Canadians and the Assisted Suicide problem

Elvis Starburst

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I can agree with some of the stuff in this article. I do agree it should not be suggested by a nurse so casually, however... that's maybe taking this topic a little too lax. More should be done to support people and put that support forward before even considering it. I have issue with this part in particular though:

"The law was later amended to allow people who are not terminally ill to choose death, significantly broadening the number of eligible people. Critics say that change
removed a key safeguard aimed at protecting people with potentially years or decades of life left."


I feel that that should only be spoken for in the case of people that are well enough for those years or decades of life to actually be enjoyable, and I think these critics may feel that life existing exceeds one feeling like they're actually living.

If I was hospitalized tomorrow with major injuries that basically meant that, going forward, I'd have to have help at my beck and call at all hours of the day, needed to be checked up on frequently, couldn't work, and needed help with certain daily things like getting around or maybe even cooking or cleaning, or god forbid not even being able to eat or bathe myself... you bet your ass I'd be asking to die.
Even if I was perfectly stable otherwise and could live until I was old, I'm not the kind of person that wants to have to burden someone else' life with my own like that. Not just a caretaker's, but my family as well. I simply wouldn't be able to accept that, I'd feel miserable every day knowing I'm putting everyone else around me through my own experiences by proxy.

And so if these safeguards were to be put in place again, I'd basically be unable to decide that for myself? That if so desired by others, I'd have to live out the rest of my life like that and be unable to choose just because my injuries/illness aren't terminal? I disagree with that idea. Some safeguards should be in place if I'm not of a certain state of mind, sure. However, if the government tried to tell me "you aren't allowed to choose to die" then I guarantee you I'd be saying "watch me" as I do it myself instead.

“The implication of (Canada’s) law is that a life with disability is automatically less worth living and that in some cases, death is preferable,” said Degener.

Buddy, I've been living a life with a disability and it's sucked major ass for a lot of it. It's been a massive fucking struggle to deal with and many times I wish I was never born the way I am. It isn't that my life is less valuable or less worth living, but it sure as hell is a lot harder when disabled in any capacity. When the article gets to the topic of mounting bills for treatment, that is once again another thing that I feel is something I'd feel horrible putting my family through if they had to start paying for me just to exist for longer. Having to go through hell and back just to even get financial support for the life I'd now be "living" is ridiculous.

If support is there, then support needs to be able to be given quickly and more readily. It shouldn't have to be a war of attrition just to get the support one needs to survive
 

Agema

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So apparently Canada has a bit of a problem right now with its euthanasia program which is leading to it being one of the leading causes of death in the country. Any thoughts on this?
Okay, I'm going to come from some personal experience here.

Recently, my wife and I had to send two elderly relatives into dementia homes. They are not happy. Lots of the people in those homes are not happy, as I found whilst speaking to them when waiting. They may not be able to function independently any more, but they are aware enough to know they are in what amounts to a comfortable prison, with bad food, little fun, and hardly anything to look forward to. Some feel like they are a burden to their relatives and society, and that the care costs are going to consume all the wealth that they had built up just so they could bequeath. Some outright say things like "I want to die".

So why are we keeping them alive, unhappy and undignified? In ways it's almost a blessing when their dementia gets sufficiently severe they do become mostly oblivious. And yet even then, there they are year after year, unable to feed and dress themselves, with relatives occasionally popping into to say comforting things to people who can't even understand them. Some of them will live 5-10 years, more even, in this state. What is the purpose? What is the advantage to them or anyone else?

Fundamentally, if we are really to have control over our own lives, one of these needs to be the right to end ourselves, by choice, with dignity. I appreciate that I am referring to dementia cases above, where their right to self-determination is limited or even substantially impossible. But the idea that people just have to carry on living because of some weird fucking societal mania about preserving every last minute of life, even though those minutes are degrading, agonising, unpleasant and simply not wanted by that person, is obscene. And we can extend this to empowering legal guardians where they are so far gone and irrecoverable to make the decision for them.

One of my grandmothers had an accident when she was in her 90s. The hospital told her she could be fixed but would be fully dependent on care for however long she had left. Thankfully, the guidelines had recently changed a few years previously to empower patients, and she was much more free to decide to die with palliative care instead. She made it clear she'd had a good life, she'd seen her great-grandchildren born, she'd outlived her husband and all her old friends, and she was happy to go. And thank the heavens she just could with medical support. (She'd actually kept her late husband's heart medication just in case she wanted to polish herself off, knowing the system might not be supportive should her quality of life decline far enough.)

Many of us, including my relatives above, have/had a strong idea about what we want from our life. Maybe with some disabilities and infirmities, we'll decide it's still okay and we get enough value from it. But I also think we absolutely should have the right to say "This is shit" and voluntarily go back to the dust. If we do have a lot of time left, I think a system can demand a reasonable amount of time for us to have to try to acclimatise before we exit, and to make sure that it's not comorbid depression. I also think we need robust systems to ensure greedy relatives are not shoving their "loved ones" out of the door over-hastily. But fundamentally, if people really want to die, for heaven's sakes let's respect the autonomy that society is supposed to value so much.
 
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meiam

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I don't really get the case they presented as a sign of excess, the person was suicidal because he was deaf and going blind, yet the family claim he absolutely didn't want to die? being blind and deaf must be unbearable, what do you do for the rest of your life? Unless they could prove that he didn't make the request himself I don't see it as much evidence of anything.

For having a close relative go trough the procedure to allow assisted dying in case they would be to far gone, I'm very glad that its possible. Even though they didn't end up using it, just knowing that it was an option for them made things easier.

As far as necessary government assistance, I don't think its realistic in a lot of cases. In the case from the article, it sounds like the government was willing to place him in a center for disable people but he didn't want and instead wanted peoples to take care of him in his house 24/7 and was unsatisfied with 16 hours a day. I understand wanting to live in your house, but I don't think it makes any sense that 3 person entire job be to take care of one person. It's going to sound insensitive, but that's a major waste from a society point of view. It makes much more sense for the government use the resource in other area and instead combine heavily handicapped people in center.
 

Specter Von Baren

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This topic has come up in news articles for about a year now and in several of them I read about people who took the euthanasia option, not due to any physical debilitation causing their lives to be bad, but because they couldn't afford proper housing or care. It's this particular aspect of the issue that concerns me. Not whether euthanasia is good or bad, but whether the laws in Canada around this are too loose and are causing people to seek the option for none of the reasons everyone else in this thread has listed here.

Because when your life is in the hands of your family, it can come down to "I know your very existence is hell, but I'm too selfish to endure the pain of letting you go".
On the flipside, it seems that the cart is being put before the horse in cases where it's more like "Your very existence is a burden on the family wallet so please kill yourself for the good of the family."

I repeat, it's not the euthanasia as a means to help people that are physically suffering that worries me. It's the monetary "inconvenience" as the reason that has me concerned.
 

Agema

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I repeat, it's not the euthanasia as a means to help people that are physically suffering that worries me. It's the monetary "inconvenience" as the reason that has me concerned.
Surely. But the economics are an issue, at individual, family and societal levels.

Care is really expensive, and someone's got to pay. Critically, there's a conflict here with a longstanding societal idea that people leave their wealth to their children, because care is ever more prevalent, and it destroys family wealth. At a societal level, with an ageing population that increasingly require care, it diverts huge sums of money and resources. In this also lies a societal injustice. Unless fully socialised, care destroys the family wealth of the poor and most of the middle classes, guaranteeing they leave little or nothing. The upper middle and rich - well they're always fucking fine. To be socialised, someone's got to dig deep in their pockets, and that needs to be the wealthier part of society and we've all noticed how good they are at not being taxed.

Some people worked and saved with the idea that they would bequeath that to their family. When we talk about people dying for the money, sometimes it's the people who would be doing the dying that would want it to happen.
 

Trunkage

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Because when your life is in the hands of your family, it can come down to "I know your very existence is hell, but I'm too selfish to endure the pain of letting you go".
My dad died of cancer almost 20 years ago. It was 6ish mths between first being diagnosed and dying. He seemed to have gone into remission at about 4mths but the cancer was completely back by month 5

The last two weeks was just a living hell for him. Waterboarding him would have been a relief to the torture he was going through. I'm very thankful when he died because of this 'palliative' process. This should not be done to humans
 

Terminal Blue

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So why are we keeping them alive, unhappy and undignified? In ways it's almost a blessing when their dementia gets sufficiently severe they do become mostly oblivious. And yet even then, there they are year after year, unable to feed and dress themselves, with relatives occasionally popping into to say comforting things to people who can't even understand them. Some of them will live 5-10 years, more even, in this state. What is the purpose? What is the advantage to them or anyone else?
My heart really goes out.

One side of my family has a history of very severe dementia. Two of my grandparents ultimately died after a decision was made not to feed them any more, which was a slow and humiliating death. Of course, they were gone by that stage so they didn't really suffer in any kind of comprehensible way, but I will never forget the effect it had on my parents, especially my mother who very much felt she was seeing her own future. I remember one day she told me that when she started to go we should just take her to the beach and let her walk into the sea. I was about eight, but I think she was so upset and just didn't have anyone else she could say that to without judgement.

Fortunately, treatment has come a long way and I think she'll enjoy a much longer quality of life than her parents did. It always bothers me when media fixates on stories of family members trying to keep their loved ones alive at all costs. It plays on this really false and unhelpful sense of empathy (wouldn't you hate it if doctors wanted to kill your relatives). The reality is, I think most people don't want to see their relatives suffer or linger in a humiliating half-life, and those who do are typically motivated by religious objections.

Disability care is inadequate. It's inadequate everywhere, we all know it's inadequate. It's inadequate because people, often the same people wringing their hands over euthanasia laws, vote for governments which cut it, often in pointless and deliberately cruel ways. I was working voluntarily in social care during the Cameron "austerity" period, and I knew people who literally died as a result. My feeling, both as a disabled person myself and based on that experience, is that if you care about disabled people and want to make clear that you value their lives, pay for their social care. Don't create a financial burden and act surprised when the people on whom you've inflicted it choose to take the obvious way out.
 

Agema

You have no authority here, Jackie Weaver
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One side of my family has a history of very severe dementia. Two of my grandparents ultimately died after a decision was made not to feed them any more, which was a slow and humiliating death. Of course, they were gone by that stage so they didn't really suffer in any kind of comprehensible way, but I will never forget the effect it had on my parents, especially my mother who very much felt she was seeing her own future. I remember one day she told me that when she started to go we should just take her to the beach and let her walk into the sea. I was about eight, but I think she was so upset and just didn't have anyone else she could say that to without judgement.
That is a terrible thing to have to hear as an eight year old.

I have an extra issue here because these relatives are both on my wife's side of the family. And, unfortunately, her side of the family appears highly prone to Alzheimer's type dementia. Maybe she'll rolll double six on the genetic lottery, but add in women's higher susceptbility to AD as well, I have to accept the substantial probability that I will end up caring for her in the future. Hopefully, as late as possible. I know I would not wish it happening to me on her, and should it happen, with her assent I think I would choose to not put her through it.

Fortunately, treatment has come a long way and I think she'll enjoy a much longer quality of life than her parents did. It always bothers me when media fixates on stories of family members trying to keep their loved ones alive at all costs. It plays on this really false and unhelpful sense of empathy (wouldn't you hate it if doctors wanted to kill your relatives). The reality is, I think most people don't want to see their relatives suffer or linger in a humiliating half-life, and those who do are typically motivated by religious objections.
+1

I am minded a little reading stories of dogs and elephants reacting to the deaths of their pack/herd. Some of that behaviour seems to demonstrate an unwillingness to let go - trying to lift the deceased as if they can be got back up, or staying with them. I think we're not so different. Once someone's gone that's it, and it can seem incredibly precious to take what time there is left, or hope for a miracle. But in the end, we have to accept the inevitability, move on and grieve. Otherwise it is prolonging everyone's pain.

Disability care is inadequate. It's inadequate everywhere, we all know it's inadequate. It's inadequate because people, often the same people wringing their hands over euthanasia laws, vote for governments which cut it, often in pointless and deliberately cruel ways. I was working voluntarily in social care during the Cameron "austerity" period, and I knew people who literally died as a result. My feeling, both as a disabled person myself and based on that experience, is that if you care about disabled people and want to make clear that you value their lives, pay for their social care. Don't create a financial burden and act surprised when the people on whom you've inflicted it choose to take the obvious way out.
I am so angry about the inadequacy of care. The cost is incredible - and I don't necessarily object, because looking after people is going to be expensive. But it's how it's spread across society, and how inadequate a lot of the support systems are. How long does it take for power of attorney if it's not been set up? Months and fucking months, whilst nexts-of-kin are trying to work out how to get everything done when everyone comes back and tells them they don't have authority, potentially paying out of their own pockets. The bewildering complexity of all the forms, documents. The sheer bureaucratic disinterest of the government and companies to empower relatives to sort things out for the best. To me, it's felt like the national care system is not designed to provide care, it's designed to obstruct it: or more specifically, obstruct access to state support in the hope they pay for it themselves. A whole, massive network of penny-pinching and profit.

This is the reality that belies the superficial bullshit of societal care and support that some go on about - people who I can only imagine have never had to face the crap that the system throws in the faces of people needing care and their carers. Either because they got lucky and haven't been subjected to it, or that their wealth insulates them from it. Worst of all people like Cameron, who made a big publicity noise about the provision they took, and then promptly closed the door so others couldn't get it.
 
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CM156

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It deeply worries me that we're going to see more and more of this as many developed nations have an increasingly aging population.
 

Baffle

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It appalls me that we're expected to hang on to a life we no longer want. Some of the right-to-die cases that I've seen in the press are inhumane - we literally would not treat an animal as badly as we do these people.

I have a relative with an early-onset degenerative disease that has a dementia component, and he's always said (before this occurred) that in that sort of situation, he'd like to take the pills and be done. But now what's he to do? Do it now while he's still got the facility to do it (but also to enjoy life) or wait until it's all unbearable but also without the facility to do it himself (and so draw someone else into the supposed crime of not want to live through suffering). Shite.

I want to choose when I go and how I go if it comes to that. It might be because I'm ill, it might be because I'm too broke to achieve a standard of life I consider adequate, it might be because I'm bored with life; it doesn't matter, it's my life.
 

twistedmic

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Admittedly I skimmed part of the article, so I may have missed some things, but I’m pretty onboard for people being able to choose euthanasia for themselves, provided that such a course is not offered casually.

Only a couple weeks ago I had to have my four year old cat put down. She had Feline Leukemia Virus (most likely contracted from her mother as a kitten) and had started loosing mobility in her hindquarters. The best case scenario wouldn’t have guaranteed that she’d regain mobility and ran the risk of more loss of mobility and ongoing pain. She may have lived longer but that would have been time spent alone in a small kennel (enough room for a bed, a small litter pan, water dish and a small food dish), away from other cats, coming out briefly to get medicine squirted down her throat, barely able to move and unable to pee on her own. Forcing her to live like that would have been cruel.

Letting her go was painful but the more humane route.

If someone is in constant pain and misery or terminally ill they should be allowed to opt-out and leave on their terms. Forcing a person to continue to exist when they are unable to do any of the things that gave them joy, they are essentially chained to one spot and entirely dependent on other people for even the most basic of actions is little different than making my cat linger in that little cage.
 

Gergar12

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The reason you have to live is to work. They want you to live longer work longer, and buy more. It's what keeps the economy going. Sadly healthcare is expensive, and healthcare/drug research is even more so. I think the solution to think will be the US forcing people to take care of their parents. The US won't just let people kill themselves because their life produces economic value.