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Starving to death those with low prognosis - a Case in France.

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by Quid est Veritas?, May 20, 2019.

  1. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    Life support fight over paralysed Frenchman to end

    There is a man in France, a tetraplegic called Vincent Lambert, who is set to die this week. He was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2008, and has had a low-level of intellectual function since (opening eyes, responding to pain, that kind of thing). He breathes on his own, but cannot swallow or eat, so is fed via a tube.

    His wife, some of his siblings and his doctors want to 'withdraw treatment' - what does this innocuous sounding phrase mean? It means they want to starve a man to death, as his only external support is via feeding - although he requires nursing care and physiotherapy to prevent bedsores and contractures.

    His Parents and some other of his siblings have been fighting a losing battle to make sure they keep feeding him. Euthanasia is illegal in France, and this is solely a backdoor method of doing so. Feeding a person is hardly exhaustive medical intervention, and potentially this man could continue to live till old age or a disease claims him. I can understand not choosing to intervene if his condition worsens, but allowing him to die by starvation is simply too much. It is difficult to ascertain function here, as clearly he is not brain-dead by any measure. Improvement in such states has occured in the past (a woman in the Middle East recently awoke after something like 20 or so years in a coma). There is also disagreement between the two camps on what his actual level of function is.

    I am fully opposed to Euthanasia, but respect not increasing treatment further in cases with a low prognosis or withdrawing active intervention like adrenaline infusions or the ilk. Feeding is not an extraordinary method of sustaining Life though, as any trip to the dinner table makes plain. While not familiar with the particulars of the man's condition, this seems merely to be a sneaky attempt to Euthanise him.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  2. Desk trauma

    Desk trauma Atheist Capitalist Supporter

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    ...and this is why everyone needs a living will.
     
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  3. rjs330

    rjs330 Well-Known Member

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    Do people not know how painful starving to death is? If the guy feels pain this is awful!
     
  4. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    I'm certain that if G-tube feeding and hydration is discontinued he will still have some IV access in place and will be kept heavily sedated until nature takes its course. He won't feel a thing.

    Edited to add: This situation is somewhat similar to that of my own father. Who died 14 years ago in his late 80s. He had advanced prostate cancer metastatic to his spine, causing spinal cord compression. While not paralysed, his legs were very weak, and he was bedbound. Towards the end, he stopped eating and drinking on his own. But he had an IV morphine drip which was titrated upward until he was asleep. And he died about 24 hours later very peacefully.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  5. PreviouslySeeking...

    PreviouslySeeking... Well-Known Member

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    I agree with needing a living will. I wouldn't want to continue existing in that state . One would assume his wife knows his wishes.
     
  6. Tanj

    Tanj Redefined comfortable middle class

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    I agree with most of your facts and none of the extra emotion you decided to ladle in there. A few follow up questions:

    1. On what planet is "withdrawing treatment" an innocuous sounding phrase? Sounds pretty occuous to me, regardless of what is being withdrawn.
    2. Did you really just equate requiring a feeding tube (which itself requires a specific formulation) to a trip to the dinner table?? I mean, really?
    3. I'd like evidence some woman in the middle east came out of a coma, then further evidence that her condition in any way, shape or form resembles his.

    And finally...
    "While not familiar with the particulars of the man's condition" ...
    You feel fully justified to judge and decide on it.
    Nice one.
     
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  7. jayem

    jayem Naturalist

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    For even greater assurance that your wishes will be carried out, you should also have a Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare decision-making. With the DPA, you designate a specific person as your surrogate to make medical decisions in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. It's usually a spouse, but could be anyone you trust to carry out your wishes. The living will, or advance directive, then becomes the instructions that your surrogate transmits to your health care team. Of course, you must notify your surrogate of his/her role and you should provide him/her with a copy of your AD. And obviously, your surrogate should be willing and trustworthy. And if you have other family members, you must notify them that your surrogate has full legal authority for medical decision-making on your behalf. You don't need to pay a lawyer for this. You can download documents meeting the requirements for your state, fill them out, sign and have them notarized, and give copies to your surrogate, your doctor, and your family members. You can also modify them at any time. The cost is nominal. This way, everybody knows exactly what you want, and exactly who is in charge of making sure it happens.
     
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  8. USincognito

    USincognito Milk-Bones for Cerberus is a cool album name Supporter

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    I always find the logic bizarre.

    Somehow removing someone from life support is playing God, but putting them on life support is not. :scratch:
     
  9. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    Sounds better than 'Starve him to death'.

    Not true. It is better to use a specific formulation of mixed feeds, on occassion adding micronutrients, yes. But it is not required. This man has a working gut. In the old days, they merely blended normal food and stuck it down the nasogastric tube. Ideally, a dietician should work out his daily requirements and a continuous infusion run, with adjustment as needed - ideally though, we should all monitor our feeding as closely.

    I see no clear difference here. The tubes are in place, you merely need to input feed. Granted, it may block, but they most likely placed a feeding Ileostomy in someone in such a state for so many years, so exceedingly unlikely.

    UAE woman Munira Abdulla wakes up after 27 years in a coma - BBC News

    She was a head injury in a long term state of low prognosis. The cases are quite comparable.

    Based on what I read in that article and others, and on my background in ICU care, yes. Though not an Intensivist per se, I am an Anaesthetist, and have worked my fair share there. I haven't examined him myself, nor is the media very clear on what his GCS is, or which reflexes are absent or not, or how diffuse his brain injury is on imaging. Regardless, I see no reason why feeding need be withdrawn. This is not medically justified, I feel, but more for socio-economic reasons.
     
  10. Tanj

    Tanj Redefined comfortable middle class

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    Consider me schooled then.
     
  11. CRAZY_CAT_WOMAN

    CRAZY_CAT_WOMAN I'm praying for my dad to get well.

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    I'm sure they will give him alot of drugs. Before the feeding tube goes out. And after.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  12. cow451

    cow451 The Most Interesting Poster in the Forum Supporter

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    I would prefer starving to death over this type of life. Only modern technology allows him to be kept alive.

    I’m not trying to minimize your response, but given the same circumstances, would you want to be kept alive?

    These decisions are terrible for loved ones to make.
     
  13. cow451

    cow451 The Most Interesting Poster in the Forum Supporter

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    This is very common. I’ve seen this type situation in my family.
     
  14. DanishLutheran

    DanishLutheran Active Member

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    The West has indeed undergone a process of brutalizing itself, but not in the way that those who want to see more invasions of "cultural enrichers" claim.

    We are now seeing the return of the murder of "useless eaters" that everyone thought was over and done with, with the fall of the nazi monstrosity.

    God help us.
     
  15. Goonie

    Goonie Not so Mystic Mog. Supporter

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    And the reward for godwinning 2019 goes to......
     
  16. Desk trauma

    Desk trauma Atheist Capitalist Supporter

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    Eh, not nearly strident enough.
     
  17. DanishLutheran

    DanishLutheran Active Member

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    Who? Not me, certainly. It isn't godwinning when it's accurate.
     
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