I am sure you can picture in your head the last time a loved one ended their life on a respirator, or a feeding tube, or tubes coming out their bodies, being kept alive artificially even though our body has already called it quits. It is like death by a thousand cuts, while you are placed under sedation while your body has already given up.
Does some of this herculean methods work in people who have already outlived their useful lives? Some are revived and then are living an existence that is horrible, being unable to function in a way they feel is meaningful, requiring numerous doctor visits to eek out a couple of horrible years.
Sometimes people have a disease process that is not going away and they are basically done. Why is it so difficult or in most states illegal to end it all.
There is also the cost of doing this, which will clean out family savings, while you suffer.
While Oregon has laws allowing euthanasia, many states do not (although some are entertaining the idea) and many terminally ill people are forced to stay alive unnaturally without a focus on the quality of life.
Assisted suicide has been going on for years, with morphine drips that are turned up silently, to other methods or sometimes, they opt for a hopeless procedure that has them die on the table.
Is there a better way, and why are doctors so opposed to us having the right to call it quits when we had enough? Where did the culture of keep them alive at all costs come from and who benefits; the hospice, the home, the hospital, the doctor, but how does all of this benefit the most important person, the patient.
Often failed attempts to resuscitate lead to unnecessary suffering, when better approaches such as palliative management are less expensive, better overall for the patient and discussion most doctors should be having with their older patients. While a living will is important, do most chronically ill patients really have the capacity to make these decisions intelligently, rather than emotionally and do they fully understand the risks and the ramifications as we approach 90 and beyond, ages where any medical procedure can do more harm than good. If Medicare did not pay for some of this, would doctors still opt to be as heroic?
Check out this NY Times article; very thought provoking.
On Assisted Suicide, Going Beyond “Do No Harm”™
By HAIDER JAVED WARRAICHNOV. 4, 2016
DURHAM, N.C. “” Out of nowhere, a patient I recently met in my clinic told me, “œIf my heart stops, doctor, just let me go.”
“œWhy?” I asked him.
Without hesitating, he replied, “œBecause there are worse states than death.”
Advances in medical therapies, in addition to their immense benefits, have changed death to dying “” from an instantaneous event to a long, drawn-out process. Death is preceded by years of disability, countless procedures and powerful medications. Only one in five patients is able to die at home. These days many patients fear what it takes to live more than death itself.
That may explain why this year, behind the noise of the presidential campaign, the right-to-die movement has made several big legislative advances. In June, California became the fifth and largest state to put an assisted suicide law into effect; this week the District of Columbia Council passed a similar law. And on Tuesday voters in Colorado will decide whether to allow physician-assisted suicide in their state as well.