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Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the righteous-anger dept.

Government 961

theodp writes " I hope my father dies soon," Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote Saturday in a frustrated, angry, and poignant blog post. 'My father, age 86, is on the final approach to the long dirt nap (to use his own phrase). His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get. If my dad were a cat, we would have put him to sleep long ago. And not once would we have looked back and thought too soon. Because it's not too soon. It's far too late. His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering. Rarely has money been so poorly spent. I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies.' Adams also had harsh words for those who would oppose assisted suicide, 'I don't want anyone to misconstrue this post as satire or exaggeration. So I'll reiterate. If you have acted, or plan to act, in a way that keeps doctor-assisted suicide illegal, I see you as an accomplice in torturing my father, and perhaps me as well someday. I want you to die a painful death, and soon. And I'd be happy to tell you the same thing to your face.' His father passed a few hours after Adams wrote his screed. Challenged later by the SF Chronicle's Debra J. Saunders, an opponent of assisted suicide, Adams stood firm on his earlier words. So, can Adams succeed in convincing the U.S. where Dr. Jack failed?"

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Should be legal, with caveat (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526597)

This is one of those things were I think it should be legal (free will) but only if the person left instructions stating so in their will. "I, So and So, being of sound mind, state that if I'm ever in a coma with less than 1% chance of coming out of it (by the doctor's judgements) do so hereby state that I wish to be 'put down'" or some such.

Re:Should be legal, with caveat (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 10 months ago | (#45526707)

I think he should have just condemned the "bad guys" to forced watching of the "Dilbert" television series, for the rest of their natural lives.

Re:Should be legal, with caveat (5, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | about 10 months ago | (#45526729)

It's not about comas. It's about terminal illnesses where there is no chance of recovery and the only thing for the patient and family to look forward to are pain, loss of dignity, loss of autonomy, and significant emotional, personal and financial burdens. Assisted, end of life suicide already legal in Washington and Oregon and some parts of Europe.

Re:Should be legal, with caveat (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 10 months ago | (#45526905)

That's the importance of having a DNR statement on your papers, will and have it available to the person with Power of Atty over you.

You can state you want no heroic measures taken to prolong life and they will let you go. They won't kill you, but they won't go out of their way to keep you alive on machines.

Re:Should be legal, with caveat (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 10 months ago | (#45526967)

I think comas are pretty rare. It is more the years or nearly mindless torture that modern medicine can create for a large number of people.

Obligatory (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526611)

I want you to die a painful death, and soon. And I'd be happy to tell you the same thing to your face.

Please don't.

Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 10 months ago | (#45526613)

"I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

"If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out."

I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 10 months ago | (#45526637)

For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526741)

I don't agree. I hope you ALL DIE!

Re:Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526801)

For the record, I believe euthanasia laws need modernized. But wishing mass deaths on people who don't share your views is just wrong.

I personally think he went overboard too, but it is not exactly the same as 'not sharing your views'. Adams is making the point that it is _not_ an opposing viewpoint, it is actively harming other people. Something I agree with. I do not equate euthanesia opponents to torturers, but for the sake of argument: we would not let someone get away with torturing helpless people*, just because their view is that it is perfectly ok to do so. And yes, people do get punished, put in to jail or even put to death because their 'views' are unacceptable to civilized society.

* Yes... I realize the irony there when it comes to the US treatment of certain terror suspects.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 10 months ago | (#45526909)

But there's nobody left alive who disagrees with me :)

Re:Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45526949)

Opposing views, sure. But is wishing a painful death on those causing your father an awful death wrong? That the connection is just "informational" rather than physical is a rhetorical conceit.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (2)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about 10 months ago | (#45527003)

Its amazing how can pain and suffering can make you do or think when someone very close that you love is going through. I can understand is point of view and anger towards anyone (gov,doctors and anyone else) wont allow assisted suicide. To see your father that you supported all your life in pain all day and probably all night long can be very hard to see for his son.

Can you imagine where a father, a supporter of a family, the pillar of a group, a leader once a man...reduced to almost nothing near the end of his life. Can you imagine your son taking care of you of small simple things as..."can you wash me in my bath tub son"... I'm sorry but for me, I can't imagine that since I do have my dignity and I don't want to lose that later in my life.

I can easily imagine his anger as he see's his father losing his life very slowly and leaving him in a painful way. But it's almost ironic to see doctors who are suppose to cure and heal people that in this case... are supporting suffering of a patient. it's just odd to see assisted suicide left alone in it's corner, unattended and unsupervised

The bright side of this is every major country have this problem so he's not alone at least. Hell, theres some articles on this subject almost every year involving these cases.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526675)

I'm sad for his suffering as well. I'll remain against doctor-assisted suicide as there are too many dangers and slippery slopes on it.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 10 months ago | (#45526687)

When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

Wishing other people to suffer for ANY reason is not a political discourse, it's a direct aggression. Threatening direct aggressors is not a political discourse, it's defense.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (-1, Flamebait)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#45526693)

"I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

"If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out."

I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

Well, he's a comic creator, not a doctor, philosopher or politician. He's somewhere up there with Janitor or Central Park Mime in my book. Why he expects me to take what he says seriously is quite curious. It's like all the Hollywood hookers stripping their clothes off for PETA like that's suddenly going to make me eat veggies for the rest of my life.

I get the guys in pain, that his dad is in pain but if his mind is "98%" gone as he says then his dad is suffering less than he is. If his dad had a living will requesting to not be left on life support than it likely wouldn't be an issue. There are legal ways around assisted suicide, it just seems Scott would rather ignore them and point fingers like every other douche on the planet.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

Copid (137416) | about 10 months ago | (#45526799)

I get the guys in pain, that his dad is in pain but if his mind is "98%" gone as he says then his dad is suffering less than he is. If his dad had a living will requesting to not be left on life support than it likely wouldn't be an issue. There are legal ways around assisted suicide, it just seems Scott would rather ignore them and point fingers like every other douche on the planet.

Since we're using a person's vocation to decide whether or not their opinion is valid, what do you do for a living?

Re:Well, isn't this nice (-1, Troll)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#45526889)

I get the guys in pain, that his dad is in pain but if his mind is "98%" gone as he says then his dad is suffering less than he is. If his dad had a living will requesting to not be left on life support than it likely wouldn't be an issue. There are legal ways around assisted suicide, it just seems Scott would rather ignore them and point fingers like every other douche on the planet.

Since we're using a person's vocation to decide whether or not their opinion is valid, what do you do for a living?

Well, I don't write a fucking comic strip for a living, that's for sure.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 10 months ago | (#45526901)

You've clearly never been around someone in the final stages of dementia.
I can tell you this, I'll be checking out before I get to that point.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526699)

Dialing it back would probably be a good idea, but this type of rhetoric is pretty normal. Look at any news story involving rape, murder, torture, etc, and the comments section is filled with people who wish pain and death upon those responsible.

In this case you have a group of well intentioned people who's activism is resulting in pain and suffering. While the activists involved try to see themselves as disconnected from the consequences and keep it impersonal, to someone where it is personal, that separation is rather false.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526715)

Watching his father suffer must have been bad, but to flip it around and claim that others should suffer if they oppose his views is a bit much. His statement just diminished that wonderful new dilbert book I just got off of amazon now. Bummer.

It's the new normal. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526719)

However, teabaggers, troofers, raelians, et al are all so batshit insane that nobody dares say the same to them, just in case their claims are fact and they DO kill you.

Whereas it's pretty assured that Scott's rant is hyperbole (it would be silly to wish pain and suffering on someone because you think they wish pain and suffering on your dad. Becase that would mean the pain and suffering you're feeling is justified because you wish pain and suffering on them. Which negates your justification for wishing them pain and suffering). Therefore it's safe to tell him off a bit.

But look at Glenn "not enough knives" Beck. Or James "they should be executed for treason" Iholfe.

"Oh, they have a point...".

Re:Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 10 months ago | (#45526725)

No, he really doesn't. This is exactly the kind of political discourse our nation has desperately needed for several decades. Can you think of a practical way to get billionaires to listen to people other than pointing guns at them?

Re:Well, isn't this nice (1)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#45526919)

No, he really doesn't. This is exactly the kind of political discourse our nation has desperately needed for several decades. Can you think of a practical way to get billionaires to listen to people other than pointing guns at them?

What the fuck do billionaires have to do with this? Oh you were just looking for a way to point fingers at the 1%.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526731)

"I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

"If you're a politician who has ever voted against doctor-assisted suicide, or you would vote against it in the future, I hate your fucking guts and I would like you to die a long, horrible death. I would be happy to kill you personally and watch you bleed out."

I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone, your political discourse has gone way too far.

It's obvious that years of torture of watching him become less and less the man he was and being able to do nothing about it because of people being too weak and narrow-minded to allow him to fix the problem has caused him to become bitter. Just as it would anyone else. Why would anyone propose assisted suicide? So much money is wasted on forcing people through life just so some people can feel a bit better about themselves for being "heroes".

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526803)

I am with george calrlin on this point. "Plug my ass in"

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526821)

I do not see this starting any war cries for assisted suicide, Dr. Jack always tried to rationalize with people as to why it shouldn't be illegal. Adams statement while he is simply venting out frustration over watching someone erode away as opposed to dying with dignity, instead he is stuck with remembering the worst years of a family members life, when he should have been able to stick to remembering his father as he knew him growing up.

I do not know who asked such a question So, can Adams succeed in convincing the U.S. where Dr. Jack failed?" Dr.Jack tried to convince citizens as to why it should be allowed, and he always choose his patients very carefully. or the ones that were the in the worst shape. The idiot media and politicians made him out to be a serial killer as opposed to someone that knew the limits of medicine as well as his patients and wanted to option of ending it as opposed to living off of pills that were going to do nothing to cure them, but prolong the inevitable.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (2)

janeuner (815461) | about 10 months ago | (#45526845)

> I'll attribute most of this to personal pain... but seriously, Scott needs to dial it back a notch. When you go into threats of killing someone...

Considering what he probably experienced in the weeks leading up to the blog post, I choose to cut him some slack, and not quote that statement when describing him in the future.

Saunders, on the other hand, was downright petty to "win the debate" with Scott Adams while he was probably working out funeral arrangements. What a @#%@5.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (1)

ewieling (90662) | about 10 months ago | (#45526899)

Wishing someone would die and acting on it are two different things. I wish Fred Phelps was dead, but I'm not going to kill him.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526915)

Point of order: this is not a death threat. "I would happily kill you" is not the same as "I'm going to kill you."

I'd happily rob a bank without feeling any real remorse. That doesn't mean I intend to do so.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (4, Insightful)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 10 months ago | (#45526921)

I don't agree
If someone is torturing your family, are you gonna say you respectfully disagree with them, or honestly from the depths in your heart wish them a long and painful torture death too?

He's just being honest, and maybe it's hard to understand if you don't share his situation and view where he holds these people responsible for causing his father unfathomable pain. But if you look at it from that perspective, his words make perfect sense.

If someone came to your house and tortured your father to death, what would you wish upon them? Just because people are causing others a long, painful death in a less direct way, doesn't imo change the way i should feel about that. So to me his emotions make perfect sense, and i wouldn't think twice about saying the same thing in the same situation.

It's great that you have your personal beliefs, act on them for yourself, but if it makes my family suffer, please die a fuckin painful death, asap. Sounds very reasonable to me, and i wish the same on those people.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (4, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | about 10 months ago | (#45526925)

No, I don't think he needs to dial it back. He is right, because it is only when we experience such things first-hand that we realize the truth. That is why he says what he says. When someone makes such a radical statement, don't just take it literally. Try to understand the context, and try to appreciate the underlying meaning.

Those who oppose euthanasia are people who either (a) have dogmatic reasons for doing so (e.g., religion), or (b) have never witnessed a loved one go through a protracted and painful terminal illness. They aren't able to comprehend because they live a comfortable life and cannot imagine what it is like to be terminally ill and incapacitated.

This is about the right to self-determination. It is about being able to have one's wishes respected after all self-control is lost. It is about the right to choose for oneself, as opposed to allowing the ideologies of others (complete strangers whose beliefs may have no bearing on your own) to legally prohibit you to make that choice because to them, it is about THEIR own abstract, moral discomfort, and not your own, REAL pain.

I would not want such a thing for myself. But that's a decision I'm making now, in good health. Personally, I'd rather be made into a popsicle. Freeze me and thaw me out like a cheap TV dinner when mankind figures out how to cure what ails me. However, I absolutely would not stand in the way of someone else's decision. Who am I to decree what is right and wrong for other people? What gives me the moral right to claim that I know better than the family that is going through such a difficult time?

Re:Well, isn't this nice (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45526955)

I'd argue that you are ignoring the distinction that Adams (who I normally find surprisingly shallow) manages to keep in mind:

"I'm okay with any citizen who opposes doctor-assisted suicide on moral or practical grounds. But if you have acted on that thought, such as basing a vote on it, I would like you to die a slow, horrible death too."

He disagrees with; but holds the vitriol, for people who disagree with him; but does not hold the vitriol for people who have actually acted to impose upon others their position.

That's a fairly large and important distinction (though, if Adams were to kill somebody, he should still go down for murder). "Opposing" something is freedom of thought. Voting to make your opposition the law of the land is (in the rather tiny degree afforded to the constituents of contemporary democracies) taking up the force of state power and imposing your will on whoever you can reach. That isn't abstract opposition anymore.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45526991)

My problem with this 'debate' is the hand-wringing by unaffected parties, and the inevitable illogical leap that next we'll be killing the old and infirm because they're inconvenient.

Nobody is saying we're going to kill you, and nobody is suggesting we make this easy or something hospital staff can decide when they get tired of changing your sheets.

But the people screeching the loudest about ensuring that other people do not have the right to choose their own death with dignity aren't even affected by it.

If I was terminally ill, and would rather die at a time of my own choosing, that should be my right. It should not be someone else's right to prevent this from happening based on their moral objections to it -- because it's none of their fucking business.

Usually when I hear someone fighting against doctor assisted suicide, they're doing it on purely religious grounds and expect the rest of us to care. It's usually just a much of moralizing old bitties who have said "killing anyone is bad, so you have to suffer, and if we let you die by your own choice next it will be us". I rank it right up there with someone trying to pass laws which define my morality and which has nothing to do with them.

I've known a few people who have died after the long, protracted palliative care which didn't serve any purpose but to prolong suffering and keep up the pretense it's a better option than dying.

And, I must confess, I share some of the same rage as Adams does on this. What your religion tells you about how you want to die has nothing at all to do with if I want to die in a long drawn-out process that serves no purpose. So I'm of the opinion that you don't get a vote about how/if I get to choose to die with some dignity.

And if you want a vote in that, my vote is that you should also die a long and horrible death.

Re:Well, isn't this nice (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 10 months ago | (#45527005)

He didn't threaten anything. A politician who has voted against euthanasia has voted to force some people who want to die to suffer an incredibly degrading and sometimes inconceivably painful slow death which could easily be avoided. They've taken action to make that happen. Scott stating that he would enjoy killing someone who does that is nothing by comparison.

He had to stand by and watch his father suffer because other people who didn't know his father decided that not only didn't he have the right to help him but that doctors are legally obliged to keep the suffering going for as long as possible. It's sick and it's wrong on a level that is hard to match.

Been there. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526621)

My dad degraded to the point where I just went crying to my (now) wife and told her I felt terrible but I just wanted him to die. (And long before that I wished that we had universal health care so it wouldn't have gotten to this point).

He ended up dying Thanksgiving day at home while trying to make it to the bathroom. But unlike Scott's dad there was no hospital, no hospice prolonging anything. However it got to the point where I honestly started looking into trying to get morphine such that it'd make his final days a bit easier.

Kill pact (5, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 10 months ago | (#45526629)

In that situation, I'll kill my wife or she will kill me. Otherwise I wouldn't have married her.

I am not sure what she'll do after but I am positive I'll commit suicide after killing her.

I've lived something close to what Mr. Adams describes and I now need such certainties to live in peace.

Re:Kill pact (-1)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#45526723)

"Why'd you get married?"

"So I'd have someone to kill me some day"

Seriously, if that's your outlook on life/marriage I feel really sorry for your wife.

Re:Kill pact (5, Insightful)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 10 months ago | (#45526809)

Seriously, if that's your outlook on life/marriage I feel really sorry for your wife.

Then you totally don't get it. It sounds like the poster you're responding to has an unconditionally loving and trusting relationship with his wife. They are both very lucky.

Re:Kill pact (-1, Troll)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#45526963)

Then you totally don't get it. It sounds like the poster you're responding to has an unconditionally loving and trusting relationship with his wife. They are both very lucky.

"Otherwise I wouldn't have married her."

Yeah, real loving. Give it up.

Re:Kill pact (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#45526819)

He didn't say he got married because he wanted someone to kill him. He said he never would have married someone who wouldn't.

Not:
"Lets get married so we can end each other's life when the time comes"

More like:
"I can't marry someone who doesn't love me enough to respect my wishes and end my life, even though it will be painful and difficult for them"

Re:Kill pact (-1, Troll)

geek (5680) | about 10 months ago | (#45526945)

He didn't say he got married because he wanted someone to kill him.

"Otherwise I wouldn't have married her."

Nice try fuckwad.

Re:Kill pact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526833)

You fail at logic. Requirement is not the same as motivation.

Re:Kill pact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526985)

"Why'd you get married?"

"So I'd have someone to kill me some day"

Seriously, if that's your outlook on life/marriage I feel really sorry for your wife.

Logic isn't your thing, eh? When two things are not equal, that tells you what they aren't, not what they are. Hand in your geek card, please.

Surrogate decisionmaking (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526631)

For the most part, while there are exceptions, active suicide is almost unnecessary for someone in a grossly debilitated state. As a physician, I both have a living will and my family is well-informed that if I ever lose the ability to function mentally, in a way that is not reversible, I am not to receive ANY life-prolonging treatment. That means no artificial hydration, no feeding, and no antibiotics. Many of my physician colleagues have made similar arrangements. That's why MDs are the group in the population with the lowest end-of-life cost. While a surrogate or healthcare proxy may not make a decision to end a life, they are certainly within their rights to do the abovementioned, unless a person's living will specifically forbids it. In general, this means a person will pass away within days. For the most part it allows the family time to fly in, and make peace with the inevitable.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 10 months ago | (#45526711)

Agreed on all points, but letting a loved one literally die of starvation while you watch is a cruel legal reality.

That you can't simply pick quick and painless death at that stage by some sort of overdose or lethal injection is inhumane.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526813)

Agreed on all points, but letting a loved one literally die of starvation while you watch is a cruel legal reality.

Not really. At that point the body and mind are shutting down to the point that person is basically in a "twilight" state, and not hungry. Seriously, we're not talking about withholding food, we're talking about simply not force-feeding it to someone who no longer wants it.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (5, Informative)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526831)

I think you're making a lot of assumptions that are fundamentally false by projecting your imagination into a situation that is very different.
People with mental status that is sufficiently compromised to fall under the category I am describing are not really able to feel hunger the way we do. Actually, starvation due to decreased drive to eat is one of the primary mechanisms of end-stage dementia.
Also, appropriate end-of-life care within the palliative setting involves very aggressive pain control.
At no point should anyone in hospice care die in pain.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526961)

That you can't simply pick quick and painless death at that stage by some sort of overdose or lethal injection is inhumane.

No! It is divine! Isn't it "God" the number one reason for not allowing euthanasia?

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (4, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 10 months ago | (#45526735)

Yes, but why should you have to suffer through the pain of a slow death by dehydration or infection rather then a quick painless overdose of anesthetic?

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 10 months ago | (#45526859)

It's true it's silly, but you'll be sedated during the process (or should be, anyone know for sure?) so you won't notice. As far you're concerned it would be equivalent to an overdose of anaesthetic.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526871)

Exactly. My dad died in this manner. He was in a coma and we opted to "pull the plug". They just turned off all the machines and stopped giving him fluids. He basically died of dehydration over the course of several days. Fucking retarded.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45526883)

As with so many other things, religion. Even in a country that supposedly has a separation of church and state there are a lot of laws whose origins were based upon religion. Some are good, some are not.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

wasteoid (1897370) | about 10 months ago | (#45526773)

So you'll die of starvation or thirst - sounds like a painful and slow way to go, which is probably what Scott's dad was facing.

Remember Terri Schiavo?

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526865)

Neither.
In the absence of artificial hydration intravenously or via percutaneous or intranasal gastric tube, people who are unable to tolerate PO liquids will pass away rather rapidly. For discussion of pain control in terminally ill patients, see another one of my replies in this thread.

Ironic (0)

justthinkit (954982) | about 10 months ago | (#45526815)

How ironic that a doctor doesn't want "extraordinary measures". It is like a car mechanic who says "take it to the scrap heap" rather than opting to replace the engine or transmission on his '57 Chevy.

Re:Ironic (2)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526933)

How ironic that a doctor doesn't want "extraordinary measures". It is like a car mechanic who says "take it to the scrap heap" rather than opting to replace the engine or transmission on his '57 Chevy.

That's a silly comment. Extraordinary measures are fine, as long as they accomplish something. Hence the word "reversible" in my original post. If all "extraordinary measures" (by which I assume you mean enteral feeding, mechanical ventilation, etc) are doing is keeping a shell physically alive, that's not at all equivalent.
The equivalent would be keeping a car that's been crushed in a press in your garage for sentimental reasons.

More like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526957)

A mechanic opting not to rebuild the transmission in his 1987 Yugo.

Even after significant cost and effort, the result still won't be very good and will probably fail again in a catastrophic manner with next to no hope of ongoing residual value.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 10 months ago | (#45526827)

I'm not sure which I'd rather do on my deathbed: live out my last months unable to move or communicate with tubes jammed in every orifice, or die of thirst. If the law treated all deprivation equally, then if I had to choose what to be deprived of, I'd have to choose Oxygen, at least based on the stories I've heard of people accidentally getting killed by CO2 in enclosed spaces. Sadly, I don't get that choice.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | about 10 months ago | (#45526953)

The problem is that the general populace is neither aware of the option to have this sort of a living will or informed enough to be able to make a properly considered decision on the language and implications of having that clause included.

I'm not a doctor or a lawyer. When I went through the process of creating a will recently, some of the language and standard clauses were pretty scary sounding, especially the power of attorney. The "do not resuscitate" clauses will require more archaic legal language to deal with a topic that many will interpret to mean that they'd be allowed to die when there was still a slight chance they'd recover.

In spite of years of education, decades in high tech and life experience that has forced me to deal with the edge of this topic, I still haven't resolved the conflict between my logical-self that says this is the right and practical solution and my emotional-self that loves life and can't imagine drawing a line where I'd allow it to end.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 10 months ago | (#45526981)

For the most part, while there are exceptions, active suicide is almost unnecessary for someone in a grossly debilitated state. As a physician, I both have a living will and my family is well-informed that if I ever lose the ability to function mentally, in a way that is not reversible, I am not to receive ANY life-prolonging treatment. That means no artificial hydration, no feeding, and no antibiotics. Many of my physician colleagues have made similar arrangements. That's why MDs are the group in the population with the lowest end-of-life cost. While a surrogate or healthcare proxy may not make a decision to end a life, they are certainly within their rights to do the abovementioned, unless a person's living will specifically forbids it. In general, this means a person will pass away within days. For the most part it allows the family time to fly in, and make peace with the inevitable.

I truly believe in this, if it is YOU making this decisions...but I don't want govt bureaucrats or a panel of them making this decision for me or my loved ones.

That is a very important distinction.

Re:Surrogate decisionmaking (2)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#45527001)

Generally you need two documents, both the living will ('advance healthcare directive') and a legal representative ('durable power of attorney for health care'). Usually if you get a will drawn up the lawyer will help with these as well.

Without them, doctors generally must assume you want to live.

I agree in the general sense, it is a good idea for doctors to try to save lives. That's the thing they do. If I get hit by a bus I would really like to go to the hospital and get fixed up, rather than just sit there on the road for days until I die. So as a general rule this makes sense: doctors are generally correct to try to keep people alive.

I always chuckle when I hear people say 'if I die...", when the correct wording is "when I die...". The exact circumstances vary from person to person, but the end result is always the same. Most people struggle to accept that fact, and delay things like life insurance, wills and estate planning, living wills, talking with family about their death plans, and so on. I guess the reasoning is that if you don't think about it and don't prepare for it, it won't happen.

Many people are afraid of death and dying, and will do anything to delay it no matter the cost. The point where it switches from reasonable to unreasonable is a difficult line to draw.

Should be legal, with caveat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526651)

This is one of those things that I think should be legal due to free will, with the caveat that the person left instructions in there wills stating so. "I, So and So, being of sound mind do so state that if I'm ever stuck on life support with no chance of recovery, I wish to be 'put down'" or some such.

Deb Saunders should die, agreed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526655)

Fuck that dumb bag.

ahm. (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526661)

Saunders's response was rather confusing, esp the closing "Me, I don't want to live in a world where one group of people decides when another group should die."

I guess it is not oppression as long as the choice you want is the one being mandated.

Re:ahm. (1)

janeuner (815461) | about 10 months ago | (#45526855)

Also, "I win this debate" while the opponent is in mourning. Classy.

Re:ahm. (1)

jythie (914043) | about 10 months ago | (#45526995)

Esp when I do not really see any win there in the first place. I am actually kinda surprised she didn't goodwin.

It really is terrible that people have no right. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526663)

People should have the right to die, and more so, people should have the right to pass on that right to someone they know in the event they are unable to make that decision.

Deaths such as that are absolutely agonising not only for the person, but for the people around them.
It solves NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING. It is, as he said, quite literally legal torture. Fucking prisoners of war got less than that!
No, they aren't going to pull a fucking cure out of their ass for most reasons someone is slowly dying like that, be is degenerative diseases of the brain or cancer slowly devouring them away or the countless others.
If they found a cure for cancer literally right now, you'd still probably die from an already active cancer simply because of how long it would take for it to go in to not only phase1 trials, but actual public use. (given it was going to kill you in the first place that is)

Yes, there are a billion and one legal loopholes that would need to be fixed, but that can be dealt with IF IT WAS ACTUALLY LOOKED IN TO.
But no, too many religious nutjobs in government will prevent such a thing.
Thanks, jebustards.
It sucks because most religious people in general are pretty sensible and just use religion as guidance, but these fucktards ruin it for everyone else.

And the reason they do it? (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 10 months ago | (#45526893)

It is all about the state* being in control of all aspects of your life. You are a number, a cog, a cow...from birth to death. This is just the last act of control by the state.

* - obviously the global power much higher than any political organization

It is true, I think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526669)

We will be hearing more and more about how to conveniently die, or rather, how to make dying convenient, so as not to be a burden on the living.

Such is the fear of dying. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526677)

Such is the sheer strength of the lack of rational thought and outright terror about the concept of death that we would rather prolong a tortured existence rather than even contemplate humane euthanasia. If someone is so scared of death that they would rather be kept alive, make THAT the exception.

If I had a loved one in such a terrible position being kept alive, I would probably take my chances with the law and the court of public opinion. No shame in being called an angel of mercy, and the legal repercussions are pale in comparison to ending torture.

Argument against assisted suicide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526679)

Are the arguments against assisted suicide similar to the arguments against attemping regulation against the 1%?

Somehow, someone will be able to 'bypass' the regulation and kill themselves without being in permanenet suffering / some individual rich fucker will be able to bypass the regulation?

somewhat agree, somewhat disagree (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526701)

So I'll piss off both sides. I don't believe in helping someone kill themself. But neither do I believe in stopping the natural process of dying by using machines or drugs which force a body to continue functioning when it would otherwise stop. I.e. I do believe in letting a person have a registered DNR. My kidneys are failing (30% functionality). When they stop, I will die because I will refuse dialysis. And the government health care panel will applaud my decision to not waste their money ("being of sound mind and body, I spend it!").

Not technically correct (0)

paiute (550198) | about 10 months ago | (#45526727)

I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision.

Sure he could have made that decision. He could have smothered his dad with a pillow. It's not like the government sends guards to make sure that terminal patients are not put down. He means that he can't make that decision without facing criminal charges. He is not physically prohibited from acting as he sees fit.

Not wishing death on his father (5, Insightful)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 10 months ago | (#45526733)

He was wishing that his father would be out of misery and is a proponent of assisted suicide. He saw his father suffer and become little more of a shell. The "wish" was as much for himself as for his father.

And, he's right...if it were an animal, we'd have "put it to sleep" to ease its suffering.

We get so caught up on religious dogma and how this would be murder or suicide that we forget the person is a human being being forced to live an existence they wouldn't choose for themselves.

The other week, my mother's partner or 13 years suffered a stroke and was on life support. Thankfully, in our state, they support the concept of a living will - it gave her the authorization to take him off of life support. She waited until confirmation by multiple doctors on his prognosis. It was difficult. He has zero higher brain function and was being kept alive artificially with zero probability of recovery. He was 86. She authorized the removal of the machines and feeding tubes...just IV and pain meds (seems he was experiencing pain at some level). In 3 days, he passed peacefully.

My mother is a religious and moral person - but, she feels it morally wrong to keep someone in that state, given their expressed wishes prior, alive for the sake of keeping them alive. If he had a soul, it passed when his brain function ceased. His body was just a shell. And, she felt he was in a better place.

Re:Not wishing death on his father (1)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | about 10 months ago | (#45526903)

Indeed. A lot of this is because someone interpreted in the Bible that if you take your own life you will go to Hell. But the thing is that the lives here are being extended artificially. More ever, slowly draining the funds away from you as well. sri

Analogy to the third (1)

jabelli (1144769) | about 10 months ago | (#45526751)

We supply food, shelter and medical care to animals, only to then slaughter them for food. By her analogy, we should be slaughtering excess people for food by now. Where's my Soylent Green? (No, green Soylent does not count.)

Where's all that money supposed to go, Mr. Adams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526763)

What? You want to kill your father and keep all the poor healthcare providers from getting that $8000 a month??

While I agree with Scott (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526769)

While I agree with Scott on the main issue, his attitude and the way he is handling it is all wrong. For somebody who writes professionally for a living, his choice of words, both about his father and his opponents, is absolutely disgusting.

I don't think I'll ever be able to enjoy a Dilbert comic the same way now that he's acted like this.

One Concern (4, Interesting)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 10 months ago | (#45526783)

I'm in favor of someone having the right to end their own life, but I do have a concern about how easily "I don't consider my life worth living and want to die" will morph into "We don't consider your life useful and want to kill you".

Show me the money (1)

seoras (147590) | about 10 months ago | (#45526785)

When ever I see a law that makes no rational sense I always look at the finances and who gains.
In this case:
"His smallish estate pays about $8,000 per month to keep him in this state of perpetual suffering"

$8k a month is a good (corporate/governmental) reason to keep people on life support machines and drag out a miserable existence that bit further.

Shame that $8k a month couldn't be better spent on someone who's got a chance at life rather than keeping alive someone who's got no chance and is suffering.

The world makes no sense with humanity in control but seems to make perfect sense when nature is left alone.

Standards (2, Interesting)

Jiro (131519) | about 10 months ago | (#45526789)

By this reasoning, there should be people wishing death on anyone who ever voted (directly or indirectly) for a policy which causes people to suffer.

And if you're about to point out that the opponents of every policy claim that the policy causes people to suffer, you are of course right.

You don't usually see people whose sons die in Iraq claiming that anyone who voted for George Bush needs to die, and when you do, they're considered nutcases.

Poor guy (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#45526795)

I truly feel for him, having been through a somewhat similar situation with my own dad a number of years ago.

But I have to ask - whether I agree with him or not - why should his celebrity make me care about his opinion any more than I care about that of some random guy on the street? Which, by the way, is pretty much the same question I ask when someone brings up Clint Eastwood's or Tom Hanks' presidential candidate preferences.

I like Dilbert, hate Adams. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526797)

EOF

Legal right to suicide (4, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45526829)

I've always strongly believed in any adult's legal right to commit suicide (either via their own hand, or at the hand of a proxy at their request). I saw one of my relatives go with Alzheimer's and I *never* EVER want to go that way myself. There is nothing more undignified than losing your mind. And I (and everyone else) should be allowed to have a living will to specify that I be put down in such a circumstance.

If Johnny Bible-thumper wants to live like than because he thinks Jesus wants him to, then that's his choice. But it's not mine. And it shouldn't be forced on me just because a bunch of senators need Johnny Bible-thumper's support to get re-elected.

Pick a death age. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526847)

Say, 70. Map it out so you have money till then. When you start getting close to 70, live it up. Make sure no penny goes unused. See all the things you wanted to see but never could since you had to keep saving money for the unexpected. If that isn't for you (living it up), then be glad that all your money is going towards your friends/family when you pass.

With your last remaining money, buy a gun and say goodbye to a painful retirement, sitting in a bed or a chair, watching TV as your mind melts away, using all your remaining money on meds and housing.

morals and ethics... (2)

sageres (561626) | about 10 months ago | (#45526851)

Ha, here is a question to Adams: why did not his father make such arrangement when his mind was still with him? Is it possible he did not want to die by his own or anyone else's help? Perhaps he himself has religious or moral problems with that? Do whatever da fark you want, but don't make decisions for anyone else, even if they are your family. You really have no moral or ethical right to determine anyone else's right to live.

oregon has assistant suicide (5, Informative)

Sri Ramkrishna (1856) | about 10 months ago | (#45526853)

Oregon has legal assistant suicide, the first in the nation to have these laws. You can plan and die peacefully in Oregon with your choice of a death cocktail.

That's why (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 10 months ago | (#45526873)

I have 10 grams of coke hidden in my house. My dad suffered tremendously during his last weeks of life. I've seen it with my own eyes. If I'm ever in that situation, I've instructed my family to overdose me with the coke. They'll have plausible deniability (I was a junkie who wanted his dose). As for me, they say the first hit is better than an orgasm, and with 10 g, it'd also be my last, so I'd go in style.

Of course, if I'm conscious and able to, I'll do the coke myself if I have to...

Scott Adams wrote Saturday (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526875)

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a word in between wrote and Saturday to better link them together and make the sentence clearer. Perhaps 'on' would be a good word?

For me "Scott Adams wrote Saturday" means that Scott Adams wrote the word Saturday, while "Scott Adams wrote on Saturday" means that Scott Adams wrote something on Saturday.

Americans seem to do this out of pure laziness. Surely it's worth your time to type those two extra letter to avoid making the sentence feel like a slap in the face.

I'm not sure what the rest of this article is about because I didn't make it passed the word Saturday. If you can't be bothered to write a complete sentence then I can't be bothered to read it.

My thoughts are with him (5, Interesting)

kaizendojo (956951) | about 10 months ago | (#45526877)

You don't know until you have gone through this yourself. I just did - twice within months, once for my Mother who died in home hospice and again for my Father about 5 months after she passed. I went through it alone, even though a sibling lived only 2 miles away from them. You can't imagine watching someone you love, someone you owe your whole world to waste away in this fashion. I was lucky enough that both were cognitive right up until the end; for me it was the only saving grace in all this that I could at least still communicate and interact with them up in until a day or two before each passed. I can't fathom the pain Adams went through in his situation. I understand fully why he said what he did and where it came from. To those who think they know better, be careful becuase karma has a way of administring harsh lessons of reality.

Move to Oregon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526895)

It's legal there...

welcome to universal "adequate" coverage (1, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#45526907)

Voters are given the erroneous impression that medicine can miraculously save them and want to be covered for anything, so they vote in politicians that mandate "adequate care"; when costs spiral out of control, they need to be socialized and distributed to those who don't subscribe to such foolishness and would choose cheaper plans if they could; and doctors, hospitals, and drug companies love it because it increases their revenues. You'd think that insurance companies would be against it, but they don't care anymore, since with ACA, people have no alternative but to pay whatever rates insurance companies demand or violate the law.

Unless you arrange for dying far from hospitals and emergency rooms, you can now look forward to spending months as a living corpse generating revenue for hospitals in the future. Welcome to the financially bright new future of universal health care in the US.

This crosses so many boundaries (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 10 months ago | (#45526923)

It's sad to hear a guy who's given us so much laughter be in such pain over his father's situation. We all have to deal with this at some point in our lives and as we get older we see more of our loved ones passing away, some suddenly while others have a long, slow road to the afterlife. Unfortunately because of the religious, moral and political boundaries this crosses society as a whole just isn't ready to take this discussion on. People should be allowed to choose how and when they leave their existence due to severe medical ailments. A mechanism should be in place to allow people to leave with dignity and in those situations where they are unable either physically or mentally to make that decision themselves, the families should be able to make that decision with proper oversight and checks. No child wants to see their parents suffer nor do friends and loved ones want to see somebody they care about in a terminal situation that has no benefits to the suffering individual but there needs to be an open dialog about the subject. I have the same problem now but it's a little different. I have a step mother in a nursing home and a father, 85, still living at home. He's mentally active and tough as nails but he refuses even basic senior living services. If he loses his ability to drive, which is coming soon believe me, I will have to put him into a nursing home as well. He'll hate that but being a Marine who has fought in three wars but we've already had the discussions and the powers of attorney signed and the living wills done etc. but deep down I still don't think I can make that decision alone. Scott I hope this works out for you eventually but don't hate, people just try to do their best and unfortunately sometimes that just means that things aren't as sympathetic or as compassionate as we'd like.

y name is... (5, Funny)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 10 months ago | (#45526927)

My name is Scott Adams. You didn't kill my father. Prepare to die.

People shouldn't have to suffer (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 10 months ago | (#45526931)

I know if I were in that situation, I wouldn't want to be kept alive any longer than necessary. I'm not even sure why these anti-suicide laws exist, even for healthy people. If someone is miserable, has a crappy life for whatever reason, and doesn't want to be here anymore, then they should be allowed to go. Better yet, they should be allowed to go in a controlled manner. So many suicides are violent or messy -- jumping off a building, gunshots to the head, bleeding out...you name it. That's no fun to leave behind for your family. I'd like to have the option of a non-messy suicide, no questions asked, if I ever found myself in a hopeless situation. Suicidal people are miserable, depressed, whatever...let them go peacefully. No amount of mental health treatment is going to make someone better who's come to that crossroads in their life.

I know it's going to take a few more generations for religion to be completely marginalized, but this is one of the things that should change ahead of time. If I ever end up with dementia or a terminal illness with no hope of a good outcome, I don't want to have to sit around waiting until my body just can't keep going.

Harsh...but correct (1)

Stephen Thomas Kraus Jr (3382177) | about 10 months ago | (#45526937)

While I think Scott was a little harsh in addressing his detractors, I side with him. Euthanasia laws needs to be modernized, especially in the case of terminal illness. The idea that we are okay with putting down cats and dogs but not humans when it is no longer possible to cure or treat them is rather sad, and we allow unnecessary suffering to ride those with terminal illness into their final rest. Something must be done, but considering how poor the US Medical System is, I have no doubt it shall be some time before favorable changes are made.

So, can Adams succeed in convincing the U.S... (3, Insightful)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 10 months ago | (#45526979)

I want you to die a painful death

I don't know. But if he had left that one sentence out of his treatise\tirade, his argument would have been more convincing to opponents... perhaps. This is an emotional subject, but the discussion needs to be level-headed and practical.

Simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45526989)

Declare him a terrorist and call in a drone strike!

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