Monday, 22 June 2009

Assisted suicide – a personal choice or a criminal act?

Tuesday 30th June Doors open at 6.00pm, debate starts at 6.30pm

Helping someone to take their own life is not only illegal but simply wrong, or is it a humane and respectful response to the rights of the individual.

Martin Johnson RN, MSc, PhD is professor in Nursing, University of Salford and editor, Nurse Education Today “It is an individual’s choice to decide how they are cared for. This includes being able if they wish, to end their life because of chronic and incurable pain and suffering.”

Dr Hans-Christian Raabe MD MRCP MRCGP DRCOG is a Manchester GP and medical coordinator of the Council for Heath and Wholeness “The real danger is that once you accept killing as the solution to a single problem, then what is to stop it being as the answer to hundreds of other problems?”

Entrance: Suggested contribution £2.50 (more if you can)

Pay at the door

Refreshments are available at the bar

Café Ollo, The Media Centre, Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL (2mins from train station)

For more information:

Tel: 01484 483010



Mark Harrop said...

I was annoyed to the point of wanting to slap Debbie Purdy and/or her husband for their stance on AS; she may claim that her life will be longer and she wishes to live it to the full but she runs the risk of legitimising suicide and thus having expensive treatments withdrawn - c'mon now, you don't want to be a burden - or as is increasingly happening people having to comply with moralising judgements in the guise of prevention ie. it's your own fault. Yet do an internet search for cures for MS, cancer or any other debilitating illness and you find there are plenty of treatments available and being developed.
Much embryonic work is being done on our DNA and this along with other groundbreaking work ought advance understanding to the point of highly focused and individualised care. Instead these kinds of treatment will develop haphazardly and only available to the wealthy.
I'd have much more respect for the likes of Purdy if they fought as hard for better medical attention even if just for their own particular affliction. However, better treatments will only come if they are argued for comprehensively and as a universal right. Expensive treatments will then become commonplace to the point they're available in supermarkets.

I'll declare an interest and state that I'd like my teeth done to US standards (taken on the chin recent comments about our teeth). At current rates this is quite prohibitive yet, last time I looked, state of the art treatment would mean threaded inserts in my gums and synthetic gnashers - technology and exotic enough materials found in your average pair of football boots. Bargain.
Sometime in the future I may also have to consider a hip replacement but these are withheld until absolutely necessary as they're only good for 15 years. Yet there are people who suffer throughout much longer periods in their lives, unneccesarily too as the operation has become repeatable such that some have had it 2 and 3 times. In more affluent societies its even available for pets.

Instead what should be relatively cheap and widely available treatments get held up in the most by cultural and political influences. Even worse, those wishing the affirmation of AS help generalise the view that we're not worth investing in. Debbie Purdy may be glad she may live a longer life but her fight will aid the immiseration of millions of the rest of us.

There are other sides to suicide than the medical and a wealth of study and statistics suggesting depression, other mental illness and socio-economic factors. I'd suggest that our problems will have their resolution in the political sphere.

Mark harrop said...

Loved the show and good to have the usual engaging speakers and excellent audience.

As said at the time I was initially concerned that the above average elderly contingent was an interested party. They were but thankfully full of spirit - a certain joie de vivre - and not aiming to go quietly.

The first speaker, Martin Johnson, put a good case for those feeling they'd had enough and wished to shuffle off their coil. Fair does, perhaps. I'd argue that if someone is rational enough to consider suicide then it's likely they could devise their own means without inconveniencing or implicating others.
Suicide by it's nature is the ultimate selfish act and ought only need justifying to the person doing it. Yet today it has become something needed justifying by society, ritualised and expected to be performed by doctors. Kevin Yuill at sp!ked makes the point that this is a quantum leap in our thinking - how we consider humanity, indeed ourselves. I totally agree, this type of thinking - pro-suicidal - is part of wider cultural traits that view humans as a blight on the planet, selfish and wasteful consumers and not solvers of problems.

Others made the point that in countries where AS has been legalised there develops an expectancy, perhaps even a duty. Maybe not quite Logan's run but definitely not The $6 million Man.
Leaving aside the fact that doctors are encouraged to sidestep the hippocratic oath - another 'sacred' belief being steadily shaken - they have to make life and death decisions everyday due to not having the technology, much more so in less developed countries, here we're top heavy with moralising bureaucracy.

Medical reasons for suicide tend to be the trump card, after all who has the right to determine someone else's prolonged suffering? But even here if treatments are available then surely there's a better argument to be had?