Suicide - (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of willfully ending one's own life. - Wikipedia
Euthanasia - (from Greek: ευθανασία -ευ, eu, "good", θανατος, thanatos, "death") is the practice of terminating the life of a person or an animal because they are perceived as living an intolerable life, in a painless or minimally painful way either by lethal injection, drug overdose, or by the withdrawal of life support. - Wikipedia
I bring this up because... there are no posts here yet! :D And because I like discussions. And also because my Death and Dying class had a guest last Tuesday come talk about the ethical issues with death. Now there was a lot said, but I'll just bring this one up because it was more relevant and interesting in my opinion.
Suicide is generalized as something bad in today's society. In fact everyone and their mothers will try to stop you from it, unless of course they hate you or are just sadistic or something. When we think of suicide we don't usually take into consideration people who are no longer capable of daily living (ie - Alzheimer's, paralysis, loss of limbs, constant pain from a disease). Unless there is something else in that person's life that makes it worth enduring the pain, if there is no other way of ending it, is suicide not an appropriate form of relief?
And so I get into the next topic; we don't have a problem putting dogs to "sleep," even after mumbling about how cruel and sad it is. We all in the end agree that our dear pet was sick, and suffering, and this was best for him. When a person is lying in a hospital and is suffering from Alzheimer's we don't think of killing them to end their suffering. You bring that idea up and you'll get bad looks. When someone got into an accident and lost use of his arms and legs, all that's left for him is to sit in a wheelchair and be catered to. Unless there is that other reason to endure that kind of life, he is just suffering in that position. And furthermore if he decides suicide, he doesn't have the physical capability to do it himself. Why would it be wrong to help him?
In the case of Dr. Kevorkian; he was charged with murder after the case of Thomas Youk, who was not physically able to kill himself. Prior to this, all of Dr. K's patients (don't know if that's a proper term) pressed the button to release the deadly gas themselves. Even though Youk gave his full consent, Dr. K is not sitting in jail for 2nd degree homicide.
Personally, I don't plan to live a long life. I especially don't plan to live once I'm incapable of enjoying my life any long. As an artist, if I ever loose the use of my arms, and there is no medical treatment, or otherwise a way of getting the use of them back, I would request some heroine and a painless death by the end of that day. I have no intention of having someone else wipe my ass for me. If it has to happen, it's my time to die.
Dying with dignity is important to people, and if they are at those stages of their life, I think it's only fair to allow them die when they think it's their time.
Now on to discussion!