Witnessing Suicide - Legal Question

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by mirror, Jun 2, 2001.

  1. mirror Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    65
    Maybe some of you know where the law stands with regard to witnessing a suicide.

    Here is the scenario:

    A terminally ill family member only has a few months, maximum, to live. Their remaining time will be spent in exruciating pain and worse. This person has had their fill of hospitals and will be self-administering a lethal dose of prescribed drugs. They do not wish to be alone when they die and have asked that someone be at their bedside to hold their hand and comfort them as they pass from life to death.

    I've already come to terms with the ethical and moral questions but I'm not clear about the law. The place is Washington, D.C., USA.

    Anyone?

    Thanks.
     
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  3. 666 Registered Senior Member

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    378
    I don't belive you are requiered to render assitance to anyone, but I would duble check.

    Personaly I don't the law has any right to get involved!
     
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  5. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

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    Witnessing

    I gotta say this is real shaky ground. While the law probably should not be involved it most likely would be. Laws very from state to state and I'm am no lawyer. However a case could be made for neglegent homicide. By failing to contact either the law or medical help it could be said you assisted in murder. Knowlingly. That you knew what was to happen and failed to notify authorities. As I said, I am not a lawyer.
     
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  7. Malaclypse Perturber Registered Senior Member

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    198
    of course.....

    ...the State will always (in any way it can) object to suicide simply because the deletion of a consumer that will continue to contribute to the "system" to his/her last breath is unacceptable.

    those bastards....
     
  8. mirror Registered Senior Member

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    65
    Thanks so much for your responses.

    The suicide never came about because, mercifully, my aunt died naturally in her sleep one night shortly after I posted the question.

    Thankfully, she was not alone.

    With two more terminally ill people in the family, I am going to look into this in more depth.
     
  9. discord5 Registered Senior Member

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    88
    Re: of course.....


    amen my brother !!!!
     
  10. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Death

    Don't know where, or by who, but I picked it up somewhere:

    Isn't it peculiar that in a country that makes suicide illegal, capital punishment is condoned?

    Not an exact quote, but pretty close.
     
  11. Badfish Registered Member

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    24
    Suicide and euthanasia not the same.

    As I am considered terminally ill myself, I have pondered this issue at length. At the time of my choosing, shouldn't I be allowed to die with some dignity? I don't want to wither away in a hospital, diaper clad, bright lights on, doctors looking down with fake pity, with no semblence of privacy or humility. It should be MY choice when and where. Fortunately, my family agrees and will deal with legalities when the time comes. I just think it SUCKS that the legality of life and death is even an issue!
     
  12. Teri1 Registered Member

    Messages:
    13
    Re: Suicide and euthanasia not the same.

    I feel so strongly on this topic that my heart almost bursts for you. I just wish that human-kind had the ability to put themselves into the minds & bodies of the terminally ill, not only to feel their physical pain, but the mental anguish associated with being someone who used to function like everyone else but now can't. To me, not having control of my bodily functions and still having a sound mind would be a form of torture. My life is MY life. Strangers have no say in denying your wishes. Your family sound like good people. I hope things turn out the way you want them to be.
     
  13. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    Teri:

    I agree. I have a suggestion to those who feel their time is near. One should take on a Buddhist philosophy where detachment to worldly affairs can help the transitions much smoother. The same Buddhist practice also creates a peaceful and natural solution to often controversial and difficult situation.
     
  14. Teri1 Registered Member

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    13
    KMGURU,

    Buddhism is a philosophy I’ve yet to investigate, but I have noticed the sense of peace that emanates from people who are into Buddhism. If it’s a stepping-stone to true inner peace then there must be something to it, or do you think it’s our own abilities being guided to attain that level of peace from those wise old souls living on through others?

    Teri

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,757
    Hi Teri:

    People have spent thousands of hours to understand those answers. I will try to explain it in a few sentences! First read my posting under Eastern Philosophy. Now there are steps in Buddhism that one practices that can help to achieve inner peace. Those that believe that soul learns from the re-incarnation process, should know this in a few life cycles, where they are.

    It is Souls nature to follow the path of ascension. Buddhism allows a faster process to get there where as every other religion including traditional Hinduism creates obstacle to reach your goal.

    Once you are aware that something is going on here (that feeling that there is more to life than just living), you are ready to seek and find a path that suits your specific living.

    Usually a Guru can guide you to the next level. Matching Guru (Teacher) and student is luck or synchronicity. If a student moves beyond the teacher, it is time for the teacher to recommend the next level of teacher. It is like if you finished high school you need a college professor to teach a college level course. Having said that if you are well disciplined you can study college courses yourself provided you find the right materials.

    If you have ever been to a church, you will find they teach at an elementary level for life. That is why there are so many denominations, because deep down, Souls are unhappy.

    Good Luck. If you need any more info, send me a PM.
     
  16. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    kmguru ...

    Has it not been said "When the student is ready, the teacher shall appear'?
     
  17. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    YES SIR....OLD and WISE....

    (Actually it is true. I have several true stories in this situations, I just remembered one, I will put in in Eastern Philosophy section under "Teacher shall appear". Thanks)
     
  18. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    162
    mirror,

    It is also my opinion, that there are far too much regulations by law in private matters, especially in respect to assisted suicide or abortion. The reason for that seems to be, that Western countries and especially US are strongly influenced by the Christian church.

    How to behave in cases you mentioned depends mainly on the individual world-view (weltanschauung). The Buddhism, recommended by kmguru, is just one way. But in any case it should be the own free decision.

    My world-view: http://home.t-online.de/home/hraith/english.htm
     
  19. Riomacleod Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    301
    Legal case against assisted suicide

    The biggest legal argument against assisted suicide has been you cannot consent to death. No document, no legal contract, no agreement can have na article requiring the death of one of the parties.

    I agree with this, because we never know what someone else has going through their mind. While the last of the medicine is coursing your aunt's veins... she might change her mind. Many suicidal people who have survive never try again because they do decide that life, however painful is worth living.

    If I found my grandmother overdosing on pills-even though she has cancer- you can bet I would be getting an ambulance and attempting to revive her as best as possible.

    This issue has very little to do with consumerism, despite anyone's attempt to shake their fist at government and capitalism over this issue.

    While most phiosophies discourage suicide, there's technically nothing illegal about it. When you do attempt and fail commiting suicide, you are sometimes imprisoned as a precautionary action so as not to be dangerous to yourself or others.

    Finally, it would take a miracle to actually sucessfully prosecute you in the situation that you proposed. Negligent homide would require evidence that you were in fact in a position to do something. That means that they would have to prove that you were there, in the bedroom while she O/D'd. As long as you don't advertise it, you should be fine.

    If you're in real doubt about the legal issues, I'd go to a lawyer, pay for an hour of his time, and talk with him about it.
     
  20. tony1 Jesus is Lord Registered Senior Member

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    2,279
    *Originally posted by Badfish
    As I am considered terminally ill myself, I have pondered this issue at length. At the time of my choosing, shouldn't I be allowed to die with some dignity? I don't want to wither away in a hospital, diaper clad, bright lights on, doctors looking down with fake pity, with no semblence of privacy or humility. It should be MY choice when and where. Fortunately, my family agrees and will deal with legalities when the time comes. I just think it SUCKS that the legality of life and death is even an issue!
    *

    Wouldn't it make more sense to get rid of the terminal illness?

    And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
    (Matthew 14:14, KJV).

    And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
    (Mark 1:34, KJV).

    Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
    (1 Peter 2:24, KJV).

    And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
    (John 12:47, KJV).

    *Originally posted by Teri
    Buddhism is a philosophy I’ve yet to investigate, but I have noticed the sense of peace that emanates from people who are into Buddhism.
    *

    It's a fake peace, more like stunned confusion.

    *Originally posted by kmguru
    Usually a Guru can guide you to the next level. Matching Guru (Teacher) and student is luck or synchronicity. If a student moves beyond the teacher, it is time for the teacher to recommend the next level of teacher.
    *

    You can see why Buddhist are stunned and confused.
    Even kmguru agrees that finding a guru is pure luck.
    He doesn't say it, but it is pure bad luck.

    But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.
    (1 John 2:27, KJV).

    God has it figured out much better, he'll teach you personally, so you're not stuck learning from some brain-dead goofball, excuse me, guru, you stumbled on by pure luck.
     
  21. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    tony1 ...

    And after that? You still die.
     
  22. Troutski Registered Member

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    When assisted suicide was just an abstract idea I found it easy to oppose. It was convienent and mentally safe for me to use platitudes like "What if the person can find a way to get better" or "What if their judgment is clouded by pain?" or "They need support to be strong; they are just scared." It was easy and safe to be against assisted suicide.

    And then I watched someone I loved with all of my heart come apart piece by piece. She had lost her body and her dignity. There were no miracles. She was in so much pain nothing short of a lethal dose of pain killer would ease her suffering in any way. I had to listen to her beg for me to do something - anything to end her suffering. I in turn begged the doctors, the nurses, anyone who would listen to help end her suffering. All I heard was, "We are very sorry, our hands are legally tied." I went through two weeks of this before she finally died. What did the ban on assisted suicide accomplish? Two weeks of an agony I would not wish on any human being.

    Until you have been there yourself, you can only argue in the abstract. Let the physician, the family, and the individual decide. They are the ones that have to live, or die, with the decision - not you.
     
  23. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    2,235
    Troutski ...

    I can empathize with what you went through.

    Welcome to Sciforms.
     

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