The right to live. The right to die

A social function I recently attended saw a discussion of the Terri Schiavo [/URL]case arise and might I add a heavy debate ensued. We debated; what constitutes death/brain death, what criteria should be used in deciding brain death, when there is no formal advance directive “living will” and a person is incapacitated–such as when a person is in a [URL=“”]persistent vegetative statewho has the right to decide their fate…Next of kin? Legal guardian? The courts? Politicians?

Thoughts and opinions?

I think other people should decide another persons fate.

I think it should be down to the Doctors. It’s a very sensitive subject though.:frowning:

That’s a good question. I think it should be up to the family, but I feel like deciding such a thing is playing god. Then again if I stood by it being blasphemous, then my stance on pro-choice would be blown out of the water. So I think it should be up to the IMMEDIATE family.

My sister and I, years ago, made a verbal pact to have the “plug” pulled if either of us was in a vegetative state. Yeh, yeh, I know, what “if” the doctors could bring me back? What if I somehow miraculously “awoke” from either a coma or a vegetative state? To me, it wouldn’t matter, pull the plug.

But now that we are both married and have kids, we have never talked about it since then. I told my wife what I wanted; she said she was cool with that, but…you never know, if I ever was in that situation, would she?

I, for sure, would not want any politicians, the President, a special law, or some supposedly “God-fearing, moral” doctor to decide my fate.

I say that only the mother and father, biological(Or adoptive if the biological parents of an adopted person can’t be reached) parents, should be allowed to decide that. They made the person, they have more authority, or at least in my opinion they should.

I honestly dont know what I would do in that situation…but I think it should be a decision you yourself make…just in case anything goes wrong…you should decide whats to be done. Dont leave the pressure on any of your family members. I dont think I’d want to be kept alive if I was in that state

Mm - this debate still goes on here too. There are cases related to this very thing, going on at the minute.

I personally, couldn’t put that pressure on someone I love, to make that decision about me.

If I was in constant pain, every single day and as a ‘vegetable’, then I would have to hope my next of kin would do the right thing either way - even then, I wouldn’t want them to be in that position really.

If I was ill enough that the quality of my life was in ruins, but could speak and knew my mind still, then I would like to be heard if it was me to decide to carry on or not. If I chose not to though, I wouldn’t want my nearest and dearest to be the ones to do the deed - this could have a bad impact on them in the future. It would have to be that of the local GP or Nurse.

That said - it is still something I feel, that is a choice ppl should be entitled to making themselves if that’s what they wish.

I look at it like this.

You are unable to do anything except lay on a bed and stare at a wall, There is little or no hope that it will ever Change.

your body may be alive… But are you really living?

I tell my husband far more than I tell my parents. If it came down to something like this with me, I think my husband would have a better idea of what I would want than my parents.

I, myself, believe that if there are no higher brain functions present, then by all intense and purposes life has ceased to exist. To me a functioning brain stem (this controls all our primitive reflexes, our involuntary functions such as breathing, body temperature regulation, and heartbeat) does not constitute life. Bodies that can breathe, blink, wake and sleep, but have no consciousness, are nothing but the visual perception of who we are… The essence is entirely gone.

Is my opinion right or wrong? It does not matter and no one has the right to judge, it is what I believe and it is what forms the base of my own advance directive (you never know what the future holds and you should always be prepared for the worst) And all we can do is offer our opinion. As is with human nature we all view things from our own perspective, looking through the “if that was me or my loved one” glasses…

How sad it is that due to the lack of a written living will, other people are left to determine our fate. I do know one thing; politicians have no place in this decision.

Having an advance directive is just as important as the will we make to administer our material possessions.

…and that the argument of what constitutes death/brain death is far from over.

I think that once declared brain-dead, that pretty much wraps it up.


i think that at 18yrs old we should be sent something or with our licence form it should ask whether or not we want the plug pulled, i personally dont care, i will take comfort in my mind whether im here, there anywhere, mobile or imobile. if this happens before 18 (or whatever) then it should be up to the gaurdians till then

Trying to keep someone alive in a vegetative state hoping against all hope, to me, is wrong. I’ve set up a living will, if my brain stops functioning, there’s no electricity running through any systems, as far as I’m concerned, I’m dead. Leave me be that way, let me die instead of keeping me hooked into machines. If there’s nothing involved like me being in a coma, or suchlike, that is, cause that one can recover from, although chances of a life anything like I’ve known before are incredibly remote.

then you would check the pull the plug box on the form

For myself I’d do that, yes. I’ve had to make that decision before, it’s really really hard.

They are basicly dead anyways…they are just living but they cant think. They are just as good as dead. They are just wasting space in the hospital, and wasting power. The plug should be pulled. I am sorry if this offended anyone.

In all yr posts just about, I cannot see where at all, you are a ‘religious’ person?

You really do need to learn life a lot.

? whos that for?

While that is true to an extent, most people tell their parents more than their significant others. The person has lived with their parents longer than their significant other, so in most cases, the mother/father would know more. But there are exceptions, such as in your case. That’s why it’s smarter to name specifically who you would want to make the decision, rather than never saying a word about it and assuming they[The doctors] would know who should make the decision.