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View Full Version : California governor signs right-to-die legislation



Bos Mutus
10-20-2015, 09:59 PM
So, California has become the 5th state to legalize physician assisted suicide.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-governor-jerry-brown-signs-right-to-die-legislation/

Academically, I can understand the "no quality of life left" argument and have seen family members bedridden in the last months of life with mostly just misery and suffering

...but, I can ever imagine agreeing to or endorsing this for a loved one, much less fighting for it. It's hard enough when someone passes away, I can't imagine saying "OK, go do it."

My gut does not like this idea.

What say you?

UncaRastus
10-20-2015, 11:06 PM
Not too up on this, but doesn't the person about to become a suicider have to agree to becoming dead? Not in the past, but in the present?

In other words, a person can't say years before that if they ever get into the state of bed ridden misery, that they should be killed, but they have to be of a clear mind, at the time, and state that they want to die.

For awhile after being retired from the armed forces, I worked in several different hospitals in southern California. I was a respiratory therapist, and I was ordered to unplug ventilators on doctors orders, which meant that I would have had to have done the coup de' grace.

As a corpsman, after switching services from the USMC to the Navy, I was tasked with saving lives. Not once as a corpsman, when I was working as an RT, or otherwise, did I ever have to do anything that ended lives. The doctor would come in and pull the plug. Or a nurse. Or another corpsman, because I would not do that.

On the civilian side, I kept my end of the deal up, but not to pulling the plug. OK, pushing the off switch. I refused to do that. A lot of corpsmen and civilian RTs refused to do that, also, but there is always someone that will do that.

Some see the sanctity of life as being something that they will not help to end. Some people see it as the doctor's orders are sacrosanct, and they do what they are told to do. Some people just don't care at all, and they would just as soon push the button for chemical executions in the prisons.

What started me thinking about 'pulling the plug', or more on the side of not doing that was when an 8 year old child on a ventilator in the hospital was about to die, on the doctor's order.

I was in charge of RT, and I received the order. I passed it on to one of the corpsman that I was in charge of. Then I went to the child's bedside and held her hand, until she was pronounced dead. The mother was given drugs to 'help her cope' with the scene, and she was pretty much a living zombie, crumpled onto a chair, her head in her hands. Her father looked at me, with tears in his eyes, and thanked me for being there, and for caring.

I have watched people come off of the ventilators, to live their lives, afterwards. However, watching the child pass on over, I made up my mind, not to be the death giver, just as so many other RTs have done, also.

That is just something that RTs have to decide, on their own.

Assisting with suicides is something that I could never do. But there are always people that will.

Bos Mutus
10-21-2015, 12:12 AM
Not too up on this, but doesn't the person about to become a suicider have to agree to becoming dead? Not in the past, but in the present?

In other words, a person can't say years before that if they ever get into the state of bed ridden misery, that they should be killed, but they have to be of a clear mind, at the time, and state that they want to die.

Yes...for the assisted suicide we're talking about, it is a conscious decision by someone of sound mind.


For awhile after being retired from the armed forces, I worked in several different hospitals in southern California. I was a respiratory therapist, and I was ordered to unplug ventilators on doctors orders, which meant that I would have had to have done the coup de' grace.

As a corpsman, after switching services from the USMC to the Navy, I was tasked with saving lives. Not once as a corpsman, when I was working as an RT, or otherwise, did I ever have to do anything that ended lives. The doctor would come in and pull the plug. Or a nurse. Or another corpsman, because I would not do that.

On the civilian side, I kept my end of the deal up, but not to pulling the plug. OK, pushing the off switch. I refused to do that. A lot of corpsmen and civilian RTs refused to do that, also, but there is always someone that will do that.

Some see the sanctity of life as being something that they will not help to end. Some people see it as the doctor's orders are sacrosanct, and they do what they are told to do. Some people just don't care at all, and they would just as soon push the button for chemical executions in the prisons.

What started me thinking about 'pulling the plug', or more on the side of not doing that was when an 8 year old child on a ventilator in the hospital was about to die, on the doctor's order.

I was in charge of RT, and I received the order. I passed it on to one of the corpsman that I was in charge of. Then I went to the child's bedside and held her hand, until she was pronounced dead. The mother was given drugs to 'help her cope' with the scene, and she was pretty much a living zombie, crumpled onto a chair, her head in her hands. Her father looked at me, with tears in his eyes, and thanked me for being there, and for caring.

I have watched people come off of the ventilators, to live their lives, afterwards. However, watching the child pass on over, I made up my mind, not to be the death giver, just as so many other RTs have done, also.

That is just something that RTs have to decide, on their own.

Assisting with suicides is something that I could never do. But there are always people that will.

I guess I would see that a little different. Keeping someone on a respirator, to me, is like keeping them artificially alive. Ending that is allowing them to die naturally rather than causing the death a la assisted suicide.

I would have an easier time pulling a respirator plug, I think. Though, I've never been in that place.

The other one I have difficulty with is stopping the feeding tube...we were presented with that as a possibility with my father-in-law, and it didn't seem right. Never came to that, fortunately...he ate enough to sort sustain himself for quite a few months though he lost a lot of weight and eventually passed, but not of starvation or anything, he continued eating. His was an odd case, he was transferred to Hospice, they said he'd last 7-10 days...a month later he was still going and got to the point where he no longer qualified for hospice so was transferred to a regular care facility where he lived another 3-4 months, at least.

Mjölnir
10-21-2015, 02:26 AM
Yes...for the assisted suicide we're talking about, it is a conscious decision by someone of sound mind.


I have done two line of duty investigations for suicide and the DoD for the purposes of line of duty determinations actually looks at suicide the opposite way. Paraphrasing the JAGMAN, "to cause one's self harm violates regulations and would preclude the government paying benefits. For someone to purposely cause their own death is indicative of suffering from a mental incapacitation that overrides the natural instinct of self preservation ... hence ... suffering from a medical condition and the member died in the line of duty not due to misconduct, government pays benefits."

Not saying I agree / disagree, that is just how the DoD handles a service member killing themselves when they are technically "not allowed to do so."

The whole assisted suicide issue is really touchy. Many would argue that suicide is a sin, some argue it is a personal choice.

I think there comes a point that someone who is suffering should be allowed to make a decision that allows them dignity and minimal unnecessary suffering. My mother is suffers from Alzheimer's and while physically she is doing pretty well, mentally she is not her anymore. She doesn't know who I am, doesn't know my brother, doesn't know her husband of the last 27 years. She is not suffering, but when it gets to that stage she will not be in a position to make a conscious decision about her life.

garhkal
10-21-2015, 08:02 PM
While i am all for allowing someone to decide to have the plug pulled on themselves, i fear at some point this might get used by unscrupulus insurance companies/govt (etc) as a cost cutting measure.. cut the aid off so they DO die, to save bucks.