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Makes a difference particularly in life and death situations.
Case in point. My father who is approaching 80 had gotten quite ill with pneumonia recently and went into the hospital. His condition deteriorated to the point that he was in intensive care and required a breathing tube. The tube goes into both tracheas and is quite uncomfortable. In addition, his hands were strapped to the bed to keep him from removing the breathing tube. He was not sedated due to his dangerously low blood pressure.
I give you his medical background to show just how sick and miserable he was. He was so miserable, and run down, that this past Sunday he basically lost his will to endure more discomfort. This became apparent when he refused a blood transfusion in spite of attempts from both my mother and the nurse to convince him otherwise.
So, I called the hospital, I got on the phone with the nurse and discussed the situation. I made sure my brother also called the nurse as well, and that both of us were clear that we wanted our father to get the transfusion. The nurse then again went in to our father and told him both of us wanted him to get the transfusion, which he did.
The very next day, my father was well enough to have the breathing tube removed, and two days later took a short walk.
The difference between life and death could have been a few phone calls to the right people at the right time. You never know, he could have been dead Monday morning without that transfusion...
"I won't say your wrong for going against your fathers wishes"
Actually, my efforts caused him to reconsider and decide to have the transfusion. I didn't go against his wishes, and I can assure you he is glad he went ahead with it.
BUT, his living will was another issue when they had him on the breathing tube with hands tied and not being able to talk. How can one have informed consent in that condition?
Both my mother and the nurse felt he was cognizant and able to make the decision as to initially refusing the transfusion. The nurse felt he was cognizant when he later agreed to the transfusion. The difference was the phone calls and the second try by the nurse, and perhaps my father hearing that both of his sons was also in favor of the transfusion.
Well, i should have said, your choice to intervene with his decision, maybe that would make my point a little more clear.
The fact that you did anything to change his mind, in that condition... thats what i was trying to get at.
Cherish what you have. My father died in a fire when he was 47, i was only 9 years old. My grandfather i think may have made it to his 80th birthday but with the painful burden of alzheimers. All the people who have died in my family, suffered for years before their death. What i saw what it did to me and my family, and what i knew was weighing on their hearts. Knowing there was no cure for either of their conditions, I couldnt hold myself to wish they would stay alive.
But like i said, many people have different views on death, and suffering. The way familys are organized, the way people feel responsible and dedicated to making sure that they are doing all they can. There are many different dynamics that arent shared across all boundaries of the family, between many different cultures and sub-types...
Im sure many people debated the same thing in the terry schiavo case, like people do all the time, all over the world.