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ELOSLER's avatar

Legally, if a spouse plans to commit suicide, what must be done prior to release others from legal persecution?

Asked by ELOSLER (5points) December 28th, 2010

Hypothetically, if there are acute medical concerns and the quality of life diminishes, the husband wants to commit suicide. He has a definite plan and a method. He is of sound mind and does not want his wife to be involved. What should he do prior to the act of suicide to release others from liability?

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9 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Do it outside, when she’s doing something else with someone who can provide testimony she wasn’t involved, or on the telephone with someone that could do the same. You didn’t describe the method.

mammal's avatar

He needs to travel to Switzerland and his wife would have to stay behind or she could be arrested on re-entry as being complicit in a homicide. Or he could self administer, and leave a note, if he is capable of functioning to that extent. Again a good alibi would be required for the wife, if they want to be together when it happens, it needs to look like natural causes. Or a genuine mistaken overdose.

Not_the_CIA's avatar

One thing you can do is move to Oregon. It is allowed here. You just need three doctors to agree that you have less than six months left and they will give you a some pills that make it so you can sleep forever.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

If you’re writing from your own situation, then I’m sorry for what you all must be going through. If you’re writing for a story plot line, then that would be good to know…

If the suicide is obvious, such as when the person has been talking about it and making clear plans for departure: giving away assets, updating or making a will, saying goodbyes to people, etc., and there is no clear evidence of participation by anyone else, then there should not be prosecution, no matter the circumstances, as long as there are no other witnesses or “parties to” the suicide who could have prevented it.

Where it gets tricky is if a person is disabled, for example, and would clearly need assistance to commit the act. So “method” has to be considered and must be one that the person could clearly perform unaided—including without “prior aid”, such as in obtaining or preparing lethal quantities of drugs, for example, that the person could not get without assistance.

But before considering it – even though I think the person surely has the right to do it – if it’s being done for “acute” medical reasons, that means that those reasons may be resolved in time. After all, an ‘acute’ medical condition is not chronic and generally not long-lasting.

Summum's avatar

Yes it can be done in the states and legally. It is your life and you have control over it. My brother in law took a pick line out of his arm and said no more drugs. Without the meds he was going to die for sure because of a brain surgery infection. The doctors could do nothing so I convienced him to get a new pick line and take the meds. He is now doing fine and glad he didn’t do it.

gailcalled's avatar

Horrible as it seemed at the time, my father waited until my mother was in town doing time-consuming errands.

Then he walked downstairs and outside, left his glasses and cane on the retaining wall and shot himself in the ear. He was standing by a drain that was embedded in the concrete apron of the driveway.

He had a note on his person for the police. It advised them that his gun permit was on his bedroom dresser, and he was the only one responsible.

A neighbor saw him and thought it was a dead dog. She called the police. They did investigate. It was an additional – how shall I put this? -unpleasantness to cope with.

Needless to say, while this may have been the solution for my father, who had Parkinson’s, it has left ripple effects in the family that will go on for several generations.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Summum my Mom was in a similar situation with her renal failure. It isn’t uncommon for advanced renal failure patients on dialysis to simple quit going to their three day a week, 3–5 hour a day treatment routine. When she told us it was her decision to stop, her nephrologist said if it was her decision he would write orders for hospice to administer pain meds at home as needed and that the death would take about two weeks.

We talked to her and she gave it another try before her vascular system gave out and dialysis wasn’t even an option. I know it doesn’t cover every situation, but most doctors are wonderful, caring and understanding in end of life decisions and offer pain relief regardless the situation.

@ELOSLER I hope for you the very best and peace if it is a real situation in which you are involved.

perspicacious's avatar

Others would not be liable unless they assisted in some way. Knowing his plan does not make one liable.

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