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End of life debate

I stumbled into an end of life, assisted suicide conversation and stupidly I didn’t think it would be so polarized or feature black and white reasoning. I guess I assumed doctors might be less against it. I was kinda shocked at how quickly it became “you murderer!”

Note: I am for assisted suicide. It is a complicated issue because there are lots of reasons someone might request it. There are also lots of reason why it shouldn’t be done. In my mind, it’s the last option when everything else has failed and there is no quality of life.


Also, while I was talking about this over the internets there was a younger doctor who had the same position as me, it was largely the two older ones who were saying this stuff. (Basically, notalldoctors, just the ones that were opposed and the stuff they wrote. Also, is it weird that I am suspicious of people who describe themselves on a professional site as a family person? I might be my dislike of people who always say things like “we put families first” and other election baby kissing bs.)

Immediately the reaction was:

“But what about the people with Deafness and Depression!” (Can be replaced with Elderly, disabled, etc) aka the slippery slope, if kill one, we must clearly kill everyone.

Are you fucking kidding me? That’s your go too? Yes, clearly we will kill them. While we are at it, let’s people with cognitive impairments so we can cover you too. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think we start killing everyone who isn’t in prime health or asked to be killed. There will be a process for you to be a candidate. If not, yes, that’s really stupid and problematic then.

“You want me to kill my patients?”

Only the ones that ask you too, there are no other treatments, and have the ability to make that decision, or made it clear that was their end of life choice when they still had all their faculties.


“Why would I kill my patients?”

Because they asked to die and their suffering is enough that they no longer want to live because their quality of life is basically zero or even negative 1000.


“I’ve seen people suffer through worse, they can do this!”

Do all people experience the world the same way? Can you feel their level of suffering? Seeing someone once a day, is very different from living their experience. Are they actually getting better , more comfortable, or are we only prolonging suffering and delaying death?


“Well you can’t force me to do it!”

I wouldn’t. It’s big thing to ask of someone. If you don’t want to, then you need to refer the patient to another physician or nurse who will respect their wishes. But just because you don’t like the idea doesn’t mean we should ban it for everyone else.


“Patients can’t make those kinds of decisions!”

Why can’t they? It’s their body, you are only an invited guest not the owner of set body. (I wonder how much of it is a power issue?)


“Well I guess we should legalize suicide!”

Suicide is illegal? Really? You can be arrest for it? Fuck, I never hear about attempted suicide people in prison. Is this really a thing? (In Canada or the USA?) I assumed they sent you psych, that seems more helpful. If we are sending them to prison we need to change that law right away.


“Well someone else should do it. Why they need to involve doctors is unclear.”

Maybe because doctors are part of the care team and generally assumed to be the head of that team. Also, assisted suicide is often used when palliative care is no longer working. Hence, you’d be in a medical facility, under the care of a doctor.


“well I guess unions should also tell us how to do our jobs.”

I don’t even know what to do with this. I thought like most jobs doctors had rules and regulations to tell them what to do. If you don’t, well we should add them because there needs to be order. I don’t know what workplace safety regulations apply medicine, (it’s different) so you might want to look into your work refusal rights.


“Well why can’t nurses do it.”

(Why can’t mom do it? :P I kinda laughed at this, because basically it was like “this makes me uncomfortable and I don’t want to talk about, so pass it on.”) From what I understand they use to. If you asked for the morphine drip to be left open to let your family member pass, they would do it. Apparently they don’t do that anymore, which is why we are back here.


“Patients should require intense counselling to decided if they are allowed for assisted suicide.”

Well I’d like to assume we wouldn’t just be handing out needles to people who asked for them... Oh wait


This sounds familiar....


Wait a second, are anti-choicers involved in this?

I was talking to a nurse today and we both joked that part of the reason some people don’t want it, is because they make more money if they keep you alive indefinitely. It’s money is often a motivating factor and no matter how good we think we are, we all still need money.

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