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Should Families Decide When to Pull the Plug?

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If a patient is usually beyond saving , it is the family's decision (with the suggestions of doctors) to end life support. What would you do if your loved one was in the chronic position of being on life support? Would you pull the plug?

Why or why not?
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replied July 30th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Man, it is so ironic that this forum came up today. My good friend is in a coma right now and has a 50/50 chance at living and his family might have to make this decision soon. It is so hard for me to think about so I can't really make a good decision. Right now, I do feel that it would be up to the parent or spouce if there was no prior instructions from a living will or something.

My cousin was recently hurt in a car accident and went into a coma for a few days. His parents had to make the horrific decision of weather or not to pull the plug or not. It just about killed them. He was only 21. They didn't know what his wishes were....

....Therefore, I am here to say how important it is to have a living will. My dad gets on me all the time about doing it, and my dh and I are in the process of haveing one written. It allows your loved ones to know EXACTLY what you want to happen to you if you are ever in that situation.
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replied August 11th, 2007
ive told everyone in my family that i want the plug pulled after 2 months... but im not sure if my mother will actually do that if i was in that situation... i cant imagine being in that position too..

he's right it is good to have living will. but what if ur young and ur not really expecting to die yet, u know?
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replied August 13th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
Well I think it's a good idea to at least put that you want the plug to be pulled after 2 months in your living will. It is only supposed to be for what you would want to do if you were living artificially. But now that Im married and have a house and cars, I would need to include that in my living will as well.
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replied October 14th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
I'd want to pull the plug after a few months too. Wouldn't my muscles and body start to fail from inactivity after a certain amount of time? Whatever period that is, that's when I'd want to pull it. I would rather die satisfied knowing I did what I could with life rather then a small chance of waking up 15 years later knowing that all I have known and done is but a memory to many including myself. That I have lost my prime chances to get what I wished to do with life... and wake up too late to do many of them, gah for me its one of those cases where "better late then never" doesn't apply. That's just me, I know its selfish from a perspective, but I can't always do things for other people.
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replied October 14th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
Even if you do wake up, you're likely to have such severe brain damage that you can't process new information. Did you see the special on the man who woke from a coma after 15 years?
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replied November 26th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
True Story
Last Dec 06 I was in respiratory failure and taken by 911. I was put in a medically induced coma and put on the ventaltor for 10 day out of 16 in CCU. This one afternoon my son and sister were there during my GP's rounds. Just at that time I dicided to pull the tube out.
I must have yelled very low for help and the all came running in my room (I was told), The doctor told my family that I had end stage COPD and that I was going to die anyway and that if it were him he would not put me back on the vent and to just let me go in peace. Well in seconds, my family said " Get her back on it NOW!' I have double pneumonia and was on three different IV anti-biotics. If it were not for my son and sister, I would not be here now typing this. Doc basically wanted me to die. He had no hope for me whatsoever, where my family did........;-(

Carrie
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replied November 26th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Doctors do make mistakes, we must keep that in mind when answering this but on a whole

I dont think there is any wrong in letting a person die if doctors feel there is little hope and the person is on artifical life support and the family are satisfied and have come to the same conclusion. The question have to be asked when the person will continue to live so long as they have love and care and able to survive by being fed and given water, to me to starve somneone who cant feed themselves or deprive them of water just so they will die is wrong, even if the person has asked to die previously.

Euthenasia, is not so much about "pulling the plug" but rather refusing to give life saving operations/care for people who are overweight or who are smokers, or disabled or had prior medical conditions or whatever other reason they happen to object to.

Not Turning a machine off and keeping someone alive that has little or no chance of recovery is perhaps just as bad and inhumane as kiiling someone.
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replied November 26th, 2007
Extremely eHealthy
That is what an "Advanced Derective" is for. I wound up not being end stage at all after seeing a pulmonogist. I am mild to moderate COPD and not end stage at all. My family did me a favor by keeping me alive and lettin the pneumonia calm down. The topic I posted under said " When sould your family pull the plug, or soemthing like that.

My family bascially saved my life, bottom line. It was my GP what wanted to pull the plug, not my family.
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replied February 22nd, 2008
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Hi
If my family and friends knew I would not have the quality of life I have now, they BEST pull the plug. I do not wish to be on a ventilator or be in some vegetative state, where someone has to constantly take care of me....hoping I will get back to the old me. If it came down to having to be fed,washed, toliet prep, clothed and basically HOPE I would soon get back to how I was, I'd rather htem pull the plug than to have to endure what I have had to go through wit my father, my stepmother and grandparents. This is no way to live. I will not become a burden to others. Life is too short to have to take care of someone in this state of being with only a chance of getting back to a good quality of life. It hurts deeply to see someone in this state, yet, we put ourselves at the mercy that hopefully thigns will turn out as we hope. I agree with Eiri......what type of life will you have once you do wake up? Miracles do happen..........but if it were me lying there.....I have it in my living will to not keep me on any type of artifical means of "staying alive". I am a living miracle as I survived a cerebral anuerysm 8 years ago....I was never in a coma, yet doctors told my family I could very well not survive surgery......that was then I decided.....if this happens.....don't try to save me. Go on and live life....I will alwasy be with you in spirit! Just my opinion!
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replied March 17th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
After a routine surgery, my grandfather just went downhill. He beat sepsis after losing about 60lbs because of it. Was doing great, but broke his hip, and got sepsis again after being in the hospital. Because he was so weak from the previous infection, they had him chemically sedated and on a ventilator. He was that way for about a week, and after the sepsis spread to pretty much everywhere, we as a family decided there was no way he was going to beat it a second time and let him go.

It's hard to do, but if there's no way they are going to pull through, I think it's better to let them go, instead of grounded them here and staying in a coma/sedated state for years.

It's harder, IMO, to see them hooked up to a million machines and IVs and tubes coming out and going in every orifice, than letting them go. That way you know they are out of pain.
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replied March 18th, 2008
If you'd pull the plug, then take a look at this
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replied March 20th, 2008
Active User, very eHealthy
How often does this occur?
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replied March 23rd, 2008
I have no idea, but does it really matter when it comes to your loved one and their life. I mean, think about it. If we pull the plug, it's like playing god (*wait*..."God" gave us this technology.).

This is by no means a biblical view. Rather, metaphorical - yes.

Come to think of it, it's much more foolish playing the lottery. Though, maybe less expensive, depending...
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replied November 21st, 2011
NIGHTMARE
My grandfather was in the hospital for over a year due to heart problems. He was put on the jarvic heart pump, a device that rotates and is placed in the heart to help it beat and to increase blood flow. The device connects to external batteries that we had to connect him to every 12 hours. It was simple he just had a stretchy chord that came out of his side and connected to the batteries that he carried around in a little bag. This device saved us from having to make the decision had we waited to get it for him. We were give two extra years with him! However, one day he went into the hospital and had a torn valve, this torn valve eventually turned into major internal bleeding and extreme stress on his body. May I add that previous to all of this he had just about every heart surgery you can imagine, multiple stents, a pace maker, and defibrilator. This time he just couldnt handle it and had a stroke, he then went into a coma. We were given hours for him to live and my family was stuck with the decision to speed up the process or let him go on his own. Unlike me my family decided to pull the plug. This was the most excruciating thing I have ever had to sit through, watching my grandfather, my best friend die before my eyes at the hands of my family...I felt as though they were betraying him. The process was completely unnatural and haunts me to this day, to watch his body fight back they way it did, to watch his torso rise up as he took his last frightening exhale was torturous. To hear the most frightening and unnatural noise come from him as that last breath was taken. It was not worth the time, he had waited on all of us his entire life, and they couldnt even give him his last few hours. To this day I hear and see his last moments at night before i sleep and it haunts me. Would you do this to your family?
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