The Water Cooler – Euthanizing a Person Who Doesn’t Have a Terminal Illness

January 15, 2013 12:08 pm · 67 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

Recently, two 45-year-old twin brothers from Belgium underwent euthanasia (assisted suicide is legal in Belgium) because they were deaf, and about to go completely blind. They said they wanted to die because they “could no longer bear being unable to hear or see the other.”

Do you think it’s right to assist somebody with suicide if they don’t have a terminal illness?

Talk about it….

Howard K Mullins III January 15, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Its up to the individual(s).

We nor the government have any right to be involved in such decisions.

Don't Censor Me Bro January 15, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Is this about abortion?

Ron Sauce January 15, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Die if you want and make it as painless as possible.

On another note, what the hell was that pounding noise at 5AM around downtown Concord. Work on 242?

anonamiss January 15, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I think that they should have been evaluated for depression or mental illness. I understand the shock of being told that you are going blind must be awful especially if you are already deaf, but this is not right.
What else would deem a person to be able to be euthanized? The fact that they are overweight and not a natural blonde?? It’s one thing to be progressive in your thinking and help those that are truly in pain and want to be put out of their misery but this is abhorrent……

Right and Rights January 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM

There is a different between something being morally permissible and something being a right. Whereas there may be some circumstances where suicide is permissible, that is different than having a right to the action. Much less is it compelling someone to do it for you. If the state allows for suicide in certain circumstances, I should not compel others to carry out the activity.

In the case where someone is willing to carry out the wish, the question comes to whether the said party can gain sufficient confidence that the act is morally justified and the state can protect both parties by setting guidelines.

The question of morality is not fixed and the practical question of sufficient justification is probably too complicated. Why can’t people just do it by themselves and not force the rest of us to further degrade the worth of life by having to justify an objective reason for living?

Kirkwood January 15, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Yes, if they are of sound mind. It is their bodies and they should be able to do what they want with them. Anything less could be considered torture.

I know this will draw heat but it’s not a big issue for me personally.

Stu January 15, 2013 at 12:27 PM

They are already doing it in the UK. British Doctors will unilaterally euthanize the elderly for no other reason than to free up beds, and all without consent or even knowledge of the families. It is called the ‘Death Pathaway’.

Blah blah blah January 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM

This is a hard one but, yes. I know someone who has been slowly killing them self and their family has been watching in horror. Mental illness affects more then just that person but to torture a family with near deaths and bad choices for years not caring about anyone elses pain is worse IMO. But until we have good health care for all it will just get worse, all they do is feed them pills.

Jim January 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM

I would say that I believe suicide to be a sin and would never be involved….I find it sad and disheartening that these 2 can find no other reaon to give themselves the will to live.

Girl w/ Dogs January 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Lame. Cowards. -that’s what comes to mind

mik January 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

we didn’t have a choice whether we wanted to be born or not, so why should we have to live if we don’t want to? Food for the thought.

SAR January 15, 2013 at 12:38 PM


Noah's Dad January 15, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Doctor’s should be able to help people discuss quality of life and the right to end suffering if it is unmanageable. In the case of the two brothers that were already deaf and about to go blind…I think it was acceptable to help them with their decision to pass on their terms.

Connie Dobbs January 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Kill your own damn self.

Parsnip January 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM

No terminal illness, not on life-support, then no. At least not by way of someone else “assisting.” It becomes too much of a “playing God” issue.

unknown January 15, 2013 at 12:48 PM

This is up to the family, their Religion, the doctor and the patient.
No one should impose their will on others.

Dutch January 15, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I find some of the comments above are very disturbing. I read the article about those two people and I kept thinking to myself about alternatives. This begins to sound a lot like some old books I used to read, 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World, and Solient Green (the movie actually). People are becoming bereft of any sense of moral standards. It’s a shame, but I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Mimi (original) January 15, 2013 at 1:09 PM

I absolutely believe that everyone should have the right to terminate their own life if they are of sound mind. Morality, religiosity, the “playing of god”, government interferrence, should have no influence on a mentally sound person who wishes to make this decision. I think it is far more humane than forcing anyone to “live” with a debilitating illness, lack of physical attributes, vision or hearing if EUTHANASIA IS WHAT THEY WISH TO DO!

Sacto Rob January 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

When the state, with the power of life and death, gets into the business of deciding which lives are worthy and which are not, be very, very afraid.

slagheap January 15, 2013 at 1:22 PM

john boehner?

Trevbo January 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

Someday it’s going to be the preferred professional recommendation.

Anon January 15, 2013 at 1:33 PM

It should be up to the individual.

Parsnip January 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

@ #17 — I agree. It would become an easy way out. “I owe child-support? I need to be euthanized.” Then what happens to the child minus one parent? “I don’t have a Daddy? I need to be euthanized.”

@ #14 — I tried to be … polite. But you said it best. 🙂

Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM

I was just having this conversation with my family last night. I made a statement that shocked them all. I told them that I feel that we as a society treat our pets with more dignity than we do our humans.

My reasoning. When you pet is ill, cannot walk anymore or loses control of it’s bowels due to age, we all agree that the animals’ quality of life is gone and we do the humane thing by putting them down. Euthanasia.

Now, we have a grandmother that is bound to a chair. She has not walked in over 2 years. She is in diapers. She can hardly feed herself. She is not terminally ill, she has no cancer and for the most part, besides the beginning stages of diabetes, her organs are in pretty good health. Her husband has already passed and now we as her family are here to watch her wilt away to nothingness. The dimentia is starting to set in and most days she is quite depressed. Some days are better than others. Luckily for her, she and grandpa never spent a dime of their money and that money is what is paying for 24 hour nursing care. A promise that we made to grandma and grandpa was that we would all do our best to make sure that they could live out their lives in their home. But that cost is upwards of 9,000 a month. The money will run out in 3 years. So what then? Just the though or mention of the possibility of going to a nursing home puts her into a state of panic and depression. If she had to go into a home, it would surely kill her, because she would be so depressed she would give up.

So here’s my point. If grandma said to us, she was tired and done with her state of existing, would it be moral to let her be euthanized? I say, yes. She cannot walk, she is in diapers and has to be changed by care givers, she can hardly lift her hands to feed herself, she sleeps most of the day and sometimes does not know where she is at and gets disoriented. What kind of life is this? What kind of dignity is this? Where is the quality of life?

The only reason we don’t allow this plain and simple, is Religion. We would rather follow ancient, outdated beliefs than follow what would be the humane thing to allow someone to do for themself. Religion is the reason why so many people are not allowed to die with dignity. One name, Terry Schiavo, enough said.

And that is why I say, we treat our pets and animals, better than we do our humans. If I ever have a life threatening illness, I will be moving to another state like Oregon that has the euthanasia pill and will discuss and openly communicate my wishes with my family and do the right thing, so I won’t have to suffer and they won’t have to suffer watching me suffer. I would do it not only for myself but for them as well. There’s nothing selfish or cowardly about facing the inevitable and thinking of the well being of your family and loved ones.

To think that making a decision such as that is cowardly shows just how UN-Christian all you Christians think you are. Take your judgement and go look in a mirror and repeat these words to yourself…”there but for the grace of God go I”

Twin Dad January 15, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Why is it considered “Humane” to put a dog or cat down that has become sick or it’s quality of life is severely diminished?, yet we are unable to treat our human counterparts the same. I have worked as a paramedic in the past and have witnessed people whose quality of like is so poor that it would be considered civilized to put these poor people “out of their misery”. We are a civilized society and should treat our terminally ill with dignity and respect their wish to be euthanized.

anon January 15, 2013 at 1:47 PM

From a natural rights perspective, they are self-owners and have the right to do with their bodies as they choose. No one else has the right to interfere, by means of aggression, with that decision.

“Assisted Suicide” means that someone provided to them the means to easily make the choice It is not the same as euthanasia where someone deliberately kills another human being, or lets them die by withdrawing the resources necessary for their survival.

The deliberate killing of another human being is murder, no matter if they ask for it or not, as the right to life is unalienable and cannot be transferred to another for any reason or by any means. The withdrawing of resources is a difficult situation though it’s not technically murder as no one has the right to something they don’t own. It seems that most people are happy to be reliant on government for the provision of resources, and the result is costly, inefficient resource delivery which requires rationing in a way that sometimes seems cruel. I think it’s wrong, but it’s what you are going to get when you demand that others, particularly strangers, pay for your needs.

Chuckie the Troll January 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM

A relative recently required the services of Hospice. This organization is very good at managing pain and other adverse symptoms when someone is dying. We really appreciate their services.

While it is tempting to hasten the death of a loved one, it isn’t ethically correct. Sounds as if the twins could have used some GOOD counselling and anti-depressants instead of simply being put down like a stray dog.

Futurama January 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

The sound of mind thing doesn’t make sense. Is it better to give some one who’s mentally unstable and wants to die death? Or is it better to load them up with chems and hide them away from the world?
Locking living things up is cruel, period, animals are meant to be free. If we can’t give them that or they show an inability to live in the world, giving them a peaceful exit is a hell of a lot kinder than keeping them alive and tormented because people are scared of the most natural thing there is next to birth.

Wisecracker January 15, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Define terminal?
Perhaps it was their feeling they were indeed terminal.
Unless you’ve been in this predicament, you haven’t a clue what they were feeling and, therefore, are not in the position to judge.

Anon January 15, 2013 at 2:36 PM

$hit happens…deal with it!….I agree with #17….this is sounding very familiar and what’s saddest is the comments about thinking it’s OK….that scares me…alot!

Bilbo baggins January 15, 2013 at 2:43 PM

@ anonymous 24, well said, I applaud your thinking and love of your family. Being in medicine myself, I see these poor people hooked up to breathing machines. There family wants to hold on and a miracle will happen. Jesus will save them. Wrong, unplugged these people will die within minutes or hours. Have some dignity for your family members and let them go, just like a sick dog. What kind of living is bed ridden and depressed with someone feeding you and wiping your butt because you can’t any more. Die with dignity people!!!!’

TinFoiler January 15, 2013 at 3:06 PM

People get “suicided” against their wishes all the time. Vince Foster, DC Madam, Aaron Swartz.

The Real McCoy January 15, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Half of the commenters on Claycord should be euthanized IMO. It would improve the quality of life in this city, that’s for sure.

Cowellian January 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM

TinFoiler, the technical term is “Arkancide.”

Always Right January 15, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Completely unacceptable.

Tell them you ran out of suicide pills and the only other option is lethal waterboarding. Should take about two minutes to change their minds and bring them to their senses.

Well.. January 15, 2013 at 3:48 PM

I would rather someone go to the dr and have help ending their life, than have them jump in front of my car and having me end their life.

If you read the article, these brothers sat down with the dr and their family and made the decision to end life.

For those that say this was wrong, a question for you. You think it is better to live in a world where there is no sound and only darkness? How is it better to live with no joy? No future?

Chet January 15, 2013 at 4:01 PM

When will people learn that other people will always know what’s best for them.

The Phantom January 15, 2013 at 4:02 PM

24 Anonymous January 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM

The Christian, Jewish and Muslim commandments to Honor Thy Father and Mother, and Thou shalt not kill, served to protect the elderly from premature euthanasia…murder. Buddhists, Confucian’s and Hindus share the same spiritual guidance.

This issue will diminish in your mind as this woman’s assets are reduced.

When the money runs out, she will be protected and supported by the county with respectful and dignified care.

Incidentally, I was in that kind of shape for about eighteen months a few years ago. Lucky me.

My brothers and I took our Mommy all the way up to Her Father in Heaven. He took her Home.

Parsnip January 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM

“They said they wanted to die because they ‘could no longer bear being unable to hear or see the other.’”

Just an incidental from other reports: They were BORN deaf so they never knew the ability to hear. They also weren’t suddenly blinded.

Something seems to be missing from the news reports involving their history; and, eventually, it will surface.

The Phantom January 15, 2013 at 4:21 PM

31 Bilbo baggins January 15, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Please get out of “medicine” immediately.

The patients are on LIFE SUPPORT because a PHYSICIAN expects recovery. You do not know how many times a critical patient recovers, and that people have recovered from the same crisis. The physician knows and expects recovery.

The miracle is not from Jesus. The miracle is the principle of life. The organism is programmed to repair and restore. If you went to school you would know this. Healing often takes time.

Your brain is very dangerous to you and other people.

Concerned citizen January 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM

In some circumstances choosing to end one’s life can be a sane and rational decision. As long as there are rules to make sure the person is not mentally ill or being coerced, then yes it should be legal. Allowing others to assist, as was done with the twins, is the humane way to handle it.

If your religious beliefs tell you it’s a sin to commit suicide, then don’t do it. But you should not be able to force your religious beliefs on others.

This is one of those religious/moral questions where the government should stay out of it and allow people to make their own decisions about their own lives.

Dorothy January 15, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Solient Green in its printed form is titled “Make Room, Make Room.”

I don’t have a problem with people who want to die when their life becomes unbearable. If that time comes for me, I would hope someone would help ease me out of an unbearable life if I want that help.

@Sacto Rob #19 January 15, 2013 at 4:51 PM

The state is already deciding which lives are worthy and which are not. The state does it with the death penalty. What we’re talking about here is allowing each individual to decide for himself if he wants to end his life.

Dree January 15, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Some of us are not bound by any god(s) within any religion and the fear it creates in regards to what can and can’t be done in ones own life. My life is my life no religion or government has say over me. I will always fight for everyone to have choice in their lives whether it’s to follow a religion, health care choices, love partners and end life decisions. I can no more judge another anymore then I can pretend to walk in their shoes and begin to understand all the facets of their lives. Their choice is their choice.

dilligafman January 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

its better than leaving a suicide scene for others to clean up!!!

Connie Dobbs January 15, 2013 at 6:07 PM

No, we were talking about assisted suicide. Religious considerations aside, it’s just bad manners to ask someone else to help kill you. What if they mess up and you live? Will your friend be obligated to pay for your continued care? Will they be forced to keep at it until they snuff you? What if your designated assassin is anti-gun and you want to be shot in the head? Will they have to shoot you? It would be the ultimate way to get back at your bratty sibling.

Pish tosh, I can hear you saying, we’ll only let doctors kill people. We make med students promise to try and not kill people before we let them become doctors. Also, they don’t make house calls. You’ll be incurring a hospital bill, citizen. Wanna die at the beach? Too bad. Sky burial at the place in Tahoe? No such luck.

What if the doctor doesn’t want to kill you? Will he have to? If no, how long will it be before certain doctors/clinics become known for providing that service? *cough*plannedparenthood*cough*

Joe A January 15, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Their death says less about them than “us.” We’ve created such an inhospitable world that people would rather kill themselves than live.

We can have paradise if we want it. Problem is that we don’t want it. We want to be better than our fellow man which creates inequity.

Anyway, this is mostly a white people problem. Belgium and the rest of developed Europe is a paradise.

If want people want to exterminate themselves whether through not having kids, abortions, or killing themselves I say go ahead! A people that can’t handle paradise and is self hating has no place in the world. The rest of the World would gladly take your positions of paradise.

Screwy Louie January 15, 2013 at 6:45 PM

It’s always nice to have options, as for myself, suicide will never be one of them.

Julio-Antioch January 15, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Sacto Rob, the STATE, wasn’t the one who made the decision. The men did. The state can do it if its a criminal, like death row.

I can understand their desire completely and God bless them.

Antler January 15, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Anonymous at #24 ~ ~ ~ I agree with your beautifully reasoned and expressed opinion. There are certain conditions and circumstances in which the end of life should be planned by the patient (influenced by his own religious beliefs) and his doctors. The government should have no say whatsoever.

Of course this idea incurs the wrath of the long-term care corporations and the insurance companies (if indeed the patient was wise enough to have bought long-term care insurance). I know from our family’s personal experience that your quote of $9,000 per month is accurate for superior home nursing care. Most long-term care facilities are less expensive, but can still be $6,000 per month …. and up (depending on medications).

Anon January 15, 2013 at 8:14 PM

When I was a young girl I came home from having fun with friends to finnd a family member that committed suicide. The permanent solution that my family member wanted for a temporary solution permanently affected me – negatively. We are healthier emotionally when we realize that our life isn’t joust about us. It is also about the ones we leave behind.

Anon January 15, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I’m sorry. I am still overwhelmed emotionally decades later and meant to sway the permanent solution for a temporary problem.. please don’t choose suicide. You may kill yourself but cause deep wounds in innocent loved ones that will never understand why.

No January 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Its immoral.

The Phantom January 15, 2013 at 9:06 PM


We understood you and we will understand them. I only had one day in my whole life that allowed me to feel as though I did not care if I lived until tommorrow. I met a man who said it was the opposite for him.

How did he bear that? He said he hated life but he was more afraid of Hell, and if there was no Hell, then there was nothing, which was worse.

Atticus Thraxx January 15, 2013 at 9:16 PM

It’s one of those deals I would have to face, with the cold hard reality of it, to say what I would really do. For me to even pretend to imagine what it would be like to be deaf and start going blind. I’d be terrified, that’s for damn sure. And if the suffering were such, no reasonable man could bear it and I acted, I hope I’d be able to look God in the eye and tell him I gave mercy where none could be found and beg forgiveness.
And hope I get the New Testament God, not the Old Testament God.

what the heck January 15, 2013 at 9:52 PM

I totally agree with Anonymous #24. I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

wc26 January 15, 2013 at 10:10 PM

It’s up to the individual. If someone was deaf and becoming blind and didn’t want to live their life that way no one should have the right to say that they can’t. How selfish of some family members to want to keep around a relative even though they are living in misery, It’s not your choice.Btw, not everyone is religious.

Dr Jellyfinger January 15, 2013 at 10:18 PM

Well if the Dept. of Fish & Game changes the rules on Sturgeon size & method of take just one more time I’ll sign up for the shot myself.

Maximus Prime January 15, 2013 at 10:19 PM

It is all a matter of opinion. My dad died in April from cancer. Nine months prior he had to have his jaw removed and go through chemo. The last time I saw him in a coherent state he told me that he had six months to live, I knew he did not have that long. I talked to his home care nurse and she told me what to expect in the last six months, from his lungs filling up with fluid to what will happen to his mental state. Got a call from the nursing home and had to take a drive up to Sonora a week later. His appearance change dramatically. I am thankful I did not take my kids!!!!! All the hardware from the jaw replacement had broke through the skin and the screws were exposed. He had no control of body functions and was urinating on himself. I know that my dad did not want this. I asked the nurse how long this will this go on? She said that he had to run the course.
If there were no legal ramifications that would have taken me away from my kids……..I would have taken him out with a pillow.
I am not looking to argue morals,religion or government. This is just my personal experience and can respect ones varying opinion.
Have a safe week Claycord!!

DyingWithDignity January 16, 2013 at 7:38 AM

Yes. I believe people should have the choice whether they want to live or die. A person who wishes to end their life should have the option of assisted suicide. I also believe that people should be euthanized if they wish. My grandma was a vital, active, hardworking, happy person. She was diagnosed with colon cancer when she was 59 and died a horrible horrible death a year later. She was not responsive those last few months and was rotting in her bed–her back bone was showing through her skin. It think it is extremely inhumane of us not to offer a peaceful end to those who are suffering horribly and wish to move on. We offer this to our beloved pets, why not to our beloved human family as well.

Parsnip January 16, 2013 at 8:29 AM

A lot of posters are comparing totally opposite situations to these 45-yr-olds.

I know all about what it’s like to take care of an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, hearing loss, incontinence, dexterity inability to hold a standard utensil to eat, having to assist him in clothing, washing, etc.

I had a CNA hired; and eventually he had to be placed in a nursing home. The nursing home cost $9200/mo. Of course, THAT was where he had the slip-and-fall resulting in a broken femur, had to have surgery, and became so emaciated that within a five-month span he died. (And a wrongful death suit was filed against that nursing home.).

He had the foresight to assign me as the DPOA of his finances and health two years prior.

There’s a big difference between that and two 45-yr-olds who were losing their vision. Again, something is missing from their story.

Laura Zah January 16, 2013 at 8:48 AM

Wasn’t the topic about euthanizing a person who “doesn’t” have a terminal illness?

I’d say no, not ok. If a person truly wants to end it all there are plenty of ways to do it without pain. They don’t need any help.

Anon January 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

@ # 43: Actually the state is not deciding which lives are worthy and which are not. California may have a death penalty system in place but the last time someone on death row was actually executed was January 17, 2006. That’s seven years ago today.

Chuckie's Wife January 21, 2013 at 3:32 PM

There are too many moral and ethical implications to discuss here. I do believe C.S. Lewis said it best with the following quote.

“Do not by any means destroy yourself, for if you live you may yet have good fortune, but all the dead are dead alike.”
~ C. S. Lewis (The Horse and His Boy)

anon January 21, 2013 at 4:01 PM

I recommend Indie for a test case.

anonanon January 21, 2013 at 4:07 PM

She’s already dead from the neck up…

Dennis January 21, 2013 at 5:40 PM

The Death Penalty in CA has been invoked only 13 times since 1972. All were obviously guilty of horrific crimes, and Special Circumstances abound. How is that comparable to individuals wanting to commit suicide?

Note: in most spree shootings, the killer(s) commit suicide, as a way to show that society cannot control them or punish them. Should we make suicide lawful, so they have one less criminal act on their legacy?

Suicide is murder. So is Euthanasia. So is Eugenics, the darling of the Liberals (until Hitler took it to its ultimate State-Controlled inevitable conclusion).

It is an obligation of the State to revere life, not death, of its members.
Suicide, and assisted suicide, are murder, and the State should not change that view.

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