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The Richard Dimbleby Lecture: Shaking Hands with Death

1 Feb 2010 10:28PM
Described as one of the most important for years...

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Sus 13 3.2k 9 England
1 Feb 2010 11:24PM

thanks - I'd missed the publicity (not a Pratchett fan, but interested in the lecture)
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
1 Feb 2010 11:39PM
very powerful lecture - was a bit weird having Tony Robinson speak his words, but he delivered them fantastically.
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
2 Feb 2010 12:01AM
An excellent lecture... profound and thought-provoking.

Article here .
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 12:30AM
I found it an absorbing piece of TV. A well thought out and constructed argument and an interesting insight in both the issue and also Pratchett's life.

Quote:"At the moment if someone assists someone else to commit suicide in this country or elsewhere they become suspect to murder until the police decide otherwise," he told the BBC.

"I think it would be rather better if a person wishes to die, they could go see the tribunal with friends and relatives and present their case - at least if it happens, it happens with, as it were, authority."

So obvious and sensible a solution.
NexusImages 11 1.8k 4 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 12:54AM
So you are stuffed if you are a loner then?
Even if you are surrounded by family, this is a big responsibility for them to take. I suspect it would cause many family divisions through conflicting opinions and needs.
I am a palliative care nurse. Death and dying are what I deal with on a daily basis. I think this is a simplistic solution for an extremely complex situation.
2 Feb 2010 7:03AM
Very thought provoking. I thought it an intelligent and poignant speech, and very well delivered.
fraser 14 631 14 Scotland
2 Feb 2010 8:32AM
An excellent lecture, poignant, funny and convincng. One impressive technicality - I didn't see any teleprompts, did Tony Robinson read it from memory?

I agree it seems like a simplistic solution, but surely the complexities of each individual case would be resolved by the individuals involved and the panel that Pratchett suggests?
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 9:35AM
Freja, I see this as a solution for some, but not all. I think the right is important.

A 46 year old friend died two weeks ago, a lingering death through cancer and for him it could have been a good option. If it were me I would ask for the option to be given something that would put me to sleep. If you are in pain, and bed bound, then release would be a good thing. I would rather wave the world goodbye myself. we offer it to dogs for example, let us pick for ourselves, than have two weeks of racked pain and torture for loved ones.

It is not for the loved ones to pick rather for the sufferer to choose. and it is perhaps for the minority. I could make the decision for myself, but not for my family.

My grandfather died of classic Alzheimer's, I do not think for his case it would have been appropriate, he was confused etc, but not in pain, more in need of constant care.

Mt father died of a rare dementia, I would not know at what point you could have had the conversation and known if it was or was not what he wanted. There were periods where the quality of his life was crap, but I could not have taken his life for him, if he had asked I may well have helped him. But his illness robbed him of the judgement, or even the ability to pass it on. It is not for us to play god. I am still guilty over whether I should have helped him to sleep, I know he would not have wanted the painful end he had, but without his clear blessing it would just be me playing god. The guilt is there both ways.

To each case its own solution. For some death comes gently, for others it is torture.
collywobles 14 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 9:43AM

Quote: more in need of constant care

If you can get it. The care I have witnessed is not what I would want for any of my dear ones or myself. It really would be nice to have the option to turn the switch off if one really wanted to.

Quote:To each case its own solution. For some death comes gently, for others it is torture

stevie Plus
14 1.2k 2 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 11:34AM

Quote:I think this is a simplistic solution for an extremely complex situation.

Couldn't agree more with Mand on this one. I also spend most of my week treating cancer patients, the dying patient is such a complex issue and people are SO different. All the same, I'm glad that the subject has been brought up for discussion although over-simplification isn't helpful.
Carabosse 15 41.1k 270 England
2 Feb 2010 11:46AM
Just picking up on one point in the lecture. There were several mentions that assisted suicide is legal in Oregon. I have looked into this:


What was not mentioned was that actual administration of a lethal dose of a drug (or whatever) is not legal in Oregon, either by a doctor or by anyone else. The person who wishes to die has to administer it themselves.

So, from my reading of this, a person who wishes to die but is physically incapable of self-administering has a problem, even in Oregon.
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 12:14PM
A good and important point CB. I had the feeling the lecture was aimed at those cases where the person was in full command of their faculties and were able to make a concious choice, and in fact would take the last step themselves.

I think it important this topic is discussed, so often it is swept under the carpet. And each persons issues and choices will be different.
YorkshireSam 8 110 3 United Kingdom
2 Feb 2010 1:52PM
Thanks K for bringing the lecture to my attention by way of this thread, I might well have missed it otherwise and now I am pleased I haven't.
2 Feb 2010 8:49PM
You're welcome Smile

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