Discussions on Dignity and Choice in Dying
What is dying with dignity? Do we have choices about how and when we die? Should we?
Materials and Setup
Materials & Setup:
Share this excerpt from WNYC’s article, New Jersey Advances Bill Allowing Terminally Ill Patients Right to Die, by Rebeca Ibarra.
“Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber spent almost 20 minutes trying to convince his colleagues in Trenton to vote against the Medical Aid in Dying Act.
“I am pleading with you. I’ll even beg you,” Webber said, adding that the bill would create a new class of citizen: “The class of citizen who can be killed by another citizen.”
But proponents of the bill said it has safeguards. The patient must be an adult proven to be of sound mind. Also, two physicians must attest that the person has six months to live. After making two oral and one written request, patients would be prescribed medicine to take home and self-administer.”
Share the full article, New Jersey Advances Bill Allowing Terminally Ill Patients Right to Die, by Rebeca Ibarra.
Share this excerpt from The Ability to Choose as Death Approaches, by Linda Lyman.
“Douglas Aberg wrote in an article, “Hospice, the Right to Die Movement, and the Liberty in Between”:
“In the field of hospice care, there is a credo that states, “Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death.” We in hospice care live by this credo. The hospice philosophy believes that one need not end their life via suicide, as we in hospice have the knowledge, skill, and presence to ease the suffering caused by the end stage disease process.… With the use of medication and education, we are able to manage physical suffering in greater than 95 percent of the terminally ill patients that we treat. Those 5 percent will suffer despite the medical, psychosocial, and spiritual love, compassion, and support we have to give. Of those 5 percent, there are those who request to have their deaths hastened.… We have already determined that we may not ever be able to end their physical, emotional and/or spiritual pain. What do we do now? Do we allow them to suffer despite their plea for help? … It is my opinion that the greatest gift we give to those who are dying is the ability to choose.”
Share the full article, The Ability to Choose as Death Approaches, by Linda Lyman, from Friends Journal.
Share this excerpt from, My Father and the Right to Die, by Anne E. Barschall.
“My father had a horrible fear of being hooked to tubes, of being hospitalized, of being subjected to medical tests and surgery, of being in pain without adequate pain relief, and mostly of being debilitated. He belonged to an organization that promoted physician‐assisted suicide. He also belonged to an organization that promoted the use of heroin for pain relief for terminal cancer patients, because heroin is supposedly better than morphine for this purpose. He agonized over these issues constantly.”
Read the full article, My Father and the Right to Die, by Anne E. Barschall, from Friends Journal.
Questions for Discussion:
What would dying with dignity look like for you?
Should people be free to choose how and when they die?
Should doctors be permited to assist in hastening a person’s choice in dying?
Theoretically, prescribed medication could be used on someone without their consent. How does this shape or change the discussion for you?
Is ending one’s life with the assistance of doctor-prescribed medication suicide? Is it immoral?
Should the right to die be limited to terminally ill people?
Is being able to choose how and when to die suicide? Is it a sin? Is it against that of God within us?
What do Quakers believe about suicide and sin?
Who should be involved in someone’s right to die choices?
What is the impact of dignity and choice in dying for the indivudal? The family? Healthcare industry? Society?
Should a person be terminally ill before they’re permitted to make choices about how and when they die?
How much pain is too much? Who should decide?
Should loved ones be allowed to make a death with dignity choice for another person?
Share the article with participants.
Select one or more queries to share with participants for a group discussion.