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View Poll Results: Should the Ulitimate Decisons About Life Be Medical not Moral?

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  • Yes

    4 44.44%
  • No

    4 44.44%
  • I don't know

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    1 11.11%
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  1. #11
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    There are people in a gray zone though. They aren't brain dead, but they may have dementia or problems with communication.
    This is true. Fortunately, you can pretty clearly tell when someone is brain-dead. Those are not brain-dead, but can't communicate, are still in the clear.
    Regardless of their ability to communicate, it can still be identified that they are conscious. In such cases, I would not allow for any execution of the patient. The severity of the patient's condition must be assessed.

    I have not yet formulated my stance on the demented, as it requires a very complex policy.
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  2. #12
    heart on fire
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    Are they in the clear? What will keep them there? What protects them?

  3. #13
    Senior Member WobblyStilettos's Avatar
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    I think that if a patient is unable to say whether they want to live or die (i.e. if they are in a coma) then it should be up to their family to decide what happens to them. However, I also think keeping them alive when they have no hope of recovery and are unconsious may prevent the family properly coming to terms with what happened. Despite this, I think turning off the machines without the family's consent would do more harm than good.
    Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

  4. #14
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    That recent case where the boy came out of his coma right after his family gave permission for his organs to be harvested makes me doubt that the medical establishment is clear and infallible on just who is and is not brain dead and beyond hope.

    The patient should have the final say if they have a living will or are communicative. If they cannot speak for themselves, then it is the job of their next of kin to speak for them.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  5. #15
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    What if it is person with terminal cancer? Should that person be allowed to have pallative treatment and live their life out or should a medical board decide who has a "worthwhile" life and who does not?
    Objectivity and morals aside, a decision process like that will be based on money.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  6. #16
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Mar 4, 2008 21:32 | Updated Mar 5, 2008 9:26
    Brazen new world
    By AVI SHAFRAN


    "....This past January 30, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, Canada issued a policy statement that may come to permit the professor to add "prophet" to his curriculum vitae.

    In that document, the governing body of the Canadian province's medical profession directs that doctors have the final say with regard to ending life-sustaining treatment of patients - regardless of the wishes or religious beliefs of the patients or their families. It also establishes a baseline for justifying life-sustaining treatment - including a patient's ability to "experience his/her own existence" - below which a doctor is directed to end life-sustaining treatment, regardless of the wishes of the patient's family. The new policy paper has garnered much attention, and may well have ramifications throughout Canada and, conceivably, elsewhere.

    Underlying the document - saturating it, actually - is the premise that ending a human life is a medical decision, not a moral one. Or, alternately, that medical training somehow confers the ultimate moral authority to pass judgments on the worthiness of human lives.

    Either contention is offensive. A foundation of what has come to be called civilization is that people are not mere things or even animals, that human life has a special, sacred, nature....(more at link)


    Thoughts on this issue?
    Ah, another oblique reference to Huxley. Interesting how often one sees this phrase bastardised. Anyway.. on topic...

    There are some interesting and challenging questions here. To me, the fundamental difficulty is the inherent tension between the need that society has for hard and fast rules vs the genuine grey areas that exist in moral issues.

    The classic one is something like abortion. When does humanity start and when does it gain "human" rights? We need a rule that can apply en masse to a large population so we pick a certain number of weeks and determine that up to that point it isnt a human, and after that point it is. We do this, because the "moving boundary" is of no practical use in a legal and medical guidance sense. It makes perfect sense if one can examine a situation in depth and to cover all of the affected parties, but the resources are not available, and too much subjectivity increases the risk of corruption and unfairness, even if for most it might be better.

    So, we do this a lot... a child becomes an adult gradually, yet we apply an "everything ok but only after this date" rule which is clearly a real world nonsense, but we've become desensitised to using it because we are so familiar with it.

    What's the solution? Guidelines that are clear as can be for many situations, but there must be an independent review board available in a number of situations. A group of, say, 3 trained experts. They don't have to spend months deliberating and be endlessly dragged through the courts - but being made free to decide they can help correct the practical difficulties of real world greyness crashing straight into the brick wall of society's rule book.

  7. #17
    heart on fire
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    It also establishes a baseline for justifying life-sustaining treatment - including a patient's ability to "experience his/her own existence" - below which a doctor is directed to end life-sustaining treatment, regardless of the wishes of the patient's family.
    This is the part that disturbs me. It does not just say "brain death", it is about a patient's experience and quality of life. It seems to be it is grey language directed at being able to now focus on people in gray zones, not just the people who have achieved brain death.

  8. #18
    The Unwieldy Clawed One Falcarius's Avatar
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    Just put it this way: If I was in a life threatening situation or a vegetable state, I would rather have the decision made by someone who knows a thing or two about medicine, rather than someone who knows nothing.

    So I guess that means I think "decisions about life should be medical not moral".
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  9. #19
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    All physicians goes by to the creed "Do no harm"...

    Terminating a life... it doesn't just affect the patient... but also the family members watching the patient "suffer"... really it's not the unconscious patient suffering... it's the family. And the family themselves can sometimes be too caught up in pain... hoping for the person to wake up... Having it drag on and on for them with no end in sight.

    We're told to move on from relationships that hurt us... That foolish hope isn't going to change anything... this is no different. Perhaps it is necessary to have somebody on the outside to remind us that life goes on... have to go on.

    I think it's a decision that should be made by the physician along with the family... but ultimately the doctor should have the final say. Because somebody has to make the decision.

  10. #20
    heart on fire
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    If they mean coma or brain dead, why don't they spell that out? Why put in the bit about patient quality and experience of life? Sounds like opening the door to more than just vegatative states to me.

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