Letting someone you love die
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25-01-2015, 11:37 PM
RE: Letting someone you love die
I am so sorry you are without your Mom. Hug

in the case you described I agree with what the others have said and the decision you made to follow thru with her wishes.

I don't know if you have siblings or there was other family members that could have made the choice, but often the one chosen to have the final say to the doctors, is the one that is known will follow their wishes. Your Mom trusted that in the end you would respect her wishes above your own.

Personally, if I was in that position, I would have had a hard time if it was an unexpected emergency situation, like a car accident. I was an EMT in my college days, my instinct is to jump in and help. And along with that I have seen the side of medince that isnt so pretty because it was too hard to say goodbye. But a cancer diagnosis, usually comes with some time to think things thru, and I could have done as requested.

you did as she asked, my only hope is someday someone will do what I ask
Heart


ETA: its a completely different ballgame if its a minor.


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26-01-2015, 04:31 AM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2015 04:34 AM by The Polyglot Atheist.)
RE: Letting someone you love die
(25-01-2015 08:23 PM)Anjele Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 06:33 PM)The Polyglot Atheist Wrote:  It's a very tricky topic and I don't think there is one correct answer. If the situation arises, I'll always seek the solution that provides benefits to the highest number of people involved.

The person 'involved' is the person making the choice because the outcome directly affects them. The highest number of people involved is therefore - one.

I understand what you mean, it's just that I would honestly find it really hard to take the same decision gofish took. Really, really hard. Others in this thread have unfortunately found themselves in this situation so they know what they actually did, I didn't, so I was speaking hypothetically... and emotionally.

Anyway I'd probably do the same thing, because in the end I agree, if it's an adult and you know their stance, it's better to respect their decision, even if it sucks for you.

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26-01-2015, 05:01 AM
RE: Letting someone you love die
In that specific case - cancer - it depends also on whether she wanted to fight it or not.

If you are going to beat cancer, you have to really want to because it's a very hard fight. And a lot of luck goes into it too - having the right docs with the right treatment for you, timing, side effects which affect everyone differently and can kill you, and the ability to suffer without losing sight of the goal.

Chances are you will die during the struggle, or, depending on the type of cancer, that it will spread and you will recover just to start all over again. It just plain sucks.

In some cancers the outlook is better than in others. Some of us are not up for the fight or the suffering. That's why we are seeing laws like the "death with dignity" act in more and more states.

I can't imagine a worse fate than being FORCED to endure the suffering a failing body bestows on us. There is no escape - that is what can be called "hell". I see it as nothing short of torture at the hand of our beloved relatives, because they cannot face one fact of life - death. Sometime medicine is not doing us any favors.

Keeping a loved one alive and suffering against their will should be a crime. It is as selfish as can be.

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26-01-2015, 05:18 AM
RE: Letting someone you love die
You made the right choice. You didn't disappoint her. It might have been devastating for her to wake up and realize what happened.

I'm not sure if I could do the same if I had to. My mum has a bunch of health problems that could lead to us (the rest of my family) having to make such a decision (nothing to do with religion though, just a matter of letting her go). I know it would be extremely hard for me.

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26-01-2015, 06:29 AM
RE: Letting someone you love die
Just a quick note as I am at work grabbing lunch.

Firstly, as always, TTA does not disappoint in the compassion stakes and I want to thank you all for the sympathy you have shown.

That said, my purpose for this post was to open up the discussion of the ethical conflicts that can occur in these situations and to put some "skin in the game" by putting this real scenario up there. It seems to be achieving this and I see a lot of good points raised.

I will respond more fully this evening but wanted to leave you with my permission to eschew showing me sympathy to debate the ethical issues. There's a lot here that cuts to the place of the individual and self determination in weighing intervention of law.

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N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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26-01-2015, 01:24 PM
RE: Letting someone you love die
I can not imagine how difficult your decision must have been. In the end, you were correct. Adults have the right to make their own good and bad decisions. An interesting question would be if you were incapacitated and your mom was in charge of making a decision for you, would she withhold a blood transfusion or allow it?
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26-01-2015, 03:18 PM
RE: Letting someone you love die
Firstly, thanks for your thoughts and kind words. I owe you much, so let's get started...

(25-01-2015 06:19 PM)Dom Wrote:  Well, I believe that a person should have complete say over their OWN life. If you accept the task of deciding for her, you should respect her will. She may have other reasons too, it depends on why she is having a transfusion and what the outlook is for her future and if she is ok with that life.

So I see the choice as either respect her will or refuse to be the one who decides.

(25-01-2015 06:33 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  She had the absolute right to be treated as she wished.

OK, so this is defintely where I start. Self-determination.

As for decisions on behalf of my mum? My view is that one should never shy away from making decisions to reflect the will of those you love, no matter how much it hurts (and this scenario hurt in more ways than one, which I may reveal later). But hey, I think that's a very heavy responsibility and one you should only choose to take prepared for the consequences.

(25-01-2015 06:19 PM)Dom Wrote:  It is different when they decide for their children - I do not believe they should have that right.

I also agree that children should have protection. But who is to provide that protection? The parents? Or the State?

In the UK, the law, via doctors, intervenes where parents' actions are seen to endanger the child. On balance that's right: once they are deemed old enough to decide for themselves, then it's up to them. Personally, I feel that no religious or ethnic traditions should usurp a child's right to live, although then that sets up an interesting discussion regarding abortion...(note I did not yet state where I stand, so please no flak.....yet).

(25-01-2015 06:21 PM)Anjele Wrote:  I caught some flack from people for refusing chemo when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. But I made an informed decision about my own health care.

I highlight this because informed decisions are, for me, at the heart of this discussion. However, it is more than that: I could argue my mother was not informed and chose her way regardless. Informed or not, I basically had to choose to support her credo or not.

What usurped reason for me was my love for her, and that she needed me to do this. So, I feel I had little choice but to sacrifice everything I believed in to do her will. And by golly it hurt to do this.

So it seems it is not just about being informed?

(25-01-2015 07:44 PM)bemore Wrote:  ...i suppose we all wish that our final wishes are observed by the ones closest to us, even though we wont be around to see it.
steeped in
For me, this goes close to something that I feel, but I'm not sure what the basis for it is: that people deserve to be honoured. This was my strongest feeling, above even the pain. But where does that come from? It did not feel like rational ethics...

(25-01-2015 08:23 PM)Anjele Wrote:  
(25-01-2015 06:33 PM)The Polyglot Atheist Wrote:  It's a very tricky topic and I don't think there is one correct answer. If the situation arises, I'll always seek the solution that provides benefits to the highest number of people involved.

The person 'involved' is the person making the choice because the outcome directly affects them. The highest number of people involved is therefore - one.

An interesting one this. For me the Polyglot Athiest's argument is the classic utilitarian argument, and it makes sense on one level. For sure, one could argue that were I to die, for example, it would hit my son hard and cause him harm. So there's no denying others are involved.

And yet I land on Anjele's side of the discussion, both for my ethical egoist tendancies and my love for my mum. Not sure how to dissect that one...

(25-01-2015 11:13 PM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  Something else to think about is that what happens if you do the treatment and she lives but resents you for going against her wishes? Now you have her anger towards you and when she eventually dies (maybe many years from now), she may still resent you. Which is worse?

Hmm, practical, but I don't her "hating" me would ever be a consideration for me to take into account. It's all about mum...

(25-01-2015 11:37 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  I don't know if you have siblings or there was other family members that could have made the choice, but often the one chosen to have the final say to the doctors, is the one that is known will follow their wishes. Your Mom trusted that in the end you would respect her wishes above your own.

I have to say this was a big consideration. My mother had been abused by my brother (who I'm sure is a true psychopath and, ironically, a nurse) and requested that I not tell him until she had passed (did I warn you that this might lead to odd places?)

I was her assurance that he would not interfere. Of course, I'm sure you can imagine what the fallout was when I did tell him...

(26-01-2015 05:18 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  My mum has a bunch of health problems that could lead to us (the rest of my family) having to make such a decision (nothing to do with religion though, just a matter of letting her go). I know it would be extremely hard for me.

Well hopefully this discussion might help you analyse that, or at least help affirm your choice.

But I'm curious...the lessons I'm taking away from this seem to be that even if someone is a dyed-in-the-wool fundamentalist, they are not excluded from some basic human rights of self-determination. It is one of the experiences that jolted me from my prior militant atheism to a more tolerant and respectful view of people, if not their religions.

But there are grey areas. Between the fully aware adult and the protected child, there are shades of grey....where lie questions regarding how we treat people's beliefs. Questions abouts burka's, genital mutilation, and other matters.

I know some of you might rightly call me hypcritical on some of my meme posts against AlephBet and others and you'd be right to do so: my excuse is my reaction to their arrogance or, in the case of Aleph, resemblance to a Turing Test.

But I've not yet fully processed what this is telling me about my relationship with individuals who have religion (as opposed to the religions themselves, which I despise).

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N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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26-01-2015, 03:22 PM
RE: Letting someone you love die
(26-01-2015 01:24 PM)Iñigo Wrote:  I can not imagine how difficult your decision must have been. In the end, you were correct. Adults have the right to make their own good and bad decisions. An interesting question would be if you were incapacitated and your mom was in charge of making a decision for you, would she withhold a blood transfusion or allow it?

So this is a really good question: in her case, she said she would break with her faith and do what I had asked her. That was probably the only way she would break her faith.

I guess love conquers all, no?

But the question may not be answered the same way by all such believers.

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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26-01-2015, 04:03 PM
RE: Letting someone you love die
I dont think it is rational thinking gofish. Its one of those rare occasions in life where there are no easy answers, especially when they conflict with our own beliefs and we have to go against them.

I think we tell ourselves and each other we did the right thing because the only alternative leads to regret.

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27-01-2015, 02:57 PM
RE: Letting someone you love die
This is why it is so important to have a living will drawn up while one is in the right mind and not in pain or early dementia. Mine is done. I've also had the "end of life" chat with my physician. My family has no say when the time comes. It was something I'd always meant to do but time seemed to slip by. It was when someone close died without even a regular will and the mess it created for his family, that jarred me into consulting a lawyer and my physician. It's not as cut and dried as one might think, many grey areas need to be hashed out.
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