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isn't a person who refuses medical life saving treatment comitting suiside?
the case of the teenage girl today refusing a heart transplant, and the recent m.s. sufferer who lost her case on clarification of the law. they are both choosing to die with dignity in the way they wish. the young gurl was told ok. the ms sufferer was not. does this seem fair? i think anyone who wishes to end their life should b able to.
asked in life, death, rights

siasl74 answers:

The MS suffered basically got a ruling that her partner can still be nicked for assisting her suicide. She is going somewhere to get an illegal (in the UK at least) medical intervention. The teenager is refusing treatment, which she has every right to do.

There's a subtle difference, and it sucks for the MS sufferer

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duffield1 answers:

As I see it, the question comes down to when life ends - for the heart transplant patient, her life can be saved by a procedure, but if nothing is done, she will die. So, the default position is death and you can opt out of having invasive procedures which will delay or prevent death.

For the MS sufferer, if nothing is done, she will merely end up in a debilitated position, where she is no longer able to share her feelings. But to end her life will require an intervention. And it is the intervention that is not permitted.

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seacommander answers:

I don't think the scenario you present is commiting suicide because the individual is letting nature take its course. Under British law nobody of sound mind can be forced to undergo any medical intervention, whether life saving or not. Minors are not exempt from this if their parent/s or legal guardian are in agreement with the decision not to have treatment - life saving or not. The Helsinki convention is quite clear on this matter.

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Messerwisser answers:

The word suicide does not cover the possible situations.
There should be a distinction between passive and active suicide.
I think e.g. it is cruel to prolong a severe suffering against the will of the patient.

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wumpus answers:

There is a difference between actively trying to kill yourself, and allowing nature to take its course to a natural death.

Nobody of full faculties should be forced to undergo treatment which they do not want.

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KentPDG answers:

I don't think so. There are any number of reasons why one might choose to refuse medical treatment, and to die naturally. That is not suicide; it is just unwillingness to interefere with a notural process.

Consider a person with advanced bone cancer. That is excruciatingly painful, throughout one's entire body. Seeking medical intervention prolongs and in some cases intensifies the pain, without adding meaningflly to the duration or quality or enjoyment of one's life. it amounts to paying the medical community to make one suffer longer.

Or consider the victim of a srious fire. Even if one's burns could be treated and healed, the person will be horribly disfigured. In many cases, limbs will be paralyzed, even locked into grotesque positons. One's ability to breathe can be reduced by perhaps 90% due to scarring of the lungs. One may have lost digits, even limbs or major organs such as eyes. The prognosis is likely to involve lifelong pain, and brutally painful rehabilitative therapy.

In either case -- and many, many more that one could cite -- it is reasonable and normal, probably wise, and certainly moral for one to ask "justlet me die"; and die they will, usually in a very short while.

Allowing oneself to expire is not suicide. Taking one's own life, voluntarily (and often violently) is suicide. But there is nothing at all wrong or bad with just giving up the fight.

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