life in and around NYC is insane

Monday, January 13, 2014

End of life issues

Jahi McMath.  Marlise Munoz.  Ariel Sharon.  Three names that have been in the news these past few days.
Jahi was a 13 year old girl who died last month as a result of a complicated surgical procedure.  She has surgery to address her sleep apnea.  Shortly after the surgery she began to bleed heavily, suffered cardiac arrest and brain death.  The hospital wanted to remove her from a vent and let her go.  Her mother and family members refused, and began a court battle and media circus to keep her "alive".
Marlise was 33 when she suffered a pulmonary embolism in November. Her husband and family assert that she is brain dead and want to remove her from life support.  The hospital asserts she must be kept "alive" because she is pregnant.  The family plans to sue.
Ariel Sharon died two days ago.  I suppose many people forgot he was still alive.  He's been in a persistent vegetative state for 8 years as a result of a stroke.  He was 85.  I read that his sons had insisted on very aggressive treatment.
It all brings to mind the Terri Schiavo, who lived in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, the legal battle between her husband and her parents over whether her husband could have her feeding tube removed.  The final battle played out in March 2005, when I was home recovering from surgery.  I watched it all on MSNBC every afternoon.
Scary to think your brain could cease to function, that you could lose all of the higher functions, the essence of your personality, your sense of self, and yet your heart could go on beating.
The last few months before his father died, Drew kept using the phrase "quality of life".  So long as Emil was able to interact with his environment and take some pleasure from it, Drew was reluctant to agree to a DNR order.  If circumstances were to change . . .but in the end, it didn't matter. 
Right now my father is as well as can be expected, comfortable in his own home and his own bed.  Who knows when that will change?  I fear that my sisters, like Sharon's sons, will insist upon aggressive treatment until the very end.
Not for me. . .please.  Please don't make me live like Terry Schiavo or Ariel Sharon.  If it gets to that point, please know it's ok to let me go.

No comments:

Blog Archive

About Me