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Suicide or mercy?

If there is an elderly person who is relying on medication to stay alive ...and one day this person decides that he/she is just in too much agony to go on and wants to stop the medication which in turn would end this persons life. that suicide? As a caregiver of this person would you force them to take the medication and prolong their life suffering?
Or (as a caregiver) would you allow them to stop taking their medications? You might still offer it everyday until their time ends, but you know they are not taking it.


Asked by outstandingLove at 11:23 PM on Sep. 2, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 20 (9,136 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (17)
  • Nope. I feel that it's absolutely cruel to keep a person alive through artificial means. It's funny that we euthanize pets as soon as they become too ill; we don't want them to suffer, now do we? But so many people cling to their loved ones for as long as possible, some even loooooong after their loved ones have stopped recognizing others and responding to outside stimuli.

    It's so sad. I think if it's someone's time to go, just let them go already. They're not going to get better. I think a lot of uber-religious folks tend to cling to their belief in miracles, and that maybe, just maybe, if they keep their loved one alive one more day, that a miracle will happen and they'll magically spring back to perfect health. It just doesn't work that way. I personally find it selfish to keep a, for lack of a better word, "vegetable" alive in hopes of something miraculous happening.

    Answer by caitxrawks at 11:29 PM on Sep. 2, 2009

  • For me that is not living. If you are in so much pain all the time (and there is nothing that can be done to correct the problem) that medicine only takes the edge off of the pain, and you are counting down the minutes until you can take another pain pill, that is not living, it is just existing. I agree with caitxrawks, it is cruel to keep a person trapped in their own body like that.

    Answer by HomeschoolingJa at 11:37 PM on Sep. 2, 2009

  • Its thier own personal choice and it should be respected. However if it eases your concious you could at least continue to offer it to remind them theres a choice if they change thier mind. Its not a pleasant thing to watch a person waste away and it even worse if its painful to them. I dont believe its suicide but just the natural course of life. My grandmother suffered from Altzheimers and she absolutely insisted no prolonging measures were to be taken ( before she lost her memory and ability to function). And we had to watch her waste away and it was heart breaking but it was her wishes and she had a DNR and everything. Sometimes you just have to let people go..

    Answer by marabug06 at 11:58 PM on Sep. 2, 2009

  • This is a tough call... there was a dr who did end 34 lives after Katrina and that bothered me a lot. Was there consent from family members or the person themselves or did the dr just decide lets get rid of them, it would be less to transport. I do not think the dr should make the decision but the patient or the person who has power of attorney over the patient. I guess it is based on choice of the patient not the dr.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 12:11 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • My grandmother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when she was in her 80's. It has a survival rate under the best circumstances around 10% iirc. She chose to forgo treatment, and died peacefully at home, surrounded by her kids later that year. Her best friend of 60 years had the same cancer (which still makes me wonder if it was something they were both exposed to when they were younger), and went the treatment route. She spent 3 years absolutely miserable, always in pain, and spent the last 6 months of her life wasting away either so doped up she couldn't function or in so much pain she couldn't stop crying.

    I can't see how any humane, caring being would think the second option was preferable to the first. The only good that came out of her friend's treatment is that my grandmother saw what it did to her and it solidified her decision when she was diagnosed after her friend died.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:12 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • Was there consent from family members or the person themselves or did the dr just decide lets get rid of them, it would be less to transport.

    Unfortunately, during that time it was hard to contact family members, not to mention, shouldn't it be the dying person's wishes that are honored, not the family members. I know you love your loved one, but shouldn't they be the one who decides what happens to them? I've told my family the conditions under which I wouldn't want life support, I think everyone should do the same thing. We don't let animals suffer, why should people? That's not to say that I agree with lethal injection assisted suicide, but a person should decide if they dont want to take life saving meds. If God wants them, He will take them.

    Answer by mumma28 at 12:50 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • If a person who is in suffering and being kep alive by machines or other artificial means wants to die let them! They are obviously not living by their own lol. Just turn off the machine, stop giving the meds and give them some Morphine and let them die in peace. I do not think it's suicide, in the sense that they should be dead. But by our technollagy *sp? lol* today they are able to be kept alive but if after such a long time they are still depending on this obviously it was not meant to be and its a hard truth but idk. God wants us to live BUT he does not want us to suffer imo. If someone who had less then 6 months to live and was going to die anways asked me for that live ending dosage of medication, they should have it. I really like the system we have for us nowadays. The system is that person had to be dying of an untreatable illness, have 6 months or less to live and to verbally tell two doctors that they are over it.

    Answer by rhanford at 2:24 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • Then they have to write and sign a paper saying the same thing. The nand only then are they allowed to have this done. The people choose the date, get their stuffin order and spend time with family and friends, make right with God or if they feel they are already right then just say Father I will see yo soon, then die. Someone should not be made to suffer if they are only going to die in the end. I would probably though use my death for a good thing. For the time that Iw as alive I would let them expirement with the drugs that they are developing to cure whatever it is I have, I mean what have I got to lose right? LOL Also if it wont save me they can get the kinks out and I can help with that they can see how the drug works for reals. Then after I die donate my body to science, not sell but donate. We need our doctors to know hey this is what this disease does to the body, no go out and fix it LOL.

    Answer by rhanford at 2:27 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • My aunt recently had to go through this. Her husband (my uncle) had a bad heart and he had been told to take kidney dialysis. He had alreay taken it once and it hadn;t worked. So this time it was only going to prolong his life by about three months. He choose not to go through it again because it was painful. He decided that he wanted to go on his own, without a bunch of machines and tubes connected to him. My aunt respected his decision and only gave him medication to help ease his pain.
    He passed away about a month and a half ago now, and my aunt was, in a way, happy to see him go. She said it was the hardest thing she's ever had to do to sit by and watch her husband just wither and die. But, she said she is happy he didn't take the dialysis the second time, because that would have only prolonged the pain of both of them.
    That's what I want to do. If it'll save me, I'll take it. If not, you keep it.

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 7:45 AM on Sep. 3, 2009

  • We, as a society, still don't know how to deal with death. We're not comfortable with it, even when the dying person is. Billions of dollars are spent every year keeping people alive at the margins (both very sick premature babies and very sick elderly people). Before anything can be done, we, as a society, have to change our view of death and learn to accept it. But... is what you're describing suicide? Yes. But under that type of definition, so is smoking, for example. However, as a caregiver, you have to be looking out for your best interests first. Me? If I saw the person wasn't taking the meds, and I knew nothing could happen to me if that person died (and that person was cognizant), I wouldn't do anything to change his/her mind. I'm all for autonomy and agency.

    Answer by SlightlyPerfect at 8:34 AM on Sep. 3, 2009