Category Archives: Euthanasia

Early Death, Their Way, by: J. Hoffman

Early Death, Their Way, by: J. Hoffman

From The New York Times that came with today’s paper…

Tumors had disfigured Ashley Leigh McHale’s features and spread to her organs.  A year ago, AshLeigh, 17, flew from her home in Catoosa, Oklahoma, to the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, with thin hope of slowing her melanoma.

A social worker stopped by her hospital room, and they began a conversation that would be inconceivable to most teenagers: If death approached and AshLeigh could no longer speak, what would she want her loved ones to know?

The social worker showed AshLeigh a new planning guide to help critically ill young patients express their preferences for their final days—and afterward.

If visitors arrived when AshLeigh was asleep, did she want to be woken?  What about life support?  Funeral details?  Who should inherit her computer?  Or Bandit, her dachshund?

When she died in July, AshLeigh was at home as she had requested.  Per her instructions, she was laid out for the funeral in her favorite jeans, cowgirls boots and the white shirt she had gotten for Christmas.  Later, the family dined, as AshLeigh had directed, on steak fajitas and corn on the cob.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I’d had to make these decisions during our extreme grief,” said her mother, Ronda McHale.  “But she did it all for me.  Even though she got to where she couldn’t speak, AshLeigh had her say.”

A national push to have end-of-life discussions before a patient is too sick to participate has focused largely on older adults.  Recently, providers have begun approaching teenagers and young adults directly, giving them a voice in these decisions.

“Adolescents are competent enough to discuss their end-of-life preferences,” said Pamela S. Hinds, a contributor on pediatrics for “Dying in America,” a 2014 report by the nonprofit Institute of Medicine.  “Studies show they prefer to be involved and have not been harmed by any such involvement.”

There are no firm estimates of the number of young patients facing life-threatening diseases at any given time.  Cancer, heart disease and congenital deformities together account for an estimated eleven percent of deaths among adolescents in America, about 1,700 per year.  And thousands live with the uncertainty of grave illness.

“If you are one of the children for whom this matters, or one of their parents, this is a huge opportunity,” said Dr. Chris Feudtner, a pediatric palliative care physician and ethicist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

But shifting from hushed talks with parents to conversations that include young patients has met some resistance.  Many doctors lack training about how to raise these topics with teenagers.

Yet research shows that avoiding these talks exacerbates the teenage patient’s fear and sense of isolation.

In a 2012 survey examining end-of-life attitude among adolescent patients with H.I.V., fifty-six percent said that not being able to discuss their preferences was “a fate worse than death.”  In a 2013 study, adolescents and parents described such talks as emotionally healing.

Teenage patients can guide, even lead, their medical care, Dr. Freudner said.  Including them in the discussions acknowledges a terrible fact that patients and family members struggle to keep from each other: the likelihood of death.  “Then people can be together, as opposed to be alone,” Dr. Freudner said.  The teenage patient can address intimate topics, including, “the scariest aspects of the human condition—mortality and pain—but also love, friendship and connection.”

Karly Koch, a college student from Muncie, Indiana, has been treated for many serious illnesses, including Stage four lymphoma, all related to a rare genetic immune disorder.  Her older sister, Kelsey, died of the condition at twenty-two.

Last spring, Karly, then nineteen, developed congestive heart failure.  As Karly lay in the intensive care at the National Institute of Health, a psychotherapist approached her mother, Tammy, with the new planning guide.

“Do we talk about dying?” Mrs. Koch recalled wondering.  “Maybe Karly hasn’t thought about it—do we put it in her head?”

“We had already buried a child and had to guess what she wanted,” she continued.  “So we wanted Karly to have a voice.”

Karly’s reaction?  “She said it wasn’t like we were telling her something she didn’t already know,” Mrs. Koch said.

The guide used by Karly Koch and AshLeigh McHale is called “Voicing My Choices.”  It is the first guide created for adolescent and young adult patients.

The intention was to create a way for them “to make choices about what nurtures, protects and affirms their remaining life and how they wish to be remembered,” said Lori Wiener, a principal investigator on the research that led to the planning guides.

In straightforward language, the guide offers young patients check boxes for medical decisions like pain management.  Another section asks about comfort.  Favorite foods?  Music?  What gives you strength of joy, the guide asks.  What do you wish to be forgiven for?

By offering young patients opportunities to write farewell letters, donate their bodies to research and create rituals for remembering them, the planning guide allays one of their greatest fears: They are too young to leave a meaningful legacy.

Last July, Karly Koch had an experimental bone marrow transplant.  With twelve medications a day and a surgical mask, she is out and about in Muncie.  Karly takes classes to become a physical therapy assistant.  She delights in “normal people” activities.

Her parents keep Karly’s copy of “Voicing My Choices” in their bedroom cabinet.  “It isn’t gloomy to go through,” Karly said.  “It’s kind of fun to get your feelings out there.”

“Now looking at it,” she continued, “I think I’d like to add some things.”

So, this, is a way, of helping young people who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses cope with their own final affairs, and, it’s a great thought, because it will give the families some comfort, knowing that their offspring had the chance, of voicing their opinions on how they wanted to go, and it gives respects to the terminally ill, and shows respect toward life too.

 

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Filed under Choices, Coping Mechanisms, Do-Not-Resuscitate, Euthanasia, Life, Observations, On Death & Dying, Perspectives, Properties of Life, Values

Dragged On, by This Ailing Body of Mine…

This would be, taking, someone ELSE’s persona…

Dragged on, by this ailing body of mine, I feel, so incarcerated, so trapped, inside, this body that no longer feels like mine anymore, and yet, because I can still “function” (meaning that I still got a pulse, a VERY STRONG one to boot!!!), the doctors, they wouldn’t, consider, letting me die a good death.

And, recently, I’d had yet, ANOTHER stroke, that rendered me, handicapped, and, I’d started, needing the help, to wheel me everywhere,, and, I’m still trapped, by this ailing body of mine.  Dragged on, by this ailing body of mine, why, oh why, can’t I just die?  I’d been made to suffer, since the moment that my dearly beloved family told the doctors to SAVE me, but, at the price and the cost, of losing MY dignity as a human being, because I’m totally, incapable of performing the MOST basic of all functions in life, like I’d needed someone ELSE, to WIPE my ass for me, someone, to bathe me too!

Dragged on, by this ailing body of mine, why must I be?  I’m just, too tired of, relying on EVERYBODY to take care of me, I don’t want to live like this anymore, and yet, I can’t, be euthanized yet, because, save for this problem of immobility and loss of speech, caused by my stroke awhile ago, every OTHER part of me, is still, quite healthy still………

 

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Filed under Basic Human Rights, Choices, Downward Spiral, Euthanasia, Expectations, Issues of the Society, Letting Go, Life, My Thoughts on Various Issues, On Death & Dying, Properties of Life, Right to Die, Social Awareness, Social Issues, Story-Telling, the Finality of Life

An Eighty-Year-Old Man Stabbed His Ailing Wife to Death, He Was Indicted

Burdens on the sole care provider, and this time, he cracked, and, did something that was, beyond repair, from the Newspapers, translated…

An elderly veteran, Ku felt bad over his wife’s encephalitis which caused her to be bedridden long-term, feared that she will never walk again, he’d gotten rid of the nurse’s aide, used a fruit knife, stabbed his own wife to death, then, attempted to commit suicide by slashing his own abdomen, but was saved in time; the Shihlin District Attorney’s Office prosecuted him on murder charges, but, the D.A. also asked the judge to consider the elderly man’s age, along with his motives for committing the murder, to find a suitable punishment for what he’d done.

Mr. Ku is already eighty-four years old, married to his wife who was sixty-nine for over forty years, and they’d never had a fight; nine years ago, Ku’s wife started showing signs of dizziness and had fainting spells, last year in August, because of viral encephalitis, she was hospitalized, and became a resident at the MacKay Memorial Hospital in Danshui.

Last year during the noon hours of September17th, Ku gave Yeh, the bedside assistant for his wife an errand to run, used a fruit knife, and jabbed his wife in the chest region, then, slashed his own abdomen region; Ku’s neighbor came to visit in the afternoon, as he pulled back the curtain, he saw what had happened, he’d immediately called up the nurses.  Ku’s wife, because of the collapse in her left lung, blood had filled up her chest cavities, she’d died of respiratory failure; after emergency resuscitation, Ku’s life was saved.

On the day of the stabbing, the D.A. came to inquire at the hospital, and Ku told of why he’d stabbed his own wife in a very calm and collected manner, and told the D.A., “Even though I’m a murderer, but don’t be afraid of me”, and begged him, “Do give me the death sentence”, and hoped, that he could “follow” his wife.

And because Ku the elder was old, with physical injuries, and didn’t show a risk of taking off, he wasn’t taken into custody, and now, his son looks after him.  Ku’s children no longer wanted to talk of how their father murdered their mother, and feared, that their father might be suicidal again.

And while the D.A. inquired the happenings of that day with Ku, they were extremely careful toward his physical and mental wellbeing, and, although Ku no longer talked of “following his wife off”, but he was clearly depressed.  The members of the legal world stated, that murder is a serious crime that can get one the death sentence, a life sentence, or over ten years’ jail sentence, and even though, Ku was over eighty, there may be a reduction to the time he will be serving, but, there would be NO delayed serving his jail sentence.

And so, another case of a mercy killing, because the man didn’t want to see his own wife suffer any longer, he’d killed her, out of love, and that is still considered murder, after all, he did, take the life, of another, but, it was out of love, and so, the D.A. was lenient on the asking of the sentence for this man.  And this also shows that there is still a TON of stress on the primary caretakers of the elderly, and in these cases, the primary caretakers are usually the spouses, and, the families need to be more in-tune with the sole caretaker’s mental states, to prevent these sorts of things from occurring again.

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Euthanasia, Lives Lost, Moral Responsibilities, Murder, On Death & Dying, Right to Die, Social Awareness, The Right to Choose How One Will Die, White Picket Fence

A Battle Won, in Legalizing Euthanasia

KUDOS, for the right to D-I-E, from NBCNEWS.com, by: B. Briggs…

The text came from the bedroom above. “Are you coming up?” asked his brother, Dan Diaz.

Adrian Diaz felt nervous about heading to the second story where his sister-in-law, Brittany Maynard, 29, was about to purposefully swallow a prescribed, lethal medication. They had grown close since her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer.

He climbed the stairs on Nov. 1 in the Portland, Oregon home Maynard had rented with her husband, Dan, so she could access that state’s Death With Dignity law. Adrian saw Brittany in her bed. She immediately rose and stepped to him. She hugged him, said she loved him, then gave the Bay Area lobbyist a solemn task.

“If you’re willing, I really feel it’s important to get the law changed in California. We shouldn’t have had to move from California.”

His answer was instant: “Absolutely. I’ll do everything I can.” The words made her smile.

Maynard asked the same of her mother and of Dan. After forging those pacts, she took her prescribed medications. Five minutes later, she was asleep. Thirty minutes later, she was gone.

“It was a promise to her,” Adrian recalled in an interview with NBC News. He works in the government relations office at the University of California, Berkeley. He also officiated their wedding. “We all believed she deserved to die at home in the state where she was born, in the city where she shared a home with her husband.”

On Thursday, nearly three months after her death, Dan and Adrian Diaz were busy fulfilling their pledge, meeting with a New Jersey legislator to push for the introduction of a death-with-dignity bill there. On Sunday, the brothers also met with a New York lawmaker to pitch the same action.

Currently, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico authorize aid in dying. In the aftermath of Maynard’s massively viral campaign to expand laws for people like her, legislators in at least 13 other states and Washington, D.C. have revealed plans to introduce similar bills.

For the Diaz brothers, the campaign trail is fresh. Mourning has consumed the family, and still does. But now, they are feeling her presence all over again as they make their case to lawmakers.

In those meetings, Dan Diaz, 43, often pulls out photos showing the famous smile of his late bride, or images of a happy couple who already knew their time together was ticking down.

“Her instructions to me were to see this through – and pride is what it comes down to,” Dan Diaz told NBC News. “When I find myself talking to a legislator, I’m proud of what she started.

“People have referred to, ‘Oh, she was courageous.’ Yes, I guess. But that was just Brittany being Brittany. That was nothing out of the ordinary. She would speak up for something that she didn’t think was right and wanted to change.

“So the emotion for me is: this is a legacy for her. She began this conversation, one voice triggering all this. Now, I’m proud to bring it to fruition,” added Diaz, who remains on temporary leave from his job as an executive in the consumer packaged goods industry.

In their stops so far, the Diaz brothers still feel momentum, they say, that she created with a series of globally viewed videos, produced months and weeks before her death. Dan says he looks forward to speaking with politicians who oppose his views: “Hey, maybe I’m missing something. It’s like: Convince me. I want to hear it. But so far, most of their arguments are based on fear, and that’s not any way we should make any public policy.

“People are afraid to talk about the topic of death.”

And tactically, the brothers believe Maynard was right about the political battleground she mapped in her final minutes.

“As California goes, so goes the nation,” Adrian Diaz said.

“California, if we get that one on the books, and if we can get New York, it’s kind of a domino effect,” Dan Diaz added. “The other states will recognize that all of the fears raised by the opposition, about slippery slopes and all that, the populations will rise and say: No, there isn’t that concern here.”

According to a HealthDay/Harris Poll released in December, Americans support by a 5-to-1 margin (74 percent in favor, 14 percent against), that terminally ill adults with no option for recovery should be able to access aid in dying.

In California, two state lawmakers have announced that they expect to file a death-with-dignity bill before the end of January.

“Any of us could find ourselves in this predicament,” Dan Diaz said. “Get the laws on the books and let the decision be between the patient working with their doctors.

“It’s certainly not something a legislator or a politician or even a church official should weigh in on. That is part of our message.”

And so, this, is a STEP forward, on human rights, because we should have the rights to decide, IF we want to undergo further treatments for our debilitating conditions, or IF we just want to, leave, without dignities intact, and this woman had the control over H-O-W it’d ended in the U.S., so, this, is still, a step forward on the respects toward human lives.

 

 

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Euthanasia, Life, On Death & Dying, Properties of Life, Right to Die, Social Awareness, Social Issues

A Son Could No Longer See His Mother Suffering in Illness, Burned Coal to Commit Suicide with Her, He Ended Up Getting Saved

Because he couldn’t bear to see his ailing mother suffer longer, that, was the road he took, from the Front Page Sections, translated…

A thirty-year-old man, Tsai who’s was registered as a low income person early yesterday morning burned coal at his place, was rushed to the hospital, and his life was saved, but the mother who was paralyzed, and his old dog both died, he’d mumbled to himself, “It’s just so very hard, so very tired.”  His wife said sorrowfully, that maybe her mother-in-law’s conditions worsened, and, her husband couldn’t bear to see her get worse, that, was why he’d wanted to die with his mother, and, the police will do an autopsy on the mother to clarify the cause of death of the elderly woman.

The neighbors pointed out, that the Tsais are a rare pair of children who treated their elders well, four years ago, after the mother, at age sixty-two became paralyzed, the couple would feed her, bathe her, took good care of her, without a word of complaint, and, they would see Tsai, bringing his mother out on her wheelchair, so she could get some sun, and, would be courteous to the elderly neighbors as well, and, the old dog was always by the side too, and, they couldn’t imagine that something awful like this had happened overnight.

The police investigated, that after Tsai’s mother became paralyzed, in order to take care of her, Tsai slept next to his mother’s bed on the floors, and had his wife take the kids to move back in with her parents, and, every morning when he goes to work, he’d had his wife take over the care of his mother.

Yesterday morning, as Tsai’s wife entered through the door, she’d smelled the fumes of smoke, went into the bedroom, saw Tsai lying on the floor, with the ashes close by, and, Tsai’s mother was already dead and cold, and, even the white puppy too, was dead as well, she’d called 119 for help immediately; as the fire department and the EMTs got there, Tsai still had signs of life, they’d rushed him to the hospital, and, they’d heard him mumbled, “it’s really hard, really tiresome,” on the way to the hospital.

Tsai’s wife said, that recently, her mother-in-law’s condition became very unstable, it’d gotten her husband in a bad mood, two days ago, her mother-in-law went into a comatose, rushed to the hospital for emergency resuscitation, and after she’d regained consciousness, and was sent home, then, her condition worsened again, and that maybe her husband couldn’t bear to see his mother being tortured, that, was why he’d killed her, and attempted suicide.

But, the police pointed out, that Tsai’s mother had the covers pulled on top of her, lying on the bad, and, she didn’t seem to have died from the fires, and, whether it was because of carbon monoxide poisoning, or it was Tsai, killing his mother, they will be autopsying the body to clarify.

And so, this, is the man’s final kindness to his own mother, because she’s in pain, and, her body is ailing, and, the son simply couldn’t bear to see his mother get tortured any longer by her ailments, and this, was what he’d resorted to doing.

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Filed under Cost of Living, Euthanasia, Social Awareness, Social Issues, Suicides, Tragedies in the World

A Murder-Suicide, an Act of Love

On the Right to Die, Euthanasia, still an issue of ethics, from NBCNEWS.com, by: M. Fortier, G. Wayland, & K. Underwood…

A husband and wife were killed in a New Hampshire hospital Tuesday in an apparent murder-suicide shooting that their friend told NECN was an “act of love,” not a crime.

Mark and Katherine Lavoie both died after shots were fired just after 6 a.m. at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, friends and family confirmed to NECN. Authorities have not revealed the pair’s identities.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said the investigation is still in its early stages, but the two deaths appear to be the result of a murder-suicide. Autopsies will be conducted to determine the cause and manner of the deaths.

On Facebook, Mark Lavoie stated his anguished motives for wanting to take his wife’s life, writing in part, “now because of my selfishness in dialing 911, she is experiencing the only thing she feared more than her illness, life-support on a respirator.”

Barbara Hanson, a friend of the Lavoies, told NECN that it was not a crime, but an “act of love,” and that the two were soulmates. According to Hanson, it wasn’t a secret that Katherine Lavoie was battling depression, and she said she believes Katherine tried to commit suicide on Sunday night, which was when her husband called 911. Hanson said Katherine Lavoie ended up on life support at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

“He knew Kathy would not want to live as a vegetable, and I think he knew he would be so broken without her that he needed to be with her and that’s why he did what he did,” Hanson said, adding, “This was not something that was done out of hate or loathing or anger or despair. This is something that was done out of pure, absolute love.”

So, this husband is making right what he thought he’d done wrong, because he felt, that having called 9-1-1 to save his wife’s life had made her suffered even longer, and so, he’d murdered her, then, took his own life, and, it is, an act of love, because he couldn’t withstand to see his wife suffer longer than she needed to…

 

 

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Filed under Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Euthanasia, News Stories, Properties of Life, Right to Die, the Finality of Life, Values

Dying, on Her Own Terms

Dying, on her own terms, she’d earned THAT right, you’d think, but, she still couldn’t, because her country had yet, to legalize euthanasia yet.

Dying, on her own terms, she wasn’t allowed to, because her life was never hers to begin with, when she was born, her life belonged to her parents, and, as she grew up, married, her life then, got transferred (like the deeds?), into her husband’s hands, and then, she’d lived, for her children.

And now, she’s old and gray, and ailing, and she still couldn’t have a say, in how she choose to go, because her country didn’t allow for assisted suicide AND euthanasia, and, she didn’t want to implicate anybody with murder.

Dying on her own terms, it’s a luxury, she never got the chance to have, she’d suffered, long, AND hard, she was diagnosed with cancer, that first time, she’d undergone rounds of chemotherapy, lost all of her hair, and, she’d covered up all the mirrors inside her house, so she could not see her own reflections, because she felt ugly.

Dying on her own terms, she didn’t get that, because, she was dragged out, by cancer, and, she tried to kick and scream, but the chemo left her too weak, she couldn’t make a single sound.

Dying on her own terms, this, was the thing she’d wanted now, but, her kids wouldn’t, couldn’t bare to see her go, even IF she’d told them, to not traech her, at the last moment, when the doctors asked her kin if they wanted to resuscitate her, they’d told the doctors yes, and, she lived in a coma, and wasn’t unplugged…

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