Whaleoil readers’ feelings on Euthanasia revealed

Euthanasia is a very complex issue so our Whaleoil questionnaire focussed on only two aspects of the debate.

1. The person’s right to make the decision and to take their own life with or without help from another person.

2. The moral difference between assisting a suicide overtly or covertly and actually killing the person at their request.

The question that had the most readers selecting either strongly agree or agree was question four.

Question four. Ann is 50 years old, a cancer patient. She is in the last phase of the disease. It has been decided by her physician that no treatment options will serve any benefit to treat her cancer or reduce discomfort. She has left the hospital of her own free will and wishes to die. She saves up her morphine tablets until she has a lethal amount and then commits suicide by taking an overdose. In regards to Ann?s actions, I

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With a total of 76.75% ?in agreement with Ann’s actions, I think it is safe to assume that the majority of those who completed the questionnaire believe that:

1. A?person has the right to make the decision to take their own life without help from another person.

The question that had the second most readers selecting either strongly agree or agree was question one.

Question one:

Ann is 50 years old, a cancer patient. She is in the last phase of the disease. It has been decided by her physician that no treatment options will serve any benefit to treat her cancer or reduce discomfort. She has left the hospital of her own free will and wishes to die. The physician prescribes medication for Ann, knowing she intends to overdose on it. In regards to the physician?s actions, I?

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With a total of 75.18% ?in agreement with the doctor’s actions, I think it is safe to assume that the majority of those who completed the questionnaire believe that:

1. A?person has the right to make the decision to take their own life with covert help from a doctor.

Out of all the questions,?question two got the least amount of approval.

Question Two:Ann is 50 years old, a cancer patient. She is in the last phase of the disease. It has been decided by her physician that no treatment options will serve any benefit to treat her cancer or reduce discomfort. She has left the hospital of her own free will and wishes to die. Ann approaches the local drug dealer to purchase Heroin. The drug dealer sells the Heroin to Ann, knowing she intends to overdose on it. In regards to the drug dealer’s actions, I?

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With only 34.25% in agreement with the drug dealer’s actions, I think it is safe to assume that the majority of those who completed the questionnaire believe that either:

There is a?moral difference between assisting a suicide covertly as a doctor and assisting it as an illegal drug dealer because drug dealers do it for profit.

“The drug dealer doesn’t do it for me, we should be a better society than allowing illegal drug dealers to profit from yet more misery, given the amount that they create already”

-Wheninrome

OR

There is a safety issue when using drugs provided by an illegal source. They may not work as intended and are unlikely to be exactly as advertised.

“Illegal drugs are often impure, cut with other substances and of varying effectiveness. The result is less certain than the “official” routes, and could end up with the wrong result.”

-Korau

Question three cut to the heart of the euthanasia debate because there is a vast moral difference between committing suicide, assisting someone to commit suicide and actually killing someone at their request.

Question three:

Ann is 50 years old, a cancer patient. She is in the last phase of the disease. It has been decided by her physician that no treatment options will serve any benefit to treat her cancer or reduce discomfort. She has left the hospital of her own free will and wishes to die. She has asked her physician to inject a lethal drug into her to bring about her death and the physician has agreed to do it. In regards to the physician?s actions, I?

whaleoil.co.nz

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With a total of 63.86% ?in agreement with the doctor’s actions, I think it is safe to assume that the majority of those who completed the questionnaire believe that:

It is morally acceptable in the situation described for a doctor to kill ?Ann?if she requests it overtly. This scenario is the only one that is an actual example of?Euthanasia. The other scenarios were not Euthanasia as they were either suicide or assisted suicide.

Personally, I feel that if it was ever made legal only assisted suicide should be allowed where the individual makes the decision and the individual kills themselves. We have the technology to allow an individual with limited mobility to push a button to activate a machine to administer the fatal dose.

Doctors swear an oath to do no harm and I would hate to make it legal for them to overtly break that oath.?Euthanasia is completely different to assisted suicide. In cases of euthanasia the physician administers the means of death, usually a lethal drug. In an assisted suicide the patient self-administers the means of death. I believe the power should remain in the individual’s hands. I do not want to legislate to turn my doctor into my executioner even though 63.86% of you may disagree.

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