Hello fellow Atheists,

I have just lost my Father after watching him slowly die for 3+ days in a Hospice. It was the most horrific & painful event I have ever witnessed.  The Staff was caring & respectful but there was nothing peaceful or dignified about his passing.  Not only am I traumatized & heartbroken, but I am filled with anger.  As a society we will not let our cats & dogs suffer such a death & will put them to sleep -  for humane purposes. 

I ask you-  why I am forced & my family forced to adhere to beliefs & laws based on religious beliefs?  Shouldn’t we be able to choose?  I would not force another family/person to choose their end of life care,  so why I am legally obligated/forced to have no say in how we as a family say goodbye to our loved one? 

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While I sympathize for what you had to go through, I have to say that laws against euthanasia doesn't necessarily have to do with religion, but also preventing possible murder that would be very hard to disprove if all it required were a person's signature and the signature of a doctor.

Medical diagnosis & common sense would dictate procedures & approval for legalized E.  If everyone could walk in my shoes for those 3 days they might have a different perspective.  Doctor's take the Hippocratic Oath & the statistics that there are family, friends, & medical prof's that are cold blooded killers are low. 

I disagree -  I believe this law is based on religous moraltiy.  I ask you, Mr. Chang, have you ever had to wipe "End Stage" secretions out of your father's mouth?



No, I haven't, you're being emotive. I didn't really come here to argue with you.

"common sense" and "legalized" generally don't generally mix well in application.  I can't imagine what you are going through right now.  I can tell you from my own losses that this will eventually fade into the many other experiences that you will have.  No, this won't make you feel any better now.  (I wish it could.)  But, you can plan for other eventualities and possibly spare someone else the same pain.  I hope that if I am ever diagnosed as terminal, I have access to the means to take care of the business my-self.  A person can always exercise his/her option to end one's own life at any time provided that they are physically able.  The key is that the "law" is not preventative, only punitive.

I'm sorry for your loss.

There are several bad things going on at once.

I used to work in a hospice years ago. Back then, we were taught that ALL pain can be taken away with the appropriate amount and type of pain medications. The goal of hospice is to keep someone out of pain as they die a natural death - making their passing as "good" as possible. We gave them enough, or when not adequate, called the doctor who would then order more of them.

I observed a neighbour die about a year and a half ago, with hospice involvement. The whole set of ideas about pain management have changed, thanks, mainly, to the DEA, such that adequate pain medications are not prescribed. The poor man was in horrible pain, and could not get adequate pain medications prescribed. The staff and nurses did as well as they could, but... really... does the "war on drugs" need to be fought on the backs of the dying? It's not even the doctors' fault. Doctors who prescribe over some arbitrary amount of "controlled substances" get closed down while they're investigated by the DEA - who usually "takes action". If the doctor were to prescribe adequate pain medications, he would likely lose his license and possibly go to prison. It's ludicrous that a doctor who deals with the dying is "allocated" the same amount of pain medications as a paediatrician doing well-child care.

It's true that one can end their own life if they are able - but people near the end of life are usually not physically capable of such a thing. Besides that, if they try and fail, they are then put in a psychiatric hospital, given different and other medications for their "psychosis", and they have the ability to manage their pain - or even be listened to about it - diminished greatly.

The way the dying are treated, if someone allowed their dog to suffer so even in its last days, that person would be charged with animal cruelty. A pet would be put down, or kept out of misery through veterinary medications. Why doesn't a human being warrant at least the same level of care as a dog?

It could be argued, as were the early child abuse cases, that the human patient is an animal, as he/she does not have a cell wall - they are not plants. The animal cruelty laws will not permit someone to allow such suffering in an animal - so it should also be illegal to permit a human being (an animal) to suffer like that. Either put them to sleep, or give them comfort.

The caveat there is that the human, if they are alert and oriented, should have the entire say in what is given to them - or what care they will or will not accept then. An animal cannot make such decisions, but that's why humans are different than animals.


My heart goes out to you.  Such a difficult time.  As time passes, memory shifts, and you remember more of the good, and less of  the bad.  At least that's how it's been for me.

It sometimes seems to me that there is a sort of "passive euthanasia" where pain treatment hastens death, even when euthanasia is not the intent.  Individual experiences are highly variable, as you have seen for your Dad.   It's very unfortunate that he had to suffer so much.  I wish for peace and healing for you as time passes, and as the pain abates, memories of the good times.

My wonderful father died 3.5 years ago at the age of 95.  He suffered a lot in the months before he died.  I don't know how much because he never was one to complain or even talk about it.  But it was obvious that his body was shot and causing him considerable pain.  The doctors could do very little for him.  It was obvious that he had lost his zest for life.  He just sat in his easy chair, not wanting to go anywhere, not reading the books he used to love, and not responding to anyone.  It appeared to me that he was just waiting to die.

My good mother suffered because of his suffering.  She told me before he died that she would miss him, but would like to see him go in order to be out of his misery.  She told me after his death that she did miss his lively self, but was very glad that he was in pain no longer.

My good sister suffered because of his suffering. She had taken our parents into her house so she could care for them in their old age.  She had to give him shots several times a day.  She had to hassle with medical people.  She and mother had to make sure that when he went to the toilet that his religious garments were out of the way, or else he would forget to do it and defecate in them.  Then it was a huge struggle to get them off him.  His dignity was, of course, horribly degraded because of this.  He never used any swear words in his life, but he finally started swearing at Sis & Mom when his dignity was taking a beating.

To a lesser extent, all of us children suffered because of my dad's pain.  We were too far away to help much, and trying to get him to respond was a huge chore when we visited.  Personally, I felt bad that I didn't visit him more, but it was an extremely hard thing for me to do.  He had always been my hero, and I couldn't stand to see him suffering so, and having no interest in life anymore.

I blame the Mormon church for a lot of his suffering.  He was a True Blue Mormon.  I'm sure he thought ending his own life was a sin.  I'm sure he thought God had a good purpose in making him suffer so.  I wanted him to find relief, his wife wanted him to find relief, his daughter wanted him to find relief, and I'm sure the rest of his children did as well.  

Once I saw that mormonism was false, my fear of death left me. I am sad that I will have to cease to exist, but I see no logical reason for that sadness.  It's probably just the natural response of my brain that has developed by the evolutionary force that favors the people that try their best not to die.  The only thing I fear is the suffering I might have to endure before death, and I resent those that try to make me feel guilty because I want to avoid that suffering.

 One of my TBM brothers took his own life.  It cause a great deal of pain to my TBM mother, but when she was 80 years old, with a great deal of medical problems and in a terrible amount of pain because of a botched pacemaker lead replacement, she asked for the plug to be pulled.  My TBM father didn’t honor her request.

I’m sure I would have honored her request, but I don’t blame my father in the least.  He was brainwashed to believe it was a sin, and he knew mother better than I did, so it was his call.

I’ve heard the argument that it’s extremely selfish because it hurts loved-ones too much. 

My reply is that I’m sure it hurts loved ones, but if we are in a terrible amount of pain, then it’s the loved ones that are selfish to demand that we remain so.  If it appears to others that we have a hope of recovery from pain, then let them argue the point with us, but they should have no right to demand that we remain in pain.

 I like what someone I know replied to that argument.  She said:   “My role in life, how I live it or choose to end it is not based on pleasing others, I don't go out of my way to hurt others but I am not responsible for their view or reaction to how I choose to live or end my life.  People make choices everyday that slowly kill themselves."

I also like Tom Wootton’s reply:  “The fact that you can’t handle your emotions does not give you the right to dictate my life! If it did, would you have the right to take my life because I made you angry? It seems that the most selfish act is demanding control of my very life to satisfy your emotional needs.  http://blogs.psychcentral.com/bipolar-advantage/2010/03/suicide-pro...

We spend a great deal of time and money to prevent suffering, so why is it illegal for a doctor to relieve our suffering in this way?  I agree with you.  Why do we have less compassion for human beings than we do for other animals?

If I reach the place where mental and/or physical pain becomes greater than the joy I have in living, I will have no problem checking-out.

When I was a believer, I thought suicide was a sin, of course.  However, in the years since, my views have changed dramatically.  I now think it should be a personal choice, and it should be legal for it to be assisted.  Appropriate precautions should be in place to prevent murder of course, but we shouldn’t have to jump through too many hoops to have help in checking-out of this life with the least pain possible.

Thank you for all your condolences.  And thank you for not calling me "emotive".  I still believe religion is driving the laws for these types of events.  We as humans can do better.  I know death is a part of life, just think that with all the technology & medicine we have in today's society it should painless & short.

As a father who is up in years, I have a problem with my son making a decision about when it's time for me to let go.  (I have two sons, and they have almost opposite beliefs on this.)  But I would like to be able to express my wishes to a selected family member, in writing, well in advance of this decision-making.  And having the decision made by government and medical personnel, influenced by their religious beliefs, is extremely upsetting.  Whose life is it, anyway?

Lucy I'm sorry to hear about your father. I happen to agree with you. I was upset about what they did to Dr.Kevorkian - he used to give assisted suicides but was put in jail. It is your life and if you are in pain I don't see why you can't get a doctor to end your life.




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