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Do You Let Him Die

If you have a family member who has stage 4 lung cancer that has spread and you are responsible for whether or not the hospital resuscitates - How do you decide? Is letting him die a sin, if the doctors tell you that you are delaying the inevitable? How do you know if you did the right thing?

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 ---grace3868 on 10/31/06
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Jared, Terry Shriver was not on "life support", she was being fed with a feeding tube. In her case, this was murder because she was deliberately starved to death.

In the case of a cancer patient, an order to not perform extra or heroic measures to prolong his or her life when his body fails is very different. If that person's heart stops and you do not perform CPR, that is not murder. But Terry was not dying, she was killed.
---lorra8574 on 5/16/07

Part 2:

What are the wishes of the dying person?

Doing what you can to make a terminally ill patient comfortable IS obligatory.

Taking necessary and possible measures to save life when there is reasonable hope of recovery IS obligatory.

Taking extraordinary measures to merely extend life when there is no reasonable hope of recovery, or it will make no difference in a terminally ill patient's comfort, is not obligatory.
---Jack on 5/16/07

.jared, God gives life, and God takes life away: He has not given any mortal permission to take someone elses life. You believe that it is not immoral, and you will believe whatever you desire.
---Eloy on 11/13/06


NurseRobert is RIGHT. He is being humane.
It is pointless to prolong a person's life,
once there is no chance for survival.

---Reiter on 11/12/06

Nice cover eloy. It is not morally wrong to stop a life that is being artifically prolonged. That family in Florida that was in the news I think we did them great harm, expecially the husband (he could not go on with his life because his wife was on life support) we drug him through the dirt because he wished to have a family. He paid the bills and loved his wife, and yet he could not get a divorce to marry his new lover because his wife was on life support. it was wrong. yet we forget about him.
---Jared on 11/12/06

Eloy, saving someone from a fatal disease is one thing. Prolonging life becuase we can is morally and ethically wrong.

But, you "will believe what you desire".
---NurseRobert on 11/12/06

.jack, I myself was dying of a fatal disease and had only a 20-25% chance of survival. I was on my death bed, but Jesus came to me and healed me. The diagnosis with the failed chemical-therapy records is documented in Fresno California, along with my miracle recovery. I also have prayed for a college professor named Dave who had aids, and afterward when he was checked by his Doctor there was no trace of the aids in his body. Also in California I prayed for a blue infant which miraculously came alive.
---Eloy on 11/11/06

.jared, there are the states of belief, and the states of disbelief.
---Eloy on 11/11/06

Hi; just my two cents worth (and that may be ALL it's worth lol!): when my daddy was dying of cancer, his real healing came when he died and is now a member of Heaven! Yes, miracles do happen, but if my loved one is suffering and dying a horrible death, I don't want to prolong his agony (NOT euthenasia--that's different!); I love him enough to let him go.
---Mary on 11/11/06

**there are hundreds of thousands of so-called terminal people miraculously cured in this country in over 30,000 cities just here in the fifty-two states.**

Can you give us the names of a couple of these people, Eloy?'

Where do they live?

How can they be contacted now to verify what you are saying?

There are only FIFTY states in the USA, not 52.
---Jack on 11/11/06

A lot depends on what you consider "miraculous" healing. Often what a lay person calls a "miracle", is not at all amazing, or even unusual, to a medical professional.
---Donna2277 on 11/11/06

P.S. we are all "terminal".
---Donna2277 on 11/11/06

Depends on what you consider a "miracle". What is called a "miracle" by someone with little medical knowledge, is often not even "surprising" to the medical professional.
---Donna2277 on 11/11/06

we have 52 states? when did this happen?
---Jared on 11/10/06

Jared, your supposition is untrue, for even in not counting all the other countries, there are hundreds of thousands of so-called terminal people miraculously cured in this country in over 30,000 cities just here in the fifty-two states. But you will believe whatever you desire.
---Eloy on 11/10/06

miraculaus recoveries are not innumrable. they may be many but you could count them Probably under 1000 in every country. which is not very common. the death of many of these patients is much more common than life. (hence Miraculus, if it's common it wouldnt' be a miricle) why can't I spell that word, how irrititating.
---Jared on 11/10/06

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NurseRoberts, on the contrary, praise God, the known cases of miraculous recoveries are innumerable.
---Eloy on 11/9/06

To everyone:
In the end, the choice of life support is a personal one, but one that MUST be shared with those who love you.

NOW, while you can still make a decision, is the time to have this discussion.

Go to your doctor, your lawyer, even online, and get a living will. Discuss your desires with loved ones, designate a proxy to speak for you when you cant.

When the time comes, your loved ones will know what you wanted and the decision, while hard, will be the right one.
---NurseRobert on 11/9/06

Helen I don't think they are playing God by turning off the "life support" I think they may be coming close to playing god when they invented Life support. But it is here and it should be used, but it does not mean that those on it can't be taken off. they aren't killing them if they can't live then they were already dead.
---Jared on 11/9/06

Helen, there are times when mechanical ventilation is necessary. I have worked in a facility where vents were used. These residents were active, vibrant people who have had injuries that prevented them from breathing. That is much different than someone who has brain death. Each situation is different.
---NurseRobert on 11/9/06

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Helen, pt 2. It is such a difficult decision to make. I feel for those who have to make that decision. The best thing any of us could do is have a living will and designate a health care proxy, to make sure our wishes are followed.

Mankind has learned how to keep a body alive long after it should have died. That to me is playing God.
---NurseRobert on 11/9/06

Helen Pt 3. To answer your question, no, they are not playing God. They are allowing the will of God to manifest itself.

Remember Karen Ann Quinlan. In 1975, she was in a vegetative state. When the vent was turned off, she continued to breath on her own for 10 more years before she died. For whatever purpose, God kept her alive. In other cases, the person died very soon after the vent was stopped.
---NurseRobert on 11/9/06

Helen pt 4.

To answer Grace's question, if the doctors told me that my wife or child had no hope of ever recovering, if the brain was so damaged that it does not function, I would not want them kept alive artificially. Everything that made them who they were is gone.

It's a heartbreaking decision, but sometimes you have to let them go.
---NurseRobert on 11/9/06

NurseRobert - Hi. What about those that turn off the ventilator/life support? Are they not also playing God? Should any one ever be put onto life support when it is going to be turned off anyway?
---Helen_5378 on 11/9/06

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Eloy, those cases are few and far between. People in a persistant vegatative state will not ever recover from it. IMNSHO, keeping people alive with artificial means - ventilators and feeding tubes, is a great sin. It tells me that people are playing God.

Nothing to have written tells me that it is "God's Will" to keep these people alive. If God wants them to recover, then they will.

---NurseRobert on 11/9/06

I think that is the hardest thing any of us will ever face, and I don't think we will really know what to do until the time comes, if it does. Just wondering what the point of a life support machine is, when they eventually turn it off anyway. I am sure that as Christians, God will fill us with His peace so that we know we are doing the right thing.
---Helen_5378 on 11/9/06

That is a horrible position that sadly most of us will face. It is truly the familes choice. If there is no will/living will and if the family decides not to try and "bring them back" dont feel guilt. Remember life and death is in Gods hands at that point. Most people if they could speak/express themselves would usually want to "just go" instead of being all hooked up to this/that. So dont feel guilt let God handle it.
---Jeanne on 11/8/06

My mother is 91 and in a Nursing Home. I will have to make the decision as to whether or not let her go if she becomes terminally ill. At that point I would not put life supports on her and just let go and let God do whatever His will would be for her life.
---Norma7374 on 11/8/06

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When my sister died the hospital bill was outrageous. If there is not a good chance for my survival then I don't want my family to be faced with debt for their entire lives (and probably my kids and grandkids) because I was kept on a machine to "preserve" life. I don't think God will judge on our actions in these cases. the few instances of hopelessness coming to hopeful aren't enough. there are many more hopeless to hopeless. God is in control of life not man.
---Jared on 11/7/06

I'm surprised that some of you cannot see the difference between not wishing to preserve life and taking life.
---Jemima_D on 11/7/06


You are merciful not to want to have a Loved One suffer...for who knows how long. I would feel grateful if you were watching my life!

---Reiter on 11/4/06

Augusta - in a case like this I'd have to believe the Lord's will be done. I would just have to believe in faith that the Lord made the decision for him if he wasn't capable.

Thank you. I had not thought of that.

---grace3869 on 11/2/06

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I hear you but...Would you expect anything else?
---Bruce5656 on 11/2/06

NurseRobert nad Jared, there are many cases where so-called "hopeless" and decompensating patients only being sustained by life support machines and intravenous nutrition, and after years of being comatose they miraculously recovered. Now if the selfish family didn't want to pay money, or they were faithless and did not want to see suffering nor allow God's work to be done, and so "pulled the plugs" of life from the persons, then these patients would have died and would not be living.
---Eloy on 11/2/06

Eloy, you really pushed my button on this one.
How is letting nature take its course considered "pro-death"?

I though you were smarter than that.
---NurseRobert on 11/1/06

Eloy, I'm not pro death, I'm pro life, but I am also not pro meer esistance.I don't want my family to have to pay outragous dr bills when I die because dr's think they can extend my life for a few months in a hospital. that's not really living. anyways I wouldn't pull the plug without talking to everyone in your family, but you might want to make sure they know you want to life. =)
---Jared on 11/1/06

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I agree with Jack. When my mom died she only weighed 60 lbs so there was nothing there at all to build on.
---augusta on 11/1/06

Annie, I'm so sorry about your son. I could only imagine how difficult that was for you and your family.

Blessings, augusta
---augusta on 11/1/06

*But I don't know if he was coherent enough to understand. It haunts me. (no pun intended)*

Grace, in a case like this I'd have to believe the Lord's will be done. I would just have to believe in faith that the Lord made the decision for him if he wasn't capable.


---augusta on 11/1/06

All of you who are pro-death stay far away from me, far far away.
---Eloy on 11/1/06

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My 28 month old son had 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. When it came time to consider artificial life for him..I refused to put him through any more pain and agony. It was not the time for me to think of what I wanted and to do what I believed to be the best for the child. Today, I'm still sure the decision for the correct decision.
---Annie on 11/1/06

Thanks, NurseRobert. My mother's nurses were supportive of me through it all (and I will be forever grateful to them). My brothers finally accepted my mother's death and moved on.
---Donna2277 on 11/1/06

Donna2277, you have my sympathy. As the DON of a nursing home, I see this all time. Guilt is an amazing thing. People want to keep mom or dad alive forever, and then spout that its' God's will. How is it God's will that we keep a 97 year old, severely demented person alive with tube feedings?
---NurseRobert on 11/1/06

God can heal. Let him live.
---Eloy on 11/1/06

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#1 My mother in her mid-eighties and in a nursing home, made me promise that if she became incontinent and demented, I would NOT allow a feeding tube to be inserted. She had had one before and knew what she was asking. When she lapsed into a coma due to heart failure, I kept my promise to her though I had to fight my two brothers AND THE DOCTOR..
---Donna2277 on 10/31/06

#2 My mother had a living will but not as specific as what she told me. Being a nurse, I knew very well what kind of trauma I was sparing her. But my brothers, who hadn't seen her recently, accused me of "murder". It was horrible.

Patient's desires should be honored. But is is BEST if the whole family can be brought into agreement beforehand.

In the above case, consider advice of doctors, make a decision, and IF the person is a CHRISTIAN, do not feel guilty WHATEVER you decide.
---Donna2277 on 11/1/06

I would sincerely Disagree. The author & giver of life has His Plan.In the Lords prayer we are reminded.I had that unfortunate decision to make & I firmly stated to my dying wife it is not my call His will be done.She accepted that & was brave to the lastI looked after her for 4& a half years & was prepared to continue for however long.Resucitation is a normal procedure in Hospitals,they have to ask.
---Emcee on 10/31/06

This is s very difficult question. My mother whi was very ill, was hospitalized and put on life support, later a trach was inserted. She was resitated several times prior to her death nearly five months later. We were told she was not going to make it because her lungs were not strong enough, and she kept going into cornary arrest. She made the decision to not be recessitated if she arrested again. It was very hard on her and resulted in a great deal of pain in her chest area.
---Lynet on 10/31/06

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2. Her mind was clear, she wrote notes daily, spoke through her trach tube, and knew everyone that came to see her. Her heart got stronger, but her lungs kept giving out eventually taking their toll. I was holding her hand when she died. It is the hardest thing I've done, but I feel blessed. I was glad I was with her, but more so because she knew my sister, daughter and myself were there. I know it was the right thing because God only takes you when it's your time to go, no matter what the circumstances.
---lynet on 10/31/06

If he dies, it is God who will take him. It will not be your fault.
---Susie on 10/31/06

#1Grace, I can ease your mind by assuring you that letting him die is not a sin. There are places in the bible where saints chose to let themselves die, or asked the Lord to take their lives and He did (such as Samson, and the Simon who asked the Lord to let him go home after He saw the newly born Jesus). This is not the same as suicide where one actually creates the cause of death in order to kill one's self.
---Okebaram on 10/31/06

#2Grace, As for the decision, my heart goes out to you but I know that neither of I nor any other person on this blog can tell you the right decision. You need to weigh your options and choose the most important.
---Okebaram on 10/31/06

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#3Grace, On one hand, he can struggle through the pain and live longer; on another hand he can go in peace and be with the Lord, but he will leave his loved ones who many still need him. On another hand, God could heal him physically, but that could be a challenge of strong faith and spiritual warfare. (If he isn't saved, then please choose to let him live until he is)
---Okebaram on 10/31/06

I do not want to be hooked on machines to keep my heart pounding. I wouldn't prolong his agney anymore. My mom said that she didn't want the Dr's to resuscitate on her. She died and we let the angels carry her on home.
---Rebecca_D on 10/31/06

Think of it this way; you aren't prolonging life you are merely postponing death. A death that has come in it's own time and you aren't letting it happen. Letting him die when it is time is not a sin but a kindness. Making a person live on machines does cause extra pain and to add that to the pain of final stage cancer is not a kindness but punishment.
---Darlene_1 on 10/31/06

If someone has said at an earlier stage that they do not wish to be rescuscitated or keep taking drugs, once their condition reaches a certain stage that decision should be honoured

He had a living will that said if the cancer reached a certain stage for DNR. It was not conclusive enough for the doctors. The day in the hospital when they asked him he shrugged his shoulders and indicated DNR. But I don't know if he was coherent enough to understand. It haunts me. (no pun intended)
---grace3869 on 10/31/06

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keeping someone hooked up to machines is not prolonging LIFE as many people say. it is extinding existance, yet they aren't living. My little sister died when she was 10 I talked to people that said we killed her because we took her off the machines, but she was not alive she was existing, and she was existing artifically.
---Jared on 10/31/06

We do kill by not hooking people up to machines, to be honest you must think about the person are they afraid of death? if they are keep them existing so they can know the truth and so God can cast out all fear. Otherwise let them join with their savior.
---Jared on 10/31/06

These decisions should be the patient's where possible. If someone has said at an earlier stage that they do not wish to be rescuscitated or keep taking drugs, once their condition reaches a certain stage that decision should be honoured by doctors and family. To decide not to prolong life is not the same as taking life. No-one should feel forced to use drugs or techniques that did not exist for others years ago (when they would have died naturally from their illnesses or accidents).
---emg on 10/31/06

Grace, when my mother became ill to the point of near death, I asked God, "How should I pray?" Should I pray and ask you to take her home? or should I pray and ask you to heal her? Within a day of that prayer, God began to give me scriptures on healing, so I read them to my mother day and night and she eventually became healed. Ask God, "What is YOUR will on this?" God can heal stage 4 lung cancer, so ask Father God what is HIS will in this circumstance.
---Donna9759 on 10/31/06

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I was with my dad the last few days before he died, (of cancer) He did not want to take his heart medicine anymore, knowing his death would be sooner. He asked if he could skip taking it. I may have done wrong, but I asked and encouraged him to take it anyway and go when it is time. This was hard. I did not want to be responcible or decide the time of his death. I know this is hard. May the Lord help you. Ask God to have mercy on him and you too.
---Linda3939 on 10/31/06

My mother was dying of inoperable cancer when she fell and broke her hip.

a. She could have died in surgery.
b. Without surgery, she would have to be immobilized and die of pneumonia.
c. The cancer was going to kill her anyway.

I had to decide what to do.

After talking with the doctors, who assured me that if she survived surgery, she would be more comfortable, I decided to do that.
---Jack on 10/31/06

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