They Did It Right

Written by on December 3, 2014 in Blog with 3 Comments

Do end-of-life wishes play into a near-fatal heart attack in a restaurant?  Yes, at least  in Ronald’s case. (NYTimes blog, site below.)

Elizabeth’s father had such attack.  The restaurant manager and the EMT kept him on the edge of life  for the short trip to the hospital, where he was hooked up to a ventilator, EEG, and a blood pump, and given multiple medications by drip.  That is, he was on life support.  After five days of coma, with no real hope of his recovery, his family took him off life support.  He died a few hours later.

Elizabeth raises some doubts about what happened.  Her father didn’t have an advance directive, and she thinks that might have made decisions easier and earlier.   I doubt it.   EMTs don’t pay any attention to them; only to doctor’s orders.  Also, emergency room doctors don’t have time to read, let alone look for, an advance directive.  They turn to the family member arriving, hopefully, soon after.  So her father would have been hooked up to all that stuff even if he had a directive.   And Elizabeth would have faced the same questions upon arrival at his hospital, with or without his directive.

But the best thing that could have happened, did happen:  Ronald and Elizabeth and others in the family had “a prescient conversation” just the day before his heart attack.   Incredible!  Coincidence or God’s work? (This is for you to decide.)   They knew what his wishes were: not to be hooked up and dripped into, yet he was.   The first question was, should he be immediately taken off life support?  The decision was no.  A few days later it became clear from the doctors that there really wasn’t any hope for recovery, and life support was ended.   The delay seems very sensible to me, with or without an advance directive.

However, the doctors really didn’t come forward with their opinions when perhaps they should have.  Elizabeth says (bold emphasis mine):

“I can appreciate doctors’ reluctance to talk to families immediately about a patient’s ultimate demise.  No one wants to dash         hopes for recovery.  But confronting the end from the beginning might alleviate some of the inevitable feelings of guilt       that arise when people make the decision to end life support.  Injecting a healthy pessimism – or realism – gives loved ones           an opportuntiy to broaden the scope of their hope, to stretch hope in a way that accommodates a better death.

These issues are exactly what Dr. Atul Gawandi talks about at length in his new book, Being Mortal.  I am just finishing it; you will hear more from me soon on this wonderful and insightful book on how you and your physicians need to navigate this difficult time.

Bill

that arise when people make the decision to end life support.  Injecting a healthy pessimism – or realism – gives loved ones           an opportuntiy to broaden the scope of their hope, to stretch hope in a way that accommodates a better death.

This is exactly what Dr. Atul Gawandi talks about at length in his new book, Being Mortal.  I am just finishing it, and you will hear more from me soon on this wonderful and insightful book on how you and your physicians need to navigate this difficult time.

Bill

Elizabeth’s N Y Times final-exodus-blogarticle:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/01/hoping-for-a-good-death/?_r=0

 

 

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  1. C.T. says:

    Being 60’s with advancing medical challenges, I seek to have an immediate Heavenly passing available; rather than enduring PAIN! I’d prefer quick and EUPHORIC 15 mg Nembutal oral, or 10+ grams Fentanyl oral, or smaller injection amounts… As both are illegal and difficult to get, I’m working on ‘legal’ Peaceful Passing alternatives.. (see my previous posts here) . . . Good smart focused SE self-euthanasia friends, lets please blog on this outstanding site about the latest best methods.. Including info on bitcoins, and verifying sources, etc.. Anonymously is probably better. . . Thanks Thinkers!

    • vermilionsim@gmail.com says:

      C.T.: Thanks for the link to Wikibooks, “Suicide/Suffocation” — I need to study it. I see your email as PeacefulPassing@protomail.com, an encryupted email service. Do you have your own website I can visit? Bill Simmons

    • C.T. says:

      From veasb.blogspot com: “The lethal ORAL dose of Nembutal has been known to vary. The customary dose of Nembutal used in the Oregon law is 9 grams, while Dignitas in Switzerland prescribes 12 grams” .. 6 gm liquid Nembutal bottles are sometimes available through Mexico connections online… Then veasab advises 2 bottles be drunk.

      Fentanyl compounds vary by name and strength.. As do peoples reactions, including with potentiators, like benzos, alcohol, grapefruit juice, etc.. While drinking Fentanyl gives only about 33% effect compared to intravenous.. More specific info is needed before I can confirm what a lethal oral Fentanyl dose is then.

      For myself, I’ll avoid both Nembutal and Fentanyl as severely illegal.. I’d especially avoid any importing or interstate transport, including online, as Federal Mandatory Sentencing becomes liable!

      Thanks good SE thinkers. . . Peaceful Passing

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