When Is 'Life Support' Really 'Death Support'

Discussion in 'All Other Discussions' started by Crabtownboy, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    When Is 'Life Support' Really 'Death Support'

    To me this is a very interesting question? What are your thoughts?

    I would say it is when a person is brain dead and yet the 'life support' keep their body functioning?

    Is this 'life support' used in this way violating God's will?
     
    #1 Crabtownboy, Dec 28, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2013
  2. Revmitchell

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    Terry Schivo was murdered Period.
     
  3. Crabtownboy

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    As usual, off topic and smoke blowing. Troll.
     
  4. PamelaK

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    Considering the following paragraph taken from my link below, I would say this is a very difficult question.

    "There is more to a loss of consciousness than simply not being awake. States such as coma, persistent vegetative state and normal sleep all involve a loss of consciousness, and all have different degrees of severity. Even in cases as severe as persistent vegetative state, there are rare cases of people waking up. Recent research suggests that some may have a greater degree of retained consciousness than previously recognized."

    If I am going to err, I choose to always err on the side of life. When is "life support" really "death support"? Can we ever really be 100% sure? Maybe we can be in certain instances, but I haven't done anywhere near enough research to be able to answer that for every particular case. Is "life support" violating God's will? Considering the above paragraph, I would have to say at this time I don't think so.

    http://neurology.about.com/od/Symptoms/a/Understanding-Brain-Death.htm
     
  5. Crabtownboy

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    I am curious, not arguing, why would it not be violating God's will to keep a person on life support for years. If they were not on life support, which is artificial, they would have died and, if saved, would have gone to be with Christ?

    Of course this philosophical/theological question opens a whole can of worms. When does intervention violate God's will and when does it not violate his will?
     
  6. Gina B

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    This is likely too spirited of a discussion for this section.

    I'm of the opinion that it should be left to individuals. If they haven't made that decision, it should be up to their families.

    Medical intervention is just that - intervention. I probably go a lot further than most people here in what I consider intervention, as my beliefs lead me to believe people have the right to refuse all intervention, if they wish, for themselves and their children. However, as you only asked about life support, I'll stick with that.

    If one wants to intervene, is it wrong? I don't believe it is, as we were given brains to use and science has used it to do some wonderful things. Can it go too far? Definitely. If one wants to take it and make a law of it, that is going too far. One can't take a natural process, intervene with science, then make it wrong if a human being or their family refuse to allow that intervention. It should be a choice.

    Since it does deal with life, it can get sticky. Since it was brought up, I don't believe the case of Schindler-Schiavo fits into this scenario because of the surrounding circumstances and evidence I believe shows she wasn't in a persistent vegetative state. After quite a bit of research into her case, I concluded that it was mishandled from the beginning to the very end.

    Not only is there this type of support, I've watched in sorrow and held people's hands as other types of "support" were given in non-DNR situations where it was simply their time and known, no arguments about it, no surprise to anyone, support that only prolonged the natural death process. However, some things are "required" by law and still done by sticklers for those laws, like giving IV fluids and nutrition once the person has stopped eating and drinking. Just those few extra days brought about some very unnecessary times for what should have been a more peaceful exit for them without...well, don't want to say what happens when you go against the natural process in some cases, it isn't pretty, and it's wrong to have to disturb them in their last days to swab and wipe them because of the stupid "helpful" laws that use no common sense and leave no room for logic.

    So that's life support IMO too, because it keeps them alive and doesn't let them die at their time.
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    Thank you for a most rational and clear reply. I really appreciate such replies.
     
  8. Deacon

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    It's very "Christian" to say err on the side of life but it's not very dignified.

    ...but death never dignified.

    Families are often unprepared to deal with life and death decisions.

    "Interventions" are expensive. The cost of a month in critical care is what most people save in a life time.

    It's hard to know when to 'give up' on a critically ill person but when it is obvious, it's often too late - costly interventions have already taken place.

    "Living wills" are more than often ignored by medical staff unless fully supported by all family members.

    Even then, protocols sometime encourage families to break a living will to facilitate timely transfers to less costly medical environments.

    Rob
     
  9. PamelaK

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    No problem, CB - you can even argue with me if you want - lol. That's what a discussion forum is for - to ask questions. I'm referring there in my comment to the statement in the link that says there have even been rare cases where someone in a PVS has awakened. As I mentioned, I'd have to do a lot of research into whatever type of PVS, or brain death, that, let's say for example, my husband had before I could just say let's disconnect. I guess I'm pretty black and white about this topic. God's will would not be for me to commit murder if that's what I thought I was doing. Does it come down to individual conscience before God? I suppose so. To further explain my POV, if I may, let me also say this and answer Rob.

    Rob, in your comment above, referring to my post, you say it sounds very "Christian" - you used the quotes - to say err on the side of life but it's not very dignified. You and I simply have a different definition of dignity I guess. If I have even the very slightest suspicion that my husband could wake up from something, then for me to disconnect would be murder. There's nothing dignified about murder. Yes, things get expensive. However, I have to answer to God about how I valued my husband's life, not about how well I kept the medical costs down. You say, "It's hard to know when to 'give up' on a critically ill person but when it is obvious, it's often too late - costly interventions have already taken place". It seems to me - and I could be wrong - that you are placing all the importance on the cost of the care rather than being satisfied that everything possible was done for them and that you can live with your decision before God. You mentioned living wills being ignored by medical staff. I know that as far as DNR's, the American Bar states on their website that they serve to protect doctors/hospitals from liability in the case of death but that doctors are free to exercise their conscience/religious beliefs if these come into play, and ignore the DNR. I do not know offhand if this is true with living wills as well, but I have a hunch it is. At any rate, please don't be too hard on the staff. They've been trained to protect life and I think we all want our medical personnel to step into our care with that frame of mind.
     
  10. questdriven

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    On the other hand, the same could theoretically be said of the medical practice in general since there are many conditions in which people would be dead without medical intervention.


    I tend to agree with the general idea that it should be decided on a case-by-case basis and left up to the individual or the family. I do err on the side of life whenever possible, but it's really hard to apply a "one size fits all scenarios" rule, y'know?
     
  11. Deacon

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    I agree with much that's been said.

    I worked in critical care medicine for decades but have I've been out of it for about twelve years now.

    But families often delay making a proper decision "if there's any hope", or to fail to make a decision because they don't want to face the inevitable.

    All the families see in the hospital is a family member under a white sheet with some beeping machines and perhaps a faintly unpleasant odor.
    But he medical staff has ventilators which keep oxygen levels up; arterial pressure monitors and intravenous medications to regulate blood pressure; cardiac pacemakers to trigger cardiopulmonary assist devices – we can keep your organs functioning long after you're dead. It's simply amazing how long we can keep a dead body functioning. But it gets really ugly watching a body slowly die.

    An emergency isn't the time to make these decisions. These are decisions that need to be talked about with the family as we age. (My parents shared glances with each other remembering when they spoke to their parents about these issues when I brought it up a few months ago with them).

    And I'm not young anymore either: I've got some medical issues that have me squarely facing this issue sometime in the unknown future. I'll admit that it's a very difficult decision – but for me – err on the side of death – don't prolong my death.

    As Christians, we've got something that the lost don't have.
    For those without Christ, death is agony and defeat: but as a Christian I've got a hope (to live is Christ, to die, gain).

    Rob
     
  12. PamelaK

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    I appreciate a lot of what you've said here, Rob, especially about not waiting for an emergency to discuss/decide on these issues. And as questdriven mentioned, I realize there probably can't be a one-size-fits-all answer in complicated medical conditions, but I do think it is important to have one's general principles and beliefs well thought out and decided. I do disagree with you on a key point however. As Christians, yes, we have hope, a permanent home in Heaven, and to die is gain. But you said you prefer to err on the side of death (for yourself). Imagine if each Christian took that stance just because we have a hope. There's a reason - many actually - that we all just don't go out and throw ourselves into the middle of a crowded freeway to get to Heaven. A key one is that the Bible teaches us the value of, respect for, and the sanctity of life. In my opinion, for any Christian to have the attitude of "err on the side of death" sets a really bad precedent for Christians and a bad example to the unsaved world, but we will have to agree to disagree.
     
  13. Deacon

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    I've been jaded by years of critical care experience.
    A good nurse respects life - even in dying.
    The statement was for me alone.
    Death just isn't pleasant and I'd rather not prolong the process.

    The topic started out talking about technology... here's an example:

    Many people die of something called sudden death, which is a fatal cardiac arrhythmia.
    These arrhythmia are terminated by shocking/ (defibrillating) a patient - just like on TV.
    For some people that are prone to these arrhythmia we insert an internal defibrillator.
    Now for some of us, if we could choose a way, we'd choose to die in our sleep.
    But those people with these defibrillators have crossed off that way - let's say they're going out with a bang.
    I'd say internal defibrillators are a good technology for a select, young to middle age population but for the elderly I feel they are a curse.

    Rob
     

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