Humane...for humans?

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

  1. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    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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    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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    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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    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

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that the DNRs were brought up in response to the question about what happens in situations where a person is no longer able to communicate their wishes. Just like a person plans for that contingency, he or she could also plan to be euthanized. The person could make it clear from the onset of their disease that once it progressed to a certain point, the person would prefer to be euthanized.
     
  18. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Sorry, I just wanted to make sure that they were two different things. Right now, are there any states where it is possible to make it clear that they want to be euthanized? Or just that they do not want to be resuscitated?
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    As far as I know, physician-assisted death is still illegal here. I think that you're only allowed to make living wills that prohibit life-saving measures (CPR, etc.) from being taken. I could be wrong.
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes Sue, I'm most interested in situations that were not expected or planned. An accident that left your child alive even without life support...but with absolutely zero quality of life. Or your parent who perhaps refused to consider the day he might be in a nursing home in a constant state of fear and confusion.

    Another sensitive possibility might be a baby born with with severe, severe issues both physically and surely mentally. Should a mother be given the right to euthanize her child to spare the child a life of darkness in every sense of the word?

    I appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts on this.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It seems so bizarre to me that assisted suicide is so taboo when so many people here and I'm sure in general would support it.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Our medical industry probably has a lot of clout with the lawmakers who could pass a law legalizing it. Hospitals and drug companies make a lot more money keeping someone alive, even when it is unnecessary and cruel to do so.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

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    The ethico-religious factor probably looms much larger, Caesar, as a force that keeps assisted suicide illegal.

    It strikes me that this might be one of those realms in which a gray area would serve better than absolutes either way. There's something to be said for assisted suicide being technically illegal but for the authorities having discretion as to whether or not to prosecute.
     
  24. bandnerdtx

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    The cynic in me tends to agree with this. The health care industry makes a whole lot of money off the terminally ill. There are some that claim that even cures to cancer and other horrific illnesses have been... hidden or discouraged... because of the money it will cost the pharmaceutical companies.
     
  25. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    CareMark denies chemo to stage 4 patients. I know they do. I have the letter that states it.
     
  26. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Assisted suicide is just so permanent, once it is started there is almost no "do overs"
    My Mom had told me she was to be DNR so I went with her wishes.
    I feel with children it is a touchy subject. What you are saying we should do a post delivery abortion?
     
  27. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    That's absolutely heart breaking... unjust, unfair, unethical... :(
     
  28. LUCHopefulTeach

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    It's a slippery slope because everything in our society gets sensationalized so asissted suicide becomes assisted murder. Dr. Kevorkian was called a murderer for a long time.
     
  29. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I have always been extremely anti-abortion (to the point of wearing shirts and such), but I'm just thinking aloud here. Might it be the humane thing to do to end pregnancies that will result in severe abnormalities, and if it's somehow not discovered until delivery, then end the life then? Or is it ethical to allow life to come and go naturally...to have the child, and then spend the remainder of your life tending to the child who cannnot understand, communicate, use the bathroom or eat or anything else independently, and then to worry who will care for your needy child when you pass before he or she does? So many here have said it's the humane thing to do to end life once it becomes dreadful, both with animals and people, so why not apply that same thought when the life is dreadful from the beginning? Of course, I know some of the reasons not do, such as the big question of what qualifies to be bad enough conditions to spare a soul a life of living with those conditions. Only those in vegetable-like states (hate that term, but...), or maybe some would say those with DS, or maybe a deaf-blind child. Who makes that call?

    Again, I am just thinking here. Truly.
     
  30. DizneeTeachR

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    I was thinking just about the same thing.

    Although when you think about it people get arrested for doing non humane things to dogs... I guess it's hard of what becomes humane and not.

    I think really it needs to be up to the person that may want that when it comes time. "We" make that "choice" for our animals and to a lot of people an animal is just as important in their life as people. I would think "we" are capable of making that choice for us when in "sound" mind!!!
     
  31. etcetera83

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    Okay - so I was discussing this thread with my husband. (We agree BTW with voluntary assisted suicide.) As we were talking about the "sticky" issues of it all, he brought up people who live with mental illness such as chronic and severe depression, schizophrenia (sp?), etc. Should they be given the choice to end their life? They are chronic and debilitating diseases that can and do adversely affect the quality of a person's life. The question stems from the fact that my husband deals with chronic depression and borderline personality disorder. He manages it with medications and therapy, but some people can't. What are y'alls thoughts?
     
  32. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Well I am most definitely in the minority here!

    I do believe letting a person choose DNR is completely ethical and moral. A life is ending, and the person has decided ahead of time they will go when the life is ending.

    Euthanasia I can't agree with. It goes deep into the sanctity and value of all life. And I have sat with loved ones suffering and taking their last breaths. Of course I do not like them to suffer, but a human life is of greatest value because we are made in God's image, the only creatures who are.

    Another sensitive possibility might be a baby born with with severe, severe issues both physically and surely mentally. Should a mother be given the right to euthanize her child to spare the child a life of darkness in every sense of the word?

    JustMe, I'm not picking on you, but this statement brought so many feelings up inside me.

    I have also loved and cared for these babies and children. The truth is they give US a better quality of life, open a world to us that we would never know otherwise. They make us better people. If there was nothing in the world unpleasant or painful to deal with, I think we would be a race of stunted human beings.
     
  33. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    This is a topic I have thought about many times and still do not know which side of the fence I fall on. I want to accept the idea of someone in a terminal state with extreme pain being able to end it early, but the "playing God" aspect holds me off.
     
  34. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I guess that is my view. That God is the only one who sees the big picture and it is his choice when to end a life, end a suffering.

    I do understand how painful it is to see a loved one suffer and don't mean any coldness or disrespect to any who disagree with me. It is tough any way you look at it.
     
  35. JustMe

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    Certainly no offense taken since I'm only bringing up discussion points or considerations...haven't said I agree with any of it. :)

    I do, though, believe anyone should be permitted to end their own life for whatever reason...but I find it quite sad someone would be facing circumstances so difficult they would want to. Unfortunately there are many, many situations people find unbearable.

    I'm uneasy about ending anyone's or anything's life...it doesn't seem my decision to make. At the same time, I can also imagine some circumstances where I may be tempted out of love for the sufferer.
     
  36. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I am an atheist, but like callmebob said, I am also somewhat bothered by playing "mother nature." I mentioned in the animal thread that I had a hard time making this decision just about my cat. I just didn't feel right about it (not that I felt right about leaving her alive, either.) I have already told my BF, who is for assisted suicide and DNR, that I do not want to be the person to make that decision for him. Someone else can execute that decision, because I know I won't make the decision that he would want. As for myself, I am the opposite of most - I want to live no matter what - I want them to do whatever they can to keep me alive. Perhaps if I had a disease or was dying, I would feel differently.

    Having said all that, I don't understand why suicide is illegal. If you aren't hurting anyone else, and you want to take your own life for any reason, you should have the right to do so. That doesn't mean I would encourage it or wouldn't try to stop someone who was doing it, but I think those people need help. Apparently it is no longer a felony in any state, but it can still be considered a crime in some states and can hold up the victim's family from receiving inheritances, etc.

    Also, according to wikipedia, assisted suicide is legal in Washington and Oregon, but the patient has to have a terminal illness, have 2 doctors' approval, put the request in writing, wait 15 days, make another request, wait another 15 days, and THEN the doctor can prescribe but not administer the lethal dose of drugs.
     
  37. IEDUK8

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    I think "sure in general" could be not a cautious statement to use. A teachers' forum sampling may not be indicative of "in general". Some people who are opposed to this view just may not feel comfortable going against the "majority" posting here, yes?

    I guess I'd be conflicted.

    My Christian beliefs dictate no, I shouldn't "play God" and determine through how much pain my loved one is going, or if they're enduring it. Pain tolerance is subjective. I whimper when I get a tummy ache, while somebody else may laugh accidentally pounding their pinky finger with a hammer.

    That being said, I couldn't bear to see a loved one endure the pain (although, admittedly, some pain isn't visible, especially when said person has brain damage, etc.) I would pray for God to show mercy and take my loved one.

    Now, if the person is relying on a MACHINE to keep them alive, then the person isn't living. The machine is living through the person. Turning off the machine isn't (IMHO) "ending a life"... it's "stopping a machine". Then again, who am I to say that God can't take a person even if a machine is "running" a human life?

    I pray I'm never in a situation where I have to make that decision... I can't begin to imagine the thoughts going through one's mind.
     
  38. IEDUK8

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    Well (and this is all due respect to your husband and those who suffer from such maladies)... is the person who is mentally/chemically unstable, of the "right mind" to end his/her own life?

    Then we could be treading on "Shouldn't a person who feels sad or hopeless that they've lost their job, marriage, home... shouldn't they be able to choose to end their own life?"

    Who gets to say how much suffering is justifiable to end one's life? Me? The psychiatrist who is treating me?

    (Again, I say this with all due respect to those who suffer from mental illnesses...)
     
  39. IEDUK8

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    Okay, JustMe, now it's my turn to say I'm not picking on you...

    I disagree. I think suicide ("just because I can't go on living this way" is incredibly selfish. The person who performs it (hopefully successfully) is gone. They no longer suffer. No, just those who hold that person dear...who love them...who want to spend their lives with that person...THEY suffer.

    Sorry... VERY selfish.

    Again, when mental illness is involved, it's not of the right mind. Then again, many would say that ANY type of suicide is "not of the right mind". Again.... subjectivity rears its ugly head. :)
     
  40. JustMe

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    I said I'm sure many would agree...not most. So it seems like a fine statement to me. :)
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Hey, it's totally fine. We don't have to agree. It's all good. :)
     

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