• Humane?

    Asked by MajorRedneck on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Humane?

    At what point is it inhumane to keep a human alive? If my service dog was in as bad a shape as I am I would have no problem putting her down. Some law's require you to end the suffering of a pet. But what about human's? Is it just an ease to comfort the suffering with drugs, when its clearly the human's body is used up and there is nothing left to do but die a slow suffering death masked with drugs?

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll

      The million dollar question!!!! This is one that lots of people over time have struggled with and there is no consensus as to what is the right and moral answer. The issue is touched on in the debates over the past few decades on assisted suicide. There are not only moral issues but legal ones too. I think that it is important that each and every cancer patient needs to discuss this in detail with thier families and then put thier wishes in writing. It is called an advance directive that will tell the Drs and hospital exactly what those wishes are and what they are supposed to do in end of life situations. If we don't do this then the fall back position for most hospitals is to do everything they can to keep a patient alive as this is seen as the lesat legally risky path to take. I know I haven't really answered the question but I think that each person neds to answer it themselves and with thier families. Good Luck

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      I do have a "Do No Resuscitate Order" with no expiration date. But im such a tuff old goat all cancer did was make what is left of my life very diffacult. If I had know now then when I was chocking to death in the ER I would have told them not to tuch me. Im sure this is upsets some people trying so hard to overcome. I overcame but the day in and day out of suffering, this is no life, I am completly useless matter a fact just a burden on other and the community. I would much rather be giving a rifle and put on the front lines of battle and gladly give what is left of my life in order to save someone that is an able body person much younger.

      about 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      I'm with Peroll here. Each person has to make their own decision and no one is wrong in what they choose as long as they make the choice freely. I find ending one's life sad, but since I'm not that person, don't really know what they are experiencing, I can't judge, just hope they made the correct choice.

      This all gets the messiest when one hasn't prepared the legal documents (DNR etc.) and hospitals and loved ones are left without instruction and the legal right to make the most humane decisions and the law (which has the best intentions at heart but isn't perfect) takes over. Everyone needs to have this prepared because you could be hit by a bus and unable to make the decisions yourself. Not pretty to think about when you are healthy, but so important when you aren't and terrible if you are suddenly in a position where you can't let anyone know your wishes.

      Myself? Once the quality of my life has deteriorated beyond any sense of enjoyment, I'm done. But I'll decide when I'm no longer laughing.

      about 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      There is a big difference between emotional and physical suffering and yours seems to be more emotional. You seem to be upset because you can no longer do the things you use to do. That happens to all of us at some point whether we have cancer or not. You are quite articulate, able to type and use a computer, understand and respond to what you read. Generally, people who are physically suffering and dying are not able to do that. You might consider some counselling to see beyond you current emotional state and realize that you may still have a life worth living.

      about 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll

      Majorredneck, DNRs are a problem in ERs as they never look for them and unless someone is there with a signed noterized copy of yours they will save you anyhow. ERs always assume that the patient wants to live and unless you are consious the word of even your nexk of kin is not good enough. Sometimes the even save people with valid signed DNRs as it is hard to sue them for keeping you alive but family members can easily sue if they let you die.

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      Nancyjac, Clearly you are assuming and trying to give a dignosses on things you have no idea about. Please do not assume by comments. Read the question. Nothing you said was about the question at hand. I am so allergic to cats I see now I have to leave. Clearly I need some counselling for I hate cats.

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      Peroll This has crossed my mind. and I am addressing this ASAP. Last thing I want to do is wake up with even more health problems. But I do keep a paper with me that has a Notory stamp&seal. Them not finding it is my biggest concern. I am thinking of getting a large tatoo that says look DNR and look in my things for the documents. I knew i would fluff some feather on this question, But I have often wondered just where is the line drawn.

      about 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      MajorRedneck,
      I am NOT a patient, I am a nurse. However, I DO have a DNR and I work in End of Life Care so I feel confident enough to respond to your post. The DNR is revokeable at anytime. There is no expiration date because of this. I have a DNR because I have had a heart attack and to be truthful...I am lazy. If I am going to go through all the trouble of dying I don't want anyone to bring me back from the dead just to do it all over again, I'm not that ambitious. Another thing that made me decide to become a DNR was my work. I can't ask a patient to become a DNR if I am not willing to do the same. In my line of work it simply isn't enough to talk the talk; you have to walk the walk.
      In this day in time, it is inexcuseable to have someone die in pain. Now, as I said, I work in End of Life care so I do not work in hospice. Hospice patients have a diagnosis of 6 months or less. My patients have 2 weeks or less. Many of them have less, and some are no longer verbal when they come to me. After close to 500 deaths from every cancer imagineable, including yours; I can honestly say that I have never had anyone die "Choking." Nor have I ever had a patient die that was not prepared to. In reality -- in end of life care, that is my only job...to prepare them for death. I'm not interested in their blood pressure, I am not giving them fluids or trying to get them to eat if it is not what they want, I am preparing them for that final walk into that good night. I do NOT believe in Death With Dignity or Physician Assisted Suicide. With the drugs we have on the market today, no one should die in pain and if they do, someone isn't doing their job correctly. Having said that, the one thing that makes us all even, cancer or not, sick or not, is that we were all born with free will. From the moment we took our first breath we controlled the flow of our lives. We potty trained when we were ready, we took the training wheels off when we were ready, we married and had children when we were ready, and if there is one thing I can say from years of working with the dying...we die when we are ready.
      I can read your frustration from your post, I get that. If anger is what does it for you, then have at it. However, this is a support site for people who are connecting to comfort each other. There are many here with the same diagnosis that you have, some who might be newly diagnosed who came to this support site looking for compassion and support; but now they also have a picture of themselves choking to death in the end as well. I can't imagine that to be something they were looking for when they joined, do you? If anger is what comforts you then use it, but then to insult another member because you don't like her post...just what did that do for you? What do you get from insulting someone who does what they are supposed to do here; respond to a post? Insult her cat....really? If you want everyone to agree with you, you should have sent out a script prior to your post so that those responding would know the correct words to say in responding. You can get mad at my post if you like, call me a name if it gets you past it, I really don't care. But, don't insult people here or make people feel like the fight isn't worth it. Every nurse is a patient advocate and I won't stand idly by and watch any patient be diminished because they tried to comfort you. Maybe in time you will come to realize that tough times don't last; tough people do. If you want a punching bag until then...I'll be your Huckleberry.

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      carm, it is not I'll be your Huckleberry. it is "I'm your huckle bearer". A huckle is a handle on a casket, it is synonymous to pall bearer, term was used in the south in th e mid to late 1800's. A lot of people get that wrong.

      about 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Actually, Tom Sawyers sidekick was Huckleberry Finn. That is what I was referring to...his go to person, Carm RN.

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      carm, "There are many here with the same diagnosis that you have, some who might be newly diagnosed who came to this support site looking for compassion and support; but now they also have a picture of themselves choking to death in the end as well."

      Let me be very clear on this. I was not talking of the end. I was in the ER coughing blood and could not breath. I had two tumors one on both sides of my esophagus about the size of a large egg that was closing my esophagus and airway. as well as other tumors. This is what the doctor told me. I have to take his word for I sure could not see down there. He also said that if I did not have the first operation I would not live 24 hours. I had my first operation 8 hours after going to the ER.

      I see our understanding is completely off on the huckle bearer, and the Tom Sawyer story. Anyway huckleberry is the state fruit of Idaho as well as Tom's mentor in wrong doing. I had assumed you meant as in the movie Tombstone being you were talking of physical violence, lol I was picturing myself punching a bag of fruit. Huckleberry's make great jelly.

      about 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar
      SueRae1

      My heart goes out to you for all the suffering you are going through. Are you in hospice/palliative care ? If not, find out how you can enter a program at home at a hospice center. You may want to speak to a therapist who specializes in cancer and end of life issues. Some times just having someone to talk to to and understands what you are going through can be of great comfort.

      about 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar
      carm

      Major,
      I feel that with our continued banter, we can communicate on a first name basis. I believe you stated that had you known you would have told them not to touch you when you were choking. I think it is safe to assume that it is possible then that you would have choked in that end. And, YES....TOMBSTONE! I loved that movie and Val Kilmers Doc Holliday. And I loved that part when he said that line to Johnny Ringo. I'm glad someone else feels the same. I never knew that about the casket handle or that huckleberry was the fruit from Idaho. So now you have taught me something new. Still think your life has no value? I see the value Mr. RINGO! Who else would have taught me that today? It had to be you!

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      SueRae1 I was in Hospice for 13 months till I movied where I am at now, I am waiting on paper work. Its very hard to get things done I can not talk on a phone. My daughter is doing the best she can, but she goes to school and work and helps with her mental handicap brother.

      about 4 years ago
    • Siby's Avatar
      Siby

      Hello Dad I love you. <3

      about 4 years ago
    • MajorRedneck's Avatar
      MajorRedneck

      Love you too Siby, these people will help I just know it

      about 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS (Best Answer!)

      Dear Major Redneck,

      You bring up a very good topic - Medical Ethics!!

      I saw this post last evening and wanted to reply to it then but was too tired and in way too much pain. I had a little home accident, fell, and bruised my hip bone. It's really painful!! My oncologist saw me yesterday as I was at Sloan Kettering for a different matter and well, she's great! Back to your question...

      This is a topic that can, as here, become very heated (as you've seen). There is (thought to be) a difference between a dog suffering and a person suffering. I know (firsthand) because I ran NYC's only Veterinary Library as well as being trained and running a Human Medical Library. (I've also been a pet owner [two mini dachshunds whom I no longer have and a cat that I do) and a daughter [my parents are gone]). Animals, being thought to not have the intellectual capacity that we do to understand why (underline why) we're suffering have the right to be put to sleep, i.e., euthanized. It just doesn't seem very fair that some I.Q. points stand in the way of us having the right to say "enough is enough."

      In some states, I don't know all of them -it's too early in the a.m. for me to do a research project, and quite frankly, I'm in considerable pain, but I know that Oregon's one of them, I believe there is now a law on the books for "patient assisted suicide". I'm certain that there are more states and perhaps later in the day, when I feel more awake/more ready for painkillers, I can do some research on other states, but for now I do know about Oregon.

      Every other person on this site who has replied to this question has made a very good point. I will say from my own experiences with my parents that the hospital did not (since both my father and mother had a DNR) do anything to countermand those. However, they had 3 very vigilant healthcare proxies (myself, my brother and my daughter) to make sure their decisions were carried out and make other decisions that they couldn't.

      Everyone on this site should seriously consider getting an advance directive or living will. Mine's a work in progress. Everyone's will vary according to their needs and their families.

      I liked hearing from Carm that there is no reason for anyone to die in pain. And I know that that's true from experience. My dad, a CLL patient was in rehab doing well after a hospital stay for pneumonia when one morning he awakened at the rehab with a tiny cough that the physician heard. Back to the hospital. By nightfall, he could hardly breathe, and I came from where I lived (a distance away) at 1 am to see him. His last word to me was "water" because the oxygen mask was making him thirsty. But his oncologist and the nurses that cared for me made him extremely comfortable, got him a C-Pap mask, gave him morphine, got him a private room, and the next day he died very peacefully (which is what he wanted [he refused a blood transfusion [I'd asked him if he wanted a directed one {my brother and daughter are his bloodtype}]) and he refused.

      I didn't see irrelevancy in anyone's statements. It's a heated topic. It's touchy for all of us. It's difficult at hospital board meetings as well as at meetings within religious groups. There will be disagreements. Some of them will be heated. I think that's to be expected, despite the aim of the site because of the topic at hand (death, and particularly assisted suicide) and medical ethics.. (Sometimes people disagree on a topic and can't aqree to disagree [it's happened to me] because the other person is so busy trying to shove their own agenda down your throat that after two or three pleas they can't hear you).

      Ideally we should all be able to "get along", i.e., be receptive to listening to others' points of views as that's the goal of the site, but this isn't an ideal world and it's hard to do that when we're in pain, when we're suffering, when we have a different concept of how "treatment" is defined, etc. So I think we need to understand that when a highly charged issue such as this is raised, the heat's definitely going to be turned up. No one is perfect. Those are my early morning thoughts on this matter.

      about 4 years ago
    • StacyM's Avatar
      StacyM

      I'm sorry you feel like you should be put down (if you were a dog). I hope I never have to make this decision because I don't have any idea what I would do.

      about 4 years ago
    • RebeccaW's Avatar
      RebeccaW

      Hopefully this question is discussed before it needs to be put into action. My husband put together an advanced care directive and filled out a Five Wishes form at the beginning of his cancer journey.

      about 4 years ago
    • Barbs' Avatar
      Barbs

      View from a caregiver: I want my loved one with me -- I don't want him to go to "life's greatest adventure" without me. I pray for more time, more days together, a cure, a miracle. BUT!!! I do not want him to suffer. I do not want some doctor or nurse "bringing him back" by pounding on his chest and maybe cracking his ribs. I do not want his peaceful journey destroyed by hospital routines, painful treatments, tubes, needles, machines beeping and alarms going off. We have talked. We both have Advanced Directives. And we have promised each other -- to be there -- to make sure it happens as we wish.

      about 4 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS

      Dear StacyM,

      Hi, I'm Aliza. I've posted here already so you'll see I'm a BC pt and a Medical Librarian. Major Redneck and many other people, don't necessarily view assisted suicide as being put down "like a dog". The state of Oregon permits terminally ill people this option-I'm not sure at what point in their illnes. Many people feel that there is a more humane component to Veterinary Medicine in that regard as opposed to Human Medicine and as I mentioned previously, why should a higher IQ separate us from having access to more humane treatment than we offer our terminally ill pets.

      If you are speaking from a religious point of view, then that is a different issue, but then please identify that that's where you're coming from. Otherwise, with all due respect, it's unfair to criticize someone who's in terrible pain (Major Redneck), and unable to speak at all. You don't know how you'd feel in such a situation unless you were in his boots so to speak.

      No one here thinks that a dog's life has more value than a human beings. We just wonder why it is that with all of the advances we have in medicine, why in the end a physician is not able to be as compassionate as a Veterinarian. There is a difference between that and what you are saying. It's almost like the difference between evolution and creationism. Food for thought...

      Aliza

      about 4 years ago
    • Michelleharmon's Avatar
      Michelleharmon

      In regards to the DNR advice, there is a form called POLST. It is a legal document with stronger authority than a DNR.

      about 4 years ago

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