Our Death-Defying, Death-Denying Society - page 3

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

15,282 Views | 74 Comments

The following is a psychic reading that will eventually prove accurate with every single person in existence today: we're all going to die. The fact is that life will end, and how Americans choose to cope with this reality gives... Read More


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    Quote from Asystole RN

    While I worked at a SNF I had a patient who was on a vent for the last three years, brain dead, who was coded and revived several times (hence the brain death) who's POA was a cardiologist. They kept him going for strictly the patient's wishes and religious reasons.
    Keeping dead bodies "going".............maybe that is when someone else should step in, if only for ethical reasons.
    lindarn and tewdles like this.
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    Quote from Mulan
    Keeping dead bodies "going".............maybe that is when someone else should step in, if only for ethical reasons.
    Who's ethics? Are your beliefs somehow more valid, more important, and the "correct" beliefs? Not everyone sees the human spirit in terms of electrical brain activity.

    As nurses we see terrible things and we know first hand that we all are going to die, most likely not well either. I think that many of us have lost hope, something that many outside of healthcare still retain.

    I certainly would not choose the path that many of my patients take but I certainly do not begrudge them for making a choice, a very difficult choice, that is contrary to my own beliefs.
    lindarn, Aurora77, and Susie2310 like this.
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    Quote from Asystole RN
    Who's ethics? Are your beliefs somehow more valid, more important, and the "correct" beliefs? Not everyone sees the human spirit in terms of electrical brain activity.

    As nurses we see terrible things and we know first hand that we all are going to die, most likely not well either. I think that many of us have lost hope, something that many outside of healthcare still retain.

    I certainly would not choose the path that many of my patients take but I certainly do not begrudge them for making a choice, a very difficult choice, that is contrary to my own beliefs.
    Dead is dead.

    Who is paying for all that futile care by the way?
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    I can see two rationales for refusing life saving measures in the face of terminal illness, one is an ethical concern and the other is a fiscal. I do not hold any stock in anyone making ethical (the nurse's ethics) decisions contrary to the patient's/families wishes, which would in fact be unethical by it's nature.

    The fiscal rationale I can understand but there are far greater and easier ways to save money. Why not cut services to illegal immigrants, prisoners, and those who refuse drug/alcohol rehab? Even better, why not cut services to those who ride motorcycles and refuse to wear a helmet? What about smokers, we all know that COPD is one of the most expensive diagnosis to treat?

    By the way, instead of cutting service to those who want life saving treatment, why not allow those who do wish to die with dignity do so instead of lingering on and utilizing healthcare resources? I would think that the right-to-die group should be the first group addressed if someone was concerned about fiscal savings.
    TJ'sMOM, lindarn, Jessy_RN, and 1 other like this.
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    Asystole, I'll say it again. No one here is arguing that patients should be forced to die, regardless of their condition. No one here is saying that the government should choose who lives and who dies. (That is the job of the insurance carriers.) The point is that people are choosing to go through proceedures that are more of a detriment than a benefit to their remaining life.

    You and I both agree that there are times that it's absurd to sustain life (e.g., after the complete cessation of brain waves). The question we are trying to explore here is: Why do people choose to try to hang on? Why do proxies for the patient so often choose to vainly extend life, even in violation of the patients written instructions? (If a family member decides that the patient will remain on the ventilator, then the patient's living will means little — that is the reality.)

    I've yet to see addressed here the question of why so many Americans, many of whom are so religious, have such a great fear of death, and such an unrealistic idea if what modern medicine can do to extend life, or at least, life that the patient would want to live.

    To really drive the point home: The issue is not death panels or taking people's rights away. It's like pondering why so many people smoke. While we shouldn't take their cigarettes away, and neither should the government, it's a valid question that even the most hardcore libertarian can ponder.
    TJ'sMOM, lindarn, Jessy_RN, and 1 other like this.
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    Who's talking about the nurse's ethics? Most places have an ethics committee.
    tewdles likes this.
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    Quote from Mulan
    Dead is dead.

    Who is paying for all that futile care by the way?
    How do you define dead?

    You know who paid for it.
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    Quote from Cold Stethoscope
    Asystole, I'll say it again. No one here is arguing that patients should be forced to die, regardless of their condition. No one here is saying that the government should choose who lives and who dies. (That is the job of the insurance carriers.) The point is that people are choosing to go through proceedures that are more of a detriment than a benefit to their remaining life.

    You and I both agree that there are times that it's absurd to sustain life (e.g., after the complete cessation of brain waves). The question we are trying to explore here is: Why do people choose to try to hang on? Why do proxies for the patient so often choose to vainly extend life, even in violation of the patients written instructions? (If a family member decides that the patient will remain on the ventilator, then the patient's living will means little — that is the reality.)

    I've yet to see addressed here the question of why so many Americans, many of whom are so religious, have such a great fear of death, and such an unrealistic idea if what modern medicine can do to extend life, or at least, life that the patient would want to live.

    To really drive the point home: The issue is not death panels or taking people's rights away. It's like pondering why so many people smoke. While we shouldn't take their cigarettes away, and neither should the government, it's a valid question that even the most hardcore libertarian can ponder.
    I am not so sure that it is a fear of death that drives many to continue against insurmountable odds. I think that many have a genuine sense of hope, something that is many times reinforced through religion. I personally would not keep anyone on life support but I can not decide that for anyone else, only provide them the reality of the situation. How do I tell a family member that sister's wishes to have everything possible done is stupid? Was the sister wrong? How do I tell someone who has a religiously founded notion of miracles that their religion is silly? Is it?

    As to proxies violating the written will of the patient, that is a legal matter and it depends upon how the patient appointed a proxy, if they did, their living will, and state law.
    Susie2310 likes this.
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    My son hopes to get an iPad 3 for his birthday in a few months, but he will be hoping all the way to his first job...

    I know, I know, apples and oranges right?

    My thoughts on the matter are:

    -Futile care is defined as....futile, useless, unproductive

    -Quality has more weight than quantity

    -As a tax payer, struggling to put enough aside into a retirement savings, to cloth/feed/house my family, I feel that the enormous chunk of the pie taken from me and my family to fund medicare, road paving and futile care gives me a respectable right to voice a concern over how this money is spent.

    -I don't believe it is ever inhumane to stop futile care. It is futile. Keeping dead bodies alive past their viability is not a long ingrained part of any culture or religion...the technology has only existed for maybe the past 40 years...and that's being generous. We humans have taken hold of a power, in a sense, yet aren't quite sure how to use it properly yet. Either that, or medicine simply has become such a commercial endeavor where the bottom line is all that matters to insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies...and the public is drawn into a massive marketing ploy of sorts. Think about it, every hospital nowadays has a fancy jingle and motto, PG, and specialists at your beck and call ready to bill your left arm for a 5 minute consult.

    -I am not a cold and callous person, the above thoughts apply only to futile care. I am sad at the mentality of "doing everything" as well, but in this case,

    I agree, intensive education is needed for the public. Code Blues rarely end well, vents are not romantic, laying in a hospital bed for 15 years is not living.
    ProfRN4, TJ'sMOM, pomegranate, and 8 others like this.
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    Quote from Cold Stethoscope
    Why do people choose to try to hang on? Why do proxies for the patient so often choose to vainly extend life, even in violation of the patients written instructions?
    It is easier for some to hope for a 'miracle' than to accept the reality that the patient's current prognosis is totally incompatible with life. It is easier for many in our society to deny the possibility of death than to accept the fact that death is a natural stage in the circle of life. Denial is far more than a river; it is a powerful mechanism.
    Aurora77, tewdles, LaughingRN, and 7 others like this.


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