Thursday, September 22, 2011

Controversial topics... What do you think?

So, we've been having some "debates" during class the last few weeks and it's been really interesting. Let me know what you think about this particular topic!

Human euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, & withdrawal of life support for the terminally ill. These questions are about people who are terminally ill and will pass away in the short future anyway...

  • Is it OK to "pull the plug"?
  • When is giving comfort medication like morphine "too much" and causing a hastened death?
    • is it wrong to hasten death?
  • If a doctor simply prescribes medication that can kill a person, is that murder even though he doesn't give the medication?
  • What about the pain and suffering for the dying and their families?
  • Medical costs... think how many people could we save with the money we are using to keep people who are artificially alive on life support.
  • What about people who don't have medical insurance? Should they be kept alive using tax dollars?

Just some things to think about....  This is a video that was shown in class.

I still do not have a perfectly formed opinion, but this is what I am thinking thus far...

I believe in God. I know that not everyone else does and that will definitely affect their opinion on this topic. I believe that our life is a gift and that we are here to learn and to help others around us learn and grow too. I know that terminal illness is a horrible thing and that it is accompanied by pain, fear, expense, exhaustion, and emotional taxation.

I also know that many of those side-effects can be helped by caring families, medications, and faith.

I do not believe it is right for a person to purposely overdose on medication to prematurely cause their death. I believe this is suicide because it is willingly taking in a substance that will kill you.

I do believe that a terminally ill patient has a right to be as comfortable as possible. This includes strong pain medications and comfort measures. I believe a person has the right to discontinue life support and let their body take the natural path to death. I do not believe it is right for a physician to prescribe an overdose of medication that would cause death.

I do not condone suicide, but I do respect a person's right to discontinue life-supportive measures like ventilators when they have made peace with the matter. Often the patient is unconscious and the family has to make the decision (which is very difficult). I would encourage everyone to have a living will outlining their end-of-life care and decisions so that the burden of deciding does not rest solely on the family.

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