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  1. #1
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    Parents say doctors hastened death for dying kids

    CHICAGO – It's a situation too agonizing to contemplate — a child dying and in pain. Now a small but provocative study suggests that doctors may be giving fatal morphine doses to a few children dying of cancer, to end their suffering at their parents' request.

    A handful of parents told researchers that they had asked doctors to hasten their children's deaths — and that doctors complied, using high doses of the powerful painkiller.

    The lead author of the study and several other physicians said they doubt doctors are engaged in active mercy killing. Instead, they speculate the parents interviewed for the study mistakenly believed that doctors had followed their wishes.

    A more likely scenario is that doctors increased morphine doses to ease pain, and that the children's subsequent deaths were only coincidental.

    much more at link:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100301/...nasia_children

  2. #2
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    It is agonizing to watch anybody suffer to death, and all too many times, that is what faces a person who is dying from cancer.

    I would want to do whatever it took to ease my child's suffering, even if the measures brought death around a little sooner.

    One more comment: If it takes hearing a parent's request for the doctor to increase the dosage of morphine to ease a child's pain, shame on the doctor.
    Last edited by kgeaux; 03-01-2010 at 06:09 PM.

  3. #3
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    What I have seen is that pain is either over treated or under treated in our society. Some physicians KNOW that making a patient pain free will hasten their death, at times by days, hours or min., depending upon the patients condition overall. Doctors walk a tightrope between patient wishes, family wishes and whether the drugs they are using are capable of providing relief, without causing a patient to stop breathing.

    I have seen physicians refuse to increase pain medication doses, with the result of a patient suffering physically and therefore emotionally. I try to be an advocate for the patients well being. I often speak with both family members and physicians to the differences between quantity of life vs quality of life, comfort and the patients wishes, which in my opinion is THE most important factor.

    It is unfortunate that so many in our society can not, in any way, accept the end of a loved ones time on earth. I have had patients beg me to talk to their families, helping lead them to an acceptance of the situation. It is extreemly emotional and difficult for everyone involved. I have seen MANY patients who would NOT let go until a family member gave them "permission" to rest, sleep, go to heaven. This is the greatest gift you can give someone you love, who is afraid to leave you. Many times they fight, enduring pain because they are afraid of how their family may cope with their death. I have shed millions of tears with bereved families and with patients who want pain relief. Heart breaking, to say the least.

    There are other instances where the patient is not ready to stop fighting. In that case I have interceeded to do everything possible to aide comfort, help the patient continue their needed treatments and prolong their life as long as possible.

    End of life issues are as unique as the persons they are affecting. I would think that these parents, distraught as they have to be at seeing their child suffer, must ask the doctors to make them comfortable. To see your baby thrashing in pain, possibly yelling or crying would take a toll beyond any understanding. In that case, I would ask the physician to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING possible to help my baby stop hurting. That wouldn't mean that I wanted my child to die, but that I would want them to feel pain relief, be able to relax, sleep and breathe easier.

    Physicians I have seen in these situations, explain to the parents the benefits and risks of increasing the pain medication dose. Most loving parents want their child to have comfort in their last days, hours and min. May God bless anyone that has to go through this terrible heart break.

  4. #4
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    708
    When my husband lay dying of COPD/lung cancer in the ICU in a Canadian Hospital he was given the choice of staying on the respirator and dying slowly over a matter of days or weeks or being taken off the respirator to die more quickly. The doctors told him they would give him "medicine" so he would not suffer.

    He chose to come off the respirator so he could talk to me, his children, family and friends one last time. After 40 minutes, even on oxygen, he began gasping for breath. The nurses gave him morphine which put him to sleep. The continued giving him morphine and a few hours later turned his oxygen down. The next day he passed away peacefully. I knew what the doctors and nurses did hastened his death-- and I know he knew, too, when he made the decision He had suffered for many months, and it was such a relief for him (and me) for him to go without suffering. No one family member objected -- it was his choice and even if he was unable to make the choice, we would have chosen the same for him.

    I do not blame or find fault with any parents who make the choice to "hasten" a suffering child's death with morphine, or any doctor who follows their direction. There is a fine line between what they did for my husband and euthanasia, but for a person who is dying a very painful, drawn out death, it was a blessing.

  5. #5
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    Thank God for Hospice. I had to fight for every bit of pain medication for my loved one who was suffering unmercifully until Hospice intervened.
    About the time we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. Herbert Hoover

  6. #6
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    I think pain medications given by Drs. for those dying and those living are a lifesavior for anyone in severe, chronic pain.

    And yes, Thank God for Hospice....They eased as much as my Daddy's pain once he got out of the hospital when he was dying of cancer. They didn't give him enough pain meds. while he was in the hospital.

    I know those that live in chronic pain too need their pain meds. to live a somewhat, normal life. This is a must.


    Goz

  7. #7
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    And on the other end of the spectrum are doctors who ignore the needs of the disabled, because they are a "burden" on society, to hasten their death.

    Surprising to me was the comments made by Dr. Brown;


    Dr. Melanie Brown, a palliative care specialist at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital, said she's never had parents ask her to end their child's life, but the general topic has come up.
    She said when parents mention the idea, "What they're talking about is ending the pain." Learning ahead of time about options other than euthanasia can help make these deaths more comfortable for children and their parents, she said.





    I get frightened when I hear any nurse or doctor talk about quality versus quantity of life. After all, who made them God to decide who should live or die, and what may be quality to you may not be the same to a disabled person.

    The body fights death because death is not natural. It's a curse, not a blessing.
    The body dies because it has no choice in the matter. If it had a choice, it would live.
    So would the being living inside the body.
    That's just my opinion.

    Shame on the news media using suffering children to bring forth a death is good agenda, though I'm not in the least surprised.

    Yes, I have a disabled son, severely disabled due to a near drowning. Yes the doctors gave up on him and even used him as an example in teaching to not help people who had suffered hypoxia more than 5 minutes. What a waste on the health care system to spend money keeping these kind of people alive, when there is no "quality" of life. The money could be used to save or help those who will again one day be a tax payer.

    These people want parents, loved ones and even medical professionals to make the decision to hasten death. Pure propoganda. moo
    What I mean by "these people" are the associated press, and the progressive agenda of the far left in this country, and around the world. moo

    It's not about compassion, it's about money, and they are using these stories of suffering children to promote their agenda.
    Don't be fooled folks. Look a little deeper and you will see the criminal mentality behind the story.

    Before Hitler killed 6 million Jews, he killed thousands of mentally, and physically disabled people, and healthy orphans that the State was paying people to care for. It was all about the money then, and it's all about the money now.
    Some people would say "be realistic," but I say show true compassion, and fear God, not man.
    No one wants children to suffer, obviously, so obviously they would use these little ones to push their agenda.

    moo
    Last edited by yosande; 03-02-2010 at 07:51 AM.
    My Opinion Only..MOO

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosande View Post


    I get frightened when I hear any nurse or doctor talk about quality versus quantity of life. After all, who made them God to decide who should live or die, and what may be quality to you may not be the same to a disabled person.



    moo
    As a parent with a child who is battling brain cancer I have to respectfully disagree with you. For many parents the talk of quality versus quantity of life is something very real that we must deal with.

    I'm not talking about disabled children; that is totally unacceptable and different. But for children who are terminal I am thankful that the parents are able to talk to their doctors about this issue.

    IMO it is about compassion.


    ETA

    BTW, there is nothing more natural than death. Everyone, every living thing, must do it at some point. The only thing equally as natural is birth.
    Last edited by Azriell; 03-02-2010 at 10:10 AM. Reason: To add more..

  9. #9
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    Aug 2003
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    5,676
    Hospice for my Mother was a godsend. I cannot share how much the helped, supported, guided, and cared for my Mother as well as family members. If she had stayed in the hospital, she would not have received the medication to keep her comfortable. Rules/dose regulations are strict as the hospital does not want to be held accountable for "overdose". Not pain management. I find that obscene on one hand, but given all the malpractice suits, I understand they are protecting themselves as well as MD's who care for terminal patients. Rock and a hard place.

    Death *IS* a natural part of life. If we have the opportunity to ease the pain of that for others, then it should be done. I would not be able to live with myself knowing my Mother could not pass in the obvious horrific pain she was in without medication. It did not speed up her death, believe me. But, it took some of the pain away for her. Enough that she may not have been able to talk, move, but she could hear us talk to her and joke regarding family stories. She smiled. That was all that ever mattered. It was about her and her comfort. Not about us...
    "I went to the bank and asked to borrow a cup of money. They said, "What for?". I said, "I'm going to buy some sugar".

  10. #10
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    Aug 2008
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    Pacific Northwest
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    I am an oncology nurse and have turned up the morphine or dilaudid on many patients dying from cancer (and a few dying from other terminal illnesses). It can be a scary thing to do. We have parameters (heart and respiratory rate) as well as dosage parameters to guide us. It is just about every nurse's greatest fear to be the "one" to do the last "upping" of the narcotic drip. Some of us are reluctant and some of us grit our teeth and force ourselves to up the drip. It's different with every patient, for me, in my experience.

    Often the family believes that the medication is given to hasten death. That's not really true. It DOES hasten the death, but only by days or hours. I find myself explaining this more than just about anything else, in the dying process.


  11. #11
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    Sep 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by yosande View Post
    And on the other end of the spectrum are doctors who ignore the needs of the disabled, because they are a "burden" on society, to hasten their death.

    Surprising to me was the comments made by Dr. Brown;


    Dr. Melanie Brown, a palliative care specialist at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital, said she's never had parents ask her to end their child's life, but the general topic has come up.
    She said when parents mention the idea, "What they're talking about is ending the pain." Learning ahead of time about options other than euthanasia can help make these deaths more comfortable for children and their parents, she said.





    I get frightened when I hear any nurse or doctor talk about quality versus quantity of life. After all, who made them God to decide who should live or die, and what may be quality to you may not be the same to a disabled person.

    The body fights death because death is not natural. It's a curse, not a blessing.
    The body dies because it has no choice in the matter. If it had a choice, it would live.
    So would the being living inside the body.
    That's just my opinion.

    Shame on the news media using suffering children to bring forth a death is good agenda, though I'm not in the least surprised.

    Yes, I have a disabled son, severely disabled due to a near drowning. Yes the doctors gave up on him and even used him as an example in teaching to not help people who had suffered hypoxia more than 5 minutes. What a waste on the health care system to spend money keeping these kind of people alive, when there is no "quality" of life. The money could be used to save or help those who will again one day be a tax payer.

    These people want parents, loved ones and even medical professionals to make the decision to hasten death. Pure propoganda. moo
    What I mean by "these people" are the associated press, and the progressive agenda of the far left in this country, and around the world. moo

    It's not about compassion, it's about money, and they are using these stories of suffering children to promote their agenda.
    Don't be fooled folks. Look a little deeper and you will see the criminal mentality behind the story.

    Before Hitler killed 6 million Jews, he killed thousands of mentally, and physically disabled people, and healthy orphans that the State was paying people to care for. It was all about the money then, and it's all about the money now.
    Some people would say "be realistic," but I say show true compassion, and fear God, not man.
    No one wants children to suffer, obviously, so obviously they would use these little ones to push their agenda.

    moo
    I understand your opinion and the reasons for your feelings. Please know that the situation I was referring to were true end of life issues. It is never an easy thing to see someone die, or to be there with a patient and their family members. For some there is a definate need to know their family member is comfortable.

    I don't think anyone, including myself, would ever believe that someone should be denied care, or promote death, for anyone, let alone disabled persons. Your statement of what you feel I believe or practice was quite far from the truth of my actions or feelings. My care has NOTHING to do with money or a patients ability to pay for their care.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azriell View Post
    As a parent with a child who is battling brain cancer I have to respectfully disagree with you. For many parents the talk of quality versus quantity of life is something very real that we must deal with.

    I'm not talking about disabled children; that is totally unacceptable and different. But for children who are terminal I am thankful that the parents are able to talk to their doctors about this issue.

    IMO it is about compassion.


    ETA

    BTW, there is nothing more natural than death. Everyone, every living thing, must do it at some point. The only thing equally as natural is birth.
    Doctors should not be playing god, but they shouldn't have their hands tied when it comes to their patients wishes, or the family members that are seeking comfort for them.

    If the request is made I do not understand the debate against it at all personally. It reduces the pain of the patient, and provides a gift to the family of not seeing their loved one struggling and in pain in their final moments. We are all going to do die, we are all going to stand by the bedside and helplessly watch a loved one die, that making it peaceful and as painfree as possible seems like a basic standard of care to me.

    We are not talking assisted suicide which can quickly slide into an economic, disabled, education, availability of resources.
    Last edited by impatientredhead; 03-02-2010 at 10:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    This is a very difficult thing to prove..........and after you've watched people die slowly, most change their tune. Not to mention the tolerance to pain medicine that develops in everyone........
    [/I]

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteyGirl View Post
    I am an oncology nurse and have turned up the morphine or dilaudid on many patients dying from cancer (and a few dying from other terminal illnesses). It can be a scary thing to do. We have parameters (heart and respiratory rate) as well as dosage parameters to guide us. It is just about every nurse's greatest fear to be the "one" to do the last "upping" of the narcotic drip. Some of us are reluctant and some of us grit our teeth and force ourselves to up the drip. It's different with every patient, for me, in my experience.

    Often the family believes that the medication is given to hasten death. That's not really true. It DOES hasten the death, but only by days or hours. I find myself explaining this more than just about anything else, in the dying process.
    So true, good post.
    [/I]



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