Intelligence Squared Debate: Nov. 13, 2014

Legalize Assisted Suicide

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  • Ed Taylor November 13, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    At the beginning I was mostly leaning for the right to have assisted suicide. At the end I have been impacted to move more to the middle. All debaters had very convincing stories and ideas but the 2 mother stories were the turning point. Both speakers loved their moms deeply, one so much he joined the rest of the family and supported his mom’s decision and the other took the stand to not agree causing temporary conflict and anguish but had a powerful ending. I lost my mother and my wife in natural life and death rhythms, and I truly feel for people going through the choice of ending things, and those around them. This was my first Intelligence squared debate and will tell others to join in as will I. Thank you for an excellent thought stimulating evening.

  • Chip Neville November 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks to Dr. Bob for his compassionate and sensitive article. Personally, I suffer from metastatic prostate cancer, and after 13 years of relatively smooth sailing, the cancer cells have learned to eat cassidex and thrive. There are other lines of defense, but when these fail the end of my life will be miserable. When that time comes, I wish there were a way I could serve others by giving my life and simultaneously cheating the cancer, but I fear that is too much to ask. There is a wonderful recent movie directed by Dustin Hoffman, Quartet, about a retirement home for musicians in England. One of the characters, Sissy, is beginning to fail mentally, but she keeps saying, “Old age is not for sissies. I can remember that because my name is Sissy.” She’s right, old age is not for sissies.

  • Bob Hartley November 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Many thanks to Bob for his sensitive discussion of this issue. It’s encouraging that the subject seems once again in the public eye (we remember earlier attention with Dr. Kevorkian). I think of Atul Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal, for example. I look forward to the debate. Thanks to Chris, too, for including this literally life and death matter on our website, a matter relevant to us all.

  • Tom Ligon November 11, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Excellent article, Bob.

  • Eric Eitreim November 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Not for nothing is Pneumonia called “the old man’s friend.” One of the many pernicious legacies of our country’s devotion to the war on drugs is the obsessive fear that cancer ridden granny will become an addict. I’m grateful I live in a place where voters approved a Death with Dignity law.

  • Frederick Appell November 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Bob, Thanks for your thoughts about control.
    I worked as a chaplain at Hennepin County Medical on the burn ward with children. They were in great pain but their attitude and screaming improved when I convinced the doctors to tell them the truth about how much pain medication they could have and we took away the placebo pills the nurses had been instructed to give between pain pill doses. The kids were very resilient in the face of truth. Today maybe fear of addiction would be less and compassion more. I don’t know. But I do know the truth helped.
    Best to you, Bob. I think of my college roommate from time to time and wish you well. Fred Appell Y ’62