Would you respect their wishes?

Caitlin - posted on 05/31/2010 ( 55 moms have responded )

1,915

5

171

Not realted to any news story in particular, but I was wondeirng if you had a child with a diagnosis of terminal cancer (or other terminal ilness) and they asked you to stop treatment so they could just die, would you respect their wishes and allow them to make that decision? Or would you continue pumping them full of chemicals/medications to get a few extra months with them (even if it meant them being weak and sick almost all the time).

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 06/03/2010

26,469

36

3891

My step-son's mother had a little baby named Thomas. Thomas was born with a defective heart. Thomas had 3 operations on his heart in the first 4 months of his life. After the 3rd operation, and it still wasn't fixed, his parents made the decision to let him go. This poor little baby hardly knew the outside of a hospital, so instead of spending more time and money on what they had been told were hopeless operations, they decided to spend as much time together as a family as possible and let him go peacefully, no more tubes, no more monitors. The video footage they have of that time is wonderful, and heartbreaking. But they made the right choice. Thomas passed away aged 4 months and 2 weeks old. His parents probably made the hardest decision of their life, but they knew it wasn't their own feelings they needed to think about, but they needed to think of their little boy's pain and suffering. Thomas wasn't benefiting from prolonging his life (and that's all it was doing, he had no chance of survival in the end), they were. They had options they could have used to give them another month or so with him, but they chose not to put him through that.



I would like to think I could have the strength to do that if I ever faced the same situation.

Jess - posted on 05/31/2010

1,806

3

96

I guess it depends on their age and what capacity they have to understand that decision. If my 5 year old told me they just wanted to die and there was a cause of treatment that could save their life, than No I wouldn't allow my child to die. But if they were 15 had a terminal illness and the treatment would be simply buying them time, than I would respect their wish and if they wanted to come home for their last days than I would support that too ! Children aren't meant to die.

Sharon - posted on 06/04/2010

11,585

12

1314

um my point was that I care just much for my pets ... it would be that much harder with my children.

Not that kids are the equal of my pets. If push came to shove, I would chose my kids over my pets.

No one said they would NOT try to save their child. We are talking about after all else has been exhuasted. Death is a certainty, not a maybe. Barring a divine miracle the child is going to die, would you keep trying ? Your child is sick of the treatments, death is certain, would you keep trying?

That was the question, right?

Charlie - posted on 06/01/2010

11,203

111

401

Preemie babies and terminal cancer are very different , there is always great chances in this day and age that preemies can and do pull through , for the most part terminal in cancer patients means NOT curable , once cancer is found to be not curable it just eats away until death , there is no miracle that can help , Once cancer has been labeled "terminal", it has officially reached a point that doctors see no hope for eradication of the cancer.

Charlie - posted on 06/04/2010

11,203

111

401

*sigh*
THAT is what everyone is saying , no one wants to give up but terminal means AFTER exhausting ALL options , when there is nothing left to do and their illness is deemed terminal , would you drag out a long , painful life or do what Jodi's friedns did and just enjoy the last days you have together instead of dragging out the painful inevitable .
no one is saying "oh well they have been diagnosed with ------why even try , just let them go "
Terminal is when doctors make the assessment after exhausting ALL treatments that there is nothing left to try that could possibly work and death is imminent .

For example if a child is clinically dead but is kept alive purely by machines in nothing more than a vegetable state , your in effect keeping nothing but a shell of the child you once had , there is no return from there , do you honestly think its humane to keep them going on machines alone just so you feel better about it , i think that is cruel and selfish , if it were an adult child would you still ignore their wishes or is this just an age thing ?

This conversation has been closed to further comments

55 Comments

View replies by

Suzette - posted on 06/05/2010

1,086

29

0

Loureen, no confusion on my part (if you were referring to my post). I was referring to the grandfather who had cancer and was told that it he wasn't going to get better, that the cancer had spread too far, and the only thing they could do for him was to "hope" he would get better. My grandmother chose to continue to "hope" and continue to pump him full of chemo, knowing it wouldn't work because they'd already told her it wouldn't work. They told her he had less than a 20% chance because of how far the cancer had spread through his system, that it was more than likely he was going to die. She chose not to listen and prayed instead while continuing the chemo and drugs for the pain.

Charlie - posted on 06/04/2010

11,203

111

401

I think there seems to be some confusion as to what "terminal 'means , the question did state the child had "terminal cancer (or other terminal ilness)'

Terminal means even if you do continue to medicate its not to get better , its essentially to keep them alive for another day while quality of life decreases to certain death .

Suzette - posted on 06/04/2010

1,086

29

0

I watched one grandfather die of cancer when I was 11 years old. They had the option to let him go or pump him full of chemicals, my grandmother chose the latter because she swore he'd get better. It didn't happen, he died the day after Thanksgiving, though he woke up that morning looking very healthy, all the black had disappeared from his nails and ears and he was able to feed himself, which hadn't happened in quite a while. He died that afternoon.

On the other hand, my other grandfather died from diabetes a year ago yesterday. His kidneys started shutting down some time before that, he'd been sick for around 4-5 years and was told that he would die within 1-2 yrs. He held on for 4-5 yrs, living at home, with no extra chemicals. He had his dialysis that he'd always had, he had blood pressure meds, etc. that he'd always had. (And insulin as usual.) The only thing that changed was the dosage of insulin. There were quite a few hospital trips and scares, but he actually died peacefully in his sleep... though I know he was in a lot of pain. He couldn't walk at all, he had to be changed, and he had to be showered. He could still feed himself though.

The grandfather who died with cancer was in his mid 50s and the second grandfather was in his early 80s.

As far as my child, after seeing what my grandfather went through and knowing that my child had that to look forward to... I don't think I could allow my child to go through that. If all options have been exhausted and terminal is the official diagnosis... I would hope that I would be able to respect my child's wishes instead of allowing them to be in constant pain and agony.

Jodi - posted on 06/04/2010

26,469

36

3891

Quoting Kati

"even with jodi's example, they tried THREE different operations on that poor baby. they weren't going to give up until they were damn well satisfied that their child wasn't going to make it. "



Actually, the operations they tried on this little baby were ones that had been successful on the majority of cases with the same defect. Unfortunately, in this case, they weren't. You are right, it was only when it was diagnosed that the situation was terminal, and received information on the options, and the prognosis of those options, that they decided not to continue any treatment, even though they knew they would have less time with him. But the question did say "stop treatment" not "undergo no treatment".

Sharon - posted on 06/04/2010

11,585

12

1314

yeah... its depressing to even contemplate isn't it? ::: sigh ::: my husband can't even watch a movie or a tv show with a child with leukemia - even if they are over coming it.

Rosie - posted on 06/04/2010

8,657

30

315

if thats how you guys read the question then yes i guess we agree :) the way i read it at first was to just let them die right after diagnosis, and not exhaust all options first.

Rosie - posted on 06/04/2010

8,657

30

315

i don't see a pet the same way i see a child. i don't want to spend the time, energy, or effort or even money to sit there and try to make my pet better, so yeah, i'd euthanize them because they aren't important enough to me to try to keep around.
with my child i don't want to give up on them. i'm sure that i would let my child go eventually, but not after i exhausted everything i had in me to try to keep them here. even with jodi's example, they tried THREE different operations on that poor baby. they weren't going to give up until they were damn well satisfied that their child wasn't going to make it. there would be no way in hell a doctor could tell me that my child is going to die, and i would just sit around and wait for it to happen. i think that's the cruel and insane thing to do, to not even try? seems almost like murder, not compassion to me. ok i know the murder thing is overboard, but seriously, how can anybody not want to at least try to save their child?

Amie - posted on 06/03/2010

6,596

20

408

My email notifications are not working again apparently.



Dana, I fully recognize it says terminal.



I've lost more than one family member to cancer. I've even lost one friend to cancer.



However I agree with Christina, it is different when it is your child you are looking at, then it is a full grown adult, or even an older child or teen. I do not know how I would react until I am in that situation. I even said that in my first post.



There is also a difference between how we euthanize our pets and just taking your child off meds to let them slowly die. Meds can only go so far to help, with current restrictions they are not enough to help ease their pain completely upon death. It is a fine line to walk for the medical field. They can push it and actually help their patient die, hoping no one will find out. Or they can take away all medication to help turn it around, dope them on pain killers as much as possible and watch them wither.



It is nothing like watching your pet get euthanized. I can easily get my pet euthanized if it comes to that. I can not easily euthanize my child or family because it is not an option.

Rae - posted on 06/03/2010

171

1

19

When it comes down to no options left stage, there isnt going to be a medical or religious miracle, the child you had, isnt the same one lying in the bed. If the wishes are to stop treatment so they can pass away, then they should be respected.

C. - posted on 06/03/2010

4,125

35

238

That's not what I meant, Sharon.. You can try to twist everything around to what you want to believe all you want, whatever floats your root beer..

I'm sorry, Loureen. I hope everything works out. It's definitely not easy to go through.

Perhaps if my child were at that point right now, maybe I would change my mind.. I don't know. But I would have a hard time doing so. Someone else may have to do it for me if it ever came to that point. I'm one that tries to keep holding on no matter what, though. I don't know.. As for now, I just can't ever see myself doing something like that.

Charlie - posted on 06/03/2010

11,203

111

401

My dad also has cancer , not terminal yet but its not looking good , chemo isnt working we have discussed all avenues .

I just think going against someones wishes to die when they are in excruciating agony is cruel and unusual punishment and quiet frankly selfish , if it weren't terminal then sure hope and pray something might get better but the word terminal doesnt just get handed out willy nilly doctors thoroughly explore all possibilities before handing down that death sentence .

Sharon - posted on 06/03/2010

11,585

12

1314

Wow - so keeping a child sick AND DYING is the key to heaven. Well, now I know.

Instead of gracing a childs last days, months with joy and the small amount of comfort, by all means, lets make it worse.

smh - I will never understand cruel people.

C. - posted on 06/03/2010

4,125

35

238

Loureen, my dad had cancer and passed away, I don't need someone explaining it to me, thank you. I know all too well what the difference is.

Yes, in the medical sense, there is 'no hope' but coming from a Christian family, I just don't see it that way. For me, when we lose all hope in our doctors and medicine, that's when our hope in God shines through the most (in my past experiences so far, anyway) and a lot of times, though not ALL the time, that seems to be far more effective than medicine. So I just can't see myself ever giving up on my child whether they asked or not. Not to mention if they did ask for it, they probably weren't in their right mind anyway with all the medicine and treatments and possible tumors affecting their brain.

Charlie - posted on 06/03/2010

11,203

111

401

But the question is asking if the child WANTED to die .

Trust me every parent would hope to keep their children for as long as possible , no one wants to outlive their kids but i think some people are having a hard time really understanding what "terminal" actually means , its the end of the line , all options exhausted and no other possible outcome other than a long , slow , torturous death .

C. - posted on 06/03/2010

4,125

35

238

(Posted by Dana S.) "Why would anyone want to prolong that if their own child doesn't want to?"



I think it's b/c we really want them to pull through and we are just waiting and hoping for things to get better. Sometimes, even when someone is that bad, they can still pull through. I think it's our job as the parents to be encouraging and give our children hope throughout the process and that, IMO, is so much more than pulling the plug on them- That's just the same as giving up. I could never do it, ever. I would make my child as comfortable as possible, make them happy until the end. I wouldn't want them to die with the attitude that all hope is lost, I would want them to be the same person with the same attitude up until their last breath.

Charlie - posted on 06/03/2010

11,203

111

401

Thats exactly what i mean , when all other options are exhausted and there is no other means to cure an incurable disease where death is inevitable we do the humane thing for them .

Sharon - posted on 06/03/2010

11,585

12

1314

seriously Loureen. I fight till the bitter end with my pets. Pumping tons of money into them, time and time and more time.

But when death is inevitable and the end is near and their lives are nothing resembling what they once were, I DO let go. I take them to be humanely euthanised.

i have always advocated human euthanasia too. "first do no harm" this needs to be redefined.

Charlie - posted on 06/02/2010

11,203

111

401

I do wonder how an animal can receive more compassion and understanding than a child , we would never want our pets to suffer so when they are at deaths door we put them down , we would never drag out a long and painful life for them , why would we do that to a child with terminal illness ?

[deleted account]

I would not want to prolong tx for a matter of months...I hate to compare the death of a child to a bandaid removal, but it hurts a lot worse pulling it slowly then the sudden instant of pain and the progressive healing. I also think that it seems children w/cancer appear to be these real smart kids and I wouldn't doubt that they would know when to let go well before I or the doctor would know! Children are closer to the spiritual world then we adults and I would trust my child, even if only a toddler, if he seriously desired discontinuing tx. Then again, I do not picture one day going to the hospital, finding out he has terminal cancer, and then opting for death in the matter of months, but rather years and would assume that all other possibilities have been exhausted and my child would have a good concept of what they would be asking for at said point.

Katherine - posted on 06/01/2010

65,420

232

4963

I just don't think I could let go. I'm too emo. I don't even want to think about the possibility.

Rosie - posted on 06/01/2010

8,657

30

315

i'm not sure. i have a hard time with that, doctors are wrong all the time. how many mothers of premies out there have been told that their child wouldn't live and are now thriving adults? i think i would most likely go with the treatment.

Charlie - posted on 06/01/2010

11,203

111

401

Terminal Cancer ? yes , with much heartache i would respect their decision , its their body , their life and i could not feel right keeping them alive in that much pain that they want to or need to die for my own selfish reasons .

Joanna - posted on 06/01/2010

2,096

19

134

I'd like to say I'd respect their wishes, but honestly I can't say if I'm not in the position. I don't know what I'd do. If my daughter who's 2 1/2 becomes terminally ill in a year and wants to die, I don't know if I'd be able to let her go so easily, regardless of what she's feeling. IT's a tough call and I can't honestly answer and would think most women couldn't honestly answer unless they are in that position.

Jocelyn - posted on 06/01/2010

5,165

42

274

So we agree lol. The reason I brought up age (and I can't speak for the others) was because if my young child came up to me and said let me die now, I would have a harder time telling her ok, than if my teenager came up and said the same thing. It's a bit hypocritical I'll admit, but I just feel that I wouldn't question my teenager their reasons, but I would my younger child. This might sound jumbled but it all makes perfect sense to me in my head :P lol. But I would like to state again that I would probably stop treatment in both cases. No need to drag out the inevitable for your own selfish wants.

Caitlin - posted on 06/01/2010

1,915

5

171

I don't think age really matters in this case, since it's terminal.. If your 3 year old i sick of being sick and having tests done etc.. then that's just a good a reason than if your 14 year old who actually knows whats going on decides he/she wants to die. Either way, they are sick of their current state and even if they dont 100% understand death it shouldn`t matter because it is inevitable either way..

Dana - posted on 06/01/2010

11,264

35

489

It's about stopping treatment ,yes at their request, on a terminally ill child though.

Jocelyn - posted on 06/01/2010

5,165

42

274

The op wasn't about if you would stop treatment, it was about if you would accede to their request to stop treatment. If my 16 year old knew what was going to happen to her, and she told me she wanted to stop treatment, then I would. I just don't think that a 6 year old would be able to make an informed decision (but that's not to say I wouldn't stop treatment for them as well) Does that make sense?

Dana - posted on 06/01/2010

11,264

35

489

Is there a difference between ages when your child is dying and in pain? Why would anyone want to prolong that if their own child doesn't want to?

Katherine - posted on 06/01/2010

65,420

232

4963

I can't lie anymore....THERE IS NO WAY I COULD RESPECT THEIR WISHES!!!!!!!! How old are we talking here? I mean 10? 22?

Dana - posted on 06/01/2010

11,264

35

489

Amie, it also makes a difference when you're talking about a child who has terminal cancer opposed to a child that just has cancer.

Emma - posted on 06/01/2010

1,590

15

111

If i was sick i would want to stop treatment i would defiantly respect my kids wishes if they wanted to stop treatment, i think if you refuse them you would be doing it out of your own selfishness your own inability to let go.
I know this would not be easy to do but i would do it

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2010

5,465

31

331

As others have said, i think the age of the child would make a difference.
I'd like to think i would respect their wishes, but it would be SO hard.
Let's hope none of us ever have to make that choice.

Amie - posted on 05/31/2010

6,596

20

408

I honestly don't know. No matter their age, whether small or an adult. I couldn't say unless I was in that position. Losing a child is not easy, we are not meant to outlive them.



I remember when my cousin was diagnosed with leukemia at 9 years old. My aunt and uncle went through hell with him to fight it. But fight it they did and he survived. He's now 19.

Kate CP - posted on 05/31/2010

8,942

36

754

I've seen children die of cancer and it's agonizing. Yes, I would stop my child's treatments if there was no chance of remission and she was old enough to understand what kind of choice she was making. I would want her to be home and be comfortable and calm with me and her family instead of scared, alone, and in pain in a hospice.

Jocelyn - posted on 05/31/2010

5,165

42

274

I agree with Jess. If I had a child who was old enough (and mature enough) to make a decision of that caliber, I would like to think that I would step aside and abide by their wishes. It would be one of the hardest things to do, but why force them to hold on for a few more months? That would be horrendously selfish, keeping your child alive and in pain, if the outcome will end up being the same either way.

La - posted on 05/31/2010

0

0

62

When someone loses their fighting drive to live they usually don't survive treatment for that much longer. The people who stay positive and desire to be alive tend to fair the odds way better. I also believe that some people just know when they are about to die, so I wouldn't want to make them suffer unnecessarily. However, depending on the child's age I don't know if I would feel like they are capable of making the best decision for their prognosis or given situation.

Sharon - posted on 05/31/2010

11,585

12

1314

::: sigh ::: I would hope logic would prevail, but I absolutely suck at letting go of my PETS. how in gods name could I sit back and do nothing for my child.

But it were say end stage terminal disease/cancer.... I would hope that I could just make them happy & comfortable until the end.

I can't bear to see my children with hurt feelings or major illnesses.... parents are always stronger than they think. All those parents with children with cancer etc aren't any stronger than we are. They just plow forward and onward doing what must be done.

I ALWAYS wish and pray for the best for them.

Erin - posted on 05/31/2010

1,278

0

139

It's really hard to say what I would do...especially if you've never been there. I would hope that I would let him/her go, I wouldn't want to make them suffer just so I could have just a little more time.

Dana - posted on 05/31/2010

11,264

35

489

If it were terminal, then yes, I would respect their wishes. I would completely agree with them too.

Katherine - posted on 05/31/2010

65,420

232

4963

Oooh that's a tough question. I would have to be unselfish and do what he/she wanted...kicking and screaming of course.

Caitlin - posted on 05/31/2010

1,915

5

171

I'd love to think that I'd respect my childs wishes in this case, if it truly is terminal. It wouldn't be easy of course, but I would hate seeing my daughter live her last months against her will in pain from the medications AND the illness.. Sometimes it's better to give them simple palliative care until the end, just treating their pain and maybe taking them on a great vacation if possible..

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms