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Monday, March 21

Death, Dying, and Dignity

Whatever the reasons, the Terry Schiavo case is wrong. Holly Lisle says it best.

But, here is my take on the matter.

Firstly, Death is final. No do-overs. Do you really want someone else to decide this for you?

Next, Dying is not generally pleasant. Most people don't fall asleep and just never wake up again.

Finally, Dignity is everyone's right. I agree with Holly. If there is no living will, take all means to keep someone alive. Noone should be allowed to play God, except God. If he really wants you to die at a specific time, you will die no matter what life saving measures are taken. Stopping life-saving measures without a DNR or living will is just assisted suicide without the patients permission or desire. (AKA murder) By making that choice for the patient you are taking away their dignity.

I have fought long and hard with my values regarding death, dying and dignity. It's part of the job, I guess. I've struggled when I see resident's families show up to remove a feeding tube, or sign DNR papers, etc. It's even worse to see that happen when those same "caring" families haven't shown up to visit since Gramma/Grandpa was admitted to a nursing home. The most common excuse I have heard, "I don't want to see her/him suffer anymore", is bullshit. How can you see them suffer when you haven't even come to visit?

Let me put it clearly, I have been in a coma on life support three times. Four if you count right after I was born 11 weeks early. The other three times, doctors said I would never come off of life support. The doctors said I would be too brain-damaged to have a good quality of life. All three times, the doctors were wrong. I'm still alive and kicking, and my IQ is MENSA grade. Give your loved ones a chance. If they really don't want to live, they won't.

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