March 27, 2010 7

Ethics – A discussion on the issues

By in Ethics

A discussion on the ethics of treating or not treating
illness as elderly people approach the the end their lives

– Add your opinion
– See what others have said

7 Responses to “Ethics – A discussion on the issues”

  1. clara solaman says:

    To die with dignity … surely that is what we all want?
    When we grow old and tired and our lives have been lived it is the natural cycle of things that we will die. This is sometimes difficult to accept and it is always hard to say goodbye to those we love …. however, the kindest and most loving gesture is sometimes to accept, to let go …. to do what’s best, not always easiest, but what’s best.

    Life is fast so enjoy the ride!

  2. Bernadette says:

    My mum died after 6 weeks of bowel cancer. She refused the chemotherapy treatment as this would not have prolonged her life much but instead opted for Pallative care which allowed her to die naturally at home with full pain management. She died a natural death with great dignity.

    God rest your soul Mum.

    If her life had been cut short she might have not been in the peaceful state as she was at her death. When she first found out it was the end of her life she was depressed. Given time she came to a peaceful acceptance of the end of her life on earth as we know it. Being married to a medical doctor was hard as he knew what was happening. For the 5 out of 6 children who were not medically trained it was a hard time because the doctors were expecting her death, the rest of us had no idea when or how it would end.

    So I feel it is not right to end a life simply because you no longer want to suffer. Yet to to continue invasive treatment to prolong life is not necessary. However we need to treat the patient with dignity, giving them full hydration and food. We need to provide pallative care, loving caring support to them at all times. Who are we to judge if their life is worth it or not. I asked my mum if she was in pain. Most of the time she said no but she did need the pain management that was administered by the Pallative care doctor to control the pain towards the end of her life. In the end she died in a coma with the liver failing after the bowel cancer had spread to her liver.

  3. DeniseB says:

    Bernadette, I have to ditto your comments, well said.
    With a nursing background and also having been a patient myself,
    I am alarmed at the pressure the medical profession feel they need to exert on individuals to have treatments, surgeries etc.
    I get the feeling that if I don’t agree, that they will lose funding or staff etc. I feel their approach is more about them not the well-being of the patient.
    Death is a process that Bernadette explained beautifully.
    There is purpose in the evolution of that process. Even with suffering.
    I am in agreeance that minimal intervention in the elderly needs serious consideration and policy management while managing their comfort.

  4. Arlene D says:

    Much more needs to be done to highlight the need for dying at home, to be accepted as the norm and not the exception. As it has been said before ‘death is a social event not a medical event’.
    Caring for my father at home supported by GP and palliative care services, Dad was where he wanted to be and was able to be kept pain-free and comfortable during the changes in his condition (lung cancer)over the last months of his life. My sister and I (both nurses)having experience in the care of people at home, were able to support Mum and our family during this rewarding experience.
    Our family found it to be the right thing to do and would not have wanted it any other way.

  5. Andrew says:

    I have to agree with all that has been said above with the exception of one statement.

    “I am alarmed at the pressure the medical profession feel they need to exert on individuals to have treatments, surgeries etc.”

    Clearly this is not the case. I have seen professionally and personally what can be achieved by modern medicine and am considerably better informed than most. What I have not seen is the kind of pressure described above. Part of the process of consenting for a procedure is being given appropriate information and processing it. Where treatment is retrospectively felt to be inappropriate, it is often a result of medical staff responding to pressure from patients, families, AHPs or societal pressure and it is very easy to be critical of the process when one never has to take responsibility for the decisions made.

    WRT to the documentary, I feel it was well made, balanced and summarises how many people feel about a “back to basics” approach to death and dying where it is accepted as a part of life.

  6. ELI says:

    I usually work in Intensive Care but I am currently working in a Hospice. Although I love the job, I find it amazing that some patients in the Hospice are actually FOR CPR… Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy stuff? I would appreciate any comments… Just trying to understand the culture and what took us here.

  7. Jessie Edney says:

    I respect the rights of all who have had their say on this very important issue. All I ask is that they respect my rights when I say I don’t want to linger, if terminally I’ll. I want the choice at that time to say, give me palliative care OR please let me end it now with my family around me.
    At this point in time I can choose suicide BUT will it be successful? Also my family cannot be with me because they could be charged with assisting suicide. It is my life and it should be my choice.

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