The Truth about Terminal Dehydration
In Wikipedia under the title "terminal dehydration" we find the following statements, "There can be a fine line between terminal sedation that results in death by dehydration and euthanasia." Also: "In the Netherlands, debate has broken out about terminal dehydration, which is referred to as versterven. There have been accusations that involuntary dehydration takes place in nursing homes."
This is no surprise. It happens here, in the U.S.
Health care in the United States is facing a financial crisis. A recent study estimates that 27% of Medicare's annual budget goes to care for patients in their final year of life, or "end-of-life." As Congress continues with the full implementation of Obamacare, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, health care reformers are looking for ways to reduce the end-of-life cost in America.
Nine and a half months after his grandmother's death, President Obama said in a town hall meeting that he took offense at the idea inferred by critics of his health care plan, that he wanted to "pull the plug on grandma." This has become one of his famous quotes.
The requirement and use of end-of-life counselors referred to as "death panels" may have been taken out of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, (although this is assumed and not verified), but the use of terminal dehydration to end a life becomes increasing more prevalent today. The question is, and has to be, is terminal dehydration always voluntary? How will the nation's new health care law use "navigators" in regard to this issue? When morphine is administered carefully to sedate a person, rendering them incapable of drinking water, but not heavily enough to stop their breathing, is this palliative care or terminal sedation?
During the tenure of President George W. Bush, the use of a planning document that presented end-of-life choices for veterans was suspended. The document entitled "Your Life, your Choices" is now reported to be the Veteran Administration's preferred living will, promoted in hospitals and nursing homes that serve wounded warriors. It provides a worksheet that lists circumstances common to the elderly and asks users to consider if and when their own life is not worth living. The list includes living in a nursing home, being confined to a wheelchair, and not being able to "shake the blues."
In an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine entitled, "Voluntary Death: A Comparison of Terminal Dehydration and Physician-Assisted Suicide," the doctors note the advantages of terminal dehydration. It "...offers patients a way to escape... without requiring transformation of the law and medical ethics."
Medical practitioners may supply intravenous doses of opioids providing the intention is to relieve pain, rather than to kill. It is the principle of double effect, and is the treatment that hastens death. It has been described as "a real and essential phenomenon in end-of-life care."
The doctors conclude, "No adult of sound mind should be forced to endure an existence that he or she rationally considers to be intolerable... We do not view legalization of physician-assisted death as a matter of individual rights... The already available option of terminal dehydration deserves careful consideration as an alternative to physician-assisted suicide."
In the state of Oregon, physician-assisted suicide became legal in 1997 by a voter margin of 60% in favor of the new law. Under "The Death With Dignity Act" ending one's life in accordance with the law does not constitute suicide. Proponents refer to the law as a "wake up call" for the medical community.
But, the law has regulations in place to prevent the coercion of a sick person. The law requires a diagnosis by two physicians who will confirm that the subject for death has a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months. The patient must make two oral requests for the lethal medication, separated by at least fifteen days. Furthermore, the prescribing physician and a consulting physician must confirm the diagnosis and prognosis and if either physician believes the patient's judgement is impaired by a psychiatric or psychological disorder, the patient must be referred for a psychological examination. The prescribing physician must also inform the patient of feasible alternatives to assisted suicide including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control.
Because terminal dehydration is not legislated, there are no such restraints or precautions, and no such restrictions to its use are in place or practice. The truth is, terminal dehydration needs to be regulated also. The same regulations used in assisted suicide should be used in terminal dehydration and terminal sedation. It could be argued that the use of terminal sedation, as prescribed in terminal dehydration, is really physician-assisted suicide in disguise. And this is largely illegal in the U.S.
Could it be that Uncle Sam will change his costume and play a new role, and that it will be the Grim Reaper? This is truly a scary thought.
Once the killing begins on a wide scale, and it already has with terminal dehydration, where will the boundaries be set, or limits established? Are the injured or handicapped of all ages in danger of termination?
The treatment of a terminally ill cancer patient represents a different debate and should not be used to justify the termination of the elderly or injured. This is the most difficult of situations to discern. The terminally ill cancer patient has had a physicians care similar to that required by The Death With Dignity Act. Still, fluids can and should be administered during the time the patient is medicated for comfort.
What does the near future hold for the ill and elderly? Will they have a chance at recovery? What about those suffering from a stroke or dementia? Will their termination be based on the cost of their recovery or the cost of assisted living that is needed? Will the person who is unwanted, or unproductive, be terminated? At what age should an elderly person be terminated? Perhaps it is 90?
In our fictitious story Gram was terminated with the use of a living will to establish the authority of the doctor and nursing home to do so. A living will used in this way represents permission to kill.
What does your future hold?
"The Contemporary Christian Series" - Four Steps To Knowing God
...relinquish your control.
When life wasn’t fair, God was calling his name.
Robert Love experienced great loss. His grandmother died under a cloud of suspicion. Memories of better times became miserable haunts as the skeletons of his past continued to rattle in the closet of deceit.
On the ropes emotionally, fate (or was it God?) intervened to bring Love a new friend, a mentor and wise sage of sorts, with provocative insights. His name is John Wright.
They were perfect strangers when they met but allowed their lives to intersect and in the end each was instrumental in saving the other. But for Love, it was complicated, much like his life.
Upon becoming better acquainted, it seemed that Wright’s credibility was sketchy at best. Once exposed, Love learned that his new friend was terminally ill. So why had he stopped fighting for his life? Wright has a mysterious past.
A spiritual battle ensues. Love is nearly killed in a grinding head-on collision and suffers debilitating injuries. And then, unbelievably, Love’s home is torched and all his possessions are turned into ashes among the smoking ruins. It is more than a soul can bear; surely he must be cursed!
But it was a greater love that truly saved him once emptied of himself. Everything changed and ultimately Love endured to discover new hope and a new life.
Is God calling you? This contemporary parable is a guide for the journey of faith that leads to true salvation.
...discover your calling.
Truly alone, his head hanging low, tears are dropping onto his lap. Already disgraced, this pastor feels no need to defend himself.
There have been many arrests of the clergy in recent times, the institutional church is weak, and the public is hungry for revenge. The police are ordered by the District Attorney to bring him in, to answer his accuser for the crime she alleges.
Robert Love, the clergyman accused of sexually assaulting a minor female, searches his memory for a clue. Had he mistaken the events of his life, the way he saw God working and leading him into the ministry?
His divorce and aggressive response to the false allegation of infidelity brought by legalistic Christians is in his past. More recently there was the baby’s funeral and the unexplained reason for its death, as well as the demise of the mother, to cancer. She had refused radiation treatments, sacrificing her life for another, the unborn child that didn’t survive.
Thrisa is the only bright spot in this pastor’s otherwise dreary work at the parish and she is found in a dumpster, left for dead. Then, answers to the mystery are suddenly revealed at the bedside of a man even as he exhales his last breath. The final verdict: “not guilty!”
Doubt plagued Robert Love with the simple, haunting question: “why?” But in the midst of all his trouble, wisdom rescues with everlasting peace.
...yield to power consuming.
Young adults and siblings, James and Steffanie Wallas, who tragically lost their parents in a train wreck, are struggling to continue with their lives.
They are grieving together until something very strange happens in the cemetery where their parents are buried. Steffanie is confronted by a strange being which resembles her deceased mother.
James needs absolute proof that their mother has not returned from the dead. The weight of the evidence needed rests upon a cross necklace, the one their mom gave to Steffanie at her baptism. Rejecting faith, she returned it at the funeral to be buried with all of her hopes and dreams. It was this necklace that she saw the being wearing. Now, James must find the explanation that will bring his sister back from the brink of insanity.
Rumors leak and their town goes crazy! A police report documents the sighting and the news goes viral.
A cross necklace, the mystery of resurrection, and one young man's need for answers spin into a whirlwind of controversy that has everyone waiting for the truth to be revealed.
Not science fiction or fantasy, it’s an emotional story that demonstrates the bravery of true love in the aftermath of tragedy.
...realize the life chosen.
The Daniels men held their legacy in secret, preserved for future generations.
Levi Daniels was shot while Confederate soldiers invaded his southern Pennsylvania farm. In a small wooden box, he took his prized possession to California, seeking better fortune. But as history has it, trouble followed.
As a young boy, Darren is expected to carry the torch. From his hospital bed, Darren’s grandfather spoke reverently of the responsibility as he bypassed the birthright of the next person in line. It should have been given to Darren’s father, Joseph, but he is still missing.
Darren and his fraternal twin sister, Deidra, are able to avoid their ancestors’ haunts until engaged in the disaster. An earthquake strikes the U.S. and it falls into anarchy. Joseph returns, searching for the remnant of his family.
It is then that the secret of their past is revealed with a compelling message. America’s heritage, one of faith and unity, speaks to challenge the hearts of the faithful and the patriotic, stirring them to resist the enemy, natural and spiritual.
The future is predicted as the fictional account moves forward in time. This story challenges you to ponder the evidence of our fate. And here is realized a profound and compelling revelation - the greater purpose in it all.
"This book is meant to be shared." Tell your friends - take a look with Updyke Books app.
LOOK, LISTEN, READ - it's all on you phone!
Blessings! Alan Updyke, UpdykeBooks@gmail.com
A good book will bring calm to a troubled mind.