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Monday, March 21. 2016
But for how long, and with how much medical misery?
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Have had several friends over the years with pretty much untreatable cancer go through chemo treatment after chemo treatment with horrific side effects in order to 'extend' their lives. But is the trade off worth it?
One poor woman I knew suffered terribly the last 6 months of her life. Radiation and chemo ruined her appetite and tastebuds. She grew thinner and weaker by the day. It was awful to see.
Sometimes I wonder if oncology docs are treating people with false hope rather than thinking about quality of life.
Another friend died while undergoing one of many rounds of chemotherapy. He was only 40 and had been undergoing treatment for about 3 years...in a lot of misery.
On a side note, would like to know the probably pricey treatment that a 90+-year-old President Carter received (at our expense) to cure him of brain cancer. Pretty much unheard of. Makes me think we taxpayers shelled out a lot of money for some miracle treatment that is not available to the unwashed masses...
I am so glad I will not have to rely on Christian ideals of charity.
I'd gladly cut your air hose, just ask when you need help.
I'm sure you folks will soon be blessed with the same right-to-die euthanasia laws as we seem to be heading for here in Canada.
And then doctors will be helpfully putting folks down as if those letters behind their names were DVM rather than MD.
This problem is going to become more and more important as we move to universal subsidized and government health care. This is how most countries with socialized health care balance their budget; by not treating people past a certain age or with certain conditions. Ironically it makes perfect sense, why spend/waste money on a medical case that can't be helped. Now ask yourself why spend money on children born with serious debilitating illnesses like the Zika caused Microcephaly. They will never improve or be self sustaining. Look at all the serious diseases of children that this new medical philosophy. Instead of first do no harm it becomes first don't spend any money. You could literally save billions perhaps trillions by identifying babies as they are born that will be a drag on the budget. After all why stop at the old and infirm. Maybe even those with low IQs or social tics that just don't fit in. I'm surprised no one has ever come up with this before...
It should not be a $ issue.
Obviously, if government (aka taxpayer) is funding it, they will just want you to die and get it over with.
That goes to the core of big government. Distorts everything, including basic moral issues.
Before government got involved in medical care, doctors knew how to deal with terminal ailments. Kindly, gently, caringly, in a priestly manner, in your home with a little morphine to ease the passage.
Obviously, if government (aka taxpayer) is funding it, they will just want you to die and get it over with.
Unlike private health insurers of course, who, as we all know, are always more than willing to cover all costs into the hundreds of thousands for as long as it takes.
I'm close to my "use by" date due to stage 4 cancer - probably late summer. And I would like to talk to my doctor about getting something to overdose on, but I don't know how to bring the subject up or what problems I could create for myself. Fortunately I am fairly comfortable and the chemo at this point is just annoying. I've had no symptoms from the cancer (pain, sickness, etc) and have been told maybe 10-15% of cancer patients are pain free, except for of course, when the docs get a hold of you. I don't want to spend my last weeks in hostel care or my last days in a coma. Has anyone brought this up with their doctor? Any suggestions?
there's always Rule .38 if not Prescription .380 or Measure 9. Many choose Option .40 or .45
there are surprisingly few side effects.
And at least you're killing yourself, not putting the moral and ethical onus on someone else to finish you off.
Up here in Canada, the cry from the pro-euthanasia lobby is always IT'S MY RIGHT TO END MY LIFE!
But what you don't have is the right to compell others to kill you.
In the last 7 years my father and mother in law passed away with terminal lung cancer as did my wife's ex mother in law and her brother and sister. My wife took care of her father for the three months in which he was unable to take care of himself before he passed. She and her sister cared for her mother in the two weeks she lived after symptoms became debilitating. My wife's mother in law was cared for by our son. What I learned was that the pain medication is extremely effective. My father in law simply wore a patch on his back (where he wouldn't be able to reach it) and he was pain free. He was bed ridden and needed help to use the bathroom or to bath but he was pain free stayed in his home and had visitors, family and friends and was able to remain positive until the last 36 hours where his health deteriorated to the point he was mostly sleeping. I was close to all of these people as their passed and was surprised by the relative peacefulness of it all. All five passed as a result of the cancer reaching their brain and eventually causing critical body functions to fail. All five passed without pain and in the end without awareness, simply lying there apparently asleep.
I can remember as a child having family members die at home. An Uncle when I was 5 or 6, my grandmother when I was 13. They lived with us and one day they were here and the next they were not. It is difficult to talk about or think about. But I have to repeat I am surprised at how peaceful and pain free it was for these people I knew and cared about.
None of this is something to recommend it but merely an acknowledgement that it is not as bad as can be imagined. Perhaps dying peacefully in your home, in your own bed without pain and reasonably lucid is as good as anyone can hope for. All received hospice care at home, medication delivered by UPS and nurse visits every other day. Family members caring for them and time to see family and friends.
The ex-mother in laws brother passed 2 weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung and brain cancer. He was ambulatory and refused treatment. He lived alone in a small trailer and when he passed he was alone and apparently simply went into a coma and died. Never took even pain medication. Such is the 'crap shoot' of cancer in the brain. In some ways I think he was the luckiest; first to not even know he had cancer and go through months to years of fighting it and dealing with it and second he was functioning until the moment he was not and passed quickly.
I know, having received the news myself sitting across from my doctor, that hearing you have cancer is devastating. It is so different from hearing that a friend or relative has cancer. It is so much more personal and difficult to wrap your mind around. It takes time to adjust too the reality of it and to learn what to expect. I can only say that having watched my father in law fight it for years and live his life as well as possible for those years and stay positive and strong gave me great courage and pride and I resolved I would do the same. I have looked death in the face and although I'm not ready for it I am ready to meet it face to face and be strong in spite of my fears.
I don't have much knowledge about this, but I would say that you need to have the conversation sooner rather than later. Don't put it off, just call for an appt and say that you want to talk about end of life care. Ask your doc if he is prepared to talk about the issues-make a list! and if he is not, ask him to give you an immediate referral. I would also tell you not to be afraid of hospice care. Set it up ahead of time, they will come to your house weekly/daily/whatever you need and are a wealth of knowledge and advice. Very kind people, but practical too. They understand that most people would rather die at home. I hope that you have family or friends and are not alone. They can also learn from the hospice folks and they will become a huge asset once the fear is taken out of the conversation. Very few of us know how to talk about this with someone, but most of us would like to be helpful. The hospice team can also coordinate care with your doc. I wish that I had more, but I will think of you and say some prayers.
"...when that extra boost has saved their lives."
The BIG LIE in that excerpt.
That extra boost didn't "save" any life; it prolonged one but at what cost to the patient and to society?
$200,000 for an additional two weeks of pain and misery....not quite a bargain for either!
It's. Not. Your. Decision.
Or anyone else's but THE PATIENT.
It's not about the affront to YOUR esthetic or emotional senses. Or YOUR idea of what life is worth living.
And it shouldn't be about your money - which is the problem with "free" government health care.
I am sure the posters here are all very lovely people - unfortunately a lot of your comments give evidence that Western society has already slid quite a ways down the slippery slope that leads away from the Judeo-Christian concept of human life, towards brutal neo-pagan utilitarianism repackaged as "progress".
Agreed! It's the PATIENT"S decision and therefore one major factor in that decision is whether the PATIENT can afford in making his decision, without picking MY pocket!
Its no different from deciding whether you're going to buy a Mercedes or a Chevrolet for driving to and from work. If you want the Mercedes, fine, just don't think you're entitled to MY MONEY to make decision.
So a human life is of no more value than a Chevrolet?
Full-size or subcompact?
The horrors of the "Liverpool Pathway" as it was implemented in the UK (bonuses awarded to hospitals that used it the most, with predictable consequences) have been well documented.
I would just like to say that here in the United States, we wouldn't treat a dog that way. When to withdraw treatment should be the PATIENT'S decision and nobody else's ever.
"The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP) was a UK care pathway (excluding Wales) covering palliative care options for patients in the final days or hours of life. It was developed to help doctors and nurses provide quality end-of-life care. Now discredited, the LCP was widely abused as a 'tick box exercise', with patients being casually assessed as terminal, heavily sedated, and denied water so the diagnosis became self-fulfilling. Hospitals were also provided cash incentives to achieve targets for the number of patients dying on the LCP.
...The LCP has continued to be controversial. Many witnesses have testified that elderly patients were admitted to hospital for emergency treatment and put on the LCP without documented proof that the patient consented to it, or could not recover from their health problem; 48-year-old Norfolk man Andrew Flanagan was revived by his family and went home for a further five weeks after doctors put him on the LCP. The Royal College of Physicians found that up to half of families were not informed of clinicians’ decision to put a relative on the pathway."
I would just like to say that here in the United States, we wouldn't treat a dog that way.
Nonsense. You'd put down a dog in a flash if the veterinary bill for sustaining him didn't fit your budget.
And you'd see people die just because they haven't got the money for better ad more extensive treatment.
The various abuses of socialized medicine in other countries don't automatically make your healthcare system a patient-friendly utopia.
Unless of course that patient is wealthy.
I've known people (including my mother) who decided that it was not worth the continual suffering with no chance of actual recovery. In her case she simply stopped taking any more treatments, and nature took its course.
I can think of nothing more frightening than being kept alive in a deteriorated state with no choice in the matter.
Regarding the comment above "Obviously, if government (aka taxpayer) is funding it, they will just want you to die and get it over with."--it's not just government that would do that, insurance companies have the same motivation. Unless you're very well off (in which case you can still buy whatever care you want) that is going to be the issue.