Australian who won 'right to die' case has died - page 2

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  1. by   nascentRN
    Quote from kristikkc
    Pt's have the right to refuse treatment. If an adult or mature teenager says they don't want to eat, or be on a vent, they are terminal and want to go, so be it. As a nurse I will help with comfort measures. I am uncomfortable personally with euthenasia. :heartbeat
    Just to be clear, I just got out of school and this was not a topic discussed much - You are uncomfortable with the idea of actively assisting someone to die? I hear that loud and clear. At the same time, I'm not sure I understand why I should feel any better letting someone die instead by refusing treatment when there could be a more humane way available should the patient choose it. Being a legally enforced obstacle in the way of this choice, and by extension, prolonging unnecessary suffering, is just as uncomfortable to me as the idea of euthanasia. Potential abuses of euthanasia concern me very much. But, I think I uncomfortably support it - in principle. It's easy to say this. When push comes to shove, however, I'm not sure that I, personally, could actively assist someone to end it. But, I'm not sure if that's the moral high road either. At the end of day, I respect this man's tremendous will to control his own destiny in death as we all believe everyone should have the freedom to do in life.
    Last edit by nascentRN on Sep 25, '09
  2. by   petgroomer
    It's considered "human" to provide euthanasia for a terminally ill pet. It's considered "selfish and unfair" if you hold on to your dear cat or dog for a few more weeks after your little friend is suffering/has lost the zest for life because of their disease. It's a thorny problem, but if allowing ill pets to suffer is called "inhuman", how my dear lawyers/judges call allowing a terminally ill human being to suffer?
  3. by   kristikkc
    Quote from petgroomer
    It's considered "human" to provide euthanasia for a terminally ill pet. It's considered "selfish and unfair" if you hold on to your dear cat or dog for a few more weeks after your little friend is suffering/has lost the zest for life because of their disease. It's a thorny problem, but if allowing ill pets to suffer is called "inhuman", how my dear lawyers/judges call allowing a terminally ill human being to suffer?
    This is all very true. But we are humans not animals. If someone is suffering and is on the way to dying, give them pain med, make them comfortable, let them go. I have seen families do everything that can be done to save a dying person, when, if left alone and comfortable, nature would take its course.
  4. by   talaxandra
    Quote from nascentRN
    I'm not sure I understand why I should feel any better letting someone die instead by refusing treatment when there could be a more humane way available should the patient choose it.
    Hi nascent This topic occupies a subsection of ethicists - it's often referred to as Killing vs Letting Die, and explores why we feel differently about taking action rather than withholding intervention, even when the intended outcome is the same. In health care examples include why it feels more wrong or conflicted to withdraw a lifesaving intervention (like dialysis or ventilation) rather than deciding not to initiate it in the first place, even though the outcome (death) is known and the same regardless.

    A philosophical thought experiement brings this idea to a wider audience, asking whether you should flip a switch and divert a runaway train from a main line (where it will kill all aboard) to a sideline (where it will kill one or five men). For some interesting variations on this, check this.

    A last thing to think about - euthanasia is a multi-stranded issue, that ranges from "the putting to death, by painless method, of a terminally-ill or severely debilitated person through the omission (intentionally withholding a life-saving medical procedure, also known as "passive euthanasia") or commission of an act ("active euthanasia'). See also living will" (source) to "Nazi euphemism for the deliberate killings of institutionalized physically, mentally, and emotionally handicapped people. The euthanasia program began in 1939, with German non-Jews as the first victims. The program was later extended to Jews" (source). Some definitions even include providing the means for death to a patient (like Dr Kevorkian's suicide machine).

    if I have an unconscious patient in apparent distress, whose death within minutes to hours is inevitable, I feel comfortable giving them prescribed PRN narcotics in generous quantities and with frequency. Although my intent is partly symptom relief, it's also significantly to shorten the patient's life and suffering. Yet somehow, giving morphine feels morally appropriate, but giving potassium would feel morally wrong, even though the method (IV push), intent (bring about a faster death than no intervention) and outcome (death) are the same. Why does the mechanism (morphine vs potassium) feel different?

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