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View Full Version : Dr. Kevorkian- whack job or hero?



scubastud
01-01-2011, 07:37
My pop passed away New Year's Eve after twelve days of starvation in a hospice wing of a hospital.
He couldn't speak or communicate those days, save an occasional squeeze of the hand , maybe a look in one direction or another.
Last few days we didn't even have that, and had to guess when to ask for more pain medication for him.
After this, I don't buy this notion people have that one is waiting for some reason, to see someone, to finish some unfinished business, whatever.
I do not believe there is some magic switch a terminal patient has, and when he/she is "ready" they just say "that's all folks" and click it.

A few years ago we had a dog we just loved, although he was with us for just a few months. Buddy was loyal, smart and a pleasure to be around, (like most pups)
Parvo got him, we took him in and they put him to sleep.
We treat our pets with more compassion than our people.

scubagirlj
01-01-2011, 08:11
sorry for your loss SS-lost my dad 10 yrs ago NYE-agree 100% re pets as if dad had been our family pet we would have been arrested for animal abuse-know its hard but try to focus on the positive(pops is finally at peace & you all got to be there with him)

snagel
01-01-2011, 08:16
I can't go as far to say the doctor is a hero, but in my mind he not the "evil grim reaper" that many make him out to be. Stud, you hit my thoughts on the head, if anybody has spent time during the final days of some love ones lives and see the life being sucked out of them or went to a "retirement home" and watched some of the people you once knew that were so full off life and now they just look like they have given up. I hate seeing people suffer this way and maybe they should have a choice of how they want to live their lives. Sometimes, I think it is so selfish for us to want to keep them going when they obviously don't want to or can't anymore.

My father-in-law passed away in '06, he went downhill very quickly after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He told us for years that he didn't want to be the person that everybody had to take care of and absolutely no heroic methods should be used. Deep down I thought, yea right, when the time comes you will want anything and everything possible to keep you going. Boy did he prove me wrong, he actually argued with the doctors to give him something to basically kill him. The doctors told him they coudn't euthinize him and he said, "fine, give me something for the pain and I'll do the rest". He didn't eat or drink anything else and in a few days he was gone....on his terms.

Sorry to hear about your pop, Stud. It sounds like you get it and know he is definately in a better place.

Snagel

flipcop
01-01-2011, 08:16
Sorry about your pops SS. You and your family are in our prayers. I know what you mean about taking the pet in. Its tough to see a loved one suffering and I dont really know what the right anser is. I have opinions and arguments for both sides.
Flip

TwistedSister209
01-01-2011, 08:28
I'm so sorry, SS! My father signed a DNR but went out on his own terms.
My uncle was friends with Jack.
I have already signed living will, have told my kids & husband my wishes. One is to die with dignity, and to live with dignity.

My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

scubadiver888
01-01-2011, 08:29
I still have mixed feelings about this. Around this time last year my dog had to be put down. I spent $10,000 trying to find some way of keeping him alive and would have spent more. My brain knows I did the right thing by putting him down but I still miss him so much. I still have days I think I could have done something more. Just one more day with him. I know it would have been for me.

I also remember 'uncle' Ron. He was my dad's best friend and helped raise me. Uncle Ron died of cancer but before he passed my dad visited him on the hospital. Ron asked my dad to kill him. My dad couldn't do it. It wasn't because he was worried about getting caught but because he couldn't live with losing his best friend. We never saw Ron again; he told his sons that my dad upset him and he didn't want to see my dad again. For us, Ron died that day. We didn't even get to go to the funeral.

My best friend's mother, Milly, was like a second mom to me. She got terminally ill but shortly after than my best friend went to prison for a nickel. Because I wasn't real family, I was cut out of what happened to Milly. She died while my best friend was in prison. The last time I saw her she was definitely not herself. She didn't know who I was and freaked out when I walked into the house (I never knocked on the door growing up; I'd just walk in the house, help myself to food, crash in the spare bedroom, etc.)

Not sure how I'm going to feel when it is real family. I guess that is the thing. If you were never in the situation where your dad or mom was in this position it is impossible to say how you're going to feel.

Vercingetorix
01-01-2011, 08:48
SS, I'm sorry that you are going through this.

Ten years ago, I was at my father's bed side when he passed; he was 80 years old. He was non-communicative during the final days. I still prefer to rememnber him as he was as a vibrant and energetic Naval officer. It is difficult to watch somebody you love and respect whither and die like that.

We're with you, buddy.

bfmorgan
01-01-2011, 08:49
SS, I am truly sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Miked
01-01-2011, 08:57
Sorry to hear the news SS.
I went through the same thing with Mom, 20 years ago, and Pop, 10 years ago.
The thing to remember is that Your Pop is no longer hurting, and will remain with you in your heart, mind and memory.
Be well, and good thoughts to you.

brojack17
01-01-2011, 09:03
I was young when he was very prominent. I thought he was a nut job because of the POV I heard from my parents, church, news. Now that I am older, I have my own opinion. I think it should be a persons choice. I too have had to put a dog down. It was the worst thing, but the cancer had spread throughout his body and there was no other choice. If I were in the same position, I would want the same option.

SS, I'm so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and Prayers for you and your family.

scubatrucker
01-01-2011, 10:43
Won't comment on the Dr. K thing, but I know I wouldn't want to be in a vegetative state while being a burden on my family, but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family SS. Stay close with your family and remeber the good times and what made him a hero in your eyes.

scubastud
01-01-2011, 12:15
Years ago I was on jury duty on a case where Dr K's lawyer (Jeffrey something) was representing another client in a malpractice case .
We all agreed this guy was a db, but found for the plantiff despite of his lawyer, not because of him.A rather obvious case, no brainer.
This case made the scumbag lawyer quite wealthy I am sure.
I agree with you about Dr K. Lulu, but will still maintain that there is no magic switch. I assure you my pop would have clicked it if he could.
If it makes people feel better to pretend, fine. But as for me, nope I'm not buying it.

(oh, if you aren't sure what "db" stands for, I'll tell you in private... hint- the b stands for "bag" )

scubadiver888
01-01-2011, 13:23
scubastud,

I've seen your post about your dad (http://forum.scubatoys.com/job-well-done-7/if-you-guessed-34854/). Remember the good times and try not to think about the bad times. I still remember my grandmother making me cookies or soup. I remember here sitting on the couch in front of the television we bought her. Knitted doilies everywhere and that picture of Jesus on the wall above her head. I remember having her over for Sunday dinner EVERY week. Play cards for pennies and letting her win.

We took her out the nursing home to attend my wedding. I still remember we had steak or chicken for the dinner. My grandmother telling the reception staff she ordered the salmon. The manager ran down to the restaurant and got her a salmon dinner. She always had a way of getting what she wanted. I love her for that.

Remember the good times. My heart goes out for you.

h2odragon1
01-01-2011, 14:30
My sympathy on your loss.
My Father 1984 in the hospital, My Mother 2006 on hospice.
It's a moral dilema that should be allowed. Living wills do not allow this option. YET!

scubajane
01-01-2011, 15:07
ahh we are on the horns of a dilemma.
First, I am sad for you stud and the death of your Dad. It hurts bad.
we don't pick our birthday and we don't pick our death day. as long as you are thinking and talking you will be OK in the long run. even with the best of information and the best of tools and the best of intentions things can still go differently than we plan or anticipate.
we are here for you.
My Dad died 2 years ago in October. I was a crazy woman for about 6 months and then it subsided for a while. It took about 2 years for me to feel "normal" I still cry at random times just 'cause. like now. I really miss him. I'm sure you miss your Dad too!! YOu are in my prayers.

Glub000
01-01-2011, 20:49
SS, sorry for your loss. You will always have fond memories of a good man.

navyhmc
01-01-2011, 21:48
My heartfelt condolences and sympathies go out to you and your family SS.

Gonnagettanked
01-03-2011, 07:52
You are in my prayers.

TJDiver
01-03-2011, 11:11
Sorry about your father, ss. This is a very relevant topic for our family right now too. My MIL, who is as much like my own mother as...well...my own mother, suffered a stroke last Wednesday. We've spent the last week at the hospital, and while she's doing very well physically, she's not anywhere close to being able to live on her own anymore. She also has some blockage that could cause another larger stroke down the line if they can't get that repaired. My MIL is/was a very robust 84-year old that lived on her own...mowed her own 3/4 acre lawn...put out a large garden and canned enough veggies to feed an army each year...blah blah blah...all on her own. I know for a fact that she would rather just pass on than to live out any length of "life" in a state that makes her dependent on others for her most basic needs. It's been very difficult seeing her this way, and it's very unlikely she will regain her mental faculties well enough to live independently again. Like I said, she's been doing fairly well physically, but if she has another episode, for her sake, I'd rather see her just pass on from this world.

navyhmc
01-03-2011, 14:26
I get in on this issue on a nearly daily/work day basis. I can't honestly say that I am for or against assisted suicide. I can see both sides of the issue from both personal and prosfeesional views.

I fully endorse the living will and advance directives such as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). There is nothing more frustrating for me than to be called for a subject not beathing/cardiac arrest call, get on scene to find the patient is in end stage cancer, renal failure, COPD or what not and find that they do not have a DNR or the family member who has not been around for years has come back for the crisis and want EMS to do everything in our power to bring back their family member.

I have come to the conclusion that for us, sometimes doing nothing is the best thing for the patient and their family. The last thing the family sees of thier loved one is not at least 5 guys in the room doing CPR and whisking the patient to the hospital. I have always felt that I do a serious dis-service to a patient in a terminal status and their loved ones when I am able to get a field resusciation in those cases.

As for assisted suicide, I don't know. There are just yoo many personal views issues to come to a definitive decision at this time, no matter how much I try. I will say that if I make it to 80 and my health is starting to fail, my personal birthday peresnt ot myself will be a tattoo in the middle of my chest that says "DNR don't make me come haunt yer azz"

scubajane
01-03-2011, 17:14
I get in on this issue on a nearly daily/work day basis. I can't honestly say that I am for or against assisted suicide. I can see both sides of the issue from both personal and prosfeesional views.

I fully endorse the living will and advance directives such as a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). There is nothing more frustrating for me than to be called for a subject not beathing/cardiac arrest call, get on scene to find the patient is in end stage cancer, renal failure, COPD or what not and find that they do not have a DNR or the family member who has not been around for years has come back for the crisis and want EMS to do everything in our power to bring back their family member.

I have come to the conclusion that for us, sometimes doing nothing is the best thing for the patient and their family. The last thing the family sees of thier loved one is not at least 5 guys in the room doing CPR and whisking the patient to the hospital. I have always felt that I do a serious dis-service to a patient in a terminal status and their loved ones when I am able to get a field resusciation in those cases.

As for assisted suicide, I don't know. There are just yoo many personal views issues to come to a definitive decision at this time, no matter how much I try. I will say that if I make it to 80 and my health is starting to fail, my personal birthday peresnt ot myself will be a tattoo in the middle of my chest that says "DNR don't make me come haunt yer azz"

3 cheers for Navy!!! you must be reading my mind!!!
CPR is appropriate for someone with hypothermia or electrocuted or near drowning,not for the terminally ill. it just breaks bones and is often not successful. too many people think that CPR works just like it does on tv. they have never seen the real thing. Wittnessed arrest in an ICU only has about a 10 percent survival rate. Most common 1st symptom of an MI is sudden death. Yes I am a hospice nurse but the body is not meant to live forever. yes death stinks. I miss my Dad terribly. we each get at least 1 chance to die. I prefer to die with dignity. I can help someone get comfortable as they are dying but I would never cause their death.

navyhmc
01-03-2011, 17:32
Don't get me wrong, CPR can and does work - there is a local grandmother who got to spend Christmas with her family because of it and the docs tell me she'll have a pretty good quality of life with minimal deficit. We have a 35% field save and a 25% clinical save rate here with at least 75% of those saves being from fibrillation as the presenting rhythm. Asystole/flat line, we may get a pulse, but in most cases, the patient doesn't live more than 48 hours-the damage was just too great.

I have noted over the years that how the family deals with it is demonstrably diverse. I can recall a case where a cancer patient had passed in their sleep, we were called and did not run a code as the patient mercifully had the start of rigor in the jaw. A family member who I found out later had not even vistied the patient much less been involved with the rest of the family during the last heart wrenching weeks/days, came in a demanded we do everything we could to save the patient; We are talking screaming, threatening law suits, all but assaulting us. In retrospect, I did everything I could for the patient as it is: I triaged them obviously deceased and then focused on the other patients: The family.

Gut wrenching is a patient who is in end stage cancer that does not have a DNR at home. Our protocols dictate that we must initiated CPR and advanced life support. I do not want to, but the policies and laws said I have to. Thankfully, our policies do allow us to get doctor's orders to stop efforts if the patient has no response from the first round of meds.

scubajane
01-04-2011, 17:47
I'm impressed with your save rates!!! I never knew they could be so high. and you are right it is usually the panicked one that shouts the loudest and the others just let them. Mom and Dad both signed living wills when they were in their 70's. what a great help that was. we followed their wishes even when we did not want to agree.

scubagirlj
01-04-2011, 18:09
i drafted a living will as soon as i started driving OTR, just in case....