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  1. #1
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default Court Rules Against 17-Year-Old "Right to Die" (vs treat a treatable cancer)

    Does a 17-year-old have the right to not only make choices about her own medical treatment, but to do so in a way almost guaranteed to end in death?

    This is the question that was just decided in Connecticut, where the state has taken custody of a 17-year old resident who is refusing chemotherapy treatment for her Hodgkin lymphoma.

    The young woman, identified in court documents as Cassandra C., will turn 18 in September of 2015. Cassandra’s mother, Jackie Fortin, explained her daughter’s decision to local reporters, saying, “She has always — even years ago — said that if ever she had cancer … she would not put poison into her body.” Attorneys for the family have also made clear that Cassandra is not refusing treatment based on religious reasons, and her family has stated that Cassandra has their full support.

    The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that state officials are not violating the young woman’s rights by forcing her to receive the chemotherapy treatment she does not want to receive....

    https://www.yahoo.com/health/should-...518648817.html
    The law was created mainly for younger kids, but since she's still a minor, she still falls in the same category whereas in September she'll be 18.

    The case is also complicated by the reality that she has an 85% rate of survival if she is treated but will likely die within two years if she is not treated. Usually what we see is a treatment with low viability [painful + dubious results regardless] that people are thus hesitant to pursue, and in that case most reasonable people would say, "Why reduce quality of life for something that likely won't work anyway?"

    But here we have a very treatable cancer that she doesn't want to be treated for, for personal (non-religious) reasons, and the court is using her minor status as the basis for forcing treatment.

    What are your thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Ethically, I side with the court's decision. The Right to Die entitlement, to me, is to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives, who would inevitably face the same result, with or without treatment, and as such, the question becomes about whether to prolong their suffering.

    The Right to Die, for me, is about the consideration of suffering in vain. Will she suffer undergoing chemotherapy? Probably, but as she hasn't undergone such treatment, she won't know if that suffering, only to live after, outweighs the suffering of dying from her cancer (I didn't see anywhere that she requested physician-assisted suicide).

    Edit: I should correct my above statement, I see that she had undergone brief chemotherapy which led her to her decision, so she does have an inkling of what it must be like. She just doesn't know whether such treatment only to live is worth less or more than letting her cancer do what it will, which will inevitably lead to her dying.
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    Senior Member SensEye's Avatar
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    It seems the rational for forgoing standard treatment is that both her and her mother and "alternative medicine" kooks. So in this case, I would say force chemo on her until she is 18, then let her Darwin herself to oblivion (assuming her cancer is not in remission by then).

  4. #4
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SensEye View Post
    It seems the rational for forgoing standard treatment is that both her and her mother and "alternative medicine" kooks. So in this case, I would say force chemo on her until she is 18, then let her Darwin herself to oblivion (assuming her cancer is not in remission by then).
    I'm not surprised. It is the same as children and families of Jehovah's Witness who deny life-saving blood transfusion.

  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    This apparently was a written opinion by the girl on the matter -- just including it for reference.

    Cassandra C. tells her story of being forced to get treatment for cancer - Hartford Courant

    I've got mixed feelings. Obviously she didn't like the way things have played out this past year, and cancer sucks. On the other hand, she seems to be thinking very short-term. I guess if she were not a minor, it wouldn't matter; she'd just refuse treatment and that would be that.

    (What's the experience of endgame lymphoma, if she wants to discuss quality of life? I'm not sure her quality of life would be so hot when she's in the throes of stage 4 cancer, and especially if she then changed her mind but would die knowing she could have lived. I mean, that's pretty... severe... to not get a shorter-term almost-assured treatement. And we're also discussing a significant quantity of life versus a very short lack of quality in comparison -- it's not like she's 60 and might die within ten years anyway, it's likely without a cancer recurrence that she could triple/quadruple her current lifespan, if not longer.)

    I don't hear mention of a dad, so either he passed away before she was born or her mom was a single mom the entire time.
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  6. #6

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    17 is pretty young to want to die.

  7. #7
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Ethically, I side with the court's decision. The Right to Die entitlement, to me, is to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives, who would inevitably face the same result, with or without treatment, and as such, the question becomes about whether to prolong their suffering.

    The Right to Die, for me, is about the consideration of suffering in vain. Will she suffer undergoing chemotherapy? Probably, but as she hasn't undergone such treatment, she won't know if that suffering, only to live after, outweighs the suffering of dying from her cancer (I didn't see anywhere that she requested physician-assisted suicide).
    this this time 56000 time. I always thought right to die was for the reason stated above. other wise its considered suicide and you get your ass baker acted.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so
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  8. #8
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    17 is pretty young to want to die.
    Did she said she wanted to die?

    She just seems unwilling to suffer through the experience of treatment, even if it's almost assured of working.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  9. #9
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    This is interesting to me.

    I am in full support of the right to die and physician assisted suicide. As I see it, it is your body and your life. No one has the right to tell you what you want to do with it. Forcing someone to live when they do not want to is akin to torture to me. As such, its morally very reprehensible.

    That said, in the cases of mentally ill individuals, and underage individuals, it depends. In some mental illness I am against it because the individuals isn't able to cognitively make the correct choice. However if their illness puts them through hardship with no sign of improvement, I am somewhat inclined to let them ends their lives even if they aren't rational. Reason being is if they were rational and able to see themselves from the outside, I suspect many might feel the same sane or insane. With underage individuals it is iffy because the human brain isn't quite developed and they aren't able to make long term decisions weighing consequences. There isn't a good benchmark or test either to see if they are or are not.

    In this particular case though, I find it rather hard to separate out my cognitive biases. I can not STAND these science illiterate idiots that make the most profoundly stupid medical decisions based off fantasy or just flat out wrong information, and won't listen to anyone else. Because of this, my initial reaction is to say "fuck no that girl is not going to let herself die. Her facts are wrong and her mother is wrong. Their views are actively harmful and the solution is easy and good. The judge is totally right to force it". If I think about it though, I am able to see that my real drive behind this view is my desire to punish them for being complete idiots. It's kind of ironic: your punishment is you must live. Though really it is just spiteful by doing the opposite of what they want.

    That isn't fair of me and actively goes against my views. It is morally inconsistent. With that said, the girl to me seems incompetent, heavily influenced by a idiotic mother, and isn't able to make a sound judgement for herself. She was found to not have the maturity level of an adult so I stand by the judges decision. Children shouldn't be able to choose to end their life unless dying is a short term inevitibility and show adult or adult-like maturity levels.

    This case is still interesting though because of her closeness to legal age. I actually see another alternative. Give her two options: She can choose to commit medically assisted suicide, but if it goes beyond a certain date (a date where cancer would have to be dealt with, and beyond it there would be no solution). Or she must undergo treatment and live. This would do double duty and see if she actually wants to die. It make it clear if she is rational, or is being passive and avoiding "medicine" and doesnt actually want to die.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Did she said she wanted to die?

    She just seems unwilling to suffer through the experience of treatment, even if it's almost assured of working.
    I dont see why we shouldnt consider this in any way other than it actually is here, euthenasia is about dying, its called assisted killing or assisted dying because that's what it involves.

    I know that the left, which is sympathetic to these things on libertarian/permissive grounds, which I dont entirely understand, has become pretty steeped in the newspeak. A shame since the usually claim Orwell as a icon and all but its how it is.

    Lets call a spade a spade more often and have the courage of our convictions, I think if people want suicide on tap they should have the courage to say so, ask loud and proud, make the case, see what everyone thinks and permit others to make the opposing case, dont qualify it, disguise it or shirk about it and dont limit it to cases of distress which is physical or mental.

    In this case they didnt mount a challenge to government and pharmaceuticals to prioritise R&D into cancer treatments and pain relief or anything like that, which are things which people faced with this kind of crisis could as easily do and I respect them for doing so aswell.

    I'm always going to come down on the life affirming side of these questions. No mistake about it.

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