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That life-extending medical procedures should be denied to the terminally ill

2 points
5 points
condeelmastercondeelmaster (PRO)
Let's remember what a person with a terminally ill has to pass through. If you are diagnosed with a terminally ill you are ensured to experience two things: suffering and imminent death. Life extending procedures doesn't have sense.

Firstly, they extend the suffering of the patients. In my opinion is better to die being well than to live suffering a lot. This is what lots of patients think, but anti euthanasia laws don't let them achieve they needs of ending the suffering.

Secondly, they are an unnecessary spending. If we use the money used to extend the life of suffering people in other areas we could ensure better health treatments and life quality for lots of people. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-21 01:31:08
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)
I have learnt my lesson from my debate a few weeks ago with my brother and will, to keep judges with not so much time on their hands happy, add in bold headings over every point.  I would also like to thank my opponent for accepting my secret topic debate. I'm not going to bother making my own arguments because in tearing down my opponents, as this is an either-or question where pro has the burden of proof, establishes the Con position. 

Terminal illness Definition
A person who is 'terminally ill' is a person who some description of disease that doctors determine will kill them as there does not exist a known cure for that disease. Death usually takes anywhere from a matter of weeks to a matter of months. I reject pro's addition to this definition (on a technical more than substantive note, as this does not and will not affect my arguments) that terminal illness necessarily embodies pain, as there exist many examples of terminal illness where this is not the case. For example, Creutzfeld-Jacobs disease, many forms of cancer (such as bladder cancer) and brain tumors (any pain associated with these arises from medical procedures to prolong life).

In countries with user-pays healthcare systems, it is and should be up to an individual to decide what to do with their own money. Would love to see a counterpoint to this. 

In countries with state-funded healthcare systems, why should one person's suffering be classed as more important than that of another person? Surely the state pays doctors to help all people. If proximity to death were to be considered a factor then the argument becomes a slippery slope to denying all healthcare to old people and focusing all money on helping young people... is this fair? Would taxpayers support this? Should be noted too that we are not debating who pays for the procedures, even if the patient was forced to pay, why should they be denied treatment?

Most dictionaries define 'Suffering' to mean pain, distress or hardship. All of these terms are highly subjective; they mean completely different things to different people. The assumption cannot be made that all people will view the same phenomenon remotely similarly, because its demonstrably false. Masochists for example enjoy physical harm. Why should Rodrigo Conde's definition of 'suffering' (and by extension a state characterized by the absence of suffering, which I will call 'happiness'... though doing so is a bit simplistic) be taken over anyone else's? Why can't people decide for themselves what they like and what they don't like? I was amused by the opening sentence 'Let's remember what a person with a terminally ill has to pass through'... how do you know? Even if you are terminally ill, how do you know how every single terminally ill person and their families feel?

Furthermore, surely in knowing that someone is going to die, families and friends may seek to say goodbye properly and make the most of the time that the person has left, which many people would argue gives them closure, and makes the victim's last days happy ones, surrounded by friends and family. Compare this scenario to someone being hit by a car and being killed suddenly. Perhaps they hadn't been in touch with friends in a while, perhaps they had just had an argument with family. Compare the thoughts of the two people as they are dying... who suffers more? Think about the friends and families of both victims,  who suffers more? If the life of a terminally ill patient were to be extended such that they had more time to farewell loved ones and be happy in their final days, could this not be the alleviation of suffering? Again the answers of the previous questions are highly subjective. 

Imminent Death
Everyone dies. In most countries life expectancy ranges from 70-85 years. Scientists estimate that the world is 13.6 billion years old. Even the world's oldest living person has lived through less than 0.000000897% of that time. Time should be seen relatively: a human saying that something is imminent, or takes a short or long amount of time, is not only a subjective statement but it is one that only really makes any level of sense to humans (even then, what is immanent to an old person might take an eternity for a child). All the idea of 'terminal illness' really adds to the equation is 
  1.                        1. Knowing the cause of your death
  2.                        2. Knowing the approximate time of your death

If someone were to get some form of easily treatable infection, a doctor could say 'this will kill you in a year', so if no action is taken the approximate time and cause of death would also be known. The reasons doctors don't just stop here and congratulate themselves on a job well done is that they have an opportunity to extend the life of the patient by an amount of time that in cosmological terms is completely insignificant. So it must be asked: why should the study of medicine exist at all?

The Purpose of Medicine and My Overall Point Here
Doctors don't study medicine for years, and then go to work everyday for lack of anything better to do. Hospitals aren't built because builders get bored and quickly throw a few things together. Ambulances aren't misshaped cars that drag racers occupy and drive around with sirens to let people know they can go real quick... 

  1. Medicine as an academic discipline exists to find cures for diseases, to alleviate suffering (no matter which form this takes) and to study diseases so as to complete the first two things more effectively and efficiently in future. Just because the cause and time of a persons death is known does not mean that medicine suddenly becomes irrelevant as it does not affect my list of reasons why medical professionals do what they do. If the time of death of a terminally ill person can be extended, the patient feels that this would alleviate suffering as they define it (note, we are not debating compelling/forcing patients to undergo these procedures), they should be allowed to make that choice and medical professionals should honor that. The issue of euthanasia is totally irrelevant here, as if it were to be legal, it should be viewed as a medical procedure, to ensure that it is done quickly and as painlessly as possible. For this to happen, all of my arguments would need to be accepted and extended. By the same but more extreme logic that you could argue for prolonging a life, you could argue for shortening one. To argue for euthanasia is conceding the debate. 

  2. If these procedures were to be denied to the terminally ill to alleviate their suffering, what's to stop help being offered to a depressed child, to alleviate their suffering, or to someone with an incurable disease that isn't necessarily terminal, such as HIV, or to someone that broke an arm. Because the exact procedures might be different, but in principle they are the same. 

  3. Denying medical procedures to prolong the life of terminally ill people is cruel and inhumane. The resolution is negated. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-21 17:15:41
| Speak Round
condeelmastercondeelmaster (PRO)
I will refute the rebuttals that Stick made in order to defend my stance:
Terminal illness Definition

I understand that definitions are a bit subjective, but no one can disagree with terminally illnesses embodying pain. I must clarify here:
There are two kinds of terminally illnesses: ones which produce pain and ones that, as Stick already said, "pain associated with these arises from medical procedures to prolong life". He is saying, and in so making my case, that this illnesses have inherent pain or pain produced by what He's defending.

So I can say that denning life extending procedures we can ensure to terminate the pain of this patients.


I agree that in a user paid health care system people should be able to do  whatever they want with their money.
However cost isn't just money, cost is also time. And using doctors in a non critical situation instead of a critical one is spending their time badly. What I mean is that we have to have priorities and people with high posibilites of living must have more medical care than people who will die anyway.

In the state paid system the thing is different. The objective of the statal healthcare system is to ensure health to the majority of people. To do so It has to take priorities. Like doctors do in the ER, the procedure called "triage". For the sake of saving most of the peoples lives we must to make some sacrifices. It's like the dilema of the train, the one which says that the train will kill 1 person if It takes one road or 5 if It takes the other. Obviously the logical choice is to choose the first road. The same applies here.


Again, I understand the subjective implication of this matter. Nevertheless, I feel you are inflating this.
Firstly, for the vast majority of people suffering is bad. I know that masochists love feeling pain, but, will you let millions to pass trough something they don't like just to let a few do what they like? In a democratic society like ours, the majority always is right.

Secondly, in my opinion, is better for the families to see their loved ones die being like they always were than see them slowly dying and having the damaging effects of the life extending methods. I prefer seeing my father die being like He always was than seeing him destroyed by the illness and by the medical cares.

Imminent Death

Sorry to be rude but this argument was non sense.

You can't compare an infection with cancer. If someone has a cancer and metastasis he/she will die in a few days, no matter how hard doctors try. This illness is incurable and deadly. However, if someone has a normal infection, like sinusitis or fungal infection, doctors will cure it in less than weeks and the patient won't die because of this. As you can see there's a big difference, one which makes doctors job importan and meaningful.

The Purpose of Medicine

I must put an stress on this. Terminally illnesses can't be compared to normal illnesses. 

"If these procedures were to be denied to the terminally ill to alleviate their suffering, what's to stop help being offered to a depressed child, to alleviate their suffering, or to someone with an incurable disease that isn't necessarily terminal, such as HIV, or to someone that broke an arm. Because the exact procedures might be different, but in principle they are the same."

Depression is curable, we can stop the suffering of that kid with therapy. HIV cannot be cured but doctors can make the disease deathless and suffer free. The one who broke an arm can be cured, wont' die of this and will suffer just a little. 

Doctors have the duty of saving peoples' life. But if a life can't be saved we must put our effort in the ones that can. Like in all democratic societies we must defend the rights of the majority, the major good.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-22 03:53:00
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)
Terminal illness definition

Pro's contention here was that because for some terminal illnesses that do not inherently involve pain, pain can be created by attempting medical procedures to prolong life, that therefore all terminal illnesses involve pain. 

Pro is contending that these life extending procedures should not happen at all. If they do not happen, then there'd be 0 pain involved in these medical procedures. I gave 3 examples, none of which have specifically been addressed. One of my examples however was Creutzfeld-Jacobs disease, for which at present life extending surgery does not exist, and it is painless. Merely asserting something to be true does not make it so. More info on my examples an be found here, here and here (note with these, I'm referring to benign not cancerous tumors).


Pro's contention here was that in a user-pays system time is an important factor, and a doctors time is better spent helping someone that needs it more. A very similar argument was made for a state-healthcare system.

Very basic economics: if there is heaps of demand for surgery, and not much supply of doctors to perform surgery, the price simply goes up until some form of equilibrium is reached. I know this is taking us all back to elementary/primary school and is a bit of a simplification... but my point is why, from an economic point of view, would doctors in a user-pays system want a decrease in price (which would probably affect their wages)? Doctors don't necessarily spend longer doing surgery, they just get paid more for what they do. From a moral standpoint, I would like to point you to my Imminent Death argument.

Triage is an immanency judgement. Here's an example of my argument to put it in a bit of perspective. John and Greg are both humans, and will both therefore die one day. John has a terminal illness and has 6 months left to live, unless he has surgery that could increase that to 1 year. Greg broke his arm and if he isn't helped then either it will heal itself or he  could run into some complications further down the track, which will most likely not be at all life-threatening. Both could very easily walk out of the hospital and get hit by a car on their way home. Who is more in need of a doctors time? It has not been at all explained by pro by what logic the answer to this is Greg. What sort of triage assessment would place a broken arm over a surgery for a life-threatening condition.


Pro's contention here was that the "majority is always right", and the will of this majority should therefore be imposed on minorities that disagree, in a true democratic fashion. He also stated that it was his opinion that he was right in this debate and that I was wrong.

There is a word for imposing what is perceived to be the will of the majority, right down to every choice, including by extension of pro's argument what people eat for breakfast and other such personal choices... it isn't called democracy, its called totalitarianism. Voting every few years for candidates (or for issues in direct democracy), though by no means mutually exclusive with totalitarianism, has got nothing to do with dictating personal choices to people. What I am advocating is giving people a choice. Nobody would be forced to extend their life with surgery. Suffering is a subjective term, and I gave extensive analysis in my first round as to how this could be felt by different people. Just because Pro prefers something one particular way does not mean everyone does, and does not mean that this should be imposed on people. 

Immanent Death

Pro's contention was that my examples were too unlike each other to be properly compared, and that curing fungal infections makes a doctors job important and meaningful.

This argument should not be too hard to understand, please try. Here it is again, set out differently:
  • Terminal illness is incurable
  • Nobody knows precisely when they'll die
  • It is known how long in absolute terms how long it will take terminal illness to kill someone
Conclusion 1:
  • The only thing terminal illness does for people is let them know a likely approximate time of death and a likely approximate cause of death

  • Conclusion1
  • Perception of time is relative
  • Everybody dies one day
Conclusion 2:
  • It is arbitrary to base granting or denying medical treatment on the basis of having or not having terminal illness

  • Conclusion 2
Conclusion 3:
  • Life-extending medical procedures should be granted to the terminally ill

When it is raining, using an umbrella is not pointless. You might not be able to keep the entire planet dry, but you can probably keep most of you dry, which some people find pleasing, even if the rain does not last forever and the pleasure will soon be gone. 

Also, a child waiting for Christmas on the 23rd of December might think that it is an eternity away. An old person might start wondering why its mid October now when it seems like only yesterday it was Christmas and they were 25. Both experience absolute time the same, but perceive it differently.

Also, it is well within the realms of possibility that someone diagnosed with terminal illness lives to see the entirety of their extended family perish before them.

Just some food for thought. 

The Purpose of Medicine

Pro's contention here was in the examples used, that they were too unlike terminal illness. He also asserted that: "Doctors have the duty of saving peoples' life [sic] [probably meant people's lives, could be as written but I don't think it was meant in such a philosophical sense]. But if a life can't be saved we must put our effort[s] in[to] the one's that can (be saved)"

If the purpose of medicine is to save lives, why do doctors bother with easily curable diseases? Why, for something like tonsillitis, which is painful but usually not very life-threatening do doctors bother prescribing antibiotics and pain killers? Why not just focus all of their attention on lives they can save? What sort of dystopia would we be living in if saving lives is all doctors cared about?

The other criticism I have of this standpoint is that, and this is very related to my Immanent Death argument, everyone dies in the end. No life can be truly saved. A doctor might treat a bullet wound and as soon as the patient leaves the hospital they could be shot again. Why should doctors task themselves with something so fruitless as saving lives is?

Medical professionals, as I said in my opening do three things. 
1. They try to alleviate suffering as defined collectively by themselves and patients.
2. They attempt to find cures for diseases
3. They seek to find ways to do the first two things more effectively and efficiently.
This is why the medical profession exists. This definition in of itself was not attacked by Pro, but needs to be if pro wants to make a counter-claim. 

Also it should be noted that Pro has conceded that treating incurable diseases is a good thing in accepting HIV treatment should happen to prolong life. Seemingly the only difference between me and pro now given that is that he does not see that nothing is "deathless", and that all things one day perish.

The resolution is negated. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-25 10:27:24
| Speak Round
condeelmastercondeelmaster (PRO)
Terminal illness definition

Pro's point here was that not all terminal illnesses cause pain. I have to clarify things a bit here.  All terminal illnesses cause pain. Even the ones that Pro gave as examples.
Creutzfeldt Jakob produces dementia, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, psychosis,  jerky movements, seizures, and other horrible symptoms.
Benign brain tumors aren't always death provoking (only a few appear in critical areas where death is imminent, in this cases pain is present ), thus not a terminal illness.
Bladder cancer causes pain during urination, pelvic or bony pain, lower-extremity edema, flank pain. However bladder cancer isn't usually terminal and can be cured.

Terminal illnesses produce pain, but life extending procedures(I will use LEP to be shorter) produce even more pain. This is my principal argument. 
There are to ways of managing a terminal illness, one can decide for a strong treatment to extend your life a bit or accept the illness and quietly wait for death
In both paths there's pain. However, LEP, because of their violent methods (violent because of the chemicals and radiation needed), cause even more pain. 
Also, in both paths the death of the patient is really close, though with LEP you can live some more time. 

To sum up, in one path you have pain for a short time and in the other you have more pain for a little longer time. Reasoning mandates to choose the less pain path. Then denning LEP is logical. 


User paid system
Firstly, I have to remember this debates is moral, not economical. Pro said that, economically, It was better for doctors to have more demand so prices could go up, thus LEP is beneficial for the doctors' economy. 
Pro's error here is to put the focus in the benefit of the doctors. Here we are discussing for the good of the patients, not for the doctors. Economical urges should be discarded,  is more significant the psychophysic well being of the patients. 
My argument here is that the time used to extend just a bit the life of terminal patients could be better used to take care of the non terminal. 
The expectancy of life of a normal patient is way higher than the one of a terminal. Then is the priority to give care to the one who has the better life expectancy instead of the one who will anyway die shortly. 

John and Greg argument
I understand that the possibility of both getting hit by a car and dying, however that is absurd. The possibility of getting hit by a car and die is quite minimal. Provided that the possibility is very small, It has no sense to worry about it.
So as I see it we have two patients. John will die in a year in the better case. Greg will die in way more years than John. Obviously it depends on how old Greg is, but let's assume that Greg has the average age of a male: 29 years. The life expectancy worldwide is approximately 70 years. Then Greg will die in 41 years approx.
As you can see, Greg will live 40 years more. 
This means that doctors will have to decide if they help to improve the life of a person who will live for 1 year or of a person who will live for 41 years. The most worthwhile option is Greg.


Firstly is obvious that this is my opinion and not the absolute truth, so It has no sense to say "he also stated that it was his opinion that he was right (...) and that I was wrong".

Is my statement that we should aim to protect the major good, not to be totalitarian. Anyway, I think you are mistaking definitions. Democracy is literally the "rule of the population", which means that what the majority of the people need is what counts. On the other hand, totalitarianism is the rule of one, where the states decides everything for their own benefit. As you can see democracy aims to the well being of the majority while totalitarianism aims to the well being of the ones who govern. Then, Pro's claim is false, the resolutions is indeed democratic.

I'm not saying that the resolution is true just because I think so, neither that people should do this because I say so. What I state is that, like plenty of other things, this should be regulated by law in order to ensure the major good. If people did whatever they wanted to, if people always could choose, there would be mass killings everyday, rape would be normal, people will steal and harm others many times, etc.  What I tried to show is that people isn't capable of making all choices, people need limits for the sake of having an organized society where the major good is protected.

Imminent death 

I understand your argument but I disagree. What you get wrong is that you assume time is relative.  The scale you use to approach time is a cosmological scale. You talk in terms of the age of the earth. However, here we are talking about humans and human life. 

That being said, if you take the numbers, for instance, of the story of Greg and John, all starts to make sense. That difference of 40 years between Greg's and John's most possible life expectancy is pretty big in this scale. Being the average life expectancy 70 years,  40 years are more than half of a life. 
You can see how imminent John's death is in comparison with Greg's when you know that John has a 0,5% of an average life left, while Greg has a 59%. John's death is indeed imminent. Then, the death of all terminal patients is imminent. 

Moreover, if you take the time that doctors can extend John's life is also way to small. It represents just the 0,5% of an average life.  However, with non terminal diseases, doctors can extend the life of patients for many years. If a child with an infection is saved you are extending his life for approximately 85% of an average life. It has more sense to use the doctors efforts in order to extend someone's life for 85%  than for 0,5 %.
With this more adequate scale of time, you can see my arguments' reasons. 

Also, I get that time perception is subjective and that people can feel time passing differently. Nevertheless, time is a magnitude, and  like all magnitudes, It can be measured precisely and compared objectively. Nobody can argue with measurements. Even a child can notice that 1 is a way smaller value than 40.
As well as this, the umbrella thing isn't comparable with what I say. What I proposed would be something like this: if you have the opportunity of covering one person or five, what would you do? The logic mandates to choose to cover five instead of one. In the same way, if you have the opportunity to save a person who will live for one year and then die or a person who will live for a complete life, who would you save? Obviously the one with more life expectancy. 
The purpose of medicine

Palm Springs commercial photography

I accept that the aim of medicine is not only to save lives, but to alleviate the suffering too. Anyway, in order tofulfil this, doctors have to have priorities. If you treat a non terminal disease you are improving the quality of a life which will long for many years, while if you treat a terminal disease you are merely improving (merely because LEP cause pain, this was accepted by Con) the quality of a life which will last just a few months. It's more worthwhile to treat the first patient.I get the existence of the possibility that the non terminal patient may die in an accident. But again, this is just a possibility. If we start thinking like this, I can state that the terminal patient can react in a negative way to the treatment and die even faster and with more pain, making this procedures immoral and horrible. Statistically, is more probable that the non terminal patient comes back home safe and sound.

Palm Springs commercial photographyResolution proved.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-27 10:12:59
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)
Terminal Illness Definition

Creutzfeld-Jacobs disease is a degenerative disease of the mind (rapid dimensia) which through causing the brain to destroy itself causes behavioral changes, muscle stiffness and involuntary movements. Terrible stuff. But no pain what so ever. 

Bladder cancer causes frequent urination, blood to be in urine, slight burning feeling while urinating, slight lower back or side pain/agitation, feeling need to urinate without being able to. Very little to no pain, mainly just discomfort, many people do not even notice they have it for quite a while, sometimes until it is too late. Also, this can be a terminal illness. Cancer is one of the most common terminal illnesses. Most cancers are curable but they can all reach a point of no return, crossing the threshold between able to be cured, and unable. 

Benign brain tumors, like most localized diseases in/on the brain are relatively painleess. Sometimes they can cause severe headaches, often times though, they are completely painless. Just like with cancer, just because they are not terminal 100% of the time does not make them not a terminal illness. 

Definition of pain according to a dictionary: Physical suffering due to injury, illness etc. 
These diseases are not symptom-less but they are all but painless.  

Even if physical pain resulted from all terminal illnesses, it has not been shown how LEPs would produce even more pain. In fact, and quite ironically, many recent studies such as was cited in the hyperlink, have shown that one of the most effective LEPs  is pain relief itself. Administering pain relief to patients suffering severe pain has been proven to extend the lives of those living with terminal illness. Thus pro's model would deny pain relief to those with terminal illness... and yet pro claims to have been making a 'moral' argument. 


Is it moral that after studying at university for many years doctors work ridiculously long hours for not much pay? Would it not be both moral and economical to see fairness for them in a user-pays system? If no significant harm above and beyond groundless assertions that LEPs are comparable to murder can be shown, it still has not been explained why the government should restrict an individuals right to spend money on what they want in a user-pays system.

In terms of John and Greg, what Greg has, he is not going to die from in either instance. No matter what doctors do, his life cannot be extended and that 41 years you claim Greg has, will probably still be 41 years. John on the other hand if helped might be able to survive an additional 6 months, so his life expectancy could increase. Why is it moral to base medical attention on life expectancy? Why should senior citizens not have access to thee same medical care that people half their age, who statistically are much healthier, do? This has not been shown. 


Demos = People
Kratos = Power
From greek (where 'democracy' comes from). There are many different ways of achieving people-power. To most people in the world it means voting once every few years for a package of ideas (of parties or individuals) that best fit their own (though mostly not perfectly fit) - well that's the idea anyway. Some democracies are majoritarian, but many are not as they see pitfalls in the 'tyranny of the majority'. Democracy is in any event a descriptive name for a large family of electoral systems. Totalitarianism is an extreme end of the authoritarian-libertarian spectrum and  thus is compatible with monarchies, dictatorships, democracies, theocracies etcetc... Totalitarianism is by no means the rule of one. 

My main point here has been throughout that dictating a personal choice, which either way could, depending on circumstance, have positive or negative social outcomes, which I have shown, is not a moral thing to do, irrespective of the electoral system your country has. Mass murder or rape on the other hand have very obvious social harms. The exact harm of letting someone define what exactly they think 'suffering' is has not been explained. Just because someone has the symptoms of a terminal illness does not mean that for them or their loved ones dying sooner constitutes less suffering. What about the suffering of the family member that never got to say goodbye? What about the suffering of the person that has he disease when they have to face death alone? It has not been shown why it is that letting people decide which suffering is worse than rape or mass murder. 

Immanent Death and  The Purpose of Medicine

Why should life-expectancy be used as a measure of time? What difference does it make if someone lives 5 minutes or 500 years? Relative to the universe there is very little difference between the two. In classical Greece, life expectancy was 28, if that measure were to be applied to Greg, he would probably die before John. 

As arbitrary as it may be, even if we take a human life as an absolute measure of time, LEPs should still not be denied to the terminally ill. This debate is not about whether or not LEPs should be the top priorities of all hospitals. This debate is about whether or not LEPs should happen at all. Curing a child of a life threatening infection is important. But this is not the sole focus of medicine, as there are far more doctors in the world than children with life threatening infections. Though Pro has tried to argue that some other procedures should be prioritized above LEPs, he has not shown why it is mutually exclusive with performing LEPs. Why is the suffering of the terminally ill so unimportant that they should not be helped at all? Everyone dies one day, when this might happen should not dictate quality of life. Just because something is statistically more probable to happen sooner does not mean that it will, or that both eventualities shouldn't be given the due care and consideration they require. 

This resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-31 19:42:35
| Speak Round
StickStick (CON)
"'Where is it?' Thought Raskolnikov 'Where is it I've read that someone condemned to death says or thinks, an hour before his death, that if he had to live on some high rock, on such a narrow ledge that he'd only room to stand, and the ocean, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity,  it were better to live so than to die at once! Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be!'" - Fyodor Dostoevsky 'Crime and Punishment'

No one can or should ever have the right to make some of the most personal choices a person could possibly ever make for that person. Faced with terminal illness and given the option to live longer, whether that entails a 'better quality of life' or not, should be up to individuals, not governments, to decide, as in making a decision to live longer, people are deciding with that that whatever life looks like, whatever their reasons for making the decision, it is better than not extending life. How can one life be worth more than another? How can one person's choices, pain and suffering be more important than another's?

This debate has been about whether or not basic human rights should be denied to a country's most vulnerable citizens. Being faced with death is hard for anyone to come to terms with, and in this debate it has been argued whether or not the suffering of someone faced with that eventuality can possibly be known. But how can it? How can it be dictated to someone about to lose their life, what their last days will look like or if they are ever going to see their loved ones again? How can it be prescribed to someone dying of a disease precisely how they are feeling or what they are thinking? How can anyone who has never experienced this know what it is like? 

Pro has argued that vulnerable people should be quashed and downtrodden as the 'majority' wills it. He has argued that life-expectancy  be  used as an objective measure as to whether or not medical treatment is afforded to people. He has argued for a medical system that would treat only those with a life-expectancy above an arbitrarily defined figure, preferring to tend to trivial matters over improving someone's quality of life as they define it to be. Pro has claimed objectivity in being able to sense and measure reactions to pain and definitions of suffering as if  he could categorically assess which sufferings were more impactful on people. Most disturbingly however, he has likened saving a life to taking one. Life extending procedures are matters of bodily autonomy, as I have argued throughout my rounds, that have benefits for society as opposed to harms. 

This debate has centered around numerous points of contention:

1. Whether or not terminal illness necessarily embodies pain. Since my first round I have shown that it does not, using specific examples. Pro countered by saying that it involves symptoms and therefore pain. As I pointed out however, symptoms and pain are not the same things, and both symptoms and pain are seen by each individual differently/relatively

2. Whether the moral and economic costs of LEPs are too high. I have shown how in all healthcare systems, both doctors and patients benefit from LEPs. 

3. Whether or not the suffering of an individual can be absolutely known or if it is subjective. Suffering is, as has been evidenced, subjective. I have displayed how different people see different things differently and how restricting personal choices based upon this is an example of totalitarianism. Pro tried to counter this by contending that because most people view certain things certain ways, it would be democratic to impose that on people. But this evidently is tyrannical as I have demonstrated in pointing out benefits of LEPs, where Pro couldn't point out non-subjective harms.

4. Whether or not it can be said that a death is imminent. Throughout this debate, I have chronicled how time is highly subjective and how short human existence really is. I have shown that therefore using life expectancy to determine whether or not someone should be afforded medical help is trivial as everyone dies one day.

5. Whether or not the purpose of medicine is to save lives, or alleviate suffering. I have shown how death is a form of suffering, but that at the end of the day it needs to be up to individuals to determine what they want - what they define as being good, bad or suffering.

This resolution is well and truly negated. 

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-01-31 20:53:23
| Speak Round
condeelmastercondeelmaster (PRO)
"Vote Pro!" - Me (I did not have a nice quote as Stick had so I had to improvise hahahah)

Jokes aside, as this is the final round I will make a summary of the debate and give a final conclusion.


I first stated that all terminal illnesses cause pain. Stick tried to refute this giving some examples of terminal illnesses which supposedly don't cause pain. As I successfully showed all terminal illnesses produce pain, even the ones that Stick gave as examples of non painful terminal illnesses. 
Pro correctly said that symptoms and pain are different. Yes, a rash is a symptom but not a painful one. However, terminal illnesses do not cause just a little rash. The symptoms of terminal illnesses are painful. 
Seizures, dementia, pain during urination, pain during talking or breathing, acute headaches, are just some of the symptoms of terminal illnesses. These are clearly painful symptoms.
This is my first argument defending the resolution. Terminal illnesses cause pain. The only way of stopping that suffering in this cases is death. Since life extending procedures cause pain, and they are also not too effective (they can only extend life by a few month, maybe a year), is logical to deny them.   

Imminent death

Con gave an argument of how the death of terminal patients was not imminent and that everyone could die at any moment. As I argued, this is rather wrong.
Terminal illnesses bring imminent death. Let's take two average people of the same age, one with  a terminal illness and one who is healthy. Statistically, the healthy one will live as much as forty times more (and this if the patient is under life extending procedures). This shows the imminent nature of death in terminal patients.
My second argument then is that, since the death of terminal patients is imminent, is more logical to give the priority to the non terminal patients. Treating terminal patients means saving and/or improving a short life (with luck less than 5 years). Treating a non terminal patient means saving and/or improving a longer life (up to 70 years). Morality and reason mandates to give priority to the longer life.


My argument here is this: Life extending procedures cost both money and time. The resources used to treat terminal patients could be better used in treating non terminal patients.
Con's argument here was that doctors would economically benefit by treating terminal patients. What Con does not get is that medicine focuses on the benefit of the patients not the doctors. Is more beneficial for the majority of the patient to not treat terminal patients.

Purpose of medicine

The purpose of medicine, as Con correctly explained, is: 
                                        •  to mitigate the suffer
                                        • to find cures for diseases
                                        • to do the former better
As I stated earlier in this debate, we live in a democratic society. In a democratic society, the government has the aim of protecting the majority, or how a like to say: the major good. 
In order to fulfil the first aim of medicine in a democratic way, one has to have priorities. This even happens in the emergency room. Doctors decide which patient has a priority over the others. 
Then, just for the sake of the major good, is logical to deny life extending procedures to the terminally ill. In doing so you can achieve both first and third objectives of medicine: you con mitigate the suffering of more people for more time, and you can do it better because you have more resources at your disposal.

Final conclusion

Denying life extending procedures to the terminally ill is not  an inmoral act. As a matter of fact, It is just a way of making possible for doctors to treat longer lives better and to end the suffering of the terminally ill. It is not an inhuman act, It is rather a priorization method to ensure the well being  of the whole society. 
The resolution is far from being negated.

Good luck to my opponent, it has been a great debate. Cheers!

Return To Top | Posted:
2016-02-04 13:14:29
| Speak Round

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What a great read. I'll vote here in a few hours.
Posted 2016-02-12 05:50:43
I'll do this after homework today.
Posted 2016-02-12 05:14:51
I'll do this after homework today.
Posted 2016-02-12 05:14:37
@lannan13 : here is your reminder to vote on this :) happy voting :)
Posted 2016-02-11 17:13:04
Someone remind me to vote on this tomorrow.
Posted 2016-02-10 09:54:07
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2016-02-04 14:02:53
Lord FarnyJudge: Lord Farny
Win awarded to: condeelmaster

I'm not sure if Stick is allowed to link to outside sources, which might increase his text limit.
4 users rated this judgement as a vote bomb
3 comments on this judgement
Linking sources of information, ie citations, is allowed in the rules (theres no rule against it and I think that including an easy hyperlinking tool in the text editor would imply that such a thing would be encouraged). In this debate I used hyperlinks when and only when I was citing specific studies or clarifying/qualifying specific pieces of information. Seemingly basing a judgement on the use of hyperlinks is, in my opinion, a very poor practice and not in the slightest bit constructive.
Posted 2016-02-04 14:12:13
@Stick is right, he was just quoting sources. Anyway, vote Pro! ;)
Posted 2016-02-05 02:38:07
I see in no way how this is a valid vote at all. It seems more like a question if anything.
Posted 2016-02-12 07:16:01
2016-02-12 06:56:39
lannan13Judge: lannan13    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Stick
Before I begin with my vote, I would just like to thank both debaters for providing the most worth while debate to read on this site in quite some time for me. Props to them.

For the debate surrounding the definition, I have to discard this entirely, why? This is simply due to the fact that this simply detteroates the debate into a game of a game of semantics. If Con felt like it, he could have ran a K around it.

A huge issue in this debate was surrounding microeconomics. Con makes a great argument surrounding the fact that the doctors, like any human being, is driven by money. The more patients they have, the more money they make. This is key, as Con brought up, as it help show that money really drives the world and all things motivate them to act in a certain way. Pro's argument actually plays into Con's own hands. Pro does bring up how this harms the individual due to the expense. This eventually fades away as Con incorperates it into his argument that helps show that the profit doesn't just go to the doctors, but helps improve the hospital causing a life saving trickle-down-effect. Pro then tries to discard this argument reporting that the debate is about morals and not economics. This statement is actually false as Con has made this an Interdisciplinary argument. An example I can give is the Freakanomics corrilation of how abortion reduces crime rates, but that's besides the point.

Another argument that is key in this debate is actually that of the extention of life argument. This revolves around the point of where the doctor's focus should be. Pro brings up important arguments that if you were to save a child vs. an elderly person that you should save the child. He then encoorperates not democracy, but Utilitarianism. Con counters arguing why should the doctor have to choose as he can focus on both. The argument surrounding this could have gone either way, but there wasn't any sources provided so there wasn't really anyway I could make a proper judgement there. The contention eventually devolves into Democracy (Utilitarianism in Pro's Case) or Totalitarism (Mob-rule). This argument becomes interesting as it tended to reflect much of the issues surrounding the topic. Pro speaks on how we should focus on what helps the greatest number of people and focus on the community, which makes this not a democracy, but a Utilitarian argument. Con counters with a very Immanual Kant like argument, showing that the individual must also be cared for. He continues with a warning that the community should focus on bettering all individuals and once they stop caring for the individual, it turns into a Totalitarian state; which is something Pro does not want. I have to five this argument to Con. The main reason is that Con uses this argument against Pro in it that it shows that there is an impact here and such a harm to society that it could damage everyone.

This is the one and only impact brought up in this debate and shows Con would have to win nearly solely based on impacts, though there are other reasons that he wins the debate, the impact on top of him winning the two most key points in this debate gives him the win. I would like to congratulate both debates on this fine debate.

So some tips for the debaters. Sources are key in a debate. They can mean the difference between making the debate an "uhuh" and "nuhuh" debate. Granted that you each are above that leave. This is an area that I would suggest that Pro includes much more of in future debates and even Con. Con did a great job, but didn't have them in the most important areas of the debate. You each need to use Ceteris Paribus in your debates. When you are comparing stats and slightly changing them, you have to assume this factor, otherwise you will harm your own arguments. I also encourage both sides to use Interdisciplinary methods in their debates. Pro focused on Morals and Ethics, but Con brought in economics. Though seemingly not related it carries a lot of weight. This is something that can turn the tides in a debate and give you the edge if you come at it with an unusual argument. Lastly you need to have impacts in your debate arguments. Meaning that if something happens then why is that bad? If you answer this and justify the impact then you can pratically win on that alone. Con brings up a key impact, but I would like to see a lot more from him in the future.

Again both debaters did a great job.
4 users rated this judgement as constructive
2 comments on this judgement
It was a really tough debate. Con did great, and I did not agree with what I was defending at all (it was a secret topic).
Posted 2016-02-12 12:07:42
I'd just like to second what condeelmaster commented, thanks for judgement and feedback, was a good debate, very tough and I thought pro debated very well: it's always hard making an argument you don't agree with.
Posted 2016-02-12 14:49:31
2016-02-14 08:42:19
ButterCatxJudge: ButterCatx    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Stick
2016-02-15 06:44:44
Anthony TaiJudge: Anthony Tai
Win awarded to: condeelmaster
I feel bad for him
I mean he's going to lose anyway right
so you know
2 users rated this judgement as a vote bomb
0 comments on this judgement

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