Skip to comments.Should Parents' Belief in Miracles Trump Medical Expertise in End-of-Life Decisions?
Posted on 08/16/2012 10:21:27 AM PDT by marshmallow
(CBS News) British doctors behind a new study say that many cases in which parents insist on continuing treatment even though medical professionals believe the child has no hope of recovery are motivated by religious beliefs and the hope for divine intervention.
In a study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, doctors from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London asked for lawmakers to change the current British legal system to allow physicians to have greater influence in cases with terminally ill patients, adding parents' religious beliefs should not be a "determining factor." Researchers argued parents waiting for a miracle are putting their children through unnecessary and painful treatments.
"Spending a lifetime attached to a mechanical ventilator having every bodily function supervised and sanitized by a carer or relative, leaving no dignity or privacy to the child or adult has been argued as inhumane," the researchers wrote. "We suggest it is time to reconsider current ethical and legal structures and facilitate rapid default access to courts in such situations when the best interests of the child are compromised in expectation of the miraculous."
The doctors took a closer look at 203 cases at Great Ormond Street Hospital which involved end-of-life decisions for parents over a three-year period. In 186 cases, parents agreed with medical professionals that further pointless, aggressive treatment should be removed.
In the remaining 17 cases, however, parents insisted that medical treatment be provided even if health professionals advised against it. The doctor's rulings were in accordance with the guideline set forth by the British Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health guidance, and were based on the fact that medical evidence suggested the benefits derived from continued procedures would not improve the case and may increase the patient's suffering.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...
The charity I work for works very closely with the Children’s Hospital social workers children diagnosed with cancer and the doctors will never give up on the dying children until their is no possible treatment left. I do see much more peace and strength for those parents who are Christians. They do believe in divine intervention and that belief helps the caregivers as well as the patient. Many children fight harder to live knowing their parents are praying for them. Sometimes the children see someone coming for them. One young man told his mom to turn his bed toward the window because he was going home that night. I know of several cases of children being prepared to leave the earth. When, there is not a shread of hope for cure and the child dies, the Christian parents are just as grieved as anyone would be but there is quiet peace that settles in and they gather more and more strength. Godless people won’t understand what I am talking about and may dismiss what I say, but coming from first hand information, there is no way a parent or doctor is going to give up until the bitter end at least for now in America.
In all fairness, since the NHS is taxpayer funded, there is a logical recourse, that if someone is “low maintenance” requiring hydration, oxygen, and food, along with palliative care, there should be the option for life until natural death.
However, if life can only be preserved at great expense and low probability of success, then the family should be told that unless they can afford such expensive preservation, the public can no longer be expected to bear the burden either. If the patient can survive for a time without the equipment, surgery, expensive drugs, etc., they can do so on their own. If they will die immediately, sorry.
Importantly, this is always the choice of the poor in any system. They cannot expect to eat steak on food stamps.
Importantly, at no time is this killing of a patient. If they cannot live except by extreme measures, then it is their time to die. It is not killing, just not fending off death on their behalf.
Just tell the Dr. that if they unhook your loved one without your express, written permission it’ll be the doctors and nurses involved who’ll be needing a miracle.
It’s not just happening in Great Britian. We had a horrible experience this past March in Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Virginia, with doctors trying to force a decision on us in the case of my 83 year old Mother. They were 80% “sure” she was dying and wanted us to put a DNR on her. We initially made the decision not to given the lack of medical evidence they could give us, but they kept coming to my Mother and to each of our family members telling us we needed to make a decision about DNR, when we already had, it just wasn’t the decision they wanted us to make. Their approach to us in every incident was insulting, angry, demanding, and very much lacking in compassion. I couldn’t figure out what their problem was, and still can’t. In the end Mother did pass away, and we did decide toward the end to put a DNR on her when it became quite evident that with treatment she wasn’t getting better. But we all felt like the docs were trying to force a decision on us prematurely.
When our pastor found out about this, he said that in a recent community meeting of clergy, medical people, etc., a doctor gave a speech in which he proposed that medical decisions be taken out of the hands of family members and be made soley by physicians because they know more about medical things than family does.
It’s coming folks, make no doubt about it, and if Obamacare is implemented, we’ll see more and more things like this.
The problem is it is still the “practice” of medicine.... and the Drs don’t always have the answers they think they do.
My dad had a diabetic incident, and was in a “vegetative state”. I was told he would never wake up and could live like that for ten or twenty years. Did I want to feed him?
Was I SURE I wanted to? He was NEVER going to wake up.
Really? Was I really really positive... what did he want, did he have a living will... etc.
So, they grudgingly fed him. Ten days later I walked into his hospital room, said “hi dad” and he answered me. We had a truly wonderful relationship after that, (which was something I had not had with him before) for the last 2 years of his life.
Euthanasia is a direct attack on the right to life.
It is ALWAYS better to fight for each individual life. No exceptions. One must always be fighting to preserve life no matter which tools or technology one limits oneself to.
Terri Schiavo's judge should have permitted the spoon feeding and hydrating of Terry by her family.
Therefore, even if doctors legitimately decide a machine to keep the heart going is no longer called for, they should be ready to provide a treatment less than that, so that no one is ever intentionally taking death, but someone is always fighting to preserve life. Always a treatment and never an intention to promote death.
A bias in favor of saving life is like unto being the total opposite of a bias toward ending life, regardless of anyone's religious beliefs.