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A study on assisted suicide or euthanasia

Other—for example, via another participant, support group 4 8 Numbers in parentheses indicate those in the entire sample. The interviews Most people were interviewed in their homes during 2003 and 2004 by a sociologist and asked to talk about their recent experience of illness. Some were interviewed twice, usually because of fatigue. All a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia were audiotaped and lasted 1—2 h.

Rather than use a structured approach, we conducted narrative interviews, which were led by respondents. A few people themselves raised the subject of suicide, euthanasia or assisted suicide, which became a high profile issue in the media during the fieldwork. It was considered to be unethical to press respondents to talk about the subject, but in some cases the researchers judged that they could invite respondents to comment on the euthanasia debate.

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The subject was not always raised because it a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia apparent during the interviews that some respondents did not think they were dying even though they had said they had a terminal illness and had volunteered for the studyand it did not seem appropriate at the time. Eighteen people discussed these topics, some briefly and others at some length. Data analysis included examining expected themes such as pain and emergent themes, including suicide and assisted death, across the whole dataset and in the context of each person's interview.

The method of constant comparisons was used to ensure that all perspectives were included in the analysis. Some people we interviewed also mentioned a need to control events, but a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia further reasons for wanting a change in the law.

For example, a young woman with chronic obstructive lung disease said that without a change in the law she may commit suicide alone. She was in great pain, and could not find a place in a hospice.

A study on assisted suicide or euthanasia the interview she said she wanted to be in control and emphasised her right to choose: I myself want to be in control as long as I can, I don't want doctors and nurses controlling me … I'm on morphine, I get a lot of breakthrough pain, when I get to the pitch where I really can't cope with anything any more, where my quality of life is totally gone, I will tell my husband I want a really good day out with the kids which is when he'll know that when I go to bed that night I won't wake up the next morning.

Because you're going to take control? Have you talked to anyone else about that? Yes, I've talked to my GP about it. He wishes I lived in another country because that decision would be helped.

And if you were in control of legislation what would you say should happen? But with myself, if the legislation was there then it would be nicer for me, so I'm not on my own, which I know I will be because I don't want any of the family here when it happens. Why don't you want anyone with you?

When is physician assisted suicide or euthanasia acceptable?

Because I don't want them involved, I don't want them to get in trouble. This country we don't allow it; … if anybody helps us they lock them up, which is wrong.

You've taken away that person's dignity and nobody should have the right to do that. We should all have the right to choose when we die and how we die LD25. She believes that without a change in UK law she would have to die alone to protect her family from prosecution for their involvement in assisted suicide.

She also notes the difference made by personal involvement: I think the government has got to seriously take it on board, and I realise that it's a very dangerous subject, and it's a very dangerous area, but in the right situation it's needed ….

I think if some of these ministers and politicians who are against euthanasia, I sometimes wonder, if it was their life or their wife or mother, how they'd feel then LD25. One argument against euthanasia has been that good palliative care should control symptoms, including pain and depression, and therefore people who consider ending their lives may change their minds when symptoms are properly controlled.

Sometimes analgesia is insufficient without side effects such as sedation, nausea and confusion. Sometimes I am in that much pain that all I want to do is put myself on my bed and go to sleep but I can't sleep because the pain keeps me awake …. I feel sad and angry that at the dawn of the 21st century they're able to talk on television about taking photographs and soil samples of Mars but they can't give me something that will keep me awake, lucid and to be a useful member of society and a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia the pain at the same time LD09.

This man had searched the internet to find out how to commit suicide. He was against euthanasia but for assisted suicide: The a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia that have motor neurone disease, the people that have MS and are in excruciating pain, a lot worse than the pain that I have, they should be able, in conjunction with their partner [our emphasis], a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia decide that enough is enough and that they should be able to take their own life LD09.

The hospice movement exists to deliver outstanding care to dying patients and does so. The authors suggest that this may be either because hospice care is geared to helping patients a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia their fears and exercise choice or because people and their relatives who accept hospice care may be predisposed to consider the benefits of an earlier death.

What people close to death say about euthanasia and assisted suicide: a qualitative study

But other reasons may also contribute. One woman we interviewed said that she would welcome euthanasia or assisted suicide because of what she saw on a shared ward: I spent a month in the hospice, … just unfortunately probably nine different ladies came into the ward and died ….

So I have seen what happens at the end and if I could avoid it happening to me I would, simple as that. It was really bad luck because I've seen it first hand whereas in the past I could only guess at I suppose what it could be like at the end, and it's not a pleasant prospect and if I could just take enough of something to put myself to sleep for good, I would happily do a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia and [um].

If somebody wants, you know wanted to help me, if somebody was brave enough to help me, I'd be grateful to them. It's almost a nonsense we can't decide what to do with our life at the end, isn't it? Why should a judge be able to say, no, I can't kill myself if I want to? In the 1970s Murray Parkes 22 interviewed surviving spouses, and asked how their husbands and wives had felt about other people's deaths in St Christopher's Hospice. More recently, however, Lawton 23 observed patients in a hospice who had unpleasant symptoms that could not be successfully treated or controlled, and who sometimes requested euthanasia or refused food and drink to hasten death.

She noted that other patients in the ward, like the woman just quoted, were very distressed by what they saw and smelt. And then [er] you know can you just do what a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia to be done, give me an overdose of morphine or whatever it is. Because actually my Mum was in hospital for about three months before she died.

And she had sort of raging osteoporosis having taken lots of steroids for another condition. And she was in terrible pain and she had made a living will actually. She told us there was something she wanted to tell me and that she had murdered twelve children.


A study on assisted suicide or euthanasia she still insisted that she had. And I just wish a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia she could have gone a month or two earlier before she went through all that indignity that is dying really.

I just think that when you've come to that stage, only you know when that is, how bad that has to be, you don't need to go through the physical indignities of throwing up, being smelly, being incontinent, whatever it might be LD17. Others have noted that when death approaches, people still wish to remain physically independent. He had run a nursing home and had seen others die in great pain.

At times he suffered from excruciating pain himself, and he dreaded cognitive impairment: I have a strong opinion about that [euthanasia].

First of all I believe that it is everybody's right to die as it is their right to live …. Now I would like to think that if something happens to me [so] that I become completely incapable of enjoying life then I would want someone to do to me what they would do to any ordinary animal.

I would hope that I could be taken to a doctor or the doctor would come to me, or would be allowed to and would be able to just put me to sleep, because I think life is only tolerable if you're alive …. What I am saying is for me if I have a stroke that leaves me paralysed, leaves me brain dead, then I don't want to live like that, I don't and why should I?

I don't want to be like that A study on assisted suicide or euthanasia. That some people will feel undervalued and obliged to end their lives to reduce the cost to others is a concern. Two people we interviewed said that they did not want to be a burden to others, an important finding, but this was not the only reason they wanted the option of euthanasia.

For example, one woman knew a man with dementia. But she was also concerned about pain: If your usefulness has gone out of life I can't see the point in delaying things. And certainly if you are in a vegetative state there is none, I don't know how anyone can justify it …. I know one lady who is determined to go on looking after her husband, and in the eleven years since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he got to the stage where he was blind, dumb, and she thought deaf, and she was still pushing food in one end and collecting it the other.

He wasn't alive he was existing … God forbid that I ever got to that …. I don't want to lumber myself on anyone, or any institution for that matter … but if I ever get to the stage of having the pain which I'd had in the past without my husband and without my children really needing me, … I think the plastic bag might just come in use.

I don't see any point in continuing when there is no purpose in life LD 22. A woman with motor neurone disease worried about the cost of care, but also strongly favoured euthanasia because she had seen her husband suffer: I said the same when my lovely husband was ill, if I could have given him a tablet I would have done.

Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide: the illusion of safeguards and controls

But that isn't possible …. If your GP or someone can't do it [assist with suicide or euthanasia] or wouldn't do it, I respect them but I think somewhere along the line someone should help you.

What is the point? You're suffering unnecessarily and the cost is, you can end up with the cost, the costs are astronomical and there's no point because there's no end to it. In some countries, I think in Scandinavia, it's different, isn't it?

Declarations on euthanasia and assisted dying

Yes, and Holland there is. My grandson lives in Holland so I know. Why do you think it's happened in those countries and not in ours? Because we so drag our feet here, that's why. So if the people who are in your situation could be asked their opinion, do you think a lot of people would think like yourself?

I don't know, I really don't know. But I'm only speaking for me and I saw my own husband suffer unnecessarily a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia an end that was inevitable anyway.

And to me that is evil or at least cruel LD34. Among these interviews with people who were themselves facing death, those who spoke most passionately about the need for a change in the law were those who had also seen others die.

Arguments against a change in UK law A few people opposed a change in UK law or were ambivalentwho represent negative cases in the analysis. Others, who overall were in favour of euthanasia, feared that any new legislation may be misused. For example, a man with oesophageal cancer said that he would welcome euthanasia for himself, but hesitated to recommend it as national policy: I would like an easy death and from that point of view I think I would welcome euthanasia.

Having said that I see all the complications of it, and people who are at a stage of illness where they can't speak a study on assisted suicide or euthanasia themselves, a possibility of somebody wanting to get rid of their relatives, that makes me very nervous, so although on the one hand I would like to see it to help me, I'm very hesitant about it.