger things to be afraid of than that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    In some ways it is a bit like planning a caesarean because you are scared of childbirth and have never been at a natural birth or known anyone who had one. Lots of people do that. But if death and dying was more part of all our lives, as it once was, then there might not be this fear of 'suffering', 'dependency', or lack of 'control' of a natural process.
    Or perhaps not.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    In some ways it is a bit like planning a caesarean because you are scared of childbirth and have never been at a natural birth or known anyone who had one.

    Slap bang on the head, Hilary.

    The culture, the traditions, surrounding birth and death have changed over the years...almost in parallel.

    Both used to be largely the province of women. The midwives, the healers, the army followers...there will be literature on this.

    Birth and dying...both raw and messy, and inevitable. And completely and utterly natural.

    And maybe that is part of this. Getting and being pregnant, giving birth, used to be a normal thing to do...it still is in some what we in the west might consider to be 'developing' nations. In the west it has turned into a medical and technical procedure...something, as you say, to be controlled....managed.

    Dramatised.

    Shared on social media.

    We have moved so very far from what used to be considered 'normal'....you only have to read the comments from those who oppose home births.

    I don't know, sometimes I think that we should insist that all young people experience disability care, elder care infant and child care etc...as part of their education...or as a form of national service (I think some countries do this).

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Sacha,

    Lecretia is not asking for her illness to be treated. It is fatal and she knows that. There is no “treating”.

    She is asking for the right (her human right) to have the suffering from her illness treated by her doctor, by terminating her life, with lethal medication.

    Please note: She is not asking to have any laws changed!

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    Death is not usually regarded as a treatment, but I know what you mean.

    Lecretia is asking for an exemption from current laws. However, that would have an impact on other people's rights. The court has to adjudge how to balance those things - and whether it is even something they are allowed to decide on.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    One thing that has jumped out at me during this discussion, is fear of suffering. And that beyond the fear, there is a good chance that the process of dieing of somthing like brain cancer might be a worth while experience. I get the Idea that the fear alone of what might happen, is no reason to bail prematurely.

    Another thing I'm seeing is the denial of an individual's right to choose there own poison, becouse of a fear that other people's rights might be trampled on if we make any exeptions.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    True. Which of those fears seems more significant depends who you are.

    There is plenty of evidence of disabled people's lives being undervalued. That makes us vulnerable to the unintended downsides of policy and law changes, as well as the upsides everyone might benefit from.

    Nearly all humans do not have a full sense of control of our own lives at the beginning and at the end of them. That's just how it is, though harder for some to accept than others. Dying young wouldn't help.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    One thing that would help people deal with these issues of anxiety, grief and fear is access to counselling. Pity that our main counselling agency has just been euthanised.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    zing
    #ouch

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    One thing that would help people deal with these issues of anxiety, grief and fear is access to counselling. Pity that our main counselling agency has just been euthanised.

    I'm not comfortable with that analogy, but I don't know if you genuinely believe that counseling could help with the anxiety of my second paragraph.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Issues of consent in our culture are not well resolved (roast busters et al). I'm very uncomfortable with the oversight of such a policy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_klage_an

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to steven crawford,

    Good skilled counselling, with a professional you feel comfortable with, can help with the stresses and anxieties of being human.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Good skilled counselling, with a professional you feel comfortable with, can help with the stresses and anxieties of being human.

    If only live really was that cut and dry.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    'can help' is not an absolute statement.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to steven crawford,

    It can help, I didn't say solve

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

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