We should let the old and weak die? Or not?

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Why does society allow people to get so old that they lose their dignity and lose all quality of life, just to stay physically alive? My family insisted that my Grandma stay alive at all costs, even though she has been in a nursing home for 3 years, and broke her hip 7 months ago. She was taken to the hospital where she broke her leg and pelvis, and no surgeon would agree to operate due to her age and weakness.

So for the last 5 months she has been in a bizarre cast with all sorts of wires and cords holding her in a specific way, in a attempt to allow her 98 year old body to ‘mend’ her bones even though the doctor said they will not mend correctly without surgery. Surgery they refuse to do.

Every time I go see her, she is moaning and crying, and has told each of our family members separately that the pain is too much and that she wants to die in the way that " Mr. BooBoo died at Doc Pauls ".( Mr. BooBoo was her cat of 21 years who she had to have humanely euthanized )

She said that Mr. BooBoo ‘just went to sleep’ and that is how she wants do die, not hanging almost in the air. My family members all want her to ‘pull through’ and that she just needs to keep hanging on. I am the only one in my family who even ‘dared’ talk about what grandma said to everyone, and I have been accused of wanting to murder grandma. My family is very angry at me and blames ‘college’ for putting these ideas into my head.

I tried to put forth my argument, but they totally refuse to discuss anything, and they said that humans have the right to live their lives until the end, and that no one not even the person who is sick has the right to say otherwise. She said they will not allow grandma to commit suicide after she has lived such a rich and fruitful life. They also said if anyone else ‘helped’ grandma, that they would be charged with murder.

So I said in return that having grandma almost hanging in the air with bizarre casts and not able to move, with bed sores and slowly dying all the while suffering pain and crying all the time, is dignified? Grandma has a memory of her loved cat Mr. BooBoo being given ’a shot and then he went to sleep with no movement or pain and it was so peaceful ’ and society has the right to deny a individual the right to end the suffering when no hope of recovery? I ask them also what do they want a 98 year old woman to recover for, to DO? Run a race? Take up a new hobby such as swimming long distances? I then said they are being selfish.

They have not talked to me since, and just today I found out that somehow they have persuaded the hospital to not allow me to see my own grandmother. I have no idea how they did this, because the only one allowed to do this is my grandma, the patient. So now I am torn because who knows what poison my family is telling my grandmother. I have been very close to her for all my life, and I know she would not do this. I also suspect the family members told the hospital about my feelings and they are protecting the butts legally or something.

I have no intention of giving my grandmother drugs or helping her to do what she wishes. Now my living family members think I am insane or something, and our relationships have changed.

I must say that my family is very liberal, we are not close minded conservatives nor are we religious. I was shocked at these well educated people having such a hard line in not even discussing this.
I used to think politics and religion are not things to discuss with family members, but apparently end of life matters are the real problem!

So now that you know the topic, let us talk about the moral and legal issues I talked about above. Why are people so scared to even discuss these things?

 
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Your family just doesn’t want to let your grandmother go. Their heart is in the right place, but I think their emotions are clouding their judgment and their acceptance of her condition and what’s best for her.

Humans are programmed to survive and help loved ones survive too. It’s difficult to make a logical argument against the right to die, but it’s easy to make an emotional one.

 
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What greg said.

Also, asian families are sometimes very superstitious, so they might think you just cursed her. It’s true. Once I said the word “crash” just before a plane ride, and was chastised by my grandmother for the word being unlucky. My parents are more modern though.

 
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I was hoping to talk more about a persons right or lack of a right to decide to take their own life if they choose to.

 
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I think they have the choice. It’s their life…

Also, you should demand the reason why you can’t see your grandma, and inform them of the legal rights to see your grandma.

 
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Originally posted by helltank:

I think they have the choice. It’s their life…

Also, you should demand the reason why you can’t see your grandma, and inform them of the legal rights to see your grandma.

But in the USA we do not have the right to choose death, society has the control – not the individual.

I asked my parents when I can see her, and they said ‘when she is in the cemetery’. These are normally liberal minded people who are educated, and it is not the death aspect or the illness rattling them, but my ideas that I said above.

 
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Well, I think life is one of those things that you simply couldn’t “buy back”. So even if every second brings more pain, you should treasure it. Because you wouldn’t have any idea how you are going to miss it once it is gone, right?

 
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She cannot get anything good out of it. Life is not worth living if you cannot like it. That, and the basic fact that your grandmother does not want to live anymore, is the only reason you need to make a choice.

 
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Originally posted by Criks:

She cannot get anything good out of it. Life is not worth living if you cannot like it. That, and the basic fact that your grandmother does not want to live anymore, is the only reason you need to make a choice.

The problem is, he can’t do anything, apart from blowing up the hospital or breaking in and stabbing his grandma.

 
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SadisticOgre, you have my greatest sympathy. When my mother died aged 90, she had Alzheimer’s and had become extremely frail very rapidly in the previous few months. She was in hospital with pneumonia and it was clear that the end was not far away. I agreed with the medical staff that there should be no resuscitation, that she should be allowed to go with what little dignity was left to her. I held her hand as she slipped into a coma one evening, and she died the next morning. I never saw her again, as I preferred to remember her alive rather than dead. In accordance with her wishes, her brain was donated to Alzheimer’s research.

Over here, we have come a long way in the last fifty years. Until 1961, suicide was a criminal offence. Survivors were prosecuted and imprisoned, with apparently no attempt to address the misery which had led to that person trying to end his own life. While assisted suicide is still illegal, a patient now has the right to refuse treatment, knowing that such refusal will result in his own death.

But whatever the legislators may think or do, the real change has to come from society itself, and society here is clearly, if very slowly, becoming more sympathetic to the predicament of the terminally ill. The Crown Prosecution Service is usually unwilling to pursue cases where there is little hope of a conviction, and tends to back off if it feels that a randomly selected jury is highly likely to find for the defendant. This in turn generally leads to changes in the law. The European Court of Human Rights also tends to have a positive attitude to this problem, proof that even an organisation as hopelessly addicted to bullshit as they are can sometimes get it right. I am inclined to believe that in the not too distant future, euthanasia will become legal in Britain, perhaps even within my own lifetime.

In a society as apparently conservative as America, I think that perhaps it will take a lot more time for changes to be made. Your own family, which you descibe as liberal, is clearly rooted in the past on this issue, so what hope is there of changing the minds of the really conservative ones?

I hope you can work something out with your family, and get to see your clearly much loved grandma before she dies.

 
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Originally posted by beauval:

SadisticOgre, you have my greatest sympathy. When my mother died aged 90, she had Alzheimer’s and had become extremely frail very rapidly in the previous few months. She was in hospital with pneumonia and it was clear that the end was not far away. I agreed with the medical staff that there should be no resuscitation, that she should be allowed to go with what little dignity was left to her. I held her hand as she slipped into a coma one evening, and she died the next morning. I never saw her again, as I preferred to remember her alive rather than dead. In accordance with her wishes, her brain was donated to Alzheimer’s research.

Over here, we have come a long way in the last fifty years. Until 1961, suicide was a criminal offence. Survivors were prosecuted and imprisoned, with apparently no attempt to address the misery which had led to that person trying to end his own life. While assisted suicide is still illegal, a patient now has the right to refuse treatment, knowing that such refusal will result in his own death.

But whatever the legislators may think or do, the real change has to come from society itself, and society here is clearly, if very slowly, becoming more sympathetic to the predicament of the terminally ill. The Crown Prosecution Service is usually unwilling to pursue cases where there is little hope of a conviction, and tends to back off if it feels that a randomly selected jury is highly likely to find for the defendant. This in turn generally leads to changes in the law. The European Court of Human Rights also tends to have a positive attitude to this problem, proof that even an organisation as hopelessly addicted to bullshit as they are can sometimes get it right. I am inclined to believe that in the not too distant future, euthanasia will become legal in Britain, perhaps even within my own lifetime.

In a society as apparently conservative as America, I think that perhaps it will take a lot more time for changes to be made. Your own family, which you descibe as liberal, is clearly rooted in the past on this issue, so what hope is there of changing the minds of the really conservative ones?

I hope you can work something out with your family, and get to see your clearly much loved grandma before she dies.

^^What he said^^

 
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My grandparents died peacefully. Granddad at age 92, at home. Grandma at 89, at home. It their good fortune I guess… Should people be able to choose how to die? IDK… My condolences to OP.

 
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Originally posted by Aneslayer:

My grandparents died peacefully. Granddad at age 92, at home. Grandma at 89, at home. It their good fortune I guess… Should people be able to choose how to die? IDK… My condolences to OP.

I want to die swinging, as thousands upon thousands of enemies come at me. I slay many, piling up corpses quickly around me, but eventually the weight of numbers becomes too much, and I detonate a bomb, causing everyone to die in a fiery inferno. My last words would be something dramatic, like “You may have killed me, but you cannot win the war!”

 
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Originally posted by helltank:
Originally posted by Aneslayer:

My grandparents died peacefully. Granddad at age 92, at home. Grandma at 89, at home. It their good fortune I guess… Should people be able to choose how to die? IDK… My condolences to OP.

I want to die swinging, as thousands upon thousands of enemies come at me. I slay many, piling up corpses quickly around me, but eventually the weight of numbers becomes too much, and I detonate a bomb, causing everyone to die in a fiery inferno. My last words would be something dramatic, like “You may have killed me, but you cannot win the war!”

Suppressed suicidal tendency mixed with heroism? <- Off remark is off topic sorry….

I’ll agree that people should be able to die with dignity where applicable. For me, I don’t wanna die in a hospital… with tubes and wires all over my body.

 
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We should let them die? Or we should kill them off at a certain age? Because the title and OP don’t make a very clear distinction between the two.

 
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Originally posted by SadisticOgre:

Why does society allow people to get so old that they lose their dignity and lose all quality of life, just to stay physically alive?

Because people are attached to the bizarre notion of being alive at any cost, and forcing it upon others, even those who specifically do not want it. This is why they will try to stop totally random people from killing themselves. The lesson? If you don’t want to end up like this, have a deadman switch installed. There is a lesson to be learned from this: People will not respect your wishes unless you enforce them with live explosives.

 
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Originally posted by Lake_Filter:

Well, I think life is one of those things that you simply couldn’t “buy back”. So even if every second brings more pain, you should treasure it. Because you wouldn’t have any idea how you are going to miss it once it is gone, right?

I suggest YOU do some volunteer work at a hospice

 
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I’m just curious as to where the obese would fit into old and weak?

 
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Things you should do:
1. Hit yourself. To figure out if its a nightmare.

If it isnt,

2. Write a letter to a famous politician.

If that don’t work,

3. Sit and grieve until your grandmother dies. I’m sure noone likes an option like that.

 
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Originally posted by gunsaregood:

I’m just curious as to where the obese would fit into old and weak?

YUP…good direction for this discussion.
If one were to continue w/ this “thinking”,,,,
it just might be a whole lot similar to that guy who wanted the Aryan race.

BUT, to be more specific about the true heart of the matter for this thread:
Self-termination SHOULD BE a self-determination.

 
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It’s really simple. People should decide on their own fate. They should be offered some help when asking for assisted suicide to not immediately kill off the person while he/she might just be in a bad mood, but after careful consideration of the case and if it seems the person is in great pain, it should be allowed. In fact, I think my own country, the Netherlands, has it pretty well ruled in.

it just might be a whole lot similar to that guy who wanted the Aryan race.

Godwin’s law declared. That was quick.

 
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Godwin’s law, you never fail us.

But seriously, people have human rights. Imagine a person, call him Albert, is very old and in a miserable state. The rule should be, unless Albert says otherwise, the doctors must attempt to the best of their ability to keep Albert alive as long as possible. If Albert cannot say anything, that’s why we have legalese works made stating what can and can’t be done if Albert can’t communicate. Killing someone, even in the most humane way possible, if they are very ill, is not allowed by human rights. Everyone has the right to live.

 
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Originally posted by Beryllium8:

Godwin’s law, you never fail us.

But seriously, people have human rights. Imagine a person, call him Albert, is very old and in a miserable state. The rule should be, unless Albert says otherwise, the doctors must attempt to the best of their ability to keep Albert alive as long as possible. If Albert cannot say anything, that’s why we have legalese works made stating what can and can’t be done if Albert can’t communicate. Killing someone, even in the most humane way possible, if they are very ill, is not allowed by human rights. Everyone has the right to live.

That is not quite correct. Human rights can totally allow the killing of a person as long as either other rights overweight the right of the person to live(self-defense or the defense of others are a prime example, as are Abortion and Medical cost Limits) or if the person does not want to exercise his right.
I find it very interesting that most opponents of suicide and assisted dying(mercy killing) try to from the right to live into an absolute obligation, for which there is just no basis in law.

 
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Everyone has the right to live.

A right is that which you can take, not that which should be forced upon you.