Who’s Responsible?

In prompt #2 I discussed how close this subject was to me as I have just recently lost my grandmother this past spring. So when discussing another aspect of the end-of-life process, it has been somewhat easier to relate and talk about my view on the matter. As my family comes from a very cultured background, being Dominican, we have a different view on death and the dying process that is custom and tradition that when one lives in the Dominican Republic, they must follow. However, being that my grandmother passed here in the US, she was privileged to make her own choice before she got sick about how she wanted to die or what procedures she would want, including DNR. So, from my experience both losing someone in the United States and out, I feel Americans do get a choice on what they want when nearing the end of life and the responsibilities they have, such as creating a will, gives them full control of what will make them happy when their time comes. As a family member dealing with making decisions, remembering what my grandmother wanted and talking with Hospice, it got very overwhelming. I can remember every second standing in the hospital waiting room as we all spoke with our social worker for Hospice and the procedures we were going to go forth with. As a family member, you have the responsibility to be sure everything that is taking place with a loved one is exactly what they want, rather than doctors or others swaying those choices. Although most of us have the mindset that the doctors know what they are doing based on their qualifications, I feel that no one knows what they want more than the person experiencing the dying process. Reading this article brought me back to my experience with my Grandmother as she rested in her hospital bed claiming she was ready to go because “she was a burden to us all”. Just as Susan Jacoby spoke about her mother not wanting to be a victim of expensive medical procedures that simply prolong her death process, my grandmother felt the same way. I believe at that point the patient has accepted their death to some extent and simply want to be comfortable which is what we, as Americans, should be providing.

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