From the comments — on suicide

by on August 22, 2015 at 2:09 am in Law, Medicine, Philosophy | Permalink

Switzerland tolerates assisted suicide since 1942 and there are very interesting numbers. A) From 1995 to 2009, assisted suicide cases have grown but the total number of suicides keeps constant. B) Assisted suicide in 2009 accounted for approx 30% of all suicides. C) Women chose assisted suicide more than men, but men use firearms more than women to commit suicide. D) Peak assisted suicide is between 75 and 84 years old. It seems that people that cross the 80+ years old line are not affected by painful or exhausting diseases thus they choose to life until it ends naturally E) Peak suicide is between 45-54 years old, midlife crisis is real, F) Overall suicide rates for women kept constant even if assisted suicide rates increase. G) Overall suicide rates for men are going down and assisted suicide goes up.

http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/en/index/news/publikationen.html?publicationID=4732

The overall suicide rate in Netherlands between 1999 and 2013 has been between 8.3 and 11 per 100K habitats. The lowest rate was just before the crisis. http://www.cbs.nl/nl-NL/menu/themas/gezondheid-welzijn/publicaties/artikelen/archief/2015/4320-suicide-in-noord-holland-noord-en-nederland1999-2013.htm

The WaPo article would lose its killer headline if the total suicide rate is considered when assessing the “exponential” increase of assisted suicide. This seems like another case of double standards. When someone blows their brains with a gun we have to respect the decision and comfort the family, when someone opens the valve of sodium thiopental with their hand…..it’s just wrong.

That is from Axa.

1 A B August 22, 2015 at 3:43 am

‘When someone blows their brains out with a gun we have to respect their decision..’
Since when? It’s common knowledge that suicides deeply hurt people close to the perpetrator. The glossing over of collateral damage from suicide seems like a step towards the normalization that detractors of assisted suicide warn about.

2 Hoosier August 22, 2015 at 6:53 am

This sums up well the case against promoting suicide.

3 Hedonic Treader August 22, 2015 at 8:22 am

Except you ignore that these externalities are not independent from the method.

For example, violent deaths in public can harm more people and cause property damage.

And what of all the other things that can hurt people’s feelings? Like divorce, or quitting a job, or refusing to have sex with someone who wants it? Are you going to ban those too, and call the people who want autonomy “perpetrators”?

4 Hoosier August 29, 2015 at 6:06 am

That you equate “divorce, or quitting a job, or refusing to have sex with someone who wants it” with taking your life is as sad as it gets.

Do you really not see the difference here?

5 Hedonic Treader September 8, 2015 at 10:34 pm

>sad

“Your rights end where my feelings begin.”

6 Cliff August 22, 2015 at 11:13 am

Then the case is horrible

7 jk August 22, 2015 at 4:23 am

Yes, some of the religious right in America believe it is more dignified to live with a tube supplying oxygen to a body that cannot support breathing on its own, essentially immobile, and have constant pain. Yes that is more dignified way to go.

I guess that goes with the American ethos of fighting until the end even if there is no realistic chance of winning or just prolonging the inevitable.

It is more dignified to be a burden on your family (since some of the elderly did not give a living will or nobody in the family brought up that difficult question whether ignorance or fear), or a burden on the government through medicaid/medicare for those that do not have relatives/friends to support them, or on the insurance system.

Lest we forget “Dr. Death” also, the discussion on assisted suicide is moot due to the religious right. At least hospices still exist in the US.

8 Art Deco August 22, 2015 at 8:08 am

Yes, some of the religious right in America believe it is more dignified to live with a tube supplying oxygen to a body that cannot support breathing on its own, essentially immobile, and have constant pain.

Most members of the portside are out of the habit of thinking or arguing, and can only offer vicious caricatures.

9 Just Saying August 22, 2015 at 8:16 am

“Most members of the portside are out of the habit of thinking or arguing, and can only offer vicious caricatures.”

Do you see the irony of your caricature-ization?

10 Art Deco August 22, 2015 at 8:57 am

Alas, in most fora, it’s not a caricature, so there is no irony.

11 jk August 22, 2015 at 11:06 am

There is absolutely no irony in your ad hominen.

Where is this portside area you speak of? I don’t even live the US.

Stay classy “Art Deco.” You are the reason for Fox News and the creation of the Trumpenstein monster that the GOP cannot fathom.

12 Eggo August 22, 2015 at 12:47 pm

I can’t tell if you’re a bad troll or an amazing one. Are you a sensible person pretending to be a ridiculous caricature of a left-wing lunatic, or are you a leftist pretending to be a right-wing troll making a poor attempt at strawmanning the left?

13 Thiago Ribeiro August 22, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Sorry, it is not caricature, it is your High School Yearbook Photo. Deal with it.

14 Bob August 22, 2015 at 9:17 am

No religious group of which I am aware believes that all care that could delay death must be taken. It is routine for deeply Catholic hospitals to extubate patients, provide them with heavy narcotics and allow death to come. I’ve watched the process several times. The religious line has always been that not fighting off death is different than actively ending it.

The line has always been that actively causing death is immoral while not fighting death with every possible tool is not. This both avoids the classic prohibitions on taking a life and has a hard stopping point that precludes a cultural drift toward any social pressure towards “a duty to die”. Shockingly, crossing the line between passive and active has resulted in further cultural drift. The Groningen Protocol, for instance, is an extra-legal cultural allowance for the involuntary euthanasia of children under 12. Sure, it has currently only ever been applied to severe fetal deformities, but I doubt the willingness of euthanasia advocates to follow rules when they cannot even stay within the highly permissive Dutch regulations now.

Likewise, I really have no idea how people ever take the idea that cultural norms are not going to be changed by what laws are on the books. Certainly, the 92 percent of Dutch women who believe that Down Syndrome children will not be able to lead happy or independent lives is drastically at variance with the 96% of people who actually have Down Syndrome who say they personally have such lives. Belgian intensive care doctors for instance now back involuntary euthanasia for some patients and are actively disregarding the law.

Whatever is legal, there will be a cohort that will push just a bit further than the law. Whatever is legal will inform the morality and cultural norms, particularly of those raised after the changes.

15 dan1111 August 22, 2015 at 10:21 am

+1

16 Jan August 22, 2015 at 10:57 am

Reasonable argument for the other side, not that I agree with the position.

17 Eggo August 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm

You creeps won’t be happy until we’ve got a full recreation of Brave New World, will you?
60 years of drug-induced nihilistic pleasure, then off to the cheery Death Centre.

18 Moreno Klaus August 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Sounds good to me 😉

19 dearieme August 22, 2015 at 6:41 am

“or a burden on the government”: on the taxpayer, you presumably mean.

20 Jameson August 22, 2015 at 9:32 am

The first commenter is right. There is no double standard. The last Gallup poll I saw showed that the vast majority of Americans find suicide immoral. The only reason we “have to respect the decision and comfort the family” is that there is nothing else left to do. This is why promoters of assisted suicide have to argue that it is different from regular suicide (call it “euthanasia” and only use it on terminal patients, for example) in order to convince the public to accept it.

21 ricardo August 22, 2015 at 11:05 am

“The last Gallup poll I saw showed that the vast majority of Americans find suicide immoral.”

Yes. Those who attempt it should be punished.

22 Eggo August 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Those who attempt it should be helped to the best of our ability, because the majority of people who overcome a suicidal episode go on to lead healthy lives.
Of course, certain groups want that “help” to consist of “how do you want to die today?” At least for socially-undesirable and “problematic” people.

23 Youth in Australia August 23, 2015 at 6:42 am

We briefly had assisted suicide in the Northern Territory here in Australia. It was set up so that only people who really could not go on to lead healthy lives could be assisted to commit suicide or killed. Three provisions of the Rights of the Terminially Ill Act were:

(1) A patient had to be over 18 and be mentally and physically competent to request his or her own death.
(2) The request had to be supported by three doctors, including a specialist who confirmed that the patient was terminally ill and a psychiatrist who certified that the patient was not suffering from treatable depression.
(3) Once the paperwork was complete, a nine-day “cooling-off period” was required before the death could proceed.

I would definitely approve of an identical or similar act that applied for all Australians. And other countries may want to introduce something similar. There’s no need to do it Sweedish style.

24 albatross August 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm

It sure seems like suicide by terminally ill patients in unremitting pain is a really different phenomenon from suicide by someone coming out a deep depression. I don’t think we get any wiser on this stuff by mixing the two together

25 Youth in Australia August 23, 2015 at 10:57 pm

Indeed. It’s almost as if people would rather listen to the voices in their own heads than to bother to look up how euthanasia is actually carried out in most places where it is, or was, legal. Of course, that seems to be true for most things.

26 Jan August 22, 2015 at 11:23 am

Indeed there is a double standard. Emotional harm to a family member is not the same as true pain, suffering and emotional trauma to the individual who wishes to die.

I bet most Americans think invasive, overmedicalized, any means necessary extension of life is immoral too. Of course that is the default.

27 honkie please August 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

If you find moral condemnation of suicide to be pin-headed and cringeworthy, high five. For an excellent book on the varying historical and cultural treatments of suicide, try “A Savage God” by A. Alvarez. Alvarez was an English literary critic and confidante of Sylvia Plath, as well as having survived an attempt of his own. Wrote perhaps the best poker book in existence, as a side note.

28 HelloKitty August 22, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Libertarian moment hah.

The fact that anyone thinks they have a say over how and when I’d choose to end MY life is batshit insane and anyone of you discussing it with any flexibility is a totalitarian whack job.

What part of “it’s my life” is complicated to you sick tryants?

29 Hedonic Treader August 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Well, it is a world of violence. Most people really are evil.

There is such a thing as evidence-based misanthropy.

30 Nyongesa August 23, 2015 at 6:29 am

+1

31 HelloKitty August 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Cue the whining about externalities, “irrationalities”, etc.

All justifications for avoiding the explicit justice of “it’s my life.”

32 Baphomet August 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm

I believe euthanasia should be allowed. But only through very painful means, such as garrotting. Thus both sides are satisfied.

33 Nathan W August 24, 2015 at 9:30 pm

It gives me great comfort to know that there are jurisdictions where this is possible, in case I ever find myself in interminable debilitating pain whether due to an accident or some condition that I develop later in life.

It is horrifying to think that some people have this crazy notion that they are doing any good by forcing people to live in such horrible circumstances.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: