Editorial: Little progress on end-of-life care

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  • Updated: January 21, 2011 - 7:42 PM

2011 case raises similar questions as landmark Wanglie case.

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avgjeo51Jan. 21, 11 7:35 PM

One doesn't completely comprehend the emotions and decision-making processes that occurs in these cases unless you have had some direct exposure. I had to make an end-of-life decision this year for my mother. I was fortunate to have a respectful relationship with the medical staff involved and am now comfortable with my decision. I could not have imagined dealing with the added complications if our federal government health initiative played a major role in this decision. Please keep that in mind as we move forward with this healthcare debate. Put the party politics aside.

moparfoolJan. 21, 11 8:54 PM

My parents had living wills and health directives specifying that no extraordinary measures be taken by anyone to prolong life. If we can assume that the government (taxpayer) is paying most or all of the cost of keeping this poor man alive for five years in a vegetative state, then that needs to change. I propose that when things reach the point that they have with this person, the family or whomever wants the person to stay on the machines as a vegetable has to pay the cost of care. In cash - upfront.

davehougJan. 21, 11 9:42 PM

Isn't the question WHO decides when to stop treatment, wife or court-appointed 'guardians'????????????? When was the right to decide for our spouse lost???? When court dis-agrees with spouse of XX years????

Chewy11Jan. 21, 11 9:52 PM

as an ICU RN, I have dealth with and been involved in supporting families and patients in these tough times. I can say it isnt easy on anyone involved; but medical professionals are never eager to "pull the plug" on anyone. Usually we exhaust all resources, even when the situation seems futile. I think there does come a time when we can no longer continue to keep patients alive when we have tried everything and seen no improvement. Its a touchy subject, but I think we need to consider what quality of life these patients have or don't have when they are on continuous lifesupport and tube feedings.

mackroeJan. 21, 1111:31 PM

I truly don't understand. Its not ok to help a person who is suffering end thier life with dignity, but it ok to take the life of an unborn child. Someday Americans will look back on these days like we look at the days of slavery and say 'what were they thinking.' An unborn child and a suffering person have just as many civil rights as anyone else in this country.

westernbobJan. 22, 11 1:24 AM

Oh, my. Another case of abuse of the terminally ill. We've had so many of them. Will the Minnesota legislature finally stand up and say that these "issues warrant thoughtful study (and) consideration by the Legislature as well as executive agencies and Commissions"... that affect us all? Your editorial states the case. Will Minnesota respond?

themostancieJan. 22, 11 2:03 AM

"unborn child"...so are the sick "undead corpses"?

jathu001Jan. 22, 11 5:47 AM

I believe in the human spirit--meaning, that the human species has a spiritual dimension. What happens in cases like these, however, is that the human body is treated like a machine itself, artificially kept alive while the spirit of the person has headed for greener pastures long ago. Myself, I think it's cruel and abusive to treat a human being in this way--like a vessel without a soul--to force it to keep pumping. To me it is obvious that this case has crossed the line into actual cruelty. It's crazy but sometimes the medical community probably has to step in for the patient (and yes, against the family) to stop the abuse. This man deserves to be set free from all the ridiculous shunts and tubes and drips, surrounded by hugs and kisses from his family and friends, prayers and songs from the voices of angels, and let him go into the warm and loving arms his maker.

Willy53Jan. 22, 11 7:16 AM

The sad consequences of the "death panels" misinformation campaign by republicans is that the end-of-life discussions that were to be covered by insurance would have given the elderly more educated options and choices about expensive "heroic measures" that are often taken after they have lost consciousness and have no hope of recovery or say in their care. It would surely have resulted in more humane and less painful end-of-life situations and had the added benefit of saving billions of dollars of unnecessary care. Both of my parents fortunately made their intentions clear before they lost the ability to communicate and it allowed them to face their passing on their own terms.

karendavid816Jan. 22, 11 7:24 AM

I wish we had been told whether the hospital had a financial interest in their legal position. Was it costing them money they knew they couldn't recover from Medicare or the patient? Considering how many elderly people are being kept alive without hope of recovery, it is hard to believe that this is all about the patient. We cannot afford our current end of life public funding system. Death panels are coming, we just won't call them that.


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