Friday, June 3, 2011

Dr. Death

Democrats silent, vague on Weiner photo.

heehee. I'm five years old.

In other news, Dr. Jack Kevorkian died today. I was old enough to know what was happening but young and dumb enough to not understand a bit of it back in the height of his assisting of suicides. Now that I'm older, somewhat less dumb, and working in a field which allows me to truly understand the suffering of terminally ill patients, I've got a lot more respect for the whole situation.

I guess it's sad to see him go - if only because he was a figurehead for the debate in the End of Life issue and "dying with dignity" and the politics of it all. I don't necessarily agree with his methods; Kevorkian was theatrical and inflammatory against the media. I do, however, agree with his view: those who are terminally ill, of sound mind and wishing to end their life have every right to do so. It's their life, let it be their death.

I've watched so many patients die in my short ER career. There is one that stands out in my memory: a woman who I took care of for a mild complaint, in which she ended up being diagnosed with cancer in a weird place. Months later the same patient comes to the ER after seizing, aspirating, and nearly coding. I didn't even recognize her; the cancer had destroyed her in a very short time. But she died quickly, and relatively peacefully. Her family understood what was happening and didn't try to drag her back with CPR and drugs and futile treatment. They let her die with dignity, which she herself told me she wanted way back during that initial diagnosis. But there are many who aren't so lucky.

If someone's future only holds death and pneumonia, bedsores and tube feedings, being bedridden and in an ICU, renal failure and dialysis, and mental status changes until you don't recognize your family...I think I can understand why these people would want to choose their own manner of dying.

Imma get off my soapbox now. Put the pitchfork down, please.

3 comments:

Cartoon Characters said...

ya, I felt sad in a funny sort of way to see him gone. I think for the people he assisted, he did a good thing, because that was their wish, and who else would do it for them? We see so much suffering, it's easy to see why some would choose that path....

I dated a guy who's mom was the first to do it in Oregon and actually changed the laws there....allowing it.

Sean said...

I don't know about you, but after the amount of death and end of life issues I have seen....
I want to leave this life on my own terms - not someone else.

Filia Dei said...

I think his methods were much more humane than dying "with dignity" under our local Hospice care.

Being starved and dehydrated to death while high on morphine is not the way I would want to go or see anyone I loved go.

That being said, I think it's God's decision when it's anyone's time to go. I think what you said, SST, is in line with my thinking on the subject.

Aunt Marty