(05-19-2015 10:58 PM)archangle Wrote: Particularly evil are those who made up the nonsense about "Obamacare death panels."
In the meantime, medicine has always had a way of helping quietly in this respect - we use the euphemism of "managing the pain" but let's face it, when there is nothing but a ball of suffering begging to be let go, we tend to help it along a bit, even when we sort of trick ourselves into thinking we aren't doing anything active. In many cases it is with the clear and express consent consent of the patient. I have seen this a good decade back when my father in law was on death's door with cancer - it had consumed his gut, he could not eat, he had wasted away and was in pain. But he was lucid. After a week or ten days in the hospital, he had done everything he needed to do and had made his peace with God - he turned to the oncologist and said so. He then said "you have done everything you can do but one, now take away the pain." With that the morphine dose was upped and he gently slid away over the next day or so, still aware and awake until a few hours before the end, and then slipping in and out of a state of pleasant dreaming. He was a lucky one - I have seen a lot of people who went in agony, up to the very end, even when we tried to help as best we could. Funnily enough, after my own father had congestive heart failure (and they did bring him back, but with around 15% heart function) he insisted on a DNR being inserted into his chart. he lived another year, a full happy year and a half, and after a morning bridge game which he won (he cheated) and a lunch with three beautiful and fawning women, he we up to take a nap prior to a golf game. He never woke up. A perfect end to a life well lived. Never needed the DNR after all. Despite his diminished heart function and being slowed down, he never felt that he lacked quality of life. And he didn't.
Do I agree with Exit and Dignitas, the two organisations here legally licensed to carry out euthanasia on still functional people at their request? No, I don't, even with the massive psychological safeguards they put in place by law. Sure they make it hard to actually use their services, but I still have my reservations and I do not support them. On the other hand I have seen what a terrible prolonged death without any dignity looks like, and I can't say that is nice or supportable either.
But more or less healthy old people, who, despite Waiting for God are still getting something out of life, well, my only instinct is to keep them capable of getting some joy out of it. If they want to go, they can and will of their own accord. Where we have started to change our view is on the DNR rule, which before had to be expressly inserted by the patient or their family - it meant that people who were no longer conscious and were coding regularly we still revived if the family did not ask for a DNR, and I have been sitting in on an ethics committee about changing that and setting guidelines to control when we ourselves can insert a DNR order. And the guidelines are stringent, believe me. Kind of funny in a way - when I first started to practice, we decided about it always. Then laws came in that put it in the hands of the family and the patient and took it out of our hands. Now I am sitting on a committee that will ultimately ask the government to let us take back some of that decision making. The rotten part of it is there is not one person on the panel that is thinking of anything other than the patient and their dignity, but in order for the politicians to understand it, we have to couch it in terms of resources and money. That stinks, IMHO.