Debate and Discussion

Euthanisia for severely disabled babies
bloodstaindstoat at 9:10PM, Jan. 16, 2007
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Article about Doctors considering the possibility of euthanasia for severely disabled newborns.

Consider:

Pro: Contribution to slowing overpopulation and its complications, Elimination of weaker genes (“survival of the fittest” ), preventing a lifetime of misery and struggle (physical, spiritual and financial) for not only an individual but their family and relatives as well.

Con: Loss of life, Limiting the gene pool (further complications may arise), Genetic engineering, diminish the value of those living with the disease?

Discuss.
One, Two, Three and…

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:27AM
Tundra at 1:42AM, Jan. 17, 2007
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If they're only going to live a few incredibly painful days… I think that it's only fair that the parents have a choice to let them go without pain.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM
Aurora Moon at 6:43AM, Jan. 17, 2007
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Tundra
If they're only going to live a few incredibly painful days… I think that it's only fair that the parents have a choice to let them go without pain.

agreed.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM
mlai at 10:15AM, Jan. 17, 2007
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On the surface it sounds extremely cruel, “OMG kill babies!” But those who are ignorant of the obstetric/pediatric field must remember the context in which these large doctors associations make these suggestions.

These are babies which will die the minute you remove all the artificial tubes crisscrossing their tiny suffering bodies. Even if you keep them alive, they are in constant pain and suffering, and will never lead a remotely normal pain-free life. And typically very short lives at that.

I believe that doctors who opt to keep babies like these alive are the inhumane ones. They value their own political beliefs more than the plight of such babies.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 11:50AM, Jan. 17, 2007
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It's crueler to kill an adult than an infant because you are wiping out real experience and a real, fully formed personality with connections to other real people who've grown to love and know that person.

Still, it's all about relativism: how can you judge what that child's life is worth? If a child suffers all its life from what we believe is pain, how is that child's life any less worthy? The thing is, if the child starts off with a “disability”, or in pain, it doesn't really matter as much as you think it does because the child never knew any other way of being: that state of life is normal for it and it will adapt. And then if a child will die anyway, why hasten the death? -remember, it's not really “suffering” as much as you think, that is just you transferring your emotions and feelings onto it.

And again, if you think it's ok to decide who lives and who dies from birth in some coldly “rational” way (your idea of rational that is), where does that stop? In times past and even now it's been done to blind children, babies with dwarfisim, Downs Syndrome, etc…

It's truly an extremely complex argument and there are no simple back or white, or even grey answers. It's one of those things that simply can't be handled in terms of broad policy, but really has to be looked at specifically on a case by case basis or not at all.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:25PM
mlai at 1:19PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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The good old “you are not God” talking point which allows someone to think about it for 2 minutes and feel good about his own morality, then never have to think about it again.

While the family with the severely ill baby suffers along with the baby for months-years until he/she finally dies, with the family's spirit and finances completely crushed.

So, all those pediatricians must be absolute heartless monsters, right? How dare they even talk about this, right? Why did they even come up with this, right?

Maybe it's because they have to live with these scenarios day in and day out, that they actually come to appreciate the situation and start questioning absolutes in medical morality. Else, they must like debating about killing babies for giggles.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 1:36PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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My point is balanced and considered. I look at this as a complex situation with many, many things bearing on it. You're simplifying this inappropriately with emotional fake rationalism and generalisations. You're the one with the surface views Mlai, your evaluation of my post is ample evidence. I'm sorry, but I don't see a way to continue this debate if you'd rather reinterpret people's arguments into some ridiculous simple form that you can more easily refute with your ill considered, sweepingly generalised views.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:25PM
Black_Kitty at 2:18PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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However, John Wyatt, consultant neonatologist at University College London hospital, said: “Intentional killing is not part of medical care.” He added: “The majority of doctors and health professionals believe that once you introduce the possibility of intentional killing into medical practice you change the fundamental nature of medicine. It immediately becomes a subjective decision as to whose life is worthwhile.”

If a doctor can decide whether a life is worth living, “it changes medicine into a form of social engineering where the aim is to maximise the benefit for society and minimise those who are perceived as worthless”.

I think that above is an interesting point that's made about mercy killing and it's something that Ozoneocean was getting at as well. Essentially, mercy killing comes down to a quality of life judgement and whether that life is worth living. The problem is that it's a decision one makes for another.

Personally I don't feel really comfortable with calling the shots about this. I too think it should be looked at on a case to case basis with the parents making the ultimate decision. It shouldn't be a decision a doctor makes.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
mlai at 4:30PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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I agree with “broad policy no, case-by-case consideration yes.” That is a matter of course; there can be no broad 1-size-fits-all policy on this subject. There isn't one for DNR/DNI either. It's always case-by-case as per the patient's and NOK's wishes.

It's your 2nd paragraph that P'ed me off. The rest was ok.

Of course the baby can't make its own decisions. It's a week old. But suffering is suffering. Some answers cannot be perfect, but it's better than “leave it to God” and not thinking about it.

Rather than talking about “kill the baby,” how about “don't implement artificial measures which serves to prolong the baby's suffering without any chance for quality of life?”

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 5:46PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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BK has it exactly.
I never mentioned “god” and never would, that's all down to you. ;)
Sufferring is all relative and subjective. That's where your emotional transference comes in I'm afraid.
Weather the life of a fatally ill baby should be prolonged or not should be up to the parents. They have the greatest emmotional and physical investment in the situation.
Other than fatally ill, 3 day left to live cases, you run into “quality of life” issues and they're very muddy and intricate… Very interpretive.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:25PM
Tundra at 5:56PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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There wouldn't be anyone saying that “oh that baby is in pain it must die”. No one will be deciding for the parents. I just think it should be there as an option. No one is also going to be euthanasing babies who are say, simply premature and will survive after a few months connected up to tubes, or who are blind or deaf (or both), or who have deformed legs or arms or who simply need things like kidney transplants. We're talking *seriously* disabled, and not even just disabled, but in *pain*.
If your much loved dog was seriously in pain after being hit by a car, had no chance of ever having any quality of life even if it did somehow survive, and if it did survive it'd just be alive for a few more weeks, perhaps, (not talking about them losing a leg or something… ) and say you had the money to care for it for that time… you probably wouldn't want it to live and suffer all that pain. Why would you force a baby to live through extreme pain even if it were just going to die in a few days (if it was in pain and there was a chance of pulling through, that's different), and not a dog?
If I were a mother of a severely disabled child who was in extreme pain, and was only going to die in two days anyway, and had no chance other than ‘keeping it alive’ for no real reason, I'd want to do what I consider the right thing, and let it die. It might as well die through euthanasia rather than just pulling the plug so it suffocates or collapses or what have you.
This, you have to understand, is for extreme situations, not for like ‘oh. it’s born with downs syndrome, I don't want it anymore'.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM
Black_Kitty at 6:20PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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Tundra
There wouldn't be anyone saying that “oh that baby is in pain it must die”. No one will be deciding for the parents. I just think it should be there as an option. No one is also going to be euthanasing babies who are say, simply premature and will survive after a few months connected up to tubes, or who are blind or deaf (or both), or who have deformed legs or arms or who simply need things like kidney transplants. We're talking *seriously* disabled, and not even just disabled, but in *pain*.

Who says no one would?

I'm not suggesting that the moment we let it happen, we'll have dead babies everywhere. But to make a long reply short, I think once you allow the option to exist, people should be prepared for babies being euthanasized for reasons which some may not agree with. Because a quality of life decision, even if we are talking about seriously disabled babies, still have room for subjectivity.

I'm not sure about a comparison between a dog and a baby honestly. I understand what you're getting at but society often doesn't value a dog the same way as a baby.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
ozoneocean at 6:28PM, Jan. 17, 2007
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Tundra, it's for any situation that it comes to be accepted for. You can't set the limits. ;)
It's simply not up to you… or me. So when we consider these situations we must do so by focusing on all available examples, knowledge and experience. We do know that babies with all those problems I've mentioned have been let to die*, this happens still in every country (usually only when the problems are severe though). What you propose is only what you propose. And as I say, “pain” is subjective, just like “quality of life”, some believe that being blind is far too much handicap to warrant life. I'm surprised you bring the injured dog example into it with issues of cost!

But as far as it goes, you should be able to see from my posts that I am for the position that if a baby is fatally ill and only kept alive artificially, then its parents should be left to decide: either way.

-edit- *I'm not talking abortion here, it's just something you rarely hear about commonly, but a few years ago there were studies/interviews done with a broad sample of nurses and I've since heard annecdotel stories from people connected to the proffession; it's not a shocking thing, it's totally informal: it's actually a very old practise.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:25PM
Tundra at 12:21AM, Jan. 19, 2007
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Also… this sort of thing has been going on for ages- in the form of giving up and turning off the machinery…
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM
mlai at 6:15AM, Jan. 19, 2007
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The option should be there. Your underlying opinion may not be wrong, but you're wording it incorrectly. I believe you're saying the option shouldn't exist even if both parents are for euthanasia.

The option should exist for the parents. Nobody ever said the doctors should decide. No doctor is stupid enough to put himself/herself in that situation.

Intelligent Design doesn't mention God either.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
Phantom Penguin at 6:50AM, Jan. 19, 2007
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I'm a big supporter of Euthaniasia for Disabled peoples. Even for so for newborns.

Mostly because why have a life of pain? Or the burden of a very disabled child.
I think Euthaniasia is much more humane then what was done to “the pillow angel”.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
ozoneocean at 1:31PM, Jan. 19, 2007
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Intelligent Design doesn't mention God either.
Doctors do decide and have for years. ;)
But if we're talking about making proper guidlines then we're in agreement. But parents should only be able to decide in certain situations: ie: severely truncated lifespans and babies only being kept alive artificially.

As for the god stuff you keep dragging in, that just goes to show how poor your debate techniques are. Ok, from now on you are a Nazi who wants to kill off all babies who are not genetically “perfect” and fit your idea of a “Master Race”! How do you like your position being redefined like that? Nazi. lol!

Penguin, you're taking things too far. Disabled people have lives and minds too. Just because they can't think or move as ably as you, doesn't mean that that their lives are worthless. The Nazis really did use justifications like that for their practices.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:25PM
kyupol at 9:43AM, Jan. 27, 2007
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provided there is parent's consent.

There are some parents who dont like their son/daughter being sent to the shredding machine because he/she happened to be disabled. There are even families who love their “special” son or daughter alot. doesnt necessarily mean a life of suffering for the disabled.

Who would wanna live in a home where you are constantly showered with love and given special treatment?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Tundra at 1:02AM, Jan. 28, 2007
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well yeah i think we're assuming this would be with parental permission.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:35PM
Kristen Gudsnuk at 6:32PM, Feb. 1, 2007
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yagh! omg! what a surprising debate to see! Well, here's my 2 cents:
I think euthanizing babies is immoral.

This may be flawed reasoning, but it makes perfect and complete sense to me: if a baby is born in pain, then it won't know what not-feeling-pain is like, right? So what's the big loss? Babies cry all the time anyway. Who cares why? (that last part was a joke. o_o) no, but really- pain is relative, anyway.

If it's a life-or-death situation and there is no conclusive answer as to whether the person in question wants to live or not, I think the default decision should be life. (It may be because I personally can't comprehend how someone would prefer death to pain- unless the person was suicidal or something.) And if the baby dies in a few weeks, that doesn't negate the importance of its life! If you, readers, died tomorrow, would the tragic briefness of your lives (in comparison to average lifespans) devoid your existences of meaning? No! maybe I'm a stupid idealist for thinking this, but every second, every minute of life is worthwhile and amazing, because isn't the point of life to live? To continue life? So just because a baby is having a tough go at living and is severely disabled, it doesn't justify ending its life prematurely.
When you're alive, there's always a chance of improvement. There's always the possibility (albeit slim!) of second chances, of thriving in a fallow, broken body. Who are we to deny people of these possibilities?

The only one who has the authority to end a life is the person whose life it is. Life is each person's one unnegotiable possession, which is why it is unnatural to kill, unless in preservation of one's own life.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
Aurora Moon at 8:43PM, Feb. 1, 2007
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Then by that reasoning, it's also immoral for people to kill pets that are in exemetre pain.. why, because life is imporant, and theres the chance that they could improve!!

also, people who's in comas for over 5 years and shows no signs of ever waking up, shows signs of being competely brain-dead and pretty much just an empty shell of an body that's being kept alive arftically… immoral to kill too, because in a sense they're still alive, although proably “in pain” due to being prevented in going the way of an natural process. what if the soul is trapped in that body, wanting to go to the afterlife? that's if that person believed in such things. basically dead but trapped in an body that's kept alive unnaturally… no way to go to the afterlife then.
that creeps me out actually. I've thought aboutwhat it would be like from the viewpoint of an braindead coma person.. and that's the only viewpoint I could come to. In a way that would qualify as being in “pain”… going mad in an body that you used to be so free in, now your prison.

and you can't compend the idea of people wanting to die because of pain? Then you've never known TRULY, AWFUL PAIN.there's actually been an time when I was in such AWFUL, nerve-racking pyshical pain and I felt so crippled as an result… I actually wanted to die.. not because I was sudicial, but because I wanted the pain to STOP. no amount of medenice could actually stop that pain… at least not without the possibly of me overdosing and dying, or so they say. even though doctors were supposed to have ALL the answers, they couldn't find a way to help me though the pain safely with meds or other forms of treatment. I nearly went mad. I just wanted it to stop… for the pain to end some way, even if it might mean that I would die.
who knew that such an serve car accident could have an effect on an 10-year-old girl? nethier did I at the time. appeartly they couldn't give me the strongest meds, because of health issues I had along with the fact that I was still a child at the time.
I'm 23 years old now in case you were wondering, even tohugh that's pointless info. yes, I survied and I'm fine now.. which you might use as an case against this sort of thing.. but I just used that little bit of my life to attempt to express to you how far pain can truly hurt and scar an person emitionally.

So, I can relate to the parents and doctors wanting to end an infant's life humanely if it's proven that they are truly in pain in such a way where Medenice and no amount of science along with faith can help. if it was really proven that there was zero chance of the baby's condition EVER improving at all and that there was EVDENCE that it would only get worse…
then why put it though so much suffering? it breaks an parent's heart as well as scarring them emtionally that they know that thier baby's short time in life is to only know suffering. to have it cry out for help to stop the pain, only for them to be unable to help it.

and most imporantly, I can relate to that baby, having felt pain so horrible that I actually condsering dying at such a young age. yes, I had time to get over it and improve from such a state of being… but that baby won't have time at all.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM

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