Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Right to Die

So here I am and how in the HELL did I end up here? Don't get me wrong, my life is not a bad one but as I look back at some of the choices I made I wonder WHY?? I guess that is a very normal feeling for just about everyone.

I have a great career as an ICU nurse that can be trying on the nerves and the emotions. I find myself questioning the ethical stand point of many people when it comes to some of the choices they make about their loved ones care. To be specific I am talking about the QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUE. We have come so far in the medical field but to what, and whose, expense? When and 85 year old patient is brought to us that is actively dieing and they have a legal document stating what they don't want, I very much want to stand behind that patient and what their wishes are. HOWEVER .......... in comes the children that over rides this document and tells us to pull out everything we have and "save my mom/dad!!!!" So here they are with a tube in every opening in their poor tired body, a triple lumen IV with every drip there is to keep blood pressure up, heart rate down, keep them sedated, nutrition, fluids, their arms tied down so they don't pull out the breathing tube and this is what they call "living". This will usually go on for a few days, only prolonging what is a natural process, so that we have to pull all these things one by one to finally let them die in peace. I understand giving a person a chance, "just to make sure" but if the person is 85 years old, or older, and they have very specifically indicated what they DO NOT WANT DONE, it makes me so sad and almost angry to put someone through this physical pain for the family.

I sound angry with that but believe me, it makes me tired not angry. These are just some of the topics I will be writing about in this blog. I am looking for any opinions you are willing to share, maybe they will help me to become a better nurse, mom, friend............

3 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

I admire your strength and compassion in your profession. It's a brave thing that you do every day to help people. I'm not sure I could do it.

Thanks so much for stopping by my little corner!

DaisyBug said...

I really have conflicted feelings about this one. On one hand I totally think a person should be extended at least the same courtesies we afford out pets - on the other hand it is the potential for abuse of this kind of policy that troubles me - Death is very final. No mistakes can be made and we all know that since we are human, mistakes can and do happen... misunderstandings, family arguments, even disputes about a will - plenty of motivation and opportunity for problems... It is troubling. No doubt about it.

This is why I tell everyone close to me what my wishes are - this will, I hope, eliminate any questions about how I feel about this sort of thing. (I am remembering Terry Schaivo) Not everyone is willing to talk about things like this though -

I digress - I admire people who are willing and able to be nurses - it is not something I could put myself through on a daily basis...

Webster World said...

You are so right. Why do those other people do that? Who knows.