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Author Topic: Jack's Death, His Choice  (Read 3194 times)
BigRog
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« on: July 10, 2005, 12:49:26 PM »

Jack's Death, His Choice



By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: July 10, 2005
PORTLAND, Ore.

Jack Newbold is a 59-year-old retired tugboat captain who is dying of bone cancer. It's one of the most painful cancers, and he doesn't want to put his wife and 17-year-old daughter through the trauma of caring for him as he loses control over his body.

So Mr. Newbold faces a wrenching choice in the coming weeks: should he fight the cancer until his last breath, or should he take a glass of a barbiturate solution prescribed by a doctor and put himself to sleep forever? He's leaning toward the latter.

"I've got less than six months to live," he said. "I don't want to linger and put my wife and family through this."

I don't know what I would do if I were Mr. Newbold, nor if I were his wife or daughter (they're both supporting him in any decision he makes). But I do believe that it should be their decision - not President Bush's.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bush is fighting to overturn the Oregon Death With Dignity law, which gives Mr. Newbold the option of hastening his death. Oregon voters twice passed referendums approving the law, which has been used since 1998, and it has wide support in the state.

The Bush administration issued an order that any doctor who issued a prescription under the state law would be prosecuted under federal law. Oregon won an injunction against the order, John Ashcroft lost an appeal, and now the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the fall.

"I'm just grateful I live in the state of Oregon, where we have this option," Mr. Newbold said. "I'm just sorry the John Ashcrofts of the world want to dictate not only how you live, but also how you die. There's nothing more personal, other than childbirth, than passing on."

Mr. Newbold, a Vietnam veteran and former merchant seaman, is funny and blunt, with a flair for nautical language unsuitable for a family newspaper. He started with head and neck cancer. Now cancer is spreading to his bones, disabling him and forcing him to take morphine for pain.

"By God, I want to go out on my own terms," Mr. Newbold said. "I don't want someone dictating to me that I've got to lie down in some hospital bed and die in pain."

Mr. Newbold has started the process of obtaining the barbiturates; two doctors must confirm that the patient has less than six months to live, and the patient must make three requests over at least 15 days. Typically, the drug is secobarbital - the powder is removed from the capsules and mixed into water or applesauce - or pentobarbital, which comes as a liquid. Patients typically slip into a coma five minutes after taking the medication and die within two hours.

Like many patients, Mr. Newbold says that his biggest concern isn't pain so much as the loss of autonomy and dignity. That's partly why he wants the medication on hand - if he feels himself losing the self-control he has prized all his life, he can hasten the process.

"I may never use the medication," he said, "but the knowledge that you have the ability to end it gives you so much relief."

That's common - many patients who get the barbiturates do not in fact use them, but derive comfort from having the choice. Over all, 208 patients over seven years have used the law to hasten death, according to the Compassion in Dying Federation of Oregon, which helps patients work their way through the legal requirements.

When patients use the law, they typically set a date and gather family and friends around them. Those who have witnessed such a parting say it's not as morbid as it may sound.

"It's pretty weird knowing what day you're going to die, but we could plan for it," said Julie McMurchie, whose mother used the barbiturates about a week before she was expected to die naturally of lung cancer. "Two of my siblings lived out of state, and they were able to come, so we were all present. ... We were all there to hug and kiss her and tell her we loved her, and she had some poetry she wanted read to her, and it was all loving and peaceful.

"I can't imagine why anybody would begrudge us that opportunity to say goodbye, and her that opportunity to have peace."

The same applies to Jack Newbold and everyone in his position. Mr. Newbold faces an excruciating choice in the coming weeks, and he's got enough on his mind without the White House second-guessing him.

Back off, Mr. Bush.
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indypartridge
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2005, 07:47:11 AM »

There are scores of ways to end your life without having your doctor write a specific prescription.  The Hemlock Society has been advising people for years on various methods.  Since the man in the story is a cancer patient, it's pretty certain he already has more than enough drugs around to go quietly and peacefully. The man is free to end his life anytime he wants. Blaming Mr. Bush or the government is a cop out, IMO.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2005, 09:02:13 AM »

As far as I know a person can still leave the hospital any time they want to. Go home and take care of the problem. Might not be as neat and clean as drugs, but...... huh
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BigRog
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2005, 03:07:26 PM »

But
going home and putting a gun to your hrad or intentionally ODing complicate the probate to the nth degree. SS benefits are withheld insurance is witheld it's a nightmare.

And I do not think that the president should force his religous beliefs down other people's throats
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2005, 03:50:46 PM »

This;

Quote from: BigRog
But
going home and putting a gun to your hrad or intentionally ODing complicate the probate to the nth degree. SS benefits are withheld insurance is witheld it's a nightmare.


And this;

Quote from: BigRog
Mr. Newbold has started the process of obtaining the barbiturates; two doctors must confirm that the patient has less than six months to live, and the patient must make three requests over at least 15 days. Typically, the drug is secobarbital - the powder is removed from the capsules and mixed into water or applesauce - or pentobarbital, which comes as a liquid. Patients typically slip into a coma five minutes after taking the medication and die within two hours.



Sure sounds the same to me.
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BigRog
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2005, 06:02:29 PM »

Except that it is presently legal to do this in Oregon

Quote
Unfortunately, Mr. Bush is fighting to overturn the Oregon Death With Dignity law, which gives Mr. Newbold the option of hastening his death. Oregon voters twice passed referendums approving the law, which has been used since 1998, and it has wide support in the state.

The Bush administration issued an order that any doctor who issued a prescription under the state law would be prosecuted under federal law. Oregon won an injunction against the order, John Ashcroft lost an appeal, and now the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the fall.


THe federal gov should not interfere in what individual states want to do
The people of Oregon are in favor of it so be it

He is presently doing this legally

If our President has his way
He will be doing it illegally
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2005, 12:21:16 PM »

Whether legal or not legal, is it moral or ethical? Or do you only have to be religious to think about morals and ethics?

Beth
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LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2005, 03:38:24 PM »

Quote from: Miss Chick-a-BEE
Whether legal or not legal, is it moral or ethical? Or do you only have to be religious to think about morals and ethics?

Beth



What other reason is there?
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BigRog
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2005, 08:33:12 AM »

I think that is completely moral and ethical.
You have several months to live
At what point does pain and helplessness become unbearable. At what point does the goverment have the right to control your life (or the end of it)?

What then of Hospice care?
When my Mom passed away she had a heart attack in a hosp, brought on by serveral things and expected within the next year or six months.
All she was given was morphine and atavan to keep her calm and pain free as she went.

Hospice care in a one way out deal, no medical care outside of keeping one comfortable.
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"Lurch my good man,…what did you mean when you said just now that 'You've got better things to do than run my petty little errands'…….?"
Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2005, 01:58:51 PM »

I don't feel it's ever right to take the life of an innocent person - even if it's your own life. We attempt to play "god" in enough situations, such as in all the ways we manipulate genetics in plants, people, and animals.

I really get tired to the thinking that - It's my life, my body, my choice. Once a person takes on that thinking, they ignore anything else. That kind of thinking has never brought good results. Can you actually think of one time a person thinks that and something positive comes out of it? I can't.

Beth
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BigRog
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2005, 03:30:27 PM »

I truly hope that you are never in enough pain or so totally incapacitated that you need to rethink this.

And Goverment has no right or obligation to legislate morals, and no real ability to do so either.
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Dimar
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2005, 10:03:11 PM »

OK,  I have to jump in here.  As for the guy who wants to hastren his own death, WHY shouldn't he?  He's going to die anyway, and all deaths are different.  I used to be a CNA and was with HUNDREDS of terminally ill people when they died.   If you want to question the moral/ethical aspect of suicide of terminally ill patients, I suggest you spend some time doing the same.  Even if you just brush the hair or massage the hands or feet of the dying person, spend the time and educate yourself so you know what it's like!!!!  See what really goes on.  It's NOT ALWAYS PRETTY, and no one deserves to go through the hell some people have to endure at the end.  
As for the other Moral ethical question you hinted at but did not quite broach (Is every sperm sacred?)  I would like everyone to try to imagine what the world would be like if EVERY child concieved was born and lived to a ripe old age.  Let me remind you that with "modern medicine"  which sometimes simply consists of keeping a technically dead body breathing (another isse) people are leaving the planet at a rapidly declining rate.  We all want to stay FOREEEEEEVER and we want everyone else to be here forever, too.  Well, that's just not realistic.  We are depleting our natural resources and killing the planet AS IT IS.  Also--for the 'WONDERFUL ADOPTION OPTION", do you know the statistics about abuse by adoptive parents toward adopted children?  Check it out.  You might be shocked, if you can find statistics on it.  You'll have to do some digging--it's a dirty little secret no one talks about.  I happen to know firsthand, however, and so do a lot of my adopted friends, that it isn't the picnic it's painted to be.  Often, one parent or the other cannot bond with a child that "isn't mine", and is resentful about having to raise someone elses child rather than the one of their own that they didn't have.  Sexual abuse is common too, as there is the underlying notion that "it
s OK, we aren't blood related anyway."  Sorry, but I get a little steamed about this stuff.  A lot of the people who crusade for pro life and anti assited suicide have spent NO time in the trenches and have no intention of either adopting a child or taking care of terminally ill people.  Who should get the crack babies?  The AIDS babies?  How long should someone suffer when they're dying?  How long is long enough?  How about someone with severe diabetes who has gangrene and their limbs are FALLING OFF?HuhHuh  Yes, I've seen it, and there isn't enoough morphine in the WORLD to make someone "comfortable" in that situation, for one.  As for me, when it's my time to go, I'll go.  No hanging around and delaying the inevitable.  I haven't been to a doctor in 25 years, and I take care of myself with herbal and food medicine, which I've been  studying for years.  When that isn't enough, I'm outta here, and everyone I care about knows it and respects my wishes.  No drama, no fuss, no muss.  Hope I didn't ruffle any feathers.  Sorry if I did--I call em like I see em, and I'm not known for candy coating it.....
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backofthebusgirl
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2005, 10:25:11 PM »

IT"S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY PEOPLE evil

Terminally sick people can't be fleeced by hospitals and extended care facilities if allowed to end their own lives, and aborted babies can never grow up to pay taxes.
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Kris^
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2005, 07:22:32 AM »

Quote from: LEAD PIPE
Quote from: Miss Chick-a-BEE
Whether legal or not legal, is it moral or ethical? Or do you only have to be religious to think about morals and ethics?

Beth



What other reason is there?


A little article about whether religious belief is really beneficial for society:

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

-- Kris
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2005, 11:00:12 AM »

The 10th ammendment to the US Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights) says:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

You can search the rest of the Constitution if you like.  There is nothing in there about the Federal Government having the right to control such things as this.  The State of Oregon made their choice and the Federal government does not have the authority to overturn it.

You can argue all you like about morality, but Constitutionally the Federal government was not given this authority by the people.
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ScottT
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« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2005, 12:53:57 AM »

Quote
You can argue all you like about morality, but Constitutionally the Federal government was not given this authority by the people.


That about sums it up. About the Bush administrations control or attempt to outlaw it? The President signs bills presented to him by congress. Any power he has is given to him by congress. There is really nothing to this argument other than the issue about states rights vs. Federal law.
The question the Supreme court will have to decide is that is assisted suicide murder? If yes than it's illegal in all 50 states instantley. If no then its a states rights issue.
you can Jesus it up one way or the other but it still comes down to determination of Existing applicable Law.
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