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Assisted Suicide

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Drusilla | 11:00 Wed 25th Jan 2006 | News
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With the death of former doctor, Anne Turner (66), at the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland, I was interested to know how the argument for assisted suicide plays with ABers.
In certain cases, where people have a terminal illness and are in a lot of pain, I believe many people would accept assisted suicide as an option an individual should be allowed to choose.
However, there are cases, like that of Robert and Jennifer Stokes, one of whom was epileptic and the other, diabetic. Neither partner was terminally ill. Should their suicide have been assisted by Dignitas, or not?
Personally, I tend towards giving the terminally ill this option, but have reservations on the matter. I am very concerned that old people may feel obliged to accept assisted suicide because they believe themselves a burden on their families.
What safeguards would need to be in place to ensure the safety of the elderly if such a system were ever introduced?


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This is such a difficult moral dilema, and has to be assessed on an individual circumstance basis.

I could not be in any way involved with an assisted suicide - today - who knows how I may feel tomorow?

I think it's just too complicated to discuss here, but personally if somebody feels they want to end their life then they should be allowed to do so.

This of course brings up all sorts of problems with regard to mental illness etc.
Sorry to clarify what I meant by mental illness was the possibility that somebody can make the decision to end their life when they could technically be incapable of making that decision due to temporary or long term mental illness.

WoWo, I agree with your point - it is up to individuals.

The former Voluntary Euthanasia Society, now called Dignity in Dying, supports the "Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill". The Bill is very clear on points such as mental capacity. The request must be made by a mentally competant patient. Dignity in Dying recommends the use of Living Wills that allow a person to state their wishes in advance such that should they later experience mental incapacity, their wishes should be honoured.

The bill can be found here:

Dignity in Dying's website can be found here:

I cried this lunchtime when I read about that. I think Mrs Turner and her children have acted with immense courage and dignity.

I've watched someone die from a terminal illness and it's pretty horrific. Totally agree with above that each case is different. But if I compare the reported experience of the Turner family today, with my own experience, then I can't help but support assisted suicide.

I lost a close relative who had MND.The detioration in his particular case was rapid and he suffered terribly from panic attacks once it reached his throat.He was a very frightened man in his own body.Thankfully he succumbed to pneumonia (the old persons friend).

I do not wish my life prolonged and to allow my loved ones to see my suffering and to witness theirs as well as their memories being diminished in part for the rest of their lives.

To that end I have a living will.I wish DNR on any medical records.

The worst part about this case is that Dr Turner had to end her life a bit earlier than she would have liked as she was currently fit & of mental capacity to do this in Switzerland. She did it now as she was scared that when she wanted to die she may not have been fit enough to travel. If the bill was passed in this country she could actually have had a (slightly) longer life!

To all those people who say it is terrible, I have watched my mother in law die of motor neurone disease.

If you don't agree with euthanasia then try the following:

  1. Take a belt and have someone tie it around your neck so that you can't breath properly - allow yourself enough room so that you can still breath, just make sure that each breath is painful

  2. Have a peg fitted to your stomach so that you no longer have to eat or drink - you just get sufficient sustenance through your stomach

  3. Tie yourself to a chair and make sure that you soil yourself a few times as you are not quick enough to get up.

  4. Stop doing anything by yourself and wait for someone to come and help you

  5. Keep thinking - this is my life until I die.

If I did this to an animal I would (quite rightly) be locked up - but I have to do it to someone I love?

Yes oneeyedvic. Ironic isn,t it. To assist in a suicide of someone who wanted to die you would probably get ten years. To mug and kill a fifty year old lady who wanted to live expect about 3 years. When the law allows us to put down a whale in great suffering, we don,t!

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