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What would you do?

sealybobo

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Hi everyone. My 90 year old grandmother just died. They had a ventalator tube down her throat for 14 days. They said they can't keep the tube in any longer than 14 days, so our options were to go to a Trakeotomy tube in her neck, or just let her go in piece.

Every doctor and nurse said to let her go in piece. BUT, one doctor who's a friend of the family said that the trake procedure isn't that bad and that she could possibly one day get better and go back to just oxygen.

But more likely she'd go to a really crappy old folks home and live her last days with a tube connected to her neck. Unable to speak, walk, eat, etc.

Anyways, I had one relative who wanted to do the trake procedure. He's mad at us for not trying everything, and we can't believe he doesn't see our side of it.

What would you guys do? Would you keep them alive and try even though its probably pointless and you would just prolong their suffering? Or would you take the tube out of their throat and just let them go in piece, with lots of morphine to take away the pain?

You should all let your families know what you want for yourselves. Now we know that none of us want the trake in the throat, unless we are young enough that we will recover. But if we only have a 20% chance of getting better and having a good quality of life, we all said NO, let us go in piece.

I'm assuming religious people might say do everything you can, no matter what. I'm curious to hear what others have to say.
 
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Sorry for your situation.

If it was me, I would do whatever I felt was in her best interests. Hopefully, assuming someone knows her well, it would be easy to know what she would want her family to do.

Actually, you're wrong about those of us who are religious thinking we should do everything we can.... We believe in Heaven, so letting someone go is doing the right thing for them.
 
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uscitizen

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Difficult to decide for someone else.
For myself I plan on taking myself out when things get too bad.
And I have a living will incase someting makes me a vegetable before then.

Everyone should have a living will to take the pressure off of the family.
 

boedicca

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It sounds like the most merciful thing to do was to let go. You didn't say if your grandmother left a livign will, instructions, or a do not resuscitate order. As most of the family was unified, I'd be at peace with the decision.
 

AllieBaba

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I don't think it sounds merciful. I think it sounds easy. I know a lot of people who live good lives for years with a trach.

But it depends on the reason for the tube in the first place. Did she have cancer...a stroke, what?
And if she wound up in a nursing home it would be because her family put her there. People can and do take care of their elderly relatives at home...none of my grandparents spent any time in nursing homes, and my mother won't either. I don't expect I will, either.

I'm of the opinion that if one person holds out against killing someone, then for the sake of that one person, the rest should hold off. We all die eventually, why create a rift in the family over it?
 

Anguille

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I don't think it sounds merciful. I think it sounds easy. I know a lot of people who live good lives for years with a trach.

But it depends on the reason for the tube in the first place. Did she have cancer...a stroke, what?
And if she wound up in a nursing home it would be because her family put her there. People can and do take care of their elderly relatives at home...none of my grandparents spent any time in nursing homes, and my mother won't either. I don't expect I will, either.

I'm of the opinion that if one person holds out against killing someone, then for the sake of that one person, the rest should hold off. We all die eventually, why create a rift in the family over it?
No one was killed. She died.
 

xotoxi

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Hi everyone. My 90 year old grandmother just died. They had a ventalator tube down her throat for 14 days. They said they can't keep the tube in any longer than 14 days, so our options were to go to a Trakeotomy tube in her neck, or just let her go in piece.

Every doctor and nurse said to let her go in piece. BUT, one doctor who's a friend of the family said that the trake procedure isn't that bad and that she could possibly one day get better and go back to just oxygen.

But more likely she'd go to a really crappy old folks home and live her last days with a tube connected to her neck. Unable to speak, walk, eat, etc.

Anyways, I had one relative who wanted to do the trake procedure. He's mad at us for not trying everything, and we can't believe he doesn't see our side of it.

What would you guys do? Would you keep them alive and try even though its probably pointless and you would just prolong their suffering? Or would you take the tube out of their throat and just let them go in piece, with lots of morphine to take away the pain?

You should all let your families know what you want for yourselves. Now we know that none of us want the trake in the throat, unless we are young enough that we will recover. But if we only have a 20% chance of getting better and having a good quality of life, we all said NO, let us go in piece.

I'm assuming religious people might say do everything you can, no matter what. I'm curious to hear what others have to say.

I'm sorry to hear this.

The first question is not what you or your family wants, but what would SHE want. Did she ever tell anyone? Did she say that she did not want artificial means to keep her alive?

If you do not know the answer to that, then the family needs to make the choice. This does not need to unanimous, but it would be nice if everyone could be on the same page.

But in the situation you outline, it would not be unreasonable to withdraw support. Trachs are no piece of cake and can lead to future complications and repeated hospitalizations.
 

AllieBaba

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No, she was killed when the ventilator was removed.

One assumes because she had a blockage but was able to breathe on her own, if a trache would have allowed her to breathe.

So in opting not to perform a tracheotomy, which is a simple procedure which allows people with blockages or damaged throats to breathe, the family opted to kill her.

Pretty simple.

Perhaps you'd like to argue she wasn't a human yet?
 

xotoxi

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I'm of the opinion that if one person holds out against killing someone, then for the sake of that one person, the rest should hold off. We all die eventually, why create a rift in the family over it?

It is not killing someone to withdraw support.

It is allowing nature to take over.
 

AllieBaba

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I'm of the opinion that if one person holds out against killing someone, then for the sake of that one person, the rest should hold off. We all die eventually, why create a rift in the family over it?

It is not killing someone to withdraw support.

It is allowing nature to take over.

I'll bet you wouldn't say that if it was a CHristian fundamentalist who opted not to let their kid go on dialysis.
 

Anguille

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No, she was killed when the ventilator was removed.

One assumes because she had a blockage but was able to breathe on her own, if a trache would have allowed her to breathe.

So in opting not to perform a tracheotomy, which is a simple procedure which allows people with blockages or damaged throats to breathe, the family opted to kill her.

Pretty simple.

Perhaps you'd like to argue she wasn't a human yet?
You are such an ass. They just lost their grandmother, who they all obviously loved, and you are insisting they killed her.
 

xotoxi

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No, she was killed when the ventilator was removed.

No. She DIED when the ventilator was removed. She was allowed to resume the natural process of death rather than have an interaction to artificially sustain life.

Being killed would have required an interaction to cause her death.
 

boedicca

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Perhaps I'm assuming too much, but given that the family made the decision for her, it appears that the grandmother had some other issues that were fairly serious.

As we are lacking a great deal of info, I'd rather give the family the benefit of the doubt that they did what they thought was best for a suffering woman. Not all families are in a position to provide elder care for someone who needs a lot of attention and whose condition is hopeless.

This is the big ethical issue in health care these days - how extraordinary should the measure be to extend life a bit longer when the quality is very questionable? That is a very personal decision; it's best to have a living will so that the loved ones are able to follow the wishes of the patient.

(Personally, I'd rather be allowed to die peacefully than to live in a mentally unaware state with no hope of recovery - but all of us are different in this regard.)
 

AllieBaba

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He asked.
Did they withdraw support or not?

Why yes, yes they did.

Would it be considered murder if "they" were fundamentalists and granny was a child?

Yes, yes it would.

What is asinine is that people who should know better are willing to condone murder and the slaughter of innocents, under the auspice of being "civilized".
 

AllieBaba

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No, she was killed when the ventilator was removed.

No. She DIED when the ventilator was removed. She was allowed to resume the natural process of death rather than have an interaction to artificially sustain life.

Being killed would have required an interaction to cause her death.

So...a kid who is not provided with dialysis and who dies also resumes the natural process of death?

Feel free to chime in Ravi and Anguille. After all, you guys like crucifying Christians for making these same decisions regarding their kids....
 

xotoxi

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I'm of the opinion that if one person holds out against killing someone, then for the sake of that one person, the rest should hold off. We all die eventually, why create a rift in the family over it?

It is not killing someone to withdraw support.

It is allowing nature to take over.

I'll bet you wouldn't say that if it was a CHristian fundamentalist who opted not to let their kid go on dialysis.

Actually, I would never say that a kid was KILLED in that situation. However, if a treatment is likely to be highly successful, then not chosing that treatment is wrong.

In the case of a kid needing dialysis, the treatment might result in decades of a good life.

In the case of a 90 year old with respiratory failure, a trach may give a few months of a bedridden existance with frequent suctioning, recurrent pneumonia, bedsores, readmissions to the hospital, and certain death.
 

xotoxi

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He asked.
Did they withdraw support or not?

Why yes, yes they did.

Would it be considered murder if "they" were fundamentalists and granny was a child?

Yes, yes it would.

What is asinine is that people who should know better are willing to condone murder and the slaughter of innocents, under the auspice of being "civilized".

Do you consider it murder that they withdrew care from the grandmother?
 

Zoom-boing

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Sealy -- so sorry about your loss. I don't have any advice .. . . . each family has to make their own decisions. I'm just sorry it had to come to that for her. I hope her death was painless and swift and that she is at peace.
 

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