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Old 12-11-2008, 01:39 AM   #21
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No! We have to send people like Jack Kevorkian to jail.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:13 AM   #22
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The organization called Compassion and Choices is a lobbying group for assisted suicide. It also provides technical advice, though not actual assistance, to members seeking to end their lives. I have been a member for many years. Here's a link:

Compassion & Choices
Thanks Grumpy, that looks like a good outfit.
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:44 AM   #23
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And another pitch for Loving and Leaving the Good Life. Just stop eating. Natural, no docs involved, and it doesn't take too long, from the description by Helen Nearing.
That is what I plan to do when the time comes.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:03 AM   #24
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And another pitch for Loving and Leaving the Good Life. Just stop eating. Natural, no docs involved, and it doesn't take too long, from the description by Helen Nearing.
That is what I plan to do when the time comes.
When I was in college I had a job in a nursing home. This happened a couple of times when I worked there. The nurses were really good about it and did everything possible to make people comfortable.
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Old 12-11-2008, 10:21 AM   #25
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And another pitch for Loving and Leaving the Good Life. Just stop eating. Natural, no docs involved, and it doesn't take too long, from the description by Helen Nearing.
That is what I plan to do when the time comes.
It took my mother a couple of weeks, along with an unbelievable amount of willpower & Demerol pain tolerance. But she was ready-- over the previous decade, breast cancer had metastasized to her lymph system & bones.

I'm pretty sure that my father, who supported her during the whole process, will choose another method. If I'm sentient, I know I will.
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Old 12-11-2008, 12:25 PM   #26
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I can pretty often tell immediately which patients will exit gracefully and which will not. In part, it's an overdose of "never say die" or "I gonna fight this thing with everything I've got" or "as long as I can find someone willing to treat me I'm gonna fight on." Sometimes it's a loved one pushing the patient to fight on (with confused agendas).

But in the end it's very individual. My wiser patients have taught me:
  • you can achieve acceptance without giving up hope
  • rationally reducing hope when all reasonable measures are exhausted is not a defeat, it's a victory
  • acceptance eases the pain for everyone
  • fighting reality (i.e. denial) is not a good strategy most of the time
Usually the same folks who had a good life are the ones who have a good death.
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Old 12-11-2008, 03:50 PM   #27
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Gee Rich, anytime I think my job is difficult, you are right there to remind me of how easy I have it. Thanks, seriously.
We have a friend who is just as you've described, doing the full treatments, but recognizing that time is short. We celebrated his 50th birthday Saturday, nearly 5 years after his Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis. He knows he's been very fortunate and I think he'll be very graceful to the very end.
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Old 12-11-2008, 04:46 PM   #28
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Gee Rich, anytime I think my job is difficult, you are right there to remind me of how easy I have it. Thanks, seriously.
We have a friend who is just as you've described, doing the full treatments, but recognizing that time is short. We celebrated his 50th birthday Saturday, nearly 5 years after his Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis. He knows he's been very fortunate and I think he'll be very graceful to the very end.
Sorry about your friend. 50 is young. Very young.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:23 PM   #29
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And another pitch for Loving and Leaving the Good Life. Just stop eating. Natural, no docs involved, and it doesn't take too long, from the description by Helen Nearing.
a very dear friend of mine starved himself to death. you'd be surprised how long that took.

i don't know if this info is correct, just googled the question. from web site How Long Can You Live Without Food?

Quote:
Medical Doctors Commonly cite 4 to 6 weeks without food

10 Political Prisoners in Ireland Lived 46 to 73 days before succumbing to lack of food

12 individual starvation protestors Two lost tongues, 1 lost feet, 7 on kidney dialysis

Many war prisoners Lived 28 to 40 days with no food

World War II concentration camps With only 300 to 600 calories per day, many thousands did not have enough food to survive more than a few months at best.

Terminally Ill patients Live 10-days to 3-weeks without food depending upon initial heath

Obese Can live from 3-weeks up to 25-weeks and more without food depending upon initial health and amount of fat

Mahatma Gandhi Survived a 3-week fast while in his 70's
also my sister-in-law's uncle survived something like 3 years in fetal position fed by nothing but a drip.

life has an uncanny capacity to find its way into being and then to survive.
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:26 PM   #30
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To me there's a huge difference between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The difference is choice. In the former, someone decides to "put someone out of his/her misery" and makes the choice for them. In the latter, it's the individual who is ill that makes the choice. I object to the former and wholeheartedly support the latter.

Oregon passed their Death With Dignity Act in 1994, and it became law in 1997 after legal challenges. The Oregon Health Division has tracked deaths under the act and issues an annual report, which you can get here.

Washington state just passed a similar law in November.

The Death with Dignity National Center is the advocacy group that got the Oregon law passed and worked on the Washington law. Here's the link.

death with dignity * dwd

I'd really love to see more open discussion about end-of-life issues. I think a lot of people would choose in-home hospice care if they believed that their pain could be controlled -- and I wish more physicians had palliative care training and were willing to prescribe powerful pain medications to terminal patients.

I agree that it's really important to make sure people aren't pressured into suicide by loved ones, or taken advantage of when they're ill, depressed and fearful. The Oregon/Washington laws have safeguards against those issues built in. Having the choice seems to be enough for many people -- in the end, many folks who fill final exit prescriptions never use them and are comforted enough by knowing that they're available.

Rich, thanks so much for the compassionate work you do.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:53 PM   #31
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To me there's a huge difference between euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The difference is choice. In the former, someone decides to "put someone out of his/her misery" and makes the choice for them. In the latter, it's the individual who is ill that makes the choice. I object to the former and wholeheartedly support the latter..
This may be a semantic problem. Many sources (wiki included) distinguish between voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. The former involves consent and follows the directives of the dying person. The latter implies euthanasia by proxy, similar to a health care power of attorney making a DNR request on behalf of an incapacitated person.

So euthanasia does not necessarily mean that someone other than the affected person is making the decision (though it can mean that in some cases).

Shades of gray include decisions to not feed, to not place on a ventilator and in general to ration life sustaining measures. These are ethical and legal in proper circumstances. An act which is an active proximate cause of death (such as voluntary or involuntary euthanasia) presents much more complicated and often illegal choices, as I understand it (with state by state variation).
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:28 AM   #32
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We are so backwards in so many ways.....it should be up to the individual to decide when they have had enough! If I get a terminal disease and the first round of medication does not work.....I will live until the disease takes over. For me, it is a waste of time to keep undergoing treatments, the stress, and being poked and prodded by different doctors! It makes no sense to me. I also think that our time here is a mere pittance to our eternal life as a soul.....game over.....on to the next life and character.
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:08 PM   #33
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The Death with Dignity act that we just passed in WA is a good first step.

However, consider these situations:
1) Alzheimer's Disease. It is a terrible way to die, yet as soon as you are diagnosed, your ability to elect to pass on is suspect since you might not be considered competent. Also, you have to be dying in six months. It took my mother two years, and the last 12 months were really bad.

2) Stroke. My father-in-law had one. After a time, he recovered his walking etc. However, he never recovered from the damage to his speech center. He lost it all, he couldn't read, write, understand speech, or talk beyond hello and goodbye. He lived 17 months after the stroke, lost in a world in which he was cut-off from everyone.

If you had these conditions, would you want to continue living?
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Old 12-22-2008, 04:13 PM   #34
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The Death with Dignity act that we just passed in WA is a good first step.

However, consider these situations:
1) Alzheimer's Disease. It is a terrible way to die, yet as soon as you are diagnosed, your ability to elect to pass on is suspect since you might not be considered competent. Also, you have to be dying in six months. It took my mother two years, and the last 12 months were really bad.

2) Stroke. My father-in-law had one. After a time, he recovered his walking etc. However, he never recovered from the damage to his speech center. He lost it all, he couldn't read, write, understand speech, or talk beyond hello and goodbye. He lived 17 months after the stroke, lost in a world in which he was cut-off from everyone.

If you had these conditions, would you want to continue living?
WHo knows how you might feel at the time -- you wouldn't be able to communicate it. But I know how I feel about it now and I sure would like to be able to make advance directives that willing doctors could carry out in the event I was unable to.
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Old 12-22-2008, 05:35 PM   #35
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The Death with Dignity act that we just passed in WA is a good first step.

However, consider these situations:
1) Alzheimer's Disease. It is a terrible way to die, yet as soon as you are diagnosed, your ability to elect to pass on is suspect since you might not be considered competent. Also, you have to be dying in six months. It took my mother two years, and the last 12 months were really bad.

2) Stroke. My father-in-law had one. After a time, he recovered his walking etc. However, he never recovered from the damage to his speech center. He lost it all, he couldn't read, write, understand speech, or talk beyond hello and goodbye. He lived 17 months after the stroke, lost in a world in which he was cut-off from everyone.

If you had these conditions, would you want to continue living?
I have various inherited conditions that will make me physically unable to take care of myself in 20 or fewer years. None of such are life threatening.

I have seen the future, and don't like it.
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Old 12-25-2008, 03:46 PM   #36
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I also think the documentary is a good thing. I think a person should have the right to choose euthanasia when life is unbearable. I feel that as our society ages with the swell of us baby boomers hitting old age, our collective values will change and assisted suicide will become legal in the future.

Something I have always been aware of...if you are a pet owner...we as a people treat our dying pets better than our dying human beings. When the pet is too far gone and it's time to go, the humans that care for them take them to a vet and let them die with dignity. Humans just have to go on suffering with no end in sight. Pretty cruel in my opinion.
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Old 12-25-2008, 04:37 PM   #37
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I also think the documentary is a good thing. I think a person should have the right to choose euthanasia when life is unbearable. I feel that as our society ages with the swell of us baby boomers hitting old age, our collective values will change and assisted suicide will become legal in the future.

Something I have always been aware of...if you are a pet owner...we as a people treat our dying pets better than our dying human beings. When the pet is too far gone and it's time to go, the humans that care for them take them to a vet and let them die with dignity. Humans just have to go on suffering with no end in sight. Pretty cruel in my opinion.
When the 18 y o cat had a stroke at 1AM, I took him to the vet at 8AM to be put down. Nobody tried to talk me out of it.
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