2
   

My God says you can't die like that.

 
 
Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 08:22 pm
Here is the text of an email I recieved this week:

Quote:
Washington Post Reporter Seeks Family Input
Washington Post journalist Rob Stein is working on a feature story on health care workers who refuse to participate in withdrawing care or in the Oregon Death with Dignity law because of conflicts with their religious beliefs. Mr. Stein hopes to speak with individuals who have had experiences with health care workers who refused to honor specific health care or end-of-life wishes due to religious objections.


If you are interested in speaking with Rob Stein, please contact him directly at The Washington Post, xxx-xxx-xxxx phone or e-mail [email protected].


I think this is very interesting.

Can you imagine a health care worker saying that their religion trumps your wishes?

What consequences do you think should come of an employees refusal to "participate" in end of life wishes?

What kind of participation do you think is required/objected to?

I really don't see how this figures into the system of Oregon law - nobody really participates in the death except for the person who is dying.

You can't ask about religious beliefs when you hire someone for a job. Would it be ethical/legal to ask if they would be willing to help people carry out their requests on how to die?

It seems like this could get really complicated.

I am looking forward to reading this article when it is published but until then I will look to the denizens of A2K to slake my thirst for opinion.

Thank you!
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 3,686 • Replies: 38
No top replies

 
onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 08:30 pm
Whoa - that is sorta odd...I think.

How's it the business of anyone else to tell so-and-so how they (if they?) can die and when? Eeeks...please post the article and PM me when you do.

Yes, I'm too lazy to remember to look for it myself...As a christian I'm interested in seeing someone's point of view that thinks that's "ok".
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 08:46 pm
Hi onyxelle! How wonderful to see you again. I hope all has been well. I'd love to hear how the scrapbook idea is going!

I will keep an eye out for the article -- I imagine it won't be published for a while but I will probably get a link from DWD when it is. I'll be sure to let you know.

At first I kind of thought of it as a Christian issue but what if, for example, you are a Christian and the person responsible for your health care thinks differently and prevents you from realizing your wishes?

What if, say, you wanted to donate your organs and the person responsible for your health care believed that was wrong?

It is really an issue that affects everyone no matter what their religious beliefs.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 08:51 pm
Onyxelle! Hi! I had to triple-check the date, yup yup it's really her posting toDAY, wow! :-)

To go back to the contraceptive thing, it's also very similar to that issue; pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives (or the "morning after" pill).

On the one hand, I think there should be room for individual consciences within the framework of laws -- conscientious objectors, etc., etc. I don't think it should necessarily be automatic that if there is a law, all people should follow it under all circumstances, period.

But yeah, the implications here are widespread and scary and I, personally, disagree that someone should be able to do that -- or, at least, that they shouldn't remain in that job if they find it impossible to fulfill their duties.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 08:53 pm
Wasn't there just a case of religion vs. pharmacy where pharmacies were told they had to seel drugs that went against their religion?
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 10:39 pm
Re: My God says you can't die like that.
boomerang wrote:
Here is the text of an email I recieved this week:

Quote:
Washington Post Reporter Seeks Family Input
Washington Post journalist Rob Stein is working on a feature story on health care workers who refuse to participate in withdrawing care or in the Oregon Death with Dignity law because of conflicts with their religious beliefs. Mr. Stein hopes to speak with individuals who have had experiences with health care workers who refused to honor specific health care or end-of-life wishes due to religious objections.


If you are interested in speaking with Rob Stein, please contact him directly at The Washington Post, xxx-xxx-xxxx phone or e-mail [email protected].


I think this is very interesting.

Can you imagine a health care worker saying that their religion trumps your wishes?

What consequences do you think should come of an employees refusal to "participate" in end of life wishes?

What kind of participation do you think is required/objected to?

I really don't see how this figures into the system of Oregon law - nobody really participates in the death except for the person who is dying.

You can't ask about religious beliefs when you hire someone for a job. Would it be ethical/legal to ask if they would be willing to help people carry out their requests on how to die?

It seems like this could get really complicated.

I am looking forward to reading this article when it is published but until then I will look to the denizens of A2K to slake my thirst for opinion.

Thank you!


This happened to a doctor friend of mine when he was dying.


He had given legal and signed, sealed and delivered instructions about his partner being next of kin, and she also had his enduring power of attorney. He had given detailed instructions about what was to happen re prolonging life (ie not to) and also re his funeral etc.



He was in a normal Catholic hospital in Sydney. His partner was an older Anglo woman...his family were from Sicily, and hated her.

As soon as he became unable to enforce his own wishes the hospital sided with the Catholic family, despite perfectly legal documents forbidding this.....they refused to honour any of his instructions, refused to even let his partner see him, kept him alive for weeks in a coma with heroic measures which he had forbidden, refused to inform his partner (who had his power of attorney!!!) when he died...in fact lied to her about this, so his family had him buried with Catholic ritual, when he had instructed that he be cremated with no religious ceremony at all.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 07:27 am
Oh my.

If one of my nursing assistants would have refused to carry out someones dying wish due to their religious beliefs, I would have been furious.

But, then again.. it would depend on WHAT they were required to do.

Was it just to withhold medicine?

Maybe, not allow the dying person to be seen nude?

Feed them only certain foods? Or none at all?


Simple things like that, there would be no excuse for anyone, including me, to NOT do it. You are not hired for your religion, you are hired for your education and services.
If religion plays such a big role in your life, that you want to dictate it to others on their dying bed, then you do not belong in the medical field.

I can not imagine anything more elaborate then the examples above as 'religious rituals' for the dying.
Having seen possibly thousands of people die from things like alzheimers to car accidents, to sudden heart attacks, I can not ever remember having a really queer dying request.
The requests of the family are usually along the lines of medications and food either given or not. My religion, along with everyone elses does not belong there.
The death is about the person DOING the dying.. hehe.. and the family .
Not me.
Not my god.
Not you.
Not your god.
Not your church.

I think , if it were some sort of really elaborate ritual that the family and the patient requested, it could be allowed that the staff could choose not to be part of it.
But even that opens a grey area.

What if , at that point in time the hospital/care center is short staffed?
Should said person be allowed to COMPLETELY be removed from the dying person?
Who would take over?

I can think of many issues / situations and examples.
But my gut reaction is ( cough cough bullshit cough cough)
Your job is to assist people in life and death as a medical professional.
If you can not be professional enough to separate your own personal choices like religion from your job, then you need to pick another field.
Nurses , doctors and assistants are not gods. They should not behave as such.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 07:58 am
dlowan, what an awful story. If you think your friend would like to contact the reporter writing the story I will forward you the actuall email address.

It has been very much like the pharmacist issue. There have been reports of doctors refusing to write the lethal perscriptions under Oregon's DWD laws.

People who have worked with a certain doctor for years suddenly find themselves having to get a new doctor when they are diagnosed as terminal.

dlowan gives us a great example of how these things work but, like shewolf, I have a hard time imaging the situation being very common.

I know a woman who is an ER nurse at a Seventh Day Adventist hospital. I recall something she said about certain kinds of medical practices there but I can't remember exactly what it was.

I'll have to try to talk to her.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:00 am
I'm with soz in that I do see a need for people to be able to follow their own consciences. It seems like in such a case, though, that a person refusing to help should actively find their own replacement. Imagining myself in the position of doctor or nurse, and assuming I had such an objection, the objection would be all about me and not the patient. It would be me who would have trouble sleeping at night if I participated, not the patient, so it would be my obligation to find someone else who WOULD help them if I felt I could not. It seems like there should be room for that, at least. In the case of the pharmacists, their actions often meant the denial of care to the patients, and that's unexceptable.

I just find it hard to put myself in the place of someone who would deny a patient a dignified and peaceful death because my upbringing and conditioning says it's wrong. I can't imagine any god, especially one who is supposed to be the embodiment of love, condemning that as it is most definitely an act of love.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:11 am
Re: My God says you can't die like that.
boomerang wrote:
I really don't see how this figures into the system of Oregon law - nobody really participates in the death except for the person who is dying.

That is simply not true. If I were to kill myself by some means -- say, ingesting poison -- then I am the sole participant in my death. If, on the other hand, I ask you to kill me -- say, by administering to me a lethal dose of poison -- then you'd be a participant too. Any participant in any action is entitled to judge whether their participation is morally justified as to themselves. I may have no moral objection to you committing suicide without any assistance, but I may have strong moral objections to my participation in your act of suicide.

boomerang wrote:
You can't ask about religious beliefs when you hire someone for a job. Would it be ethical/legal to ask if they would be willing to help people carry out their requests on how to die?

Do you want a legal or an ethical answer?

Legally, there might be some problems with that, but I would have to research the law to give you a more definite answer. Ethically, I don't think there's any problem with that kind of question at all.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:13 am
I thought that the method of death in the Oregon law was a self-administered lethal dose. Meaning, the doctor prescribes the medicine, you take it when you're ready.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:14 am
And my problem with this is why someone can not just DO THE JOB and not worry about their own beliefs.

As a nurse, you have to just DO THE JOB when you are pulling feces out of someones rear end because they are impacted, no matter how gross you find it.

You just have to DO THE JOB when cleaning a wound that is to the bone, no matter how upset it makes you.

You just DO THE JOB when you are assisting a 9 year old rape victim, no matter how hard you cry with them.

You learn to seperate yourself from the situation when dealing with other traumatic things like these . Why are you NOT doing that when someone is dying?
You , as a nurse , doctor, assistant........etc HAVE TO find a way to numb your self to your surroundings when dealing with some tough ****.

So why is it that these same people can not seperate themselves when dealing with a dying person?
Why are people so dramatic about death that they think they have to dictate that too?
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:16 am
Except, joe, that no doctor adminsters the lethal dose. The person has to do that himself. The doctor merely writes the prescription.

About three times as many prescriptions are written than are actually used. I think people kind of hedge their bets - worried that things will get painful and and they will want to end it; when it turns out not to hurt as bad as they imagined they don't use the prescription.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:24 am
boomerang wrote:
Except, joe, that no doctor adminsters the lethal dose. The person has to do that himself. The doctor merely writes the prescription.

That is truly a distinction without a difference. If you ask me to hand you a gun so that you can shoot yourself, are you suggesting that my act of handing over the gun has no moral consequences to me?

boomerang wrote:
About three times as many prescriptions are written than are actually used. I think people kind of hedge their bets - worried that things will get painful and and they will want to end it; when it turns out not to hurt as bad as they imagined they don't use the prescription.

If a person hoards prescription medicines in the expectation of using them at some possible future date to kill himself, but does not reveal that intention to the doctor prescribing those medicines or the dispenser of those medicines, and they had no way of knowing or suspecting that the person intended to kill himself, then the doctor and dispenser are not morally implicated in the person's subsequent suicide. That's a far different scenario, however, from one in which a patient asks a doctor for direct assistance in committing suicide.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:26 am
Hi FreeDuck - I missed your earlier post.

I'm not really sure I agree about personal values playing a part in such decisions. I'll have to think on that a bit. I think more along the lines of Shewolf - you took the job, you do the job, and if you can't do the job, you quit.

Remember the woman who quit the FDA over Plan B? I never read what she thought about the drug personally - only that she felt the science of the drug was being ignored in the name of politics.

If a person has ethical qualms about thier job they should find a new line of work.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:31 am
In the case of pharmacists, I definitely agree. Their job is to fill prescriptions and not to decide whether a person should or should not be prescribed it. If they can't just fill the bottle, they should find another job, personal reasons or not.

In the case of doctors, I'm not sure. There are many ethical issues there and there are many different forms of medical practice. It seems like referring someone to a doctor who can help them would be sufficient if a person really objects to it. Or finding a specialized practice, like orthopedics or something, that would avoid that conflict. I'd prefer that to a doctor who tries to talk the patient out of it or just refuses to help them.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:31 am
Do you think that if a person goes to a gun shop, buys a gun and then shoots himself that the seller is morally responsible for the suicide?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:36 am
boomerang wrote:
Do you think that if a person goes to a gun shop, buys a gun and then shoots himself that the seller is morally responsible for the suicide?

You answer my question first.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:38 am
Oh - okay - I see where you're coming from, FreeDuck.

Yeah. As a consumer of products and services a person certainly has an obligation to finding the right provider.

I think my new first question to any doctor I might have will be "Where do you fall on the PAS issue?"
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:41 am
Okay, joe.

Yes, I do think there are moral consequences. I do think in certain situations your actions might be morally just. In others, not so much.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » My God says you can't die like that.
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 02/28/2021 at 12:58:27