Terminal Sedation

Discussion in 'SHH Community Forum' started by Flash525, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Flash525

    Flash525 The Scarlet Messenger

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    ...so you're diagnosed with Cancer and you're given five years to live; there's a good chance you'll manage perfectly well during the first and second year, and then start to deteriorate on the third year, and by the fifth year, you're continually taking pain medication and you require other people, be that friends, family or hospital staff to look after you.

    Should you be given the choice of Terminal Sedation?

    The mother of a close friend of mine died back last July/August, she'd been in and out of hospital over the previous months due to Liver/Kidney issues - she'd been a bit of a drinker, and it obviously caught up with her. In any case, I am told by my friend that come the later hospital visit, it was made clear that there was nothing more the staff could do, and so my friends mum spent the next five or six days just waiting to die - essentially.

    She wasn't remotely coherent, instead, just vacant - likely due to the drugs she was receiving for the pain and discomfort. How is this humane? I know we're not living in Switzerland (at least, I'm not), and we can't just put people down, but having heard the circumstances, and also having gone through a very similar situation with one of my grandparents some years ago, I do wonder whether there should be something put in place for if/when this occurs; something that a person can sign in advance of illness stating whether they can be released from life, save being a drain on the system.

    If there's no hope for someone, and it's just a matter of time, is it not more humane to bring their death on? We do it with animals to ease their suffering, so why don't we do it with people? If their mind has already gone and the body is just waiting to catch up, I fail to see how that is good for anyone involved.

    It's a cost on the medical bills (drugs keeping said person alive), it's a further strain on an already dying body, and worst of all, it can't be healthy for the people remaining who are essentially just waiting around to be told the news that they know is coming.

    Would be interested to know the thoughts of others regarding this. Would it be inhumane to put someone out of their terminal suffering (if they so wished it)?
     
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  2. Greens

    Greens I am Danny DeVito

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    Yes, it should be possible for someone to end their life in a safe and legal way. Here in The Netherlands doctors can legally end a patient's life if a strict list of conditions is met.
     
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  3. Aximili86

    Aximili86 Well-Known Member

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    I'm more-or-less for it so long as there are restrictions/major oversight, but let's not do the euphemistic "terminal sedation" stuff. Just call it what it is, euthanasia, assisted-suicide. Candy-coating it doesn't help anyone.
     
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  4. Dr.

    Dr. Well-Known Member

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    Active euthanasia is illegal in many/most jurisdictions. But palliative (terminal) sedation - where death is considered a “side effect” of pain management - is reasonably common.
     
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  5. Marvolo

    Marvolo Well-Known Member

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    I think it's stupid that in America it's legal to take a person off of life support and let them die, but it's illegal to help a sick person peacefully end their life. The former situation doesn't even require the consent of the person. Its usually decided by a family member. The latter does have the consent of the sick person and yet its the one that's considered illegal and morally reprehensible.

    That beings said, legal or not, if I was terminal and miserable I'd go out my way as peacefully as possible. If Im terminal and miserable Im not going to give a single flying **** what America and it's laws say about it. Only 3 people's opinions will matter at that point: my own opinion and my parents' opinions.
     
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  6. Hobgoblin

    Hobgoblin Veritas veritatum

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    My mother died of lung cancer twelve years ago. She definitely suffered in the last month or so and had only been diagnosed about six months before she died. She made it clear she wanted no machines but all the drugs. We gave her morphine at the end, but it's hard to say how much it helped as she was unresponsive. I remember her jaw being clenched shut and having to give her morphine drops onto her gums. Before that, she was retaining fluids that had to be drained because it was causing intense pain and she couldn't sleep or hardly move. Twice they removed over two liters of fluid.

    I'm very tempted to say "yes," I'd support euthanasia but I doubt dad would have supported it. Don't know about my brother. I just remember being numb at the time and don't know how good my reasoning skills were at that point. But I do think that sort of thing needs to be made clear in a will. If she wanted that, that's all that mattered.
     
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  7. KevanG

    KevanG Pragmatic Villain

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    I'm for it as long as the person is fully aware of the situation and it's along term situation that cannot be fixed.

    My mother has said for a long time that if she comes down with something that would utterly destroy her then she'd rather not be put on life support for years and waste away.
     
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  8. chaseter

    chaseter Esteemed Member

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    It’s a tough subject as it has so many variables: Emotions, mental fitness, and physical pain. It’s a tough subject to legislate. I personally don’t think money should be a reason to allow someone to die. We should have more affordable healthcare before we legislate assisted suicide because of monetary reasons. Other than that, it would need a lot of thought and I’m not sure where I fall. I think it’s wrong to kill someone even if they sign up but I do understand the pain and emotional side. It’s tough...
     
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  9. STINGRAY

    STINGRAY Well-Known Member

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    RE; "..diagnosed with Cancer and you're given five years to live ....and then start to deteriorate on the third year, and by the fifth year, you're continually taking pain medication and you require other people, be that friends, family or hospital staff to look after you.

    Should you be given the choice of Terminal Sedation?
    "

    In a word; YES.
    The trouble is that you do not want to say that word too soon.
    Back in 2012, my wife was told that she had Breast Cancer.
    I had immediate fears of the worst, as I had lost my mother had died of that back in 1990...I remembered vividly how my mom was taken down, bit-by-bit to the point where she could not even speak, she was so weak...then she died.
    Speaking of my fears to my wife`s doctors, they told me to remain calm, as medical science had progressed considerably since 1990, and that "We know more about fighting this now than we ever have before".

    So... In a case where all else has failed, and there is nothing left to try...Yes, human dignity and personal choice should be the paramount concern.
    The real trouble with your question is the legalities involved and the liabilities that attend such a choice for those who would have to implement end-of-life procedures.

    Anyone recall Jack Kevorkian...?
     
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  10. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

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    Both of my parents died from cancer. On their last days they were given all the dope they wanted and were made as comfortable as possible, pretty much being sedated. They seemed to be treated as decently as possible without outright euthanasia.
     
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  11. Flash525

    Flash525 The Scarlet Messenger

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    We, or more specifically those of us from the UK have the NHS, but even then, the funds holding the NHS up could - dare I say it - be better used on people that have a chance at life, rather than keeping someone alive in a vegetable state, and no brain activity with zero chance of recovery.

    Such the legal document would have to be carefully written.

    Doesn't ring any bells...

    If I may ask, how were they (mentally) until their last days? Did you recognise them, and them you?
     
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  12. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

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    My parents were lucid up until their last days, then the doses were really too high for them to be awake much. :( I can only assume they were fairly comfortable, they gave no signs of suffering. They just slept until they stopped breathing.
     
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  13. STINGRAY

    STINGRAY Well-Known Member

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    RE; "Anyone recall Jack Kevorkian...?

    OOOkay....I`ll do the work for you....

    Wikepedia: Jacob "Jack" Kevorkian May 26, 1928 – June 3, 2011) was an American pathologist and euthanasia proponent. He is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient's right-to-die via physician-assisted suicide. He claimed to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. He was often portrayed in the media with the name of "Dr. Death", though there was support for his cause, and he helped set the platform for reform He famously said, "Dying is not a crime"

    ---- Are the Bells of Relevance tolling for ya now ? :huh:
     
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  14. Flash525

    Flash525 The Scarlet Messenger

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    Not the answer I was expecting, though that's good - I'd hate to think on anyone that would otherwise go on weeks, months or longer in a non-lucid state, even though I know it happens more frequently than I'm sure many of us realise. Think of the good times, and sorry for your loss.

    They certainly are; as soon as a I read "Dr. Death" I knew the story. :yay:
     
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  15. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

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    Even when my grandmother passed, she was only two, three days of heavypain meds, which to me wasn't long. I've never known anyone who was sedated longer than that for palliative care.
     
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  16. Flash525

    Flash525 The Scarlet Messenger

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    That's not specifically what I was referring too - I just provided an example, though probably not the best one.

    Instead, think about someone who has Alzheimer's or Dementia; said people can live for months, or even years in a state where either they don't know who they are, or when they don't know who anyone else is - sons, daughters, siblings etc, yet they're still fed, clothed and kept clean.

    Would it be inhumane to ease their suffering? They'd likely not be in pain - as such, but they'd have no life outside of the constructs of their dying mind. For all we know, and for all they're aware, everything is just peachy from their damaged perspective.

    I hope that's a more relatable example. I'm not saying we should put these people down either - I'm asking whether it would be a cruelty to be kind.
     
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  17. squeekness

    squeekness The mighty squeek!

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    Im conflicted about euthanasia because as a Christian we are called to fight for life. However -- I get suicides of people with terminal illnesses that would be painful and ugly. I don't feel I have the right to deny anyone that choice. I am also liberal enough that I'd rather have a doctor assist, even if it's just giving them a pill to have them die in sleep. That just seems more humane than leaving someone's only option to hang, slit their wrists, or jump off a bridge which would be frightening. :(
     
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  18. STINGRAY

    STINGRAY Well-Known Member

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    BINGO !
    Well, to my point of reference... Kevorkian-- despite his wholly noble reasons--faced a lot of flack over his actions.
    He saw his efforts as dedicated to ending suffering...
    Others saw him as a Ghoul....'Dr. Death' is hardly a term of endearment.

    Any similar endeavor will like-as-not face similar objections..and consequences.....

    In 1999, Kevorkian was arrested and tried for his direct role in a case of voluntary euthanasia He was convicted of second-degree murder and served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition he would not offer advice nor participate nor be present in the act of any type of suicide involving euthanasia to any other person; as well as neither promote nor talk about the procedure of assisted suicide.

    Some payment for ending suffering eh?
     
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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  19. Flash525

    Flash525 The Scarlet Messenger

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    Indeed, but as much as he was actually helping ease pain, he probably shouldn't have took it upon himself to help people die - as much as they may have wanted too. It's a tricky (and sticky?) situation. Do you follow the wishes of the terminally ill and condemn yourself, or do you ignore dying wishes and condemn those in suffering.

    This is why I think we all should have the option of being helped out; it shouldn't be up to the general public whether our lives should be spared if we're either terminally ill, or are otherwise in no fit state to live.
     
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  20. STINGRAY

    STINGRAY Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
     
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