Humane...for humans?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by JustMe, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jul 26, 2011

    This isn't a slam against putting your pets to sleep. :hugs:

    In the currently running thread about euthanasia several people have stated that it's the humane thing to do for your pet when he or she is in pain or no longer enjoying life. One poster even said it would be cruel to not end your pet's life. But if it's humane to do to our pets, and I'm not necessarily debating that, why not actual humans? Your mamaw in the nursing home who doesn't know you or even herself, who cries every day because she's confused, who uses a diaper, who must be force-fed mushy food...why not call it: it's time to end her life. Especially if someone has indicated they do not want to live if she reaches that point, why allow them to suffer? Even if she had signed an advanced directive (is that what they're called?), it wouldn't help her in this situation.

    Is it "playing God" if you decide to end a human life but not a cat's life?

    I read a book about a man whose sick wife asked him to end her life...I believe it was called "Mercy". Of course, he was thought to have murdered her. We all know about Kevorkian. There are other such stories. So the issue is out there, but it seems to be pretty much ignored. I'm just curious about your thoughts.

    Should there be something for those people who are not being kept alive by drugs or medicine but who are living a horrible, miserable life...an advanced directive of sorts? Or would that be just too subjective and dangerous?
     
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  3. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I believe that it would be the humane thing to do for humans as well. Having watched my father die a horribly painful way, it would've been so much better for him to be able to take a cocktail of drugs and just make it end.

    I will say that in the end hospice was wonderful and they didn't care how much pain medicine they gave him, but it still took him 5 days to die. If we'd been able to give him something it would've been a much more respectful way to end his life.

    What about people with horribly painful diseases (MLS for example) that slowly robs them of their ability to do anything? I bet if we would ask this question to them, they would love to be able to go out on a high note when they still had control of themselves and could enjoy their lives.

    When my husband worked in the ICU at a hospital here, he said sometimes the doctor would prescribe a certain combination of meds for a person who had no hope of ever getting better, whether the person or the family requested it. It didn't happen very often, but doctors can and will do it under the radar.

    I agree with you....there should.....but with so many religious groups and their powerful lobbies, it's unlikely to happen. We can wish though, can't we?
     
  4. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Yes, there should be an option.

    Religion should be protected to an extent -- specifically, a doctor or nurse with religious objections should not be forced to participate personally (an argument suspiciously similar to the gay marriage debate).

    I agree, it's not likely to happen.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I think it should absolutely be an option. I also think there should be an opt out for doctors whose religious beliefs do not allow for them to do that, however that starts a slippery slope of doctors refusing other procedures (hysterectomy, tubal ligation, etc.) based on religious beliefs. It's a tricky situation, for sure, but I do think there should be an option for those with terminal pain and suffering.
     
  6. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I believe that it is humane for humans and should be an option for terminal adults or adults in severe, severe, severe pain that cannot be controlled or helped.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I think it should be an option as well. I know that, for me personally, the idea of living without my mental faculties in place is terrifying. I wouldn't want to not know who I am, who my loved ones are, where I'm at, any of that. Spending my last years feeling confused, scared, and alone isn't the dignified end that I think we all deserve.

    With that having been said, I think that with the right sort of pain management, there's no need to jump the gun, so to speak, and euthanize someone who is suffering from some painful condition. I think that many doctors are too stingy with pain medications. One a person reaches a terminal stage, I think that he should be given all the pain meds in the world. I think it's cruel to withhold them.
     
  8. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Jul 26, 2011

    What happens when the person is obviously in pain, but not in their right mind. Who decides? Who can judge what "quality of life" means? Quality of life can be different for each person.
    Have you ever been in such pain that you don't care what happens, but when the pain is gone you do care? Like in labor...I was in such pain I just wanted it to end. I think I even said, "kill me now!"
    What happens when a person is not mentally capable of making such a decision. Who decides then? Who governs that decision? I think there's a fear that unscrupulous and uncaring family members will opt to end someone's life unjustly just because they're tired of taking care of them or paying the bills or something.

    Just playing devil's advocate here--something to think about and discuss.

    I think that if this ever happens to me, I want the hospital staff to keep me pain free and hydrated, but no life saving heroics. I will have a DNR.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I think that the obvious answer would be for people to have living wills directing their medical staff and family members what to do in certain situations. Just like a DNR, it could stipulate that the patient wants physician-assisted death in the event of a debilitating stroke or whatever.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    My late husband evidently was one of the lucky ones. I'd heard horror stories about people being in so much pain that they were screaming for days. But I also fought the hospice nurses to continue the pain meds his doctors had prescribed on the palliative floor at M.D. Anderson. The nurse I had spoken to before we got home had mentioned topical creams to deliver meds and I wouldn't have that. The nurses had taught me how to put in a sub-q line that was necessary to administer the synthetic morphine he was using at the hospital as well as saline to keep him hydrated and the anxiety meds. He went into the "sleeping state" after having about ten hours of delusions, but was not in pain since I insisted his pain meds be given on the same schedule.

    A former hospice nurse had been one of his nurses on the regular floor. The day we had the DNR signed, I was a total mess. My doctor had given, without my asking for them, a prescription for Xanax when I was in for a check-up and had told the doctor of my husband's illness. I took at least four that day because I was so upset. This nurse told me that when morphine is used as the pain medicine that it slows breathing. She basically said to give him an extra dose if he was struggling.

    I didn't have to make that decision to give that extra dose, but I've no doubt, that in the moment, if he was having a bad death like I'd heard about, I would not have blinked before doing that.
     
  11. missjessica

    missjessica Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I believe it is okay for humans in certain circumstances. My grandmother's brother-in-law (in the Netherlands) was very ill and in a lot of pain. His doctor gave him the option of being euthanized rather than dying a long and painful death. His family came over that morning and everyone said goodbye. He then died with his wife holding his hand, in his favorite chair, looking out the window of their apartment at their beautiful view.
    I think many Americans believe in "miracles" and like to believe that someone will come out of an illness and recover. But when the person is already very old and ill, I think it's up to that person and their family to decide what to do.
     
  12. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I had to make the decision to pull the plug on my mother. It took me long time to come to the decision two ministers, two family members it was truly a gut wrenching time for me.
    She had been in a coma for a week and a half and the doctor said she would not come out of it, but she woke up 2 days after the plug was pulled just long enough to say "I love you" and then went back into the coma and died 3 hours later and then 4 hours later my granddaughter was born.
    Mom Had to help with the delivery from the other side.
     
  13. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I'm not against it for humans either.

    That's one of the reasons that I like hospice. While they don't euthanize people, they still offer options to being in a hospital and being given medical treatments.

    I also have a living will which spells out circumstances in which I do and do not want medical care given. My husband wanted no part of any of the decisions, so I had the paperwork done so that he wouldn't have to make that decision. I'm really glad that I did that.
     
  14. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 26, 2011

    Doctors, and entire hospitals, already do this. When I was in perinatal ICU with my third son, I insisted I be transferred to a different hospital because the one I had been admitted to did not do tubal ligations because of religious objections. I personally know several doctors who won't do the procedure, and know of dozens more. Thousands of doctors won't do abortions, and many won't do hysterectomies unless the survival of the woman depends on it (like a perforated uterus).

    Doctors do have the right to refuse to do procedures, and they exercise that right frequently.
     
  15. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    Jul 26, 2011

    My husband and I both have living wills. We have spelled out in very minute details which situations we are willing to accept life sustaining care for, and which ones we do not. For instance, if an eeg shows that we are in a vegetative state with no chance of recovering, we do not wish to be resucitated. (sp?)
    We both have DNR's for our end of life. If/when we are elderly, we do not want our family cpr-ing us back into this life just because they do not want us to die. My husband is a geriatric nurse and he has had to administer cpr on his elderly patients that do not have dnr's. He has broken ribs in these futile attempts. He feels that when our time comes, it is our family and healthcare provider's jobs to make it an easy transition. Yes, it is hard on the ones left here to mourn, but we believe in the humanity of being humane. Both for animals and people. All living beings deserve dignity...
     
  16. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Jul 26, 2011

    I think a DNR is different than what the original topic was. I could be totally off (and correct me if I am) but I think JustMe was talking about when someone is in so much pain (or something similar) that it is time to end their life. I am all for both DNRs and for euthansia. Why should someone suffer when they don't have to? Hospice can be wonderful but sometimes there is nothing to more they can do.

    I do know that some doctors, especially for people they have known for a long time, will euthanize people if it is very clear that is what they want.

    I have never thought of the relationship between adults and animals. I totally agree that if we can put animals to sleep so they don't suffer then we should be able to do the same for humans.
     

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