Euthanasia/Spirituality

  1. I am a member of this board, but rarely post. I have a few questions that I would like to ask.
    How many of you believe in Physician Assisted Suicide? I believe that a patient should have that right if there prognosis is terminal and there is no hope of recovery.
    Secondly, how many of you believe in the Other Side? You know, if a patient says that they see a bright light with there loved ones waiting for them. And if you do believe, do you talk about it with your terminal patients if they ask you about it.
    I firmly believe in the Other Side, I believe that when we pass away it is just our body that is gone, our spirit moves on to the Other Side, where we are happy and care free. Belle:angel2: :angel2:
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  2. 155 Comments

  3. by   MollyJ
    There was a time when I thought Physician Assisted Suicide needed careful consideration, but now I think patients should always believe that their doctor will not willingly or readily conspire to end their lives. The potential margin for error or abuse is too great.

    On the other hand, Americans need to get alot more relaxed with the notions of inevitability of death, the rights of individuals patients to refuse vents, feeding tubes, traches, and antibiotic therapy and other potentially life-sustaining BUT not quality-of-life sustaining measures. At the same time, patients who make these choices need to understand that their decision continues to entitle them to supportive comfort care that may include barbiturates or narcotics. I think, for the greatest part, the courts need to stay out of difficult family decisions that involve end of life care decision making and decisions to not institute or dc life sustaining but not quality of life sustaining procedures.

    The light at the end of the tunnel stuff is interesting, but little more than an urban legend in terms of solid knowledge. Great stuff to sit around and talk about and conjecture about, but little more. IMO.
  4. by   live4today
    My second oldest sister died of cancer almost eleven years ago at the tender age of 41. She left behind a 24 year old son, and a 21 year old daughter. My sister was so sick of taking the chemo treatments....as you know, they only make a patient sicker, which makes some of them NOT want their chemo anymore......this is what my sister decided. She said she wanted to be left alone, and face her demise as it came.....so she did. :kiss

    My mother is fighting us tooth and nail right now to leave her alone....she doesn't want to be poked and prodded by doctors who are.....to her....."always trying to find something wrong" with her. She tells us that if there IS something present in her body, she will die with it present in her body...cause she's not afraid to die because to be "absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord". :kiss

    I do not believe in mercy killings, but I do believe in facing death as a part of life, and giving the individual the right to refuse treatment.....IF the person making the decision is an adult and sane when making that decision. No one else should make the decision to AX someone else.
    Last edit by live4today on Aug 1, '02
  5. by   Dayray
    I agree Molly and cheerfuldoer ! dont think I can add anything to that.

    as to your other question, back when i was an aid on nights I was the one that got sent to sit with people while they died.

    They do see a light and many see angels and or demons. They often talk to dead relatives or call out to them. Some are confused and I suppose you could argue that they are halucinating. Others are perfectly lucid and can describe things to you in detail.

    I belive!
    I dont fear death becuse I know where I am going. I enjoy being with people and comforting them as they pass
  6. by   Love-A-Nurse
    i too agree with molly and renee and i believe there is a heaven and our soul goes with him but our body does not.
  7. by   joenp
    Death is a part of life and the final stage to our time on this planet. I am not for assisted suicide, but I am for respecting patient's wishes, to stop treatment. I know that many of them do not want to suffer, as I would not want to, and keeping them comfortable is very important. That would include keeping them pain free. Sometimes this requires giving larger doses of medications. What I am saying is that keeping someone pain fress and comfortable may potentially, prevent them from asking for assisted suicide. I am no expert in this area, just giving my opinion. I will add that my patients who did believe in an afterlife, i.e. Heaven, had a less difficult time with death than those who believed that once they were dead, that was it. "Hope" plays a major role in this. joenp
  8. by   sbic56
    Physician assited suicide should be a personal option. I remember when my Mom was dying she said: "If I am not dead in a week, call Kevorkian." She died nine days later, peacefully, beautifully. I remember it was near the end, Mom was comatose, but still hurting and the nurse held her morphine injection because her respirations were 10. Thankfully, this nurse was just getting off duty and the next nurse kindly continued to give her the MS as ordered, despite the respiratory count. Yes, it slowed her respirations and may have hastened her death. I would have done that and more for Mom myself, if possible, because that was her wish.

    About the other side. Definitely something there. My sister and I had an experience that is impossible for us to discount or forget. About 2 hours before Mom stopped breathing, my sister and I simultaneously felt a never before experienced serene calm that lasted about 5 minutes. The room got noticably cooler, we both became silent. It felt like there was an opening of some sort above us. We both felt an unbelievable and never before experienced sense of love and peace consume us. Slowly, the room warmed and were able to talk to one another again. It was then, we then realized we had both felt the very same thing. I believe that is when Mom really died.
    Prior to this experience, Mom had been having this "conversation" that occurred after she seemed to have stopped being concious of us and her surroundings. It sounded like an review of her life; it was like she was answering someone's questions. She would pause, appear to be listening, then give answers about her life. Amazing.

    Dad died two years later. I was rushing toward Mass General, trying to get there before he bled to death with a AAA. About 50 miles from the hospital, I again felt that same sense of loving calm as I had when Mom died. Same thing. I had been so stressed, racing to see him, then I was calm. I slowed down some because I "knew". When I got there, he was gone. My sister told me he had died about an hour and a half earlier. Considering I got totally lost in Boston due to the horrendous construction that is always going on, his time of death coincided just about at the same time as my "feeling." I believe.
  9. by   babs_rn
    While I generally do not agree with the idea of ACTIVELY hastening one's own death with physician-assisted (or any other kind of) suicide, I do believe in being allowed to refuse treatment and to die naturally and I do not have a problem with keeping the morphine drip going enough to sedate someone and basically "ease them out" when death is imminent and excruciating and there's a DNR in place so it's expected. And by "imminent" I mean THAT DAY. I believe that ethically, just because we CAN do something (stop a life or prolong it) doesn't mean that we SHOULD.

    Yes, I believe in an afterlife. I believe that heaven is the presence of God and that hell is the absence of Him and of all hope, and I believe that what happens to us in the afterlife is based on what we choose in life. If we choose to live in His presence, we will die in it. I think that to not believe in a higher power with a plan is impossible to imagine when you consider the intricacies of our own anatomy and how the systems work together and compensate for each other. That took intelligence to create. And I believe that Intelligence cares what happens to us.

    One quick story from about 12 years ago on a night shift (don't these things always happen on nights?) tele floor - I was charge nurse: There was a man who was dying in a room in a corner right off the nurses' station. He had cirrhosis, hepatic encephalopathy, mean and ornery as a snake. Maybe it was because of the disease process, I don't know because what happened stunned me. It was an unusually quiet night, (35 patients - floor was full) everybody was actually ASLEEP - no TVs on. There were 4 nurses on that night, and we were actually able to make our rounds and sit down and chart on schedule. Well, at about 5am we were sitting together charting our 4am rounds when I heard the most amazing sound. Impossible to describe but it was a quick (half-second) sound of the most beautiful vocal chord you could imagine. A soprano choir. Came from the direction of that man's room. I looked up and said, "did you hear that?" Only one of the other nurses did hear it, and said, "Yeah, sounded kind of like angels singing, didn't it?" And it did. Went back to charting and back to rounds when the RT found me at about 5:30 to inform me that this patient was gone. And he was. And I will always believe that we had the privilege of hearing the angels coming for him that night.

    Death is a natural part of life. Our society wants to avoid it at all costs and I think that's a shame. There is so much more to our existence than this life in this world and to deny that is to sell ourselves very, very short.

    Barb
  10. by   nursecheryl
    Of all the jobs I have ever had, I had I enjoyed my job in hospice the most. I got so much experience spiritually it was unreal. Yes, after my experience there, I do believe in afterlife. Almost everyone had the same experiences no matter what their belief systems or religions. I can't explan it as well as a book called final gifts by maggie callanan and patricia kelley but it gives examples of people in hospice who have died. I was lucky enough to experience this first hand with my patients and mother in law. It seems many people will not tell you their experiences unless you ask them. My mother in law didn't tell us but she kept talking to people we didn't see. I asked her about these people and we couldn't stop her from talking and laughing and sharing with us about all the loved ones that were there. This is a gift i feel i gave my family because they wouldn't have ever experienced it if I didn't ask her the simple question, Mom, who is here with us, tell us what they say.
    As for assisted suicide, I don't know if I believe in it or not. If someone did it I wouldn't think less of them that is for sure. But, if it is done it needs to be controlled. I think if not controlled than some people may do it due to depression or long term illnesses that are not terminal. It should only be done with terminal patients and decided by more than one doctor and more importantly the patient or his advocate.
  11. by   a-rose
    I don't think that I would assist suicide suicide, but I hope that someone could assist me to take my own life when my life get terminal .
  12. by   nurseratchett29
    Historically, in many native tribes (and not too long ago I might add) when an elder felt they were near the end and could no longer go on, they would just disappear and let nature takes its course. I mean by this that they would leave the shelter in the middle of winter and walk until they fell and they would stay there until the end. I don't expect anyone to understand this because of the vast diversity in spiritual beliefs but keep in the mind that some people believe that death is NOT the end but a beautiful step in the great path we call life (Oh my god, I'm making my self sick with flowery phrases!!!!) When my time comes, I will know and handle it appropriately--MY WAY. I see no reason to perpetuate the inevitable==if you are in pain, in your right mind, and are right with whatever "god" that you believe in, you should be allowed to make the decision and ask for help. I do not advocate for MD's, nurses or anyone else to make that decision for their patients (to me THAT would be murder) but each should be able to decide what is right for them if they are capable.
    Sbic==My sister died at 42 of cancer and when she was going, she got her morphine right up to the end==HOSPICE CARE IS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  13. by   Christian Nurse
    I don't believe in Physcian-Assisted suicide. I do believe in a patient dying with dignity and respect. No I do not believe in the "Other Side". But I do believe in Heaven. And I do believe in a God that will recieve our souls.
  14. by   live4today
    Originally posted by babs_rn
    While I generally do not agree with the idea of ACTIVELY hastening one's own death with physician-assisted (or any other kind of) suicide, I do believe in being allowed to refuse treatment and to die naturally and I do not have a problem with keeping the morphine drip going enough to sedate someone and basically "ease them out" when death is imminent and excruciating and there's a DNR in place so it's expected. And by "imminent" I mean THAT DAY. I believe that ethically, just because we CAN do something (stop a life or prolong it) doesn't mean that we SHOULD.

    Yes, I believe in an afterlife. I believe that heaven is the presence of God and that hell is the absence of Him and of all hope, and I believe that what happens to us in the afterlife is based on what we choose in life. If we choose to live in His presence, we will die in it. I think that to not believe in a higher power with a plan is impossible to imagine when you consider the intricacies of our own anatomy and how the systems work together and compensate for each other. That took intelligence to create. And I believe that Intelligence cares what happens to us.

    One quick story from about 12 years ago on a night shift (don't these things always happen on nights?) tele floor - I was charge nurse: There was a man who was dying in a room in a corner right off the nurses' station. He had cirrhosis, hepatic encephalopathy, mean and ornery as a snake. Maybe it was because of the disease process, I don't know because what happened stunned me. It was an unusually quiet night, (35 patients - floor was full) everybody was actually ASLEEP - no TVs on. There were 4 nurses on that night, and we were actually able to make our rounds and sit down and chart on schedule. Well, at about 5am we were sitting together charting our 4am rounds when I heard the most amazing sound. Impossible to describe but it was a quick (half-second) sound of the most beautiful vocal chord you could imagine. A soprano choir. Came from the direction of that man's room. I looked up and said, "did you hear that?" Only one of the other nurses did hear it, and said, "Yeah, sounded kind of like angels singing, didn't it?" And it did. Went back to charting and back to rounds when the RT found me at about 5:30 to inform me that this patient was gone. And he was. And I will always believe that we had the privilege of hearing the angels coming for him that night.

    Death is a natural part of life. Our society wants to avoid it at all costs and I think that's a shame. There is so much more to our existence than this life in this world and to deny that is to sell ourselves very, very short.

    Barb
    Barb........beautifully written, and so inspiring too. :kiss Thanks for taking the time to share this here. I enjoyed it, and it has blessed me.

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