Not letting dad die


#1

The link below provides the account about the doctor who tried with many arguments to get the writer and his family members to refuse treatment to their hospitalized father so that he will die. They refuse, and soon their father recovered. But this writer now often thinks about how other children might have decided differently or if there was an elderly confused spouse. See
www.headlinebistro.com/hb/en/columnists/caulfield/092210.html


#2

[quote="mdgspencer, post:1, topic:215350"]
The link below provides the account about the doctor who tried with many arguments to get the writer and his family members to refuse treatment to their hospitalized father so that he will die. They refuse, and soon their father recovered. But this writer now often thinks about how other children might have decided differently or if there was an elderly confused spouse. See
www.headlinebistro.com/hb/en/columnists/caulfield/092210.html

[/quote]

Thanks for sharing this. The writer of the article is so right, that the culture of death has become extremely insidious when it comes to health care, treatment, and "end of life decisions". I had to go through this with my Grandmother last year. Unfortunately, my family doesn't share our Faith, much less understand or appreciate its teachings on the sanctity of human life. So there I was, the lone voice begging the doctors, nurses, and my own family, to give my grandma so much as a little water! To no avail. To this day I am still so disturbed about the whole thing and really had to pray hard to forgive all those involved.


#3

Interesting isn't how the culture of death is progressing. :mad::rolleyes:


#4

It can be very hard to get reliable counsel on end-of-life decisions. An organization that arose to combat physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, called Physicians for Compassionate Care, has a good web site:
pccef.org/index.htm

They have presentations on the site that are very informative.


#5

These predictions about "quality of life" can be really inaccurate. It reminds me of many stories I've seen of parents with children with disabilities who are told by doctors that the child will never sit up, use his hands, or walk, and has no intelligence either, so should be put in an institution. Many times these predictions are too dire, and even if the child is very disabled, many parents want the child to remain with the family, where the child is almost always better off assuming a decent standard of living, loving relationships and good care.

However I think there is another extreme where people fight illness too hard when it is hopeless and maybe some doctors react to that. My uncle had gastric cancer which has a terrible prognosis but he did not want to give up b/c he was only 60 when he died. He had 14 rounds of chemotherapy and was in a great deal of pain, not able to eat, drink, or speak much the last 6 months of his life, and looked like he had aged 20 years when he died. He would have been better off with less chemotherapy and more medicine for pain. I don't know what to say except maybe some doctors see cases like this and they may start encouraging people to let go in general, which I don't think they should do. everyone is individual.

also, I really worry about people with no health insurance, speaking of the "culture of death." There was that one fairly young woman who died in a hospital emergency room waiting room while the janitor cleaned the floor - it is just awful what happens sometimes.

Stories like this quite frankly make me feel grateful that I never drank alcohol, took drugs, or smoke, and make me think about my continued need to follow a diet/exercise program (I need to lose a lot of weight and am working on it). Sometimes it seems like there isn't much margin for error in terms of personal habits that are not healthy, given the way the health care system can be, unfortunately. I'm not saying this to blame people for illness but when I hear stories like this they make me think I'd better work on being as healthy as possible. Although everyone gets sick no matter how healthy you are/try to be.


#6

Palliative medicine and hospice are wonderful options. Too often they are consulted too late in one's course of illness. I feel quality of life is much more important than living longer in terrific pain and suffering.


#7

[quote="silentstar, post:5, topic:215350"]
These predictions about "quality of life" can be really inaccurate. It reminds me of many stories I've seen of parents with children with disabilities who are told by doctors that the child will never sit up, use his hands, or walk, and has no intelligence either, so should be put in an institution. Many times these predictions are too dire, and even if the child is very disabled, many parents want the child to remain with the family, where the child is almost always better off assuming a decent standard of living, loving relationships and good care.

However I think there is another extreme where people fight illness too hard when it is hopeless and maybe some doctors react to that. My uncle had gastric cancer which has a terrible prognosis but he did not want to give up b/c he was only 60 when he died. He had 14 rounds of chemotherapy and was in a great deal of pain, not able to eat, drink, or speak much the last 6 months of his life, and looked like he had aged 20 years when he died. He would have been better off with less chemotherapy and more medicine for pain. I don't know what to say except maybe some doctors see cases like this and they may start encouraging people to let go in general, which I don't think they should do. everyone is individual.

[/quote]

Well, a cancer case is different, and as long as the person who has cancer is mentally competent, it should absolutely be up to the person whose own body is affected as to whether he wants to "try for a cure" or not. My grandmother was 84 when diagnosed with lymphoma and she chose chemo (which turned out, in retrospect, to have been the worse choice as she actually died from complications brought on by chemo rather than her cancer)--but it was entirely her choice (and her right to choose) the aggressive treatment in the hope of a cure--she had an 80% chance of cure with treatment).

But there is a world of difference between choosing not to treat a terminal condition and choosing not to treat a normal illness (such as pneumonia, even in an elderly patient, which need not be fatal if treated). The former is acceptable; the latter is not. Unfortunately, too many people these days look at others in a utilitarian sense and consider the elderly "not worthwhile".


#8

[quote="Melissa, post:7, topic:215350"]
Well, a cancer case is different, and as long as the person who has cancer is mentally competent, it should absolutely be up to the person whose own body is affected as to whether he wants to "try for a cure" or not. My grandmother was 84 when diagnosed with lymphoma and she chose chemo (which turned out, in retrospect, to have been the worse choice as she actually died from complications brought on by chemo rather than her cancer)--but it was entirely her choice (and her right to choose) the aggressive treatment in the hope of a cure--she had an 80% chance of cure with treatment).

But there is a world of difference between choosing not to treat a terminal condition and choosing not to treat a normal illness (such as pneumonia, even in an elderly patient, which need not be fatal if treated). The former is acceptable; the latter is not. Unfortunately, too many people these days look at others in a utilitarian sense and consider the elderly "not worthwhile".

[/quote]

That makes sense. The cancer my uncle had, had a dismal prognosis from the start and fighting it was his decision. For about the first year he seemed to gain strength from fighting it but then it took too much out of him and seemed to cause nothing but pain (in my opinion). He felt guilty about leaving his family which included a daughter with disabilities. It was his choice but it was sad to see the pain he was in for the last few months of his life.

However, you're right about the elderly often being written off. I'm already seeing this in my family in a situation I won't go into. In this case even though the person is in great health, she is 90 and having some memory problems, although still doing really well for the most part, and there are still people saying that maybe she's lived "long enough." It's not a good attitude.


#9

I have elderly parents. It was a good article to prepare myself for the battle that will eventually come -sadly.


closed #10

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