Right to die and living wills
Has anyone here created a living will, where they've written about what should be done in case of terminal illness, or serious accident/illness that affects quality of life so much that you'd prefer to die rather than be forced to live?

If so, are there any "templates" for this kind of thing? I.e., are there any points it should cover? I'm talking about something like this, but I think it should be more detailed - http://funeralguide.co.za/the-living-wil.../blog.html . It should list out all the eventualities one should consider.

This stuff is hard to talk about with one's family but I think it's important that we talk about it, and have our wishes known in advance. Let's use this thread to discuss the topic in general as well. It's so hush-hush here in India that one just doesn't know much. Here are some resources I've gathered in my bookmarks:

Terry Pratchett's "Choosing to Die" documentary
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I cannot open the link http://funeralguide.co.za/the-living-wil.../blog.html.

(02-May-2012, 07:59 PM)unsorted Wrote: Has anyone here created a living will, where they've written about what should be done in case of terminal illness, or serious accident/illness that affects quality of life so much that you'd prefer to die rather than be forced to live?

Are you sure this can be done in India?
Recent article by Pinki Virani about Aruna Shanbag's condition: Aruna Shanbaug 39 years in semi-comatose condition #Euthanasia

A woman in Bombay, India called Aruna Shanbaug turns 64 on June 1 (today). This would make it 39 years in this semi-comatose condition after she was sodomised and left for dead in November 1973.

She has the world’s most dubious distinction of being the longest-known such case.

She is, according to hospital records from that time and re-confirmed since, also blind, unable to speak words, given to either howling or grinning or being catatonic, irreversibly brain-damaged.

This is one of the reasons I personally would like to have an advance directive on my medical care.
IHEU President Sonja Eggerickx devotes considerable time in the Q&A session this Chennai Freethinkers talk on the current status of euthanasia and living wills in the EU.

This New York Times op-ed titled "How to die" presents a case study of passive euthanasia in England, and how there is a dramatic transatlantic divide regarding attitudes towards euthanasia.

Quote:Here in the United States, nothing bedevils our discussion of health care like the question of when and how to withhold it. The Liverpool Pathway or variations of it are now standard in most British hospitals and in several other countries — but not ours. When I asked one American end-of-life specialist what chance he saw that something of the kind could be replicated here, the answer was immediate: “Zero.” There is an obvious reason for that, and a less obvious reason.

The obvious reason, of course, is that advocates of such programs have been demonized.
The less obvious problem, I suspect, is that those who favor such programs in this country often frame it as a cost issue.

We can foresee similar debates in India with euthanasia opponents demonizing family members of the aged, by accusing them of soullessly pecuniary concerns and abdication of supposed Indian traditions of filial piety towards aged parents, as an illustration of which literalistic retellings of the legends of Shravan Kumar and Pundalik are routinely trotted out.

A more urgent concern in India, like in the case of clinical trials discussed here, is how truly 'informed' is informed consent in this regard.
Related to the question of how informed is informed consent, is the question of how truly free of coercion is an unforced decision on end-of-life issues. Here is another New York Times op-ed (Suicide by choice?: Not so fast! Nov 1 2012), this time by Ben Mattlin, author of “Miracle Boy Grows Up: How the Disability Rights Revolution Saved My Sanity.”, who writes about 'invisible forces of coercion' , among which are:

Quote:...how easy it is for someone to inadvertently influence you to feel devalued and hopeless — to pressure you ever so slightly but decidedly into being “reasonable,” to unburdening others, to “letting go.”

...how easy it is to be perceived as someone whose quality of life is untenable, even or perhaps especially by doctors. Indeed, I hear it from them all the time — “How have you survived so long? Wow, you must put up with a lot!”
All these can cast a dangerous cloud of depression upon even the most cheery of optimists, a situation clinicians might misread since, to them, it seems perfectly rational.

The author concludes the piece with a proposal to restore the priority to more universalized assisted life rather than to more readily available assisted suicide.

Quote:To be sure, there are noble intentions behind the “assisted death” proposals, but I can’t help wondering why we’re in such a hurry to ensure the right to die before we’ve done all we can to ensure that those of us with severe, untreatable, life-threatening conditions are given the same open-hearted welcome, the same open-minded respect and the same open-ended opportunities due everyone else.

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