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We Treat Our Pets Better Than We Treat Our People

My dear Aunty is currently in palliative care, her wasted body wracked with excruciating waves of pain that no amount of morphine can subside. She is 95 and isn’t going to get better.

A few years ago my family dog, Schooner, was in tremendous amounts of pain, and after a fun-filled 18 years it was time for her to be put down. This was the humane thing to do.

There is nothing humane about the situation my Aunty is currently in. 

I’ve spoken about euthanasia before and I still think that the laws need to be reviewed. People in my aunties state should have the option to choose to die...should have the option to die with dignity.

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One thought on “We Treat Our Pets Better Than We Treat Our People

  1. kellyleemccarren on said:

    The time has come to talk about dying

    17 October 2011 – 12:01am

    Modern medicine has shifted its focus to prolonging life at all costs, but it’s time to put the planning of end-of-life care back on the agenda, according to an editorial in the 17 October issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.

    In their editorial, intensive care physician William Silvester and respiratory physician Karen Detering from the Respecting Patient Choices Program said advance care planning was beginning to be recognised as a pivotal part of end-of-life care.

    “Our common law duty of care as doctors is to always act in the patient’s best interests”, they said in their editorial.

    “One of the most practical ways to put this into action is to regularly ask ourselves, ‘Am I caring for this patient or family the way that I would want myself or my family to be cared for, by taking the time to identify their personal, spiritual or religious views and take these into account when I am making decisions?’” they said.

    The authors said it was important for doctors to ensure patients’ consent to treatment was fully informed, by understanding their goals and values and by identifying their wishes regarding treatment if they became seriously ill and could no longer decide or communicate what they wanted.

    Doctors needed to talk to the family when a patient was no longer competent to make decisions and to know ahead of time what a person would want, they said.

    “More than half of us are not in a position to express these preferences at the end of life”, the authors said.

    In a separate MJA article, palliative care doctors Brian Le and Michael Chapman outlined a case which raised the question of “whether a person has the capacity to make decisions for him- or herself” regarding end-of-life care.

    The issue was “likely to become an increasing problem, as palliative care services care for an ageing population, with a significant comorbid burden, who are more at risk of diminished capacity due to the prevalence of illnesses such as dementia”, they said.

    The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.

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