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  • Dignity in Dying
  • Premier Icon tjagain
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    IIRC the topic has been touched on on other threads but not a thread of its own. Its a topic close to my heart because of what I have seen professionally and in my personal life. Long post on a complex topic.

    Firstly I’ll try to define a few things. Dignity in dying is an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of provisions. In sort of order of levels

    DNACPR – do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation. An instruction that in the event of a cardiac arrest that medical / ambulance staff do not do CPR. This should always be decided in discussions with the person and / or their family. All other medical investigations and treatments should be given / continued

    DNACPR with advanced care plan ( ACP) – This would limit treatments given ie no surgery or no IV antibiotics or “comfort” measures only. Again should always be done in discussions with the patient and / or family

    These two are legal in the UK and often used. Medical team make the decision after consultation with the family. Very rarely any disputes ( but I have seen disputes especially with religious people most noticeably Muslims)

    Passive Euthanasia – this is the stopping of life saving / prolonging treatment ie turning off ventilators or withdrawing tube feeding. If the person is “brain dead” which there is a series of tests for then this is a straightforward decision ( usually will apply only to ventilation) but if someone is in a minimally conscious or persistent vegetative state then a court usually will make the decision but IIRC recent court decisions have broadened the grounds under which this can be done without recourse to the courts. This can be a contentious area ( to say the least)

    Physician assisted suicide – For this the doctor would prescribe a lethal dose of something and the person takes the pill, pushes the button or whatever else is needed to actually do the deed. Illegal in the UK but IIRC used in some US states

    Active Euthanasia. – This is where a doctor will administer a lethal dose of something – usually a mix of muscle relaxants and Sedative – muscle relaxants stop you breathing, sedatives mean you do not struggle. This is the Dignitas / Dutch position. Illegal in the UK

    To me to have a dignified pain free death with your loved ones around you at the end of your life should be a human right. A good death is something we all deserve to have. The questions are around what measures should we as medical professionals and lay people be able to take to ensure that is what happens.

    Now the stories:
    My grandfather. He was an old man with a series of illnesses that made him miserable but would not kill him. His wife had died. He knew his life was coming to an end. He was on strong opiate painkillers. One day he took an overdose ( he was living with my parents) after 24 hours of being unconscious my parents could no longer cope and he was taken into hospital ( GP had been in attendance) after a few days he recovered and after seeing a psychiatrist ( as all ODs admitted to hospital are) he was sent home again with but without his opiate painkillers so he was even more miserable. 3 months later his GP again prescribed the opiates, a few days later he took a second overdose, again he did not die immediately at home and was taken into hospital. He took 2 weeks to die in a semi conscious state most of that time. One day when my mum was visiting he said to her “I just want to go to sleep. Why wont they let me” He refused all food and almost all water during this time. Effectively he died of dehydraton and pressure sores and he died without his family with him.

    This one I have seen numerous times in my career. An old woman who has decided her life is coming to and end ( its always women IME) She decided to stop eating and drinking ( “turning her head to the wall”) it takes a week or two to die

    A dutch relative. He was 70 and discovered he had terminal leukemia. He went to his GP and arranged active euthanasia to be carried out at a time of his choosing. He then told his wife and the rest of the family and set a date in two weeks time to allow him to get his affairs in order. At the allotted time his doctor came to his house and administered the injection and he died peacefully in the arms of his wife.

    Obviously I have strong views on this and wish our country had more humane laws. I have seen many people die. I have fought for people to have their wishes respected in both ways ie I have argued for the continuation of futile treatment for people who wished to fight to the end, I have argued for an end to treatment for those who wished it

    My major concern is the time it can take for people to die at the end of their lives. We are allowed to treat symptoms without regard to any life shortening effects ie give strong painkillers if they are in pain, give sedatives if they are distressed but all we can do is alleviate suffering not end it.

    How you are treated at the end of your life depends very much on the medical team treating you and their views. there is no Gold standard or standard practice laid down

    So – your thoughts folks?

    fossy
    Member

    Fully supportive of Dignity in Dying.

    FIL had terminal cancer and was given morphine to settle him. One SIL didn’t realise what it was for and was trying to stop him being given it, ended up in a row, where it was explained it was to help him pass peacefully.

    MIL’s been dying for about 5 years. Annual lengthy visits to hospital, they fix her up and she’s back home – no mobility from stroke, heart failure, AF, badly managed type 2. She had a bad turn last year where the docs stopped her meds, last rights etc. We all thought she’d had it, but as part of her treatment they noticed her blood sugar was in the 20’s, so injected insulin rather than have tablets. She had DNACPR. Anyway, she recovered, but is now not able to stand, so spends her days in a Nursing home with a nappy. She has to be hoisted into a chair or commode. Usually the commode is only used when she needs a crap.

    She’d been ill again recently, and the docs discussed DNACPR as she’s removed it during the last 12 months. We chatted whth her again and she decided to re-instate it. Anyway, with being looked after, and modern meds, she is still here.

    qwerty
    Member

    In short – animals are often treated with more dignity than humans, it’s a taboo to resolve to allow a human to die, particularly in the U.K. Saving a life, or, prolonging a death there is a huge difference on many levels. Old people in particular get tired of living, they can have their lives painfully drawn out by medicine, it’s painful to see.

    It’s a topic worthy of discussion, if you’d like to discuss it, one place you can is your local death cafe:

    https://deathcafe.com/c/United_Kingdom/

    And there isn’t a one cap fits all answer.

    It’s the ONLY certainty in life, that we, our loved ones, all of us WILL die… and no one seems to plan for it, it’s nearly always a surprise!!!

    After having sat all night with my wife and her family, watching and listening to her mother die after removal of all but palliative care I know for sure I would rather die at a time of my own choosing than let anyone suffer with me through a long death.

    We don’t let animals suffer as to do so would be considered cruel, why then do we not afford the same kindness to each other?

    A dignified death if at all possible.

    We watched our lovely elderly neighbour (the one I had to keep fixing the hedge trimmer wiring for) gradually fading.  A few years ago he had a UTI and Sepsis.  He was really diminished for want of a better term when he came out.  He knew it.

    He had a heart problem, was on warfarin, frusemide and some other medications.  His ability was to get about was going.  He told us repeatedly he had had enough, it wasn’t depression, more weariness, he had been on some great holidays, outlasted two wives and had some fun with some of the elderly ladies in our Close after this.  He wanted to go on his terms but no, he had to slide into that shitty condition, Dementia, suffer a large operation to sort out a hernia, endure a hospital related infection before going into a nice care home which hated.  We saw him the day before he died and it was gut wrenching to see the happy, full of banter, cheeky bloke reduce to babbling incoherence in a hospital bed begging to die.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Subscriber

    So would you be in favour of active euthanasia in the dutch style?

    Passive euthanasia upsets me in that it can take time to die although oddly enough dying of dehydration which is the usual outcome is not thought to be particularly unpleasant especially if painkillers and sedatives are given and a good standard of nursing care is performed

    physician assisted suicide needs a person to be able to take active steps ie its no use to those in the end stages of motor neurone disease or dementia

    Active euthanasia requires a doctor to commit a positive act – to deliberately end someones life

    Look at the opposition to any steps down this road. The Liverpool care pathway was a codified way of ensuring best practice in end of life care. Melanie Phillips made it unusable in her newspaper columns and now we no longer have that best practice to follow relying instead on individual judgement which by their very nature is arbitrary.

    alpin
    Member

    Interesting listen with regards to the Dutch approach.

    https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cudGhlZ3VhcmRpYW4uY29tL25ld3Mvc2VyaWVzL3RoZS1hdWRpby1sb25nLXJlYWQvcG9kY2FzdC54bWw&episode=NWM1MDQ3NTVlNGIwMjRmMGVmZWIwYjgx

    I’m all for it.

    Watched my mum go through several bouts of chemo and essentially waste away over the course of a year.

    In hindsight, it would have been better for her and selfishly the rest of us if nature was left to do its thing before all the chemo and uncertainty.

    Premier Icon tomd
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    Well written TJ, personally I would get behind it.

    1) Death is a bit taboo, it affects everyone but most people don’t consider their future decrepit selves. Talking about it is not going to be a vote winner and therefore beyond the self interest of the current shitehawks in power. So well done for raising it.

    2) You’ve given some very harrowing examples. However if implemented there will be tough cases where it’s nowhere near as obvious that the prevention of suffering overrides all the other moral issues with suicide (these can be the classical religious “mortal sin” pish or secular).

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-51103687

    I’m interested in where you would draw the boundaries? It can be easy to get everyone to agree over an old person who is lucid but in extreme agony. Would mental health alone justify euthanasia? Does it matter if the person is 19 or 91? Etc

    crikey
    Member

    I was an ITU nurse for 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of people die.

    The conversation that TJ alludes to needs to happen, but there will be a barrier from religious organisations, from the idiot ‘newspapers’ and others who will never allow people to choose for themselves.

    It’s your life, you should be able to choose how it ends.

    There is also the conflict that we have seen in the various legal cases regarding children; I think this will increase in the future.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
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    Having watched my mum die from metastatic cancer, complicated with diabetes and loads of other crap, I’m all for euthanasia. It would have saved her countless indignities.

    If I’m given a similar diagnosis, I will be taking myself solo deep water diving.

    Semi-ironically, mum was heavily involved in the local death cafe and spoke on the radio about it. She had her plan and everything sorted before she passed.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    That link is not working for me Tomd

    In the Netherlands there has been some borderline cases that on the surface look wrong. My sister is a journalist in the Netherlands and she tells me she looked into them and was happy once she looked below the surface

    One case was a young woman ( teens? twenties?) who had been living with awful depression for many years. Requested euthanasia and it was granted. The other was an old woman who had many years prior stated that if she got severe dementia ( and went past laid down thresholds) she wanted to be euthanised. At the time of the euthanasia she was unable to consent again and in order to perform the euthanasia she had to be restrained.

    there are also distinctions in active euthanasia – is it only at the patients wishes or can it be performed without the patients consent if they are unable to consent but are in intolerable suffering? for me that final one is a step to far I think

    There was a case in recent years in the UK with a brain damaged child. IIRC tube fed but breathing unassisted but no hope of recovery. The parents fought hard to stop the withdrawal of treatment and won the case and took the child home. Those parents are now divorced and the child was cared for in a state funded institution. I do not know if they are still alive now.

    How hard must that be for parents? the child could not give its view.

    for many religious people its a mortal sin to suicide and for some even a DNACPR order is wrong – I know of this with muslim patients although I believe some senior Imams have now given a judgement that DNACPR is not a mortal sin.

    Gray areas will exist in any system. How far are we prepared to go?

    Edit – I got the link to work. Interesting stuff

    Premier Icon Bregante
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    Very apt timing. My 84 year old mum has been in a home for the last 3 years and has combined dementia. Her condition has deteriorated over the past two months and she is now unable to communicate other than the odd flicker of an eyeball when you stand directly in front of her and speak loudly to her. Her breathing is so shallow that I’ve often had to put my face against hers to check if she is still with us. My 86 year old dad makes the trip to see her every single day in the hope that he’ll get some sort of response from her.

    He convinces himself some days that he sees some crumb of improvement. He doesn’t really. None of us do.

    I worry about the toll this is taking on him too and he’s gone from being a fit and active man to moping around on his own waiting to either go and see my mum or being completely down after a visit. In 3 years I don’t think he’s missed a single day other than when he had a cold. At the weekend mum deteriorated further after a chest infection. We were told to prepare for her to go into a hospice and to go into the end of life care pathway.

    Today, although there has been no improvement whatsoever, she will be staying apt the care home. So on it goes and I hate myself for wanting it to come to an end.

    By contrast, we had to have our cat put to sleep this weekend. she has had kidney failure for a few weeks and wasn’t eating. It was heartbreaking, especially for my children. But we all knew it was the right thing to do. I know which one had the most dignified death.

    Premier Icon convert
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    My father died with assistance of the Liverpool pathway. I know this now but no one explained it to us at the time. It was only a few months later when it was in the news and it all sounded very familiar that I went back and asked. Got to confess it didn’t look or feel too marvelous at the time but I guess the alternative could have been worse. It saved him a couple of weeks of indignity he would have hated.

    I’d like to think that when the time comes I’d take things into my own hands but I’m not sure how realistic that is. I’ve also witnessed so many oldies cling on to diminishing quality of life long past what I think they would have deemed worth it when they were fit and healthy. My wife’s grandad was the exception – he was ready to leave the world for at least two years and told everyone he wanted to die. It would have been far more humane to help him have his wish sooner.

    crikey
    Member

    I’ve a million stories to tell about this subject, most subject to issues of confidentiality, but a satisfying one was a man who knew he was dying, and who knew he had the capacity to decide when he’d had enough. I sat with him through the night and he chose that he didn’t want anymore treatment at about 5 am.

    I was asked to call his sister so he could see her, and I asked him if he wanted anything else.

    ‘I’d really like some vodka and some ice cream, no bloody chance of that in here…’

    So I spoke to his sister and told her what he wanted; she turned up 20 minutes later with vodka and his favourite ice cream. I was going off duty at 8 am and I don’t eat ice cream but I did have a drink with him and wished him well, where ever he was going.

    An under recognised part of this whole issue is the effect on the staff who deal with this every day; we/they have to go back and do it again, and again, and again and it takes its toll.
    That’s why I don’t do it anymore…

    Premier Icon tomd
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    Sorry it was this one from Belgium

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-51322781

    The “greater good” is a reasonable argument, as in allowing this will alleviate more suffering than it would cause. I agree with this.

    Worth considering though that this assumes that you subscribe to some sort of consequentialist ethics, which not everyone does. Some people look at the world a different way, and don’t accept the ends justify the means. An action is either right or wrong, regardless of the consequences (deontological ethics).

    So this is why pinning down exactly when, why and how suicide is ok is really import and very hard to do.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Crickey – I have picked the tales I can tell very carefully for the same reasons – confidentiality. Perhaps one day when its all a bit longer in the past I will be able to tell more of them. I love the Vodka and ice cream one.

    I left working in ITU because I did not like the prolonging of death that sometimes happened. One particular case broke me. I can still see his face 35 years later

    Convert – the LCP did not shorten life. It merely codified best practice and gave standards to work within.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Tomd – there you get into some really interesting ethics. For me its about individual rights. I support anyones right to fight to the end and indeed have argued for people to have what I know to be futile treatment because that is what I knew they wanted. I see no reason why someone elses beliefs should dictate what I do but I do understand that for some to end life in any way is wrong – even DNACPR is sometimes viewed in this way.

    One thing I have heard is that if you ask able bodied people would they want euthanasia if they became severely disabled almost all say yes. If you ask severely disabled people after they became disabled haveing previous lived normal lives most say no

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
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    I believe one of the threads TJ is alluding to is one of mine. This is definitely a subject close to me right now in any case so I won’t type too much about it as it gets upsetting.

    I 100% agree that we need to, nationally, have ‘The Conversation’ about it. Since medical science has made amazing progress in how to extend our skill in keeping people alive we’ve never stepped back and thought about whether it’s the best thing to do. In some cases you could easily argue that intervening to keep someone alive is actually crueller than letting them succumb. Both sides of my family have a habit of living until 80-odd but almost all that have lived that long have needed lots of care to enable them to live a life rather than just existing. My dad is currently riddled with cancer at 80 and I get the horrible feeling that the treatment is just delaying the inevitable for no real gain. He spends his days just sat there watching TV as he has very little energy for much more, one small walk with the dog every day is about his limit. He’s not getting any enjoyment out of this extra time, he is just adding extra days to his tally. Of course he always says he’s happy but it is blatantly obvious it’s a struggle for him. I know 100% that if I was in his situation and I had the option to choose my time to check out I would take it. Whether that’s by lethal injection or just withdrawal of assistance is for us as a country to decide but we need to have a full and honest debate about it without histrionics from religious nutters etc, sadly that will never happen in this country.

    A good death is something we all deserve to have. The questions are around what measures should we as medical professionals and lay people be able to take to ensure that is what happens.

    Absolutely agree with this statement. We fight for our right to a good, productive life, it’s about time we dealt with what happens at the end.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    If someone is in pain, be it mental or physical and decides they’ve had enough then that should be it, case closed. It should be down to the individual to decide when to shuffle off this mortal coil. As one of my close friends once said “I’m not bothered about dying, I’m bothered about dying in pain”

    I can think of nothing worse than wasting away, slowly losing my mind, becoming immobile, a burden on my loved ones and an already stretched health system or dealing with severe pain each day. The only shaky ground is with depression in my opinion. I’ve been to (and still go to) some very dark places due to suffering with it. I’m very glad I’m still here though the vast majority of the time.

    I’m not great at getting thoughts and emotions articulated well. Basically I’m in favour and think it’s pretty pathetic in this day and age that it isn’t more commonplace.

    concrete24
    Member

    An old woman who has decided her life is coming to and end ( its always women IME) She decided to stop eating and drinking ( “turning her head to the wall”) it takes a week or two to die

    This was my Nan: she died yesterday. She made it to 100, living on her own in her own house and after being admitted to hospital a week or so ago with multiple organ failure and being told she wouldn’t be able to go home, decided she had enough. I would argue she still retained her dignity really well and good for her for choosing her time. If given the choice of a quick and painless injection I believe she would have taken it.

    Thanks for raising the subject.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    How you are treated at the end of your life depends very much on the medical team treating you and their views. there is no Gold standard or standard practice laid down

    Unfortunately so true.

    People need to be allowed to die well.

    Slightly off topic, but this does bring to the front some difficult conversations, the way things can be done better, and we only get one chance to do it right

    https://youtu.be/3g9KyQCx27Q

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    The law needs changed people should be able to choose euthanasia to suit their needs. I sat caring for Grandad for the best part of a week, at times he cried, begged and pleaded for me to put him out of his misery. This was a proud hard working farmer, a great family man.  he had capacity, he knew I was looking after him pretty much 24/7. He also knew the drugs he was receiving would do what he asked. It was hard watching him suffer knowing I could give him his wish. I never want to see anyone have to go through what he did, I know my mother will never get over how he died

    I’ve witnessed professionally too and struggled to control their pain as not all pain relief works for those dying.

    The law has to change and soon.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    Fully behind it. If my dog has a better chance of a peaceful and humane death than I do, then something is just fundamentally wrong.

    This ^^^

    poly
    Member

    I was surprised that the Scottish assisted dying bill never made it to law. There seems to be support for it everywhere it is discussed, as there is in this thread.

    The easy explanation is organised religion has too much influence on politics but there were other legitimate concerns too. How do you stop anyone feeling “it’s best they go because they are a burden” or any unscrupulous relative encouraging the decision to stop care costs eroding the inheritance. Any safeguard will always have the “what if” vulnerability – but then doing nothing encourages people to DIY poor “solutions”.

    Premier Icon frankconway
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    Interesting and challenging thread TJ.
    We, as society, must be forced to address the issues you raise.
    My Dad was home nursed by McMillan nurses until he died of carcinomatosis. For the last weeks of his life he was oblivious to what was happening around him; some sedation but not heavy duty.
    I have no doubt that is not how he would have wished to die; his preference, I’m certain, would have been…my time is nearly up, end it now; he was a proud and great man.
    As for my Mam, she outlived my Dad but every day she lived after his death killed her slowly but surely.
    Dementia, loss of appetite followed by chest infection saw her off. From the day my Dad died she was living a lingering death; she often said she wanted to die first and resented the fact that she didn’t.
    Her children were married, she had grandchildren; she had given away any items of financial or sentimental value; she had deliberately shrunk her life and wanted it to end.
    Back then, there were no options.
    I wish I could say my parents both died with dignity.
    As others above have said, we afford more dignified deaths to pets than people – usually old people.
    The law must be changed.
    This thread has, I’m sure, caused a few tears.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Interesting stuff folks. I was expecting this to be much more controversial.

    How do you stop anyone feeling “it’s best they go because they are a burden” or any unscrupulous relative encouraging the decision to stop care costs eroding the inheritance.

    Places where this is legal this does not seem to be an issue because of the safeguards built in. ” not wanting to be a burden” is IME usually actually ” not wanting to linger in this state” but people put it in selfless terms rather than selfish.
    On coercion – again IIRC and different countries use different safeguards but that is up to individual doctors at the time of making the decision. Its certainly trickier with vulnerable people but I know of no disputes where it would seem coercion has been evident.

    Two doctors involved and the decision made and then checked at a later point seems to work.

    You would of course need moral / religious exemptions for medical staff as we have over abortion

    My mum watched my father die of lung cancer in 1976, worked in a hospice for years, became a MacMillan Nurse, looked after my step dad who died of a brain tumour, she thinks assisted suicide should be legal. I’ll go with her experience.

    Problem is I dont trust the politicians to get the legislation right, and the religious nutters would need to be mollified.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
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    What I would say is that a sizeable majority of “religious” people would probably support this as well, it’s a vocal minority who are holding it up.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
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    Mum turned her face to the wall in 2000 and died 2 days before dad’s 60th birthday. She was ‘fortunate’ that her brain stem cancer had returned and she lasted around a week after refusing medication.

    By comparison our dog is scheduled for euthanasia on Friday as his heart is all but finished due to DCM.

    I now which is my preference.

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    I’m “fortunate” that most relatives I’ve lost as a result of protracted illnesses were when I was younger and at the opposite end of the country so visits were infrequent. My Dad went immediately as a result of an unexpected heart attack.

    When I was sitting with my uncle at my nan’s wake (down in Wales where open coffins at home were still normal c30years ago) he was theorising that we seemed to be the opposite of the Victorians- they were happy to talk about death but sex was taboo. He also thought that softening lives (ie less risky manual work, reduced armed conflict) and the NHS took death away from our doorsteps so it was something that became less frequent and discussed in our daily lives.

    A close family member is opting for the dignitas route and will probably make the trip to Europe this year with their partner and children. Its worth reading up on the process on the dignitas website, whatever happens the “client” has to be capable of taking the drugs unassisted which leaves people in a catch 22 of either going earlier than they really want to or risking not being able to take the drugs personally and so not being able to depart this world before they degenerate in the case of progressive diseases.
    They’ve not told all their family yet so posted under second login and probably won’t be back on this thread as its too upsetting for me.

    poly
    Member

    TJ – I should perhaps emphasise that I am generally in favour. But I think if we dismiss the “problems” that designing in safeguards have, we make it very difficult for the legislation to pass because the objectors can simply point to a loophole that lets people “get away with murder”.

    Places where this is legal this does not seem to be an issue because of the safeguards built in.

    not seem to be, and not being are different things. The “victim” of any system that enables “premature” euthanasia is of course unable to complain. Suggesting that other countries safeguards seem good enough, could be like suggesting that child protection in 1960’s children’s homes seemed to be adequate at the time!

    ” not wanting to be a burden” is IME usually actually ” not wanting to linger in this state” but people put it in selfless terms rather than selfish.

    Maybe, and especially for the “older” people you are thinking of in the OP, but generally the legislation would allow anyone regardless of age – and there may well be a small number of people who feel guilt for the burden their condition will place on a loved one for many years or even decades who may wish to “go”. Getting the legislation right means getting it right so those people aren’t making the wrong decision, without simply putting exclusions in place that restrict access to those who need it.

    On coercion – again IIRC and different countries use different safeguards but that is up to individual doctors at the time of making the decision.

    The fact that different countries use different approaches tells you something about the complexity of that point. If you want this to happen you need to reduce the burden on medical professionals to be making the choice. Not least because that introduces a variable and possible weakness into the system, but because they rightly should have a strong voice during the legislative process and IME many are not keen to be placed in a position where they have to make these decisions.

    Its certainly trickier with vulnerable people but I know of no disputes where it would seem coercion has been evident.

    How would such a situation come to light?
    The biggest issues, is many of us would wish to agree now that in certain circumstances we should be allowed to go – but most legislation, understandably, requires active consent at the time.

    Two doctors involved and the decision made and then checked at a later point seems to work.

    Certainly you can design processes to mitigate the risks. E.g. the Scottish Bill had a 14 day cooling off period, and two different doctors involved, as well as an initial declaration – and the person who facilitates the end having no previous involvement with the patient. I’m not suggesting that these problems don’t exist with current decisions around treatment (both withholding and prolonging). The first Scottish attempt required 2 psychiatric reports on capacity, the second did not require any (but doctors were expected to fulfil this assessment)…

    You would of course need moral / religious exemptions for medical staff as we have over abortion

    Its not that long ago that this exemption was considered under threat. If I were a medical professional who objected to the idea of being personally involved in assisted dying, I can see why it would be difficult to support it if I was concerned I might eventually be obligated to be part of the process. That might be especially difficult for GPs (especially in rural areas) where they are the point of contact with the system and the sign post to other services. Even without signing the paperwork or administering the drug just arranging for someone to see the specialist that would do it would cause some to feel uneasy. As I recall the draft bill in Scotland did not include a conscientious objector clause.

    To be clear again. I’m a supporter. But there are issues to overcome – simply because other countries have a process doesn’t mean they have necessarily overcome them.

    towzer
    Member

    Thanks TJ

    My dads death was drawn out and dreadful and I truly hope I’m offered a more pleasant exit.

    As I understand it the best we can do just now is as per TJs original post

    DNACPR – do not attempt cardio pulmonary resuscitation. An instruction that in the event of a cardiac arrest that medical / ambulance staff do not do CPR. This should always be decided in discussions with the person and / or their family. All other medical investigations and treatments should be given / continued

    DNACPR with advanced care plan ( ACP) – This would limit treatments given ie no surgery or no IV antibiotics or “comfort” measures only. Again should always be done in discussions with the patient and / or family

    So in light of where I think we are on this I’m currently doing an Advanced Declaration and an Advanced Statement, which I’ve been asked to do by my partners daughter(nurse) so that my wishes are documented and available to others if things go wrong and before it’s too late.

    See for more info. https://compassionindying.org.uk/

    Below is an extract from my Advanced Decision statement

    As we now seem to be allowed to identify as male or female, at the end I would like to identify as a dog, that way I think I will have a much better chance of a good and sensible death.

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    I’m a supporter of the active euthanasia option.
    Both of my grandmothers didn’t have the a dignified end. One in particular was kept alive for a few years post stroke when it was obvious there was absolutely zero quality of life. Tbh the cynic in me thought the care home was keeping her for financial reasons .
    I eventually persuaded my grandad that maybe it wasn’t fair on my nana to be fed through a tube and he should let her go.
    Fairly quickly after that the care home followed the Liverpool pathway and I suspect ,a hefty dose of opiates.
    Sounds really horrible to say it and write it down but I was glad her suffering was over.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Subscriber

    Poly – I have no issue with your post at all. These things need to be discussed.

    With regard to vulnerable people – if you cannot consent fully then you cannot be a part of this. thats pretty much a given

    Of course rigorous safeguards are needed and if that means some people could not avail themselves of the provisions then so be it. Its my view having known the dutch system in action and having discussed this with dutch citizens is that the safeguards are sufficient.

    How would such a situation come to light?

    The objectors would be all over it like a rash.

    If you want this to happen you need to reduce the burden on medical professionals to be making the choice. Not least because that introduces a variable and possible weakness into the system, but because they rightly should have a strong voice during the legislative process and IME many are not keen to be placed in a position where they have to make these decisions.

    I quite agree. It should not be medical professionals making the choice. It shuld be the person themselves. As things stand our current legal position does put difficult and perhaps intolerable burdens on medical professionals. You have to initiate the conversation about end of life care and guide people even sometimes over ride their wishes. I actually think a better framework for end of life care would reduce not increase these burdens.

    Please – keep on picking holes – its needs to be done and I for one and mot objective enough to do so. A bit more specific would help me to answer them tho
    . I do not have all the answers mind you – or no monopoly on them

    chewkw
    Member

    IMO people can die however they wish because that is their life.

    Therefore, it is their decision and rights.

    In our belief a person death must not inconvenient others or cause harm to people around them. i.e. left debts, not sorting out inheritance etc … Also if the death is the result of self intention i.e. “suicide”, then we would persuade them to “hang on” no matter how hard it can be until they die (especially those with medical conditions). However, if the death is the result of a medical advice then that is fine. i.e. doctor switch off machine etc. The logic is that death must not be decided by self but to let the karma takes it course.

    johnx2
    Member

    The average age on this forum means that many if not most of us will have experience close up of the realities, which even with a ‘good death’ (at home, surrounded by family, largely comfortable) are not pleasant, especially in the week or so before the morphine pump gets started up. Frankly if that could just be fast forwarded for those who want it it would be doing a considerable kindness, and respect for dignity.

    (It’s the total normality of this stuff gets me, it’s like having kids or whatever, a huge big deal when it’s you but what could be more normal than ‘old person dies’? Anything that makes it less horrible is fine by me. And that’s having at one point had a ‘family member giving end of life care’ hospital car park pass, said family member being on an end of life care pathway. Then the bugger woke up…)

    But in the interest of stirring some controversy, where are out medically qualified posters? The one’s who’d be at the sharp end of decisions,who’s personal contacts and access to drugs mean that they as individuals are likely to have the means to short-circuit the bitter end, but who via the BMA at least fail to support assisted dying…

    chewkw
    Member

    The average age on this forum means that many if not most of us will have experience close up of the realities, which even with a ‘good death’ (at home, surrounded by family, largely comfortable) are not pleasant, especially in the week or so before the morphine pump gets started up

    My cousin’s husband passed away two weeks ago. He fell down at home (may be knocked his head) and was taken to the hospital. Blood pressure drop below 50. Stayed in hospital for 3 to 4 days. When his bloody pressure started to go up to about normal level, they thought he was fine and was preparing to discharge him the next day. But all of a sudden the night before his blood pressured suddenly started to drop again until he passed away in his sleep. He was in his mid 50s.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Subscriber

    said family member being on an end of life care pathway. Then the bugger woke up…)

    I have had this happen many times. Call the family in, have “the conversation” then the bugger sits up and demands a cuppa!

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