Euthanasia for yourself?

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  • #108659
    M -AM-A
    Participant

    A question for all: If you were in a vegetative/comatose state, would you want to be euthanized? Or would you want your loved ones to keep you alive?

    I personally would want to be euthanized. There is no way I would want to be kept in a vegetative state, what a horrible way to live. I also think that loved ones tend to want to keep someone alive for selfish reasons rather than for the good of the patient.

    M-A

    #108661
    bjwarrenbjwarren
    Participant

    Good question. I have often thought about issues like this, for myself and my loved ones, as have had to make some of these already. I would certainly want to be euthanized and I would hope that my loved ones would keep their promise of doing as much as they could to see my wishes fulfilled.
    I have helped care for a couple close relatives now who were in such a state in the end, but all we could do was do hope that they would get pneumonia or something fast so that we could let them go that way because they could still breathe and function on their own, albeit at 5-6 breaths per minute. One was allowed to starve to death. What kind of compassionate and just society allows people to suffer with disease and starve but will not take that last step for mercy killings.
    Sorry for the rant. I’ve just been thinking a lot about this a lot lately and it must have been irking me, eh? 🙂
    Anyways, I agree that those who fight to keep loved ones alive in many unrealistic cases are selfish. Another point, however cold it may sound, is the bottom line, many of those beds and life saving equipment could be put to much greater use for someone else.

    Brandi 😎

    #108663
    EM momEM mom
    Participant

    I do not want to be kept alive in any vegetative state! What good would it to do to deny my husband and the daughter the chance to move on? If I can’t serve some sort of purpose on this earth (and be aware that I’m serving it…) then by all means, give my bed, my dialysis, my vent, my meds, etc. to someone who can really use it!

    #108665
    NanonNanon
    Participant

    Originally posted by bjwarren:
    [b] Good question. I have often thought about issues like this, for myself and my loved ones, as have had to make some of these already. I would certainly want to be euthanized and I would hope that my loved ones would keep their promise of doing as much as they could to see my wishes fulfilled.
    I have helped care for a couple close relatives now who were in such a state in the end, but all we could do was do hope that they would get pneumonia or something fast so that we could let them go that way because they could still breathe and function on their own, albeit at 5-6 breaths per minute. One was allowed to starve to death. What kind of compassionate and just society allows people to suffer with disease and starve but will not take that last step for mercy killings.
    Brandi 😎 [/b]

    I went through the exact same thing with a friend of mine. I was caring for her most of the time toward the end, (she died at home of cancer) and her family and I seriously discussed an “accidental” overdose of morphine once her feeding tube was removed and she’d gone into agonal respirations. We decided against it, but it was just horrible – she was obviously in so much pain, and we all knew that it wasn’t the way she’d wanted to go. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

    For myself – absolutely. Bring on the overdose if I ever end up in that kind of condition, where there is no recovery, or no meaningful recovery.

    Nanon

    #108667
    mommd2bmommd2b
    Participant

    My husband and I have talked about this several times and we both agree that we don’t want to live in a persistent vegetative state, etc….nor do we want to end up in nursing homes. After watching my grandmother slowly die of Alzheimer’s disease I also told him that I want no life-prolonging medications other than what will keep me comfortable…and if I can’t remember to eat…for heavan’s sake, don’t put me on a feeding tube.

    #108669
    DONOTDELETE ****DONOTDELETE**
    Participant

    I must disagree. I WOULD want to be kept alive. Life is a precious gift, and the right to live should not be determined by anyones opinion of what level of awareness merits life. So do we decide that just because someone’s IQ falls below a certain level, they are not worthy of living? Where do we draw the line? I choose life! I do think there is a distinction between those actively in the process of dying and those with permanent disabilities…however great those disabilities they may be.

    #108671
    asunshineasunshine
    Participant

    I tell my family I only want to live until the day I die. Don’t bring me back if I won’t live anyway. Know what I mean?

    I don’t have a problem withdrawing life support if the prognosis is terrible. I figure, if it happened to me 100 years ago, I would have died right away. If God wants to take me home, he can take me home.

    I must say that I’d be okay with w/d life support or even euthanasia if my brain was fried. If it wasn’t, and I still had a smidge of hope for life left, I think I’d want everything done. I’ve seen some pretty amazing turnarounds in the ICU.

    amy

    #108673
    amykamyk
    Participant

    Not only would I want the plug pulled, but I’d want the legal right to euthanasia if I were in a terminal or unbearably painful condition. Life’s a gift when you’re able to enjoy it; when it’s about prolonged, unbearable suffering with no respite in sight or only death to look forward to, I’m willing to agree with those who call it a burden.

    amy

    #108674
    attilaattila
    Participant

    First, my sister and I have living wills, and durable powers of attorney made out to each other’s benefit which specify the terms under which we would wish to be kept alive. However, I’m against euthanasia. There are really very few cases in which the pain cannot be controlled, and I find that if you adequately treat the depression and the pain, even end-stage cancer patients prefer to live a little longer. Of course, if they are going to be in constant pain, they don’t wish to keep on living. The countries which have adopted euthanasia (Belgium and the Netherlands), have experienced a huge decrease in the quality of palliative care. Furthermore, euthanasia has imposed a moral obligation on the elderly and disabled to die, rather than to burden their families or society with their “useless” lives, in the same way that the availability of easy abortion lifted the prior responsibility of young men to marry and support girls they got pregnant.)

    Take the Netherlands. During WWII, alone out of Nazi-occupied Europe, only the Dutch physicians refused the demands of the Nazi High Command to target “useless eaters” for destruction. (The Nazis put down the retarded, bedwetters, mental patients, the disabled, and the frail elderly as part of their plan for a new utopia.) Over 200 Dutch physicians went to the death camps, rather than name their patients to the High Command. Not a single physician betrayed his Oath. The Dutch physicians of WWII were true heroes.

    In 1973 there was a hard case. In that year, a doctor was arrested and put on trial for killing her terminally ill mother with morphine. The court gave her a suspended sentence of one week in jail and a year’s probation. This set a precedent, and the courts quickly established a set of guidelines for when it was permissible for physicians to assist a patient in committing suicide, such as requiring certain consultations, insisting that the patient must be suffering from a terminal illness, and that the patient must request it. In 1984, the Royal Society of Medicine issued “rules of careful conduct” for euthanasia. These called for the doctor to inform the patient of his condition, consult his nearest relatives (unless he objects), consult at least one other physician, keep written records, and, in the case of a child, obtain the consent of the parents or legal guardians. In 1985 a court dropped the “terminal illness” requirement in a case involving a young girl with multiple sclerosis. While her disease was incurable, there was no reason why she could not have lived indefinately. Later, a woman who was perfectly healthy but suffering from severe depression was euthanized at her request. By the late 80’s it had become routine to “euthanize” babies born with handicaps, like Down’s syndrome and spina bifida, and this no longer required parental consent. Then three nurses in Amsterdam killed several comatose adult patients without any consent whatsoever. They were convicted, not of homicide, but of failing to consult a physician. This quickly set another precedent, involving involuntary euthanasia. By 1990, physicians in the Netherlands were involved in 11,800 deaths, or 9% of all deaths in the country. Of these, half were labeled “active involuntary euthanasia”, that is, the patient was killed without his consent, so in 1995, Parliament passed legislation codifying these court decisions into law.

    By the early 90’s the euthanasia of children under twelve with minor medical problems, such as learning disabilities, cleft lip, or bedwetting, began occurring with parental consent. (Children over the age of 12 could be euthanized if they themselves consented to it.) Some rules were put in at this point, preventing children from being brought into the country from other countries in the European Union specifically for this purpose. These rules are currently being challenged by the funeral industry. Hitler would, I think, be proud of the Dutch physicians today.

    #108676
    M -AM-A
    Participant

    Attila,

    I asked this as a personal question, that is, what everyone would want for themselves. I know it is a very touchy subject. I just know that if I had severe brain damage and could not function in the world I would want to be euthanised.

    As for your comment regarding abortion, young men have always abandoned pregnant women and always will. It’s just a fact of life, and I don’t think that making abortion legal has changed this fact.

    M-A

    #108678
    kthoms0319kthoms0319
    Participant

    If I was in a persistent veg state, I would want my family to let me go, meaning no feeding tubes or ventilation.

    But, I think if I am awake and alert, I just want to be kept as comfortable as possible. My dad died at home after a battle with ALS, and it was such a gift to us to have those last days with him. I was too young to really wonder if he was comfortable, but I hope he was. I think having the opportunity to be compassionate towards him helped me to be a better doctor today.

    Sometimes, I feel like assissted suicide is selfish, and doesn’t allow people to help you be comfortable, for example, Joan River’s husband killing himself after getting a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

    But I know I can’t speak for everyone.

    In many ways, I feel like a cancer diagnosis is a gift to patients and their families rather than a fast death from a MVA or acute MI. They have the opportunity to say goodbye, repair damaged relationships, show compassion and care to a family member who may have been the caregiver their whole life.

    A few years ago, I took care of a patient dying from metastatic cancer, she wanted to go home to die, but her husband couldn’t care for her. Her daughter considered it, but worried about missing work. Having come out of my own situation, I said to her, as lovingly as I could, “You will never regret the things you do for your mom right now, and you will never have the opportunity to again.” They probably thought I was a freak, the way I was crying! :weeping:

    Ultimately, the patient went to the nursing home where her daughter worked, and I think it was a good decision for everyone.

    #108680
    DreyDrey
    Participant

    I think there is a huge difference between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Now, granted, if I was in a vegetative state, I would not be the one making the decision to remove me from life support, but if I had a living will expressing that wish made out beforehand, it would indirectly be my decision. I support Physician assisted suicide, but I would not support involuntary euthanasia at all. I think this is an important distinction, and I don’t believe they should be lumped together.

    #108682
    attilaattila
    Participant

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    Unfortunately, in countries which have actually legalized physician assisted suicide, the move to involuntary euthanasia has been brisk. There is, after all, no moral ground for rejecting physician assisted homicide once physician assisted suicide has been pronounced ethical. How can you deny this medical procedure to somebody who WOULD have given consent if only they had been competent to do so? Or if they truly understood the appropriateness of the procedure? After all, surely adults can’t be said to understand their own best interest when it is opposed to the conventional wisdom? If they understood their own best interest, why they would SUBSCRIBE to the conventional wisdom, right? At least, this is the tack that has been taken in the Netherlands.

    When birth control was legalized, it was thought that it would be limited to marriage, and be a boon to women who wanted to avoid spending all their lives pumping out kids, yet didn’t want to abstain from sex. Unfortunately, birth control simply uncoupled the relationship between sex and marriage. Similarly, when the Roe decision was made, the SC thought that abortion would be rare. Now it is a form of birth control, and so many abortions are performed, that more people die during legal abortions than died in illegal abortions prior to Roe. And euthanasia is so much cheaper than maintaining “useless eaters”. Such a great way to solve the Social Security and Medicare crises.

    #108684
    DrWuStar *DrWuStar*
    Participant

    i would not want to be kept alive in a vegetative state. but i would want my family to do what made them the most comfortable. i would want them to hold on to me until they were ready to say goodbye, but not longer. but i would only want this in a real vegetative situation. i agree with attila that treating pain and depression should be a much higer priority in people who are terminally ill, but not vegetative.

    #108686
    amykamyk
    Participant

    attila, if legal euthanasia could be controlled as well as, say, organ donation is now, and if palliative care remained well-developed, would you still be against legalized euthanasia?

    amy

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