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Wesley J. Smith: Should We Kill Alzheimer’s Patients?
First Things/Secondhand Smoke ^ | Wesley J. Smith

Posted on 05/24/2012 3:45:28 PM PDT by wagglebee

A very disturbing article in New York Magazine by Michael Wolff.  It tells the difficult story of his mother’s Alzheimer’s, a course of physical and mental decline about which I am very familiar as my uncle died from the complications of that awful disease. But Wolff says that such patients have lost dignity, and indeed, he more than implies the proper approach to dealing with dementia is to kill them sooner rather than bear the emotional and financial expense of caring for them over the long term.  From, “A Life Worth Ending:”

It is peaceful and serene. Except for my mother’s disquiet. She stares in mute reprimand. Her bewilderment and resignation somehow don’t mitigate her anger. She often tries to talk—desperate guttural pleas. She strains for cognition and, shockingly, sometimes bursts forward, reaching it—“Nice suit,” she said to me, out of the blue, a few months ago—before falling back.

That is the thing that you begin to terrifyingly appreciate: Dementia is not absence; it is not a nonstate; it actually could be a condition of more rather than less feeling, one that, with its lack of clarity and logic, must be a kind of constant nightmare. “Old age,” says one of Philip Roth’s protagonists, “isn’t a battle, it’s a massacre.” I’d add, it’s a holocaust. Circumstances have conspired to rob the human person–a mass of humanity–of all hope and dignity and comfort. When my mother’s diaper is changed she makes noises of harrowing despair–for a time, before she lost all language, you could if you concentrated make out what she was saying, repeated over and over and over again: “It’s a violation. It’s a violation. It’s a violation.”

Often, the people who really suffer in Alzheimer’s cases are the loved ones.  I know we did.  It is very hard to see your formerly vibrant and interactive mother, father, uncle, spouse, so ill and vulnerable.  But they are not without dignity–unless we so define them.  Their hygiene needs do not reduce them to something less human.

The family chose to accept some high end interventions–which no one forced on them.  But those are tough calls too, so no judgment there.  And here’s the call to killing:

I do not know how death panels ever got such a bad name. Perhaps they should have been called deliverance panels. What I would not do for a fair-minded body to whom I might plead for my mother’s end. The alternative is nuts: to look forward to paying trillions and to bankrupting the nation as well as our souls as we endure the suffering of our parents and our inability to help them get where they’re going. The single greatest pressure on health care is the disproportionate resources devoted to the elderly, to not just the old, but to the old old, and yet no one says what all old children of old parents know: This is not just wrongheaded but steals the life from everyone involved.

And it seems all the more savage because there is such a simple fix: Give us the right to make provisions for when we want to go. Give families the ability to make a fair case of enough being enough, of the end’s, de facto, having come…My bet is that, even in America, even as screwed up as our health care is, we baby-boomers watching our parents’ long and agonizing deaths won’t do this to ourselves. We will surely, we must surely, find a better, cheaper, quicker, kinder way out.

Yes indeed, for Baby Boomers, it is always about us.

My uncle was helpless at the end, his condition made more difficult by serious glaucoma added to the travails of dementia.  But he was not undignified.  Indeed, I would posit he had a greater claim on our love, commitment, and care than when he was a vigorous activist in the Teamster’s Union.  And the people who cared for him at a wonderful Baptist continuing care home could not have been more committed to their patients’ well being, cleanliness, and comfort.

We already have the right to refuse unwanted medical treatment. Before becoming incompetent, my uncle made it clear that he did not want heroic measures or antibiotics at the end, and as his surrogate, I made sure he did not receive them. But his was not a life worth ending, it was a life worth caring.  And that is precisely what my uncle received, individualized and loving attention until his time had come.

But there is an agenda afoot to get us to die sooner rather than later.  So the caring story does not seem to be one that big time media is much interested in telling.


TOPICS: Health/Medicine
KEYWORDS: alzheimers; billgates; euthanasia; moralabsolutes; nwo; obamacare; prolife; un
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But there is an agenda afoot to get us to die sooner rather than later. So the caring story does not seem to be one that big time media is much interested in telling.

Exactly!

1 posted on 05/24/2012 3:45:38 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser
Pro-Life Ping
2 posted on 05/24/2012 3:46:47 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: BykrBayb; floriduh voter; Lesforlife; Sun
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3 posted on 05/24/2012 3:48:50 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; APatientMan; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

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4 posted on 05/24/2012 3:50:58 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

It all depends on who “they” are to make the “right decision”. If “they” is the government, we are all lost to the whims of dictators who could mandate beliefs as eradicable illnesses.


5 posted on 05/24/2012 3:56:11 PM PDT by LurkedLongEnough
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To: wagglebee
"I do not know how death panels ever got such a bad name."

You soon will, kid. So far, it's all been in the abstract. Sombody else gettin' snuffed out. It's about to get very personal. Your turn is coming. You won't like it. In the very near future, some bureaucrat will be reviewing your paperwork and say, "Hmmm...two angioplasties, and prostate sugery so far. Family history indicates death by heart attack before age 62...Ok. We're done with this one. Medical procedure denied. Next!"
6 posted on 05/24/2012 4:01:10 PM PDT by PowderMonkey (WILL WORK FOR AMMO)
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To: wagglebee

Continuing the long slide down the *slippery slope*. The descent into madness; into hell.


7 posted on 05/24/2012 4:03:33 PM PDT by carriage_hill (All liberals & most demoncraps think that life is just a sponge bath, with a happy ending.)
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To: wagglebee

govt ‘care’ must focus on cutting costs... especially when facing massive debts

therefore it makes perfect sense that the propaganda mill has started churning out media tripe to reduce expected tests as well as quality of life.

and now we see them pushing for killing people if *they* perceive the person’s ‘dignity’ has diminished

don’t blink or govt bob will recycle your grandmother ...

for her own good, of course


8 posted on 05/24/2012 4:06:46 PM PDT by sten (fighting tyranny never goes out of style)
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To: wagglebee
When my mother’s diaper is changed she makes noises of harrowing despair–for a time, before she lost all language, you could if you concentrated make out what she was saying, repeated over and over and over again: “It’s a violation. It’s a violation. It’s a violation.”

Utter rubbish. My mother has Alzheimer's. When they get to this point they are not really capable of determining what is and what is not a violation. They have already been deteriorating for quite a while. I am not making light of the indignity but there is not much we can do about it.

In any event the rare lucid moments we get from my Mother are priceless and I would be damned if I allow some savage to tell me we should kill her.

9 posted on 05/24/2012 4:08:57 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: PowderMonkey

I January, my 91 year old 90 pound mother was in an auto accident. (T Boned by another car in an intersection.) She lay in her bed with a broken leg, wrist, arm and ribs with a breathing tube. They told us that she did have a prognosis of recovery, but that she would likely have to be in a nursing home, so we approved the surgery on her leg. They kept telling us each day that she was rallying and they would remove the tube soon. You could tell she wanted the tube out. They had to put big mitts on her to keep her hands from her face.

On the fourth day, she managed to remove the mitts and pull the tube from her mouth. My Mom was a very strong willed woman woman all her life. There was no doubt in any of our minds then that she wanted to go. We respected her wishes and the tube was not replaced. She died the next day.

I believe an adult should have that choice.


10 posted on 05/24/2012 4:21:46 PM PDT by marsh2
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To: All
Hey Wes, up yours! Here's what I wrote:

I've posted this many times before but what if somebody is denied healthcare under Bammycare? People naturally have spouses, children, siblings, friends, parents, grandparents, etc. depending on the age of the one denied. I would hate to be a member of a death panel making such a decision to deny. I'd stay out of dark allies, look under my car before starting it, keep my eyes out for shadows, and jump at every noise I hear at night. Is that noise I hear at 2:30 AM the neighbor's cat or is it Grandpa Jones' grandson, which I denied care to his granddad, with a posse of his friends armed with baseball bats and a shotgun? How about blocking the road in front of me, an old lady in a 1967 Caddy. Did she break down or is she the wife of the man who I denied a hip replacement to, waiting for me where as I step out of my car to help, the last thing I hear is a .45 going off just before St. Peter appears. It's 10 PM, my kid is late in coming home and the phone rings. How about this, what if I denied care to a Tony Soprano?

I know under the insurance companies, there are cases of denial but in a lot of cases, you can get the doctor and hospital to get them to reverse their decision or just go ahead and let the family pay for it and/or go on a charity case. Not so with the government, if you are denied, there is very little redress at all. Ayn Rand put in in a long monologue where it boils down to this, "the more laws you create, the more criminals you make" and when you eliminate the process and route where one can make a challenge to make things right legally, that leaves only one other way, revenge and/or at least forced coercion via illegal means. This is a pandora's box to be sure, people will do anything for their loved ones and for survival.

I remember Quark's quote from DS9 (Star Trek) about us humans, "Let me tell you something about humans, nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and as violent as the most blood-thirsty Klingon."

I don't feel comfortable in visioning this scenario, but if we keep going on the present track, it will happen.

11 posted on 05/24/2012 4:23:16 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (General James Mattoon Scott, where are you when we need you? We need a regime change.)
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To: wagglebee

My mother has this awful disease...I have been taking care of her for 9 years..Hospice always acts like she isnt dieing fast enough..so this attitude is not new. Just turned 66 amd a young person told me I needed to die because I was costing him money...It will get worse..liberals who claim to care really dont.


12 posted on 05/24/2012 4:28:41 PM PDT by dalebert
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To: wagglebee

“But Wolff says that such patients have lost dignity...”

I’m past 60, have lived on 4 continents and visited a fifth. I’ve lived in at least 7 or 8 different countries, been through a war and several coups.

I have met very, very few people with dignity to loose. The issue is NOT that they have lost Dignity. Do Alzheimer’s patients do or say embarrassing things? Yes, of course. So do I.

Does that mean they have “lost their dignity”? Probably not.

I believe Wolff is having a problem with being embarrassed by his mother, of Wolff having his pride offended and of being inconvenienced.

Hey Wolff, ever read “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.” I Cor 13:4-8

Perhaps God has allowed your mother to develop Alzheimer’s in order to teach you to love her and those like her? I have a dear friend who, until her father’s recent death, was caring for him. This was in addition to caring for a younger sibling with Down’s and an adult child with Spina Bifida.

“How do you do it”, I asked?

She replied with a smile, “Oh, I laugh a lot to keep from going crazy and I just let Jesus love them through me.”


13 posted on 05/24/2012 4:29:55 PM PDT by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: wagglebee

Isn’t denying antibiotics hastening death?


14 posted on 05/24/2012 4:36:59 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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To: BwanaNdege

QUOTE OF THE CENTURY - I just let Jesus love them through me.


15 posted on 05/24/2012 4:40:17 PM PDT by Rodentking (There is no God but Yahweh and Moses is his prophet - http://www.airpower.blogspot.com/)
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To: wagglebee

culling the herd


16 posted on 05/24/2012 4:41:06 PM PDT by Taffini ( Mr. Pippen and Mr. Waffles do not approve and neither do I)
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To: wagglebee

Wes Smith sounds retarded. Maybe we should bring back the nazi’s “t-4” program and relieve him of his suffering.


17 posted on 05/24/2012 4:43:46 PM PDT by Sirius Lee (When we cease to be good we'll cease to be great. Be for Goode.)
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To: wagglebee
But there is an agenda afoot to get us to die sooner rather than later. So the caring story does not seem to be one that big time media is much interested in telling.

More than that. The agenda is to keep nudging the 'goalposts' that define the beginning and the end of life until they converge, and all those 'choices' you thought you had are now being made by someone else. This is what the so-called progressives seek - the power over life and death, for any reason or no reason.

If we do not stop it, we'll find that our lives hang by the whim of monsters who revel in human sacrifice.

18 posted on 05/24/2012 4:43:53 PM PDT by Noumenon (If people saw socialists for what they truly are, slaughter would ensue - in self-defense.)
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To: wagglebee

My mom died from that shit 6 years ago Il tell yay what anyone got near her before gods time would have been dispatched post haste


19 posted on 05/24/2012 4:44:34 PM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom)
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To: Nowhere Man
Hey Wes, up yours!

umm, Wes is on our side. The article he is critiqing is by Wolff.

20 posted on 05/24/2012 4:47:16 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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