That is, should someone with an absolute 0% chance of survival have the right to a quick and painless death? Personally I think it's perfectly reasonable, and that they should be euthanized by a trained practitioner (ideally a specialist in this field). Of course I think various legal and social actions need to take place before euthinzation is authorized for a patient. Specifically the presence of a lawyer, a waver signing over the right to do this, counseling before hand, etc etc.
But anyways some of you may know of Jack Kevorkian, better known as Dr. Death, who was convicted of multiple accounts of second degree murder because he preformed 'assisted suicide' on patients who would rather die painlessly than to have their illness drag on. What do you think? Should it be legal?
The "Right to Die" people are not interested in your wellfare. You already have every right to die. You can tell anyone at a hospital to discharge you and they are required to do so. You can kill yourself, as this is not illegal. (Imagine if it were -- jails would be filled with people who need help being prosecuted, instead of getting the counselling they need.)
So, if you already have (in most countries) the right to die, then what is it that they are selling you?
What the "Right to Die" people want is the legal authority for medical personnel to kill you without your foreknowledge or legal repercussions. They often point to the Netherlands as their version of Utopia -- a proper working example of their version of the law -- except that in the Netherlands a small percentage of very old, very young, and very infirm people are murdered by medical personnel every year. Such statistics are usually waved off with everything from "nonsense" to "it's just a small percentage -- nothing's perfect", but many people like myself believe that even one life lost due to such a miscarriage of justice is one too many.
They have occassionally sought to bring certain cases to the public consciousness but have always been embroiled in difficult legal issues stemming from exactly the issue of whether or not the patient and/or family really wanted death.
As for the very powerful catch-phrase these fiends will invariably use, squinting and limping and crying softly, "the pain!" -- playing you against your emotions and fears instead of actual facts that stand, not to mention moral and legal realities -- the sad fact is that medical professionals are undertrained to deal with pain. There are very few pains that cannot be properly treated. There are people who actually spend all their time training medical personnel to properly treat patient pains.
The other thing they will foist on you is the hypothetical scenario presented in the OP. Sorry xander337, but you've been given a short-changed scenario, which, while simple, is inaccurate and, frankly, all but nonexistant -- excepting for people half-crushed underneath the rubble of collapsed buildings and the like.
You are free, of course, to believe what you will; I will not say more here or bother looking up information you can find yourselves. Don't believe crap that leads to murder. It is one thing to die, or kill yourself, but it is another for someone else -- someone you expect to help you, who swore the hippocratic oath -- to make the decision that your life is not worth living. Honest medical professionals will tell you that they see miracles happen all the time, along with the tragedies.
Eh, the senario you've presented (and how the laws work in the netherlands) doesn't exactly go with what I'm suggesting. I've posted this question in two forums today, so I've gotten some things mixed up as my ideas and understandings have evolved.
"a lawyer should be present for the act, as well as when the patient, or who ever holds their power of attorney, signs a waver expressing their wish to die and giving the practitioner the expressed permission to do it. Also, I feel like psychological counseling would be a good thing to go through before anything is signed or done."
The idea that it should be a euthanasia carried out by a licensed doctor is due to the fact that a patient may not be able to kill them self in a painless and reasonable manner.
Note: all of these stories are from the UK, where euthanasia is illegal. As such, I don't believe legalising euthanasia would really make much difference in terms of doctors committing murder.
[edit: removed William Palmer because he didn't kill patients]
I understood what you are suggesting, xander337. You've missed my point. The scenario you are suggesting is ludicrous. (Sorry. I suspect it is because you have been mislead in the facts.)
No terminally-ill patient with competent medical care suffers so greatly that he needs to kill himself. Alas, it is true that there exists a lot of incompetent medical care, but that is not a case for "euthanasia" -- another code word for murdering human beings -- rather it is a case for improving medical treatment.
More often than not, a person nearing death is much calmer than those around him. My wife has a friend who is, at this very moment, in the very situation you discribe -- he has no chance of survival, as all his internal organs are failing. Nevertheless, he both wants to live as long as possible and is not suffering horribly. Rather, he has, when conscious, expressed gratitude towards and love for those who surround him. And, he has accepted, without fear, that he will shortly die.
Personally, I think it ought to be difficult to kill yourself.
That said, if you really want to die easily and painlessly, without help, there are quite a few simple methods to do it. None are difficult to figure out or perform, and can be done with normal everyday objects found in normal, everyday life. It is only a fear of death, lack of imagination, and moronic media messages that have people doing idiotic things like slashing their wrists and attempting to hang or strangle themselves.
That is an entirely different scenario than giving some portion of society the authority to kill others.
But again, you know my opinion on this matter -- and better some facts about the issue. I am, frankly, finished with the issue.
I agree with Duoas, more or less. Everyone has the right
to die and if they really want to do it, it's very simple.
But there's something else I also want to point out. There's this game I occasionally play with my friends - it's called DotA (some of you may know it, it's quite popular) - where there are cases of beginners joining a match and then quitting in the middle of it simply because they can't keep up with the more experienced players (both allies and opponents). Now, joining a match when you're a beginner isn't a bad thing in itself. After all, only when you are thrust into the midst of what is being taught do you learn. It becomes a bad thing when you don't listen to your more experienced team-mates and act on your own, in ways that damage both you and the team. The root of this behaviour is usually the fact that these people don't really want to master the game, but simply fool around. And it isn't really a bad thing, because 'bad' is something subjective, but it does ruin the game experience for everyone. We call these people 'leavers'.
So, yes, if you want to die, go ahead and do it. But remember that if you do it, you're nothing more than a 'leaver'. You just wanted to fool around and now that you're bored you want to leave. You never wanted to master the game. That was never your intention. It's not really a 'bad' thing and I won't judge you if you choose to do it, but you should know that your behaviour ruins the game experience for everyone around you.
I find it interesting that when an animal is in vast pain and is going to die, it is said to be humane put put it down. Yet when it comes to humans this is not the case.
There are many different cases where assisted suicide or euthanasia could be considered a valid solution and the issues surrounding it need to be discussed. The problem is that a lot of people are against even the discussion let alone the potential outcome. They clutch at pathetic excuses or ludicrous scenarios to avoid even talking about it.
There are important safe guards that would need to be put in place that protect the wishes of the persons involved.
On top of that this wouldn't just be a "Well, I'm gonna die eventually, might as well get it over with" Sort of thing as I may have inadvertently implied in the first post. This would be a last resort situation. Honestly, how is this any worse than 'pulling the plug' on someone who is only living through something like an Iron Lung, or any other large piece of medical equipment?
I believe that there is no black or white answer regarding Euthanasia. It is a case by case thing, where the same answer may not be the same for 2 different cases. Many things come into play when someone is deciding that answer for themselves, including religion, morals, state of mind, health, relationships and their outlook on life. With all of these factors, and countless others, varying drastically case by case, how could 1 answer possibly fit all scenarios? Of course, 1 answer could be forced by people such as lawmakers, but in what regard will a person about to die hold laws?