Are people too willing to pull life support?

I thought after the Florida incident, that pulling life support was only used when there was no hope of recovery. Is this an isolated incident or are we as a nation so believing in what doctors say that we do not believe in the human bodies ability to fight for its life?

Is it possible that in that case, the main focus is on convicting the stepfather for murder? So if they really feel that she’ll be not much better than a vegetable (and if he’s also responsible for the death of the aunt/adoptive mother and grandmother), that it’s better to go after the perpetrator and let the girl go in peace. The greater evil to persue.

I just wonder if that might play a part.

Maybe a better question to ask is if we as a nation are so believing in wishfull thinking and fantasy that we refuse to believe what a trained professional tells, instead believing that some miracle will save the day.

The trained professionals said she would never show any improvement, she did. The day after they said go ahead and pull life support.
Stuff written prior to her “miracle” that may save not only her day but her life.



So you would have those trained doctors say there is no hope of recovery all the time? Me I am human, and as far as I can tell so our doctors, we all make mistakes.

It is also a mistake to keep someone ‘alive’ for years and they never recover from the vegetative state. Always choosing the safe route and keeping them alive is a cop out and cruel. You have to make a choice, based upon the best assessment of the situation.

Medical science has progressed to the point where we can keep people alive for long periods of time, when they are alive only in the literal sense. Breathing with a machine, fed through a tube, for years… I wouldn’t want that. I don’t want my loved ones suffering through that. I’m willing to risk that a mistake might be made rather than always choosing to keep them alive and suffering.

But you as an adult can make that choice, me I want to live forever even if it is on tubes and ventilaters and diaper changes. This was a child, you cannot put your views onto her, the state cannot impose there views on her. And apparently by responding to stimuli, breathing again, she doesn’t agree with the choice they made for her. You say alive and suffering, any cites to back up they are suffering?

To each his own, but I can’t even comprehend wanting to live forever under those circumstances. To me, that would be hell on earth. So in your case the choice is easy. Always chose to keep them alive. But I suspect most people would not want to live forever under those conditions and therefore the choices are not so easy.

No, I don’t have to cite my own opinion. Being kept alive under such conditions would cause me to suffer greatly, even if there were no actual physical pain. I don’t expect you to cite anything to support your own opinion either. We all draw the line at a different point. I think most people recognize there is a point where the plug should be pulled, somewhere between ‘never’ and ‘always’. It’s not that easy to decide where that point is, but we can’t just pretend we don’t have to make difficult choices.

That’s what we call “false hope”. “Some improvement” is a long way away from “ever having a normal life again”.

Breathing isn’t a conscious choice though. Just because her brain can maintain a heartbeat and regular breathing doesn’t mean she has “miraculously” recovered. The article did say she can’t swallow, and didn’t make mention of other stimulation tests…hearing, pain, light, etc.

But parents, or the state when there is no one with parental rights, “put their views” onto children all the time. Children aren’t considered legally competent to make those decisions for themselves.

And “responding to stimuli” is no indication of any kind of conscious choice. Rape victims sometimes have orgasms as a response, but that doesn’t mean they’re consenting to sex with their assailant.

I don’t know if people are too willing to pull life support, but I know that personall it’s something I’d but an enormous amount of thought into if I was in that situation. And I’m pretty sure most people do just that.

I would definitely ask for second opinions, that’s just common sense when it comes to ANY medical diagnosis.

Allow me to share a personal view - take it or leave it as you see fit.

A few years ago I had a VERY severe case of pneumonia - and was intubated for 6 days (life support). The machines breathed for me, fed me, etc.

During that time, I was in and out of consciousness. Being unconscious was better. When I was aware, I could not communicate (tubes down my throat, body and arms and legs restrained, etc.).

The pain of the tubes is beyond description. It is surpassed when incompetenet hemotology techs do bad Arterial Blood Gas tests. Don’t open the spoiler if graphic descriptions bother you.

An Arterial Blood Gas test involves inserting a hypodermic needle in an artery. .not a vein. Arterys have nerves - veins don’t. Arterys are deep, veins tend to be on the surface. They are supposed to inject novocaine first - sometimes there is not enough, often the just miss the artery. Also, very often, they miss the artery, and have to keep going in again and again. When I was on life support, I had this test EVERY SIX HOURS around the clock.

With all the pain, fear, horror, etc that I experienced… not knowing how long it would last or whether I would live or die, I NEVER FOR A MOMENT WANTED ANY OF THE TREATMENTS TEST ETC to stop. Pain is transitory - death, as far as I know, is permanent. Screw the pain. If they needed to, I would have wanted them to take any measure at all, regardless of pain or suffering, to save my life. I am thankful to them that they did.

Footnote - I go for surgery next week. They asked me to sign the “heroic measures should not be taken” thing. I laughed at the admissions clerk and ripped it up. Then I told her “been there, done that” and she understood.

I understand why some people have a tendency to give up. But for some of us, we ain’t going nowhere till we are good and ready.

The way I understood it, although maybe it was just from television, pulling life support is sometimes done when there’s no hope of recovery, and sometimes when a person’s condition is unchanging in order to force them to fight to stay alive, and thus begin to improve. You sound like you feel they were harming this girl by taking her off life support; I think the opposite is probably the case. If she’s staying alive without the life support, it’s good that she’s off it. For all the difference that’ll probably make in the long run…

I’d expect a doctor to know more about the human body’s ability to fight for life than I do.

Since you weren’t suffering from PVS, I don’t see how this applies to the topic at hand. I don’t believe there is an effort afoot to remove life support from everyone who isn’t fully awake 24 hours a day.

Reread my post. I was not awake 24/7. I was “out” a lot of the time. And I did not mean to have my experience equate the girl’s or anyone elses. What I was trying to communicate was that there is a point of view… which I experienced first hand… which says NEVER UNPLUG anyone.

No, I was not “flat lined”, vegatative, or anything close. But I was a lot closer than I cared to be. There is the possibility that there is someone, deep inside, who is still trying to get out.

That was your choice, and you are an adult who is competent to make that choice. I want you to be able to make that choice for yourself. I also want to be able to make the opposite choice for myself, if I so desire. I wouldn’t want the government stepping in and deciding you should be taken off life support against your will, nor would I want them stepping in and deciding that I should be kept on life support against my will. I think everyone should make it as clear as possible to their next of kin what their choice would be, and that the next of kin should honor that choice, whatever it might be.

In Haleigh’s case, I don’t think someone who has been charged with beating her nearly to death is fit to determine whether she should be kept on life support, especially since he has a vested interest in doing so (not being charged with her murder) regardless of whether that’s best for her or not.

Reread my post. I said there isn’t an effort to remove life support from people who are not awake 24 hours a day, such as yourself in the above mentioned scenario. From what you described, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single person who thought for one minute that we should be pulling the plug on you.

Plenty of people would want to be unplugged when in a PVS. I’m one of them, so “NEVER UNPLUG anyone” doesn’t work well for me.

When does that “someone” disappear for you? For me, it’s definitely at the point when I’m in a PVS.

For the record, I’m perfectly fine with you paying for and receiving treatment until the skin rots off of your bones if that’s how you want to go, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the care of others (and it’s quite possible that it wouldn’t), but neither you nor myself are able to make the decision for the little girl in question, and the one person who originally had guardianship rights gave them up when he tried to kill her. I’m pretty sure that that’s an indication that his wants don’t necessarily align with her best interests.

A lot of the problem here is inadequate information. In Terry Schiavo’s case, lots of medical information leaked out to the press; here, all we’re getting is that the girl’s brain was damaged. Yes, a child’s brain heals better than an adult’s…but how much healing is possible in this girl’s case? There really isn’t enough information to say for sure.

I don’t get what the big deal is. I thought in a PVS you could still breathe on your own. In the Schiavo case it was whether food and water could be removed that was the issue.

Too willing? Hell, try not willing enough. I think one Band-Aid in a thousand should be soaked in strychnine, just to thin the herd a little.

Seriously: I flat-out do not understand the paralyzing fear of death in this culture, as exemplified by the “I want to live forever” in post six. Everybody who has posted in this thread is going to die. I’m going to die. The person who posts before me is going to die. The person who posts after me is going to die. Everyone who reads the thread is going to die. Everyone who comes to the SDMB, who has come to the SDMB, and who will come to the SDMB is going to die. Everyone is going to die, and that includes the author of the OP. Probably won’t happen tomorrow; probably not the day after that either. But eventually, every single person is going to die, period. It’s totally natural, something that happens to each and every one of us, sooner or later.

Why the hell do we freak out about it so much?