comscore Do you support legalizing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill, able-minded patients? | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Big Q

Do you support legalizing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill, able-minded patients?

  • A. Yes, allows death with dignity (1376 Votes)
  • B. No, staunchly opposed (182 Votes)
  • C. Unsure; need to know more (102 Votes)

This is not a scientific poll — results reflect only the opinions of those voting.

Comments (35)

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    • I do have a word of caution in case our legislators finally pass a law allowing physician-assisted suicide. Hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living places, and hospices affiliated with religious groups like Catholics, Adventist healthcare, etc. are likely to hire or grant “privileges” only to doctors and nurses who refuse to provide aid in suicide. I have been to community meetings they sponsor concerning palliative care, and when I have asked “Do you support passing a law allowing physician-assisted suicide?” and also “If such a law is passed, would you personally comply with a patient’s request?” Usually the answer is deliberately vague and filled with evasive platitudes, but when pinned down the honest answer is “No.” They will “help” you only to keep fighting; they will not give you the help you really want when it’s time to surrender.

      I have been told that it’s not a problem when hospices or hospitals refuse to help a terminal patient die, because the patient can always choose to go to a different place. Really? Somebody all hooked up to feeding tubes and respirators can get up and go somewhere else?

      It’s a problem for the same reason why these other 3 civil rights issues are a problem.

      Suppose a black guy sees an ad in the paper to rent a room in someone’s house. He goes there but gets turned away because he’s black. What’s the problem? Why can’t he just go to a different place to rent a room?

      Suppose a woman finds out she’s pregnant and goes to a hospital for an abortion, but they won’t do it for her because it’s a Catholic hospital and its religion says abortion is a sin. What’s the problem? Why can’t she just go to a different hospital?

      Suppose a bakery makes wedding cakes, and a homosexual wants a cake decorated to show two men getting married? The baker refuses, saying homosexual marriage is against his religion. What’s the problem? Why can’t he just go to a different bakery?

      All 3 examples have actually happened. The liberals in our legislature have passed laws. Homeowners, hospitals, churches, and all people or institutions operating a business to make a profit are forced to comply with “public access” laws that they cannot refuse service to people they dislike or for purposes they disapprove of. So I hope those same liberals will demand that doctors, hospitals, and hospices in business to make a profit must comply with the wish of terminally ill patients who want help with dying.

      • Ken, mahalo for this thoughtful and comprehensive yet clear explanation of some of the major underlying issues. As you caution, much thought has to go into the legislation to avoid unintended consequences down the road. I hope legislators will have the good sense to interview you as a key resource in formulating the new physician-assisted suicide laws that must surely come.

        • Thanks Kimo. In the interest of fairness I should also add the following consideration on the opposite side:

          Health insurance companies don’t like paying huge hospital bills for terminal patients who take a very long time to die while consuming large amounts of medical services. They would rather pay a small amount to cover the cost of the poison you ask the doctor to give you. So the insurance company has a big incentive to deny coverage for long-term expensive treatment, thereby forcing low-income or average individuals or families to put pressure on the terminal patient to “freely choose” to take the poison. A few months ago there were news reports about mainland health insurance companies routinely denying approval when a Hawaii doctor ordered an expensive test like an MRI, hoping the doctor would order a less expensive test, and forcing the doctor to provide detailed justification why the MRI was needed (meanwhile the patient is going untreated and might die if the ailment is aggressive, thereby rewarding the insurance company for its heartless intransigence in service to the profit motive).

          I’m reminded of the stories we hear (true or false I don’t know) about Eskimos tired of feeding and taking care of old useless Grandma, putting her on a big piece of ice and sending her off into the ocean. And of course Grandma is under pressure to go along with this and not complain because she owes it to her family and her community — a well-established routine cultural practice to save scarce resources for the productive members of the community.

      • a long, painful, and costly death to all concerned. religion want everyone to go to their Heaven even if it means a long and pain filled death. no one should have control over the lives of others.

        • Agree with you, buttery. Will the church feel my pain and suffering? NO. Will the church pay my hospital, hospice, etc., bills? NO. Is there really a Heaven? I say NO because I haven’t seen or heard of anyone who went to Heaven and shown PROOF that they did. MY body, MY life, MY choice…PAU…

  • When you are wearing adult diapers, then that is an indicator, of the quality of your life.

    When you can no longer walk or climb stairs, then that is an indicator, of the quality of your life.

    If you are in extreme physical or emotional pain, then that is an indicator, of the quality of your life.

    When you must be fed & cleaned up, like a little baby, then that is an indicator, of the quality of your life.

    When you are starved for social interaction, for almost anyone, then that is an indicator, of the quality of your life.

    When you add them all up, your life is miserable. You wouldn’t want to live like that. That is the quality of life, that is controlled by doctors, and you are still responsible, for your medical billls.

    • Very good post, at the end of the day….none of us gets outta here alive. It’s all about choice, my worst fear is burdening those around me, my choice would to die quietly with dignity, making peace with those around me and what ever situation I happen to be in. Every single one of use has the capacity to remove ourselves from this life, the method of doing so is the choice at hand. I would much rather drink a cocktail of drugs that would send me on my way vice a more horrendous method such as a gun or a noose. Giving the state and/or a doctor total control of my finality is just not right. I do agree that strict protocols need to be in place.

  • And to think all these years people accused the Clintons of murder! Dr. HitLIARy Clinton only assisted her patients with physician assisted suicide! 😉

    • Wow, I should have known the Clinton’s solved this problem years ago. Thanks for letting us known how much you like them…or, at least, can’t stop talking about them.

  • People will oppose this until they personally are affected by something like this. It’s their lives, let them make their own decisions instead of having to suffer due to another person’s beliefs.

  • When you are suffering and have very little quality of life, you should be able to end things. Anyone who has witnessed this kind of suffering understands what I am talking about.
    Doctors, and hospitals still do a very poor job in dealing with people who are dying which is why hospice care facilities have come into being. But they also have many restrictive rules
    and will not aid you in terminating your life. It is still better than being in a hospital setting but it still does not address the need of many of those suffering needlessly. And of course
    the suffering does not only affect the person but their family and friends as well.

  • For those who believe its your life and your choice, then why don’t you just do it yourself? Step in front of a bus, jump off a 5th floor, go for a very long swim straight away from the beach, stop eating permanently. Problem solved and we didn’t need to legalize murder to accomplish it.

    Why do we need a law to allow doctors to kill their patients? It will eventually get abused and soon, people that are inconvenient will be killed under the guise that its best for them, when its really best for someone else who stands to benefit from not having to deal with them.

    If you don’t believe that will happen look at the abortion industry. The most innocent of all lives are now murdered just because they are inconvenient and its legal. Now we’re trying to move to the other end of life and murder adults who inconvenient. Pretty soon we’ll be like nazi germany and exterminating one group after another that doesn’t fit into society. Its a slippery slope to greater widespread murder of unwanted people that needs to be avoided.

    • Matthew56, since you’re appealing to logic rather than faith, I’ll respond. Your arguments are logically flawed in a number of ways. One is the slippery slope (aka snowball or domino) fallacy, the belief that a decision on X will inevitably lead to other similar decisions and mushroom into a major disaster. Another is begging the question. “Murder” and “life” are relative terms, and in all cases, they are defined by legislation. You are incorrectly assuming that your personal definitions take precedence over the legal. A third is overgeneralization, assuming that all forms of suicide are equal. Obviously, there’s a huge difference between hanging yourself vs. taking a prescription to painlessly die. Finally, you’re guilty of the either/or fallacy: laws are either perfect or not, and those that aren’t should not be passed. The fact is that no law is perfect. There will always be offenders. This is why we need law enforcement and judicial systems.

      • IRT Kimo, FYI I have completed a VA Advance Directive and copied my private Hospital and Doctors. It’s a Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will. The Directive addresses all the concerns you have and all concern know exactly what I want for my end of life. It’s already law and accepted.

      • Paniolo, you ask some tough questions, and this is the bamboocha of them all. Is there a Heaven or Hell? I think this is a question that each person has to answer for him/herself. When I catch that perfect wave at First Breaks in the summer time, when I take that first sip of cold beer on a hot July day, whenever I think of my kids, when I’m on my bike flying down Red Hill on a Sunday morning, when I think of all the girls I kissed, when I think of my first paycheck — that’s when I think there’s gotta be a heaven. Lol!

  • Fact: no terminally-ill patient is denied pain medication. All they have to do is take the whole bottle at once if that’s their goal. People OD on opioids all the time, so why make a separate law for it? It’s the same drugs.

    • My family home cared for my mom. Colon cancer led to an operation. Upon completion of the procedure, she was confronted with chemo and radiation. She asked her doctor, If I go through with the treatments, how long will I live? Of course the doctor couldn’t answer the question. My mom chose to come home and make the most of her remaining time. We had weekly dinners with her sisters and children.
      We cared for her 24-7. It was not easy to watch mom wither. In the end, morphine was her best “friend”.
      Ending ones life is a personal choice. With proper safe guards and procedures, I feel it can be done in a respectful way. Should everyone have that choice? If you chose to prolong your stay then do so. What about the people who have made their peace with their family and god and is ready for next great lifes journey?

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