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Doctors' Secret for How to Die Right


Health & Wellness  (tags: death, disease, drugs, ethics, healthcare, society, end of life care, right to die )

Lynn
- 405 days ago - alternet.org
He [Dr. Ken Murray] claimed that a vast majority of physicians make dramatically different end-of-life choices than the rest of us. Put simply, most doctors choose comfort and calm instead of aggressive interventions or treatments, ...



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Comments

Victoria Oakey (124)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 3:57 pm
Thanks for posting,an interesting article.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 4:10 pm
Everyone should be entitled to a peaceful, calm death with dignity...
 

Marianne B. (113)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 4:34 pm
I wish they would educate the nurses in hospitals...when a Hospice patient was admitted to the hospital, I overheard the nurses talking. "She"s with Hospice. They kill people with morphine" They have no understanding of the definition of palliative..
 

Roseann D. (178)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 5:00 pm
You'd think the crazy Christians would agree. After all, artificial life support interferes with God's will. Why is it, when God is calling them home, suddenly they just don't want to go to their great reward?
 

Lynn Squance (232)
Thursday October 17, 2013, 10:57 pm
“And there’s also a sense of entitlement sometimes—’You should give me everything.’”

For me, I want everything, but "everything" means DIGNITY IN DEATH to me. I have discussed my desires with my doctor and have signed DNRs (do not resuscitate) orders. I have had that discussion with my attorney (POA) and executor who will administer my estate. No extraordinary measures. And when the time comes for my mother, I will honour her wishes for no interventions. And her doctor and I have had discussions about this, as have the nursing staff in the care centre where she lives.

DIGNITY! DIGNITY! DIGNITY!

Back in the beginning of 1999, I cared for a friend of mine who had terminal cancer. I was there to massage her muscles, to make some meals, to give her medications, to hold her when things got too much. I was the only one she would allow to massage her because everyone else, although meaning well, was too rough. It was the longest 4 months of my life, and yet it was the best time. She died 29/04/1999 with me holding one hand, another friend holding the other, and one of her 2 sons (a former EMT) insisting she wasn't dead and freaking out. (He had unfinished business with his mother). She was on the palliative care ward of the local hospital with wonderful staff, especially nurse Linda. I had promised my friend that I would take my therapeutic touch training and I did 2 months after her death. After that, I took my hospice volunteer training and began using therapeutic touch in conjunction with hospice.

It is so important to have these discussions with your family, not because you want to be ghoulish, but because you want to save them pain when the time comes.

I find this article interesting because it gives us insight into how many doctor's see end of life. In Canada, Sue Rodriguez was a BC woman who fought for the right of assisted suicide. She had ALS. In 1993, she lost her case in the Supreme Court of Canada and committed suicide with the help of an anonymous doctor. Fast forward to 2012. Gloria Taylor, another BC woman and ALS patient challenged the law against assisted suicide. She joined in the legal case brought by the BC Civil Liberties Association to seeking to allow seriously and incurably ill, mentally competent adults the right to receive medical assistance to hasten death under certain specific safeguards. This from Wikipedia Death with Dignity
"Justice Lynn Smith [Supreme Court of BC] suspended her decision for one year, to allow the federal government to change the law to exempt physicians from criminal prosecution; but explicitly exempted Taylor from that suspension. The Harper government appealed the decision.
Taylor’s dream of legal change for herself and all Canadians was realized in June when the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the right to die with dignity is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and granted Taylor a personal exemption allowing her the right to seek a physician-assisted death. The case was a major victory for choice and individual rights at the end of life.
Mme Justice Jo-Ann Prowse of the BC Court of Appeal on 2012 08 10 ruled against the federal government, and in favour of Taylor's personal exemption, saying that revoking Taylor's exemption would cause irreparable harm to Taylor, which outweighs the federal government's interests. This exemption allows Taylor to seek doctor-assisted suicide under certain conditions."
Taylor died peacefully in October 2012 of an infection, not of assisted suicide. But the Harper government is still appealing the ruling.

Assisted suicide is against the law in most countries. In the US, Dr Jack Kevorkian went to prison for 8 years for 2nd degree murder because he helped a terminally ill patient to die with dignity. It is time that this cause be taken up everywhere.
 

Gloria picchetti (299)
Friday October 18, 2013, 1:54 am
There is no reason for voluntary euthanasia not to be legal.
 

Past Member (0)
Friday October 18, 2013, 5:49 am
"According to Murray, physicians have seen the limitations of modern medicine up close and know that attempts to prolong a life can often lead to a protracted, heartbreaking death."

I have had to witness this with almost every family member, that's why I have a living will, and those in my personal life know my decisions.

Thanks for this important article Lynn S. I know a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about it, but it needs to be done.
 

Helen Porter (40)
Friday October 18, 2013, 6:03 am
I look forward to death. I've done my three score and ten. I have learned there are many other elderly people who also look forward to death.

I would refuse any medication that would keep me in this material prison one more day.

I know there is life after death. We get a review and we go to a place that is best for us. For some it's a hell
for purification not for any longer than necessary. For some it's immediate incarnation. For some it is one of the heavens on the astral plane.

For me, I report to the Karmic Board. I have fulfilled my agenda. I have made amends. I have believed in Yahshua enough to follow his ways, not just mutter a magick prayer. Believing in Jesus is living the way he taught us to live. It's trusting Creator by following the teachings of Yahshua. To forgive all....to love......to submit the ego to Creator and give real love to one another.

May God have mercy on the politicians of this world.
 

Terrie Williams (772)
Friday October 18, 2013, 7:22 am
I have had this talk with my family. My husband and I are of the same mind on this. Neither one of us wish to be kept alive by any means other than our own wills....no interventions other than medications to kill pain. That is all. We both have genetic anomalies (they are called 'diseases' by some but they are genetic hiccups, mutations, misfires, whatever one wants to call them, they are there and they ain't leaving). that are terminal. So we know what is facing us and neither one of us want to be a financial catastrophe to each other or our extended families. We are ready to leave whenever it is our time and we will do it with dignity and NOT hang on because others can't deal with natural death. Hubby has tried to talk to his family members about his wishes but they don't want to even consider it let alone to just leave him be and let him leave on his terms.

So, we have done the paperwork, DNRs, MPOAs and Medical Directives. No one will be permitted (in eachother's families) to interfere with what we want. Period.

My thing is this, I refuse to die in a hospital. If I am dying, I do NOT want to be taken from my home. I intend to have in-home hospice and die comfortably where I have lived, surrounded by those I love and with as much dignity as possible. Same with husband. This, of course, is best-case scenario. But, knowing me, I will not go easily or in comfort if I am in a hospital.

Good article and it is something people need to do and the end of life is something this nation needs to come to grips with. No on gets out of life alive, we do not live forever in the flesh and all the denial in the world--or money-- will not give a person one more second of life.

Karma, in the end, comes for us all.
 

James Maynard (67)
Friday October 18, 2013, 7:57 am
Excellent article and comments. I too, have
an advance directive.
 

Dandelion G. (387)
Friday October 18, 2013, 1:45 pm
Due to the fact that we still had our younger children living in the house when my husband was in his last days of cancer he asked to go into a Hospice facility so they would not be so stressed out. It was a wonderful decision for our family and I was allowed to bring our pets there to visit and he had a room that we were allowed to put things around that were from home.

We brought in pictures, his own bedspread, and whatever else he wanted us to bring or to see. His son could not see his Father anymore, it bother him greatly so he spoke over the phone, my husband understood, is why he went into Hospice. Our daughter being a little older and had just entered her first year of college would go and study next to his bed while he slept, she was there when he woke. I made it a point to be there when she was not, and she got dinners for her brother every other night so I could be with her Father those nights. We had friends that filled in the opposite dinner times and once my son had his homework done and was asleep my daughter or I would go back to be by his bedside.

He was kept comfortable, had his music, and it was peaceful and he was kept out of physical pain. Hospice was a blessing for our family. I don't want to be in a hospital when I die I'd rather be out under a tree than in the hospital which is sterile and most of the time lacks true caring.
 

Susan Allen (218)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 7:57 am
Wonderful article. Thanks Lynn.
 

Leah J. (4)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 4:07 pm
What a fascinating article. I'm not surprised at all that doctors don't want to go through what their patients get put through - the way one dies in a hospital can be extremely painful and unpleasant - whereas, if there is nothing to be done to extend a patient's life in a possible way - why not the gentler solution of Hospice care, where the emphasis is on relieving pain and the more unleasant experiences? If one is going to die anyway, because there is nothing actually healing to apply to a patient, then surely the better option is of pain relief and comfort. I have a living will that doesn't allow for such recusitation as breathing tubes etc. and I hope that my Lawyer son makes sure that is the way it will be.
 

Birgit W. (151)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 4:16 pm
I loved this article very much. Thank you Lynn.
 

Sheri Schongold (7)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 4:36 pm
Good article. I have all the DNR's and the rest. If I have to have intervention, I don't want it. I don't want to live like a vegetable that my family has to visit. I want to go with dignity and palitive care just keeping me comfortable.
 

Julie W. (21)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 4:52 pm
We are slowly getting closer to the time when euthanasia is finally legal. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but it will come.
 

Tom Sullivan (98)
Saturday October 19, 2013, 8:08 pm
We all ahve a right to die the way we want
 

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 2:17 am
noted
 

Kerrie G. (135)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 5:17 am
Noted, thanks.
 

ewoud k. (73)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 6:34 am
We all have to go one day or another, and even if (like most of us) I prefer it's as late as possible, life should be worth to be lived, that is, it's of no use to go on living if it's just for the purpose of not dying. If you're reduced to the "plant"-status, and live on grace to the machines and drugs that prevent you from dying..... what's the use, and who really wants it?

The problem is that doctors are educated and trained to "keep alive", and often relatives have the same reaction: "we can't let (X) die like that...., please do something doctor".

Make sure your doctor and your relatives know your point of view, if not....

Thanks for posting Lynn!
 

Sheri J. (16)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 8:59 am
Terminally ill should have the right to die with dignity.
 

Allan Yorkowitz (447)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 11:39 am
Bottom line...a living will will elivate all of this. My father died of pancreatic cancer without a tube, or any assistance at all.
 

monka blanke (85)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 11:51 am
A truth about dying that most physicians already know all too well: Often doing less allows so much more.
People should die in dignity.
 

Lona Goudswaard (72)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 1:07 pm
Thanks, Lynn. This article really makes you wonder why dockers knowingly inflict so much suffering on their dying patients. Knowingly? Yes, because most doctors will not choose this road for themselves, but prefer a calm, pain-free death. So they know their treatments prescribed for others doesn't give their patients tranquillity. Is it because in the end it's still about the money a hospital and doctor can make on this treatment and not because they care about their patient? Or is it that hospitals are too fixed on life and preserving/extending it?

Anyway, articles like this make me very grateful to live in a country where both hospice and euthanasia are available to those who want it.
 

Amy Fisher (11)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 1:48 pm
Thanks.
 

Gloria H. (88)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 2:31 pm
I have my instructions taped to my fridge. Hospice is the way to go if I had something terminal. Seen 2 of my loved ones through their last moments. At home. Going "home" to the rainbow bridge. Thank God for hospice.
To make someone suffer hooked up to machines is an act of selfishness, because of wanting to spend a few more hours of "quality" face time with them is just plain nasty.
California doesn't have right to die...maybe because a lot of "beautiful people" cann't grasp the idea of getting old, wrinkly and actually dying is natural...no plastic surgeon can fix death. Why expect that of doctors?
Just make sure you have on clean underwear..any day can be your last.
 

Bette-Ann Libin (11)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 6:41 pm
This article blows a long overdue breath of fresh air into a subject we Americans pretend does not exist (if we don't talk about it, it can't be reality, right?)
 

DaleLovesOttawa O. (192)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 8:51 pm
A long and thought provoking article on a very serious issue.
 

Lynn Squance (232)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 11:26 pm
Years ago, I spent a summer looking into death and dying. I read books by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and others. That summer, 1980 I think, I came to the conclusion that death is a part of life and is very much like birth. Think about that. The baby is very comfortable within. Warm, supported, floating in the womb, loved, anticipated. Then muscles contract and labour starts. It can be a somewhat 'violent' and unnerving time. The baby is squeezed down the birth canal until it arrives in our world. The world is cold, harsh, and baby is expected to breathe for life. No longer can baby float in the womb, but at least there is love. Love that binds these two world's together. And it is love that will bind us to the next world, whatever that be.

As Ewoud says "We all have to go one day or another..." Quality of life is more important to me than quantity of life. And dignity is important in quality.

As many know, my mother is in a care facility with dementia, confined to a wheelchair now, unable to express herself. Most of the time she is happy and smiling. But there are times, when I am convinced, that she knows her situation acutely and despairs because the quality is gone. The quality that she knew before being diagnosed with dementia. At 85 years old physically, she is younger than 2 years old cognitively. She can no longer care for her own bodily functions, feed herself, dress herself. And I think that rails on her dignity. For her, death will be the return of dignity.

This should be part of a national discussion in every country.

Thanks everyone.
 

Lynn Squance (232)
Sunday October 20, 2013, 11:36 pm
@ Monka --- Amen!

@ Lona --- I hope Canada will join the ranks but the federal government is too busy fighting it instead of finding ways to relieve suffering. We definitely have hospice and palliative care. Actually, there is a hospice centre one block from my home and it is through that hospice that I did my hospice training.

@ Gloria H --- "Just make sure you have on clean underwear..any day can be your last." LOL!! My mother used to say that too!

I hope you all will continue the conversation. It is not a Christian thing, a Jewish thing, a Muslim thing. It is not a female thing or a male thing. It is a human thing about compassion and dignity.
 

Bette-Ann Libin (11)
Monday October 21, 2013, 9:15 am
I cared for both parents and my best friend through end stage cancer and dementia 24/7 at home. My parents died at home, in their own beds cradled with love, nurture and, most of all, with dignity. My friend died in a hospital the day before I was to take her home to my house and care for her until death. As Rumi so eloquently said "Death is your wedding with eternity".
 

Connie O. (41)
Monday October 21, 2013, 9:24 am
My health directive states that I do not wish any artificial means of prolonging my life, and that I be allowed to die with dignity.
 

Gabriela Baldaia (102)
Monday October 21, 2013, 4:53 pm
Thank you very much for this interesting article.
 

Ben B. (39)
Tuesday October 22, 2013, 12:31 am
Interesting. While "to save a life" is important and has its place, life ends. We are born to die. When the end is nigh and we are in the "home stretch" it is best to let go and welcome what comes next, whatever that may be. The difficulty is knowing when we've entered the home stretch. Each of us must make our wishes crystal clear as to what we want at that point in our life.
 

Winn Adams (199)
Tuesday October 22, 2013, 7:39 am
Thanks
 

Franshisca Dearmas (91)
Tuesday October 22, 2013, 1:30 pm
Wonderful article, TY Lynn
 

Sheri J. (16)
Wednesday October 23, 2013, 11:44 am
In my opinion, nursing homes and hospice are kinda similar they are both a death trap. For a loved one to receive the best quality of care, they need to be cared for by someone who actually cares and loves that individual. You do not hold the responsibility of the health care workers to do all the work. Relatives need to do their job too.
Feel free to comment!
 

Latonya W. (83)
Wednesday October 23, 2013, 2:00 pm
Thank U...
 
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