Should parents' belief in miracles trump medical expertise in end-of-life decisions?
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15-08-2012, 08:20 PM
Should parents' belief in miracles trump medical expertise in end-of-life decisions?
"British doctors behind a new study say that many cases in which parents insist on continuing treatment even though medical professionals believe the child has no hope of recovery are motivated by religious beliefs and the hope for divine intervention"

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-5...decisions/
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15-08-2012, 09:03 PM
RE: end-of-life decisions?
There have been some cases of patients that were initially declared dead after extensive attempts to resuscitate, so much so
that some hospitals have altered their practices to wait for at least 10 min after all attempts have been made before declaring the person dead.

If these people were really motivated by religious belief and hope for divine intervention, then insisting on continued treatment wouldn't make any sense.
Continued treatment is a hope that medically a breakthrough will happen because they KNOW without that medical treatment, the person is DEAD.
I mean god isn't stuck in traffic or anything.
"Excuse me Doctor, god is on the 405 and there is heavy traffic. Continue medical treatment for another 2 hours please. He'll be here soon. I just know it."

I capitalize the D and didn't capitalize the g, you know, to show the context of who actually makes a difference in the life or death of a dying patient. A real Doctor or an imaginary god

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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15-08-2012, 09:59 PM
Should parents' belief in miracles trump medical expertise in end-of-life decisions?
I think it is a way to avoid/delay the conclusion that their child is lost.
As long as the medical people are in action there is hope.
When they "call it" it's over. The death is difficult, especially when it's your child.
A true believer would say stop the treatment and let god make the decision.
Several religions state very clearly, No Medical Intervention. That's religious faith.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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15-08-2012, 10:28 PM
RE: Should parents' belief in miracles trump
Quote:Should parents' belief in miracles trump medical expertise in end-of-life decisions?

Since there is no god, they shouldnt. Is basic logic.

(by the way, this is my first post)

if your faith can move mountains it should be able to withstand criticism
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16-08-2012, 10:51 PM
RE: Should parents' belief in miracles trump
I believe that the patient should make the choice when possible. If I am looking forward to a long nasty death, slowly losing my ability to move I should be able to decide when it is over. As far as parents making a stupid choice as far as keeping doctors from treating their kids, they should have to die the same way their kid did. When we are talking about prolonging life, there has to be the potential of quality of life. Hopefully I never have to make a choice like that, but I would have to weigh all the options before telling doctors to stop trying. Bottom line is, religious beliefs should not apply.
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17-08-2012, 07:26 AM
RE: Should parents' belief...
Parents should have the right to make choices for their children. Period.

But I question changing the law to deal with such a small minority of cases. It's like the French head scarf ban that is a clear violation of civil rights and that in the end, effects like 200 women in the entire country.

17 of 203 cases in which parents opted to extend life.
11 of 17 cases in which they cited the possibility of miracle.
--5 of 11 cases in which parents were convinced to remove life support after counseling interventions.
--1 of 11 cases in which the court allowed doctors to end care.
--4 of 11 cases in which the children died despite continuing care.
--1 of 11 cases in which care was continued and the child survived with neurological disability.
6 of 17 cases in which parents objected on non-religious grounds.
--6 of 6 cases in which life support was removed.
--5 of 6 cases in which the children died as a result.
--1 of 6 cases in which the child survived with neurological disability.

Professor Julian Savulescu's argument about preferential treatment is an emotional one. Doctors still triage patients and no one can tell me that people are not receiving treatment because of bed congestion.

Also, a parents motivations for keeping their child alive should have nothing to do with law. That's thought police. That, to me, is truly the most perverted part of all of this.

If doctors are concerned, then fine, bring in someone to council them, as they did in most of the cases in the article, and if the parents change their minds, so be it. But if they don't, then they're adults who have made informed decisions and who have the legal and moral right to make decisions for their children.

In the end, this reeks of discrimination. The study showed that 35% of parents demanded care continue for non-religious reasons. If you're going to craft a law that says that doctors have the right to override parental decisions, then the motivations of the parent's decision should be utterly irrelevant. The word religion does not need to appear anywhere in the legislation and does not have to be a point of focus in the interpretation of the data.

I also take issue with the pain and suffering angle. I've met with and interviewed nurses at a palliative care residence and they state categorically that the technology is such that no amount of pain is unmanageable. The suffering thing is a lot more subjective, but people are allowed to believe what they want.

I'm also pro-treatment refusal. Bob Marley refused care for his toe cancer and he died as a result, but that was his choice. I think people should have choice. I also believe that parents should have the right to refuse treatment for their children.

I'm also pro-euthanasia.

I no more support allowing courts to decree when care should be terminated against the wishes of the parents than I support allowing courts to decree when care should be extended against the wishes of the parents.

People are, more and more, trying to medically extend life. The notion that it has only to do with religion is bunk though. Frontline did an excellent in-depth report about end of life care.

HERE is a link to the entire episode. I embedded the trailer and an excerpt below.








Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-08-2012, 07:41 AM (This post was last modified: 17-08-2012 07:49 AM by Chas.)
RE: Should parents' belief...
(17-08-2012 07:26 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Parents should have the right to make choices for their children. Period.

If you are only talking about end-of-life decisions, I only mildly disagree.

If you extend this to all decisions, I violently disagree. For example, genital mutilation.

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17-08-2012, 10:49 AM
RE: Should parents' belief in miracles trump medical expertise in end-of-life dec...
I think the question is far greater than just about religion. I can easily see atheist parents insisting on continued treatment of a child beyond medical recommendations too. So the real question comes down to whether the parents wishes should be honored even though the medical staff recognizes it's futile. I think the answer is "yes", if only to help the parents to better accept their loss.

Also, just as we atheists don't want religion to influence laws that would dictate our personal choices, I don't think it is right for laws to limit the private decisions of those who value religion either. When there is neutral ground - for example schools - then I think it is the place of the laws to keep both religion and atheism out, but government should stay out of personal decisions in personal situations.

That said, the point from the article about tying up the medical resources while another child with a treatable condition awaits, is a valid one. But, the bottom line is, if the first child had a severe condition that wasn't beyond hope, the second child would still be waiting anyway. It's first come, first served and that's life. I think it would be wrong to deny the parents the decision of, for example, when to pull the plug on the life support just because another child is waiting. The parents of the other child may just need to find another hospital in that case.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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17-08-2012, 12:07 PM
RE: Should parents' belief...
Hey, Impulse.

I'm down with what you're saying. Except this:

Quote:That said, the point from the article about tying up the medical resources while another child with a treatable condition awaits, is a valid one.

It would be valid if anything even remotely close to this ever happened. Which it doesn't. The very idea is preposterous. So it's a demagoguic argument, not a rational one.

Also, it's not first come first serve. They triage patients. They assign priority to people who are going to die in 5 minutes over people with broken arms; even if broken arm guy got there first. So, again, if we jettison the all of the clearly established patient priority protocols, then it's a valid concern. Unfortunately for Johnny Doomsday, reality wins out.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-08-2012, 12:10 PM (This post was last modified: 17-08-2012 12:19 PM by fstratzero.)
RE:



[video=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYQ9u_i4cu0[/video]



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