No boundaries, no rules, no restrictions, and no restraints.

 

 

Brooke Hopkins and Peggy Battin, appearing in the magazine last month.

Browsing the web I came across this article:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/magazine/a-life-or-death-situation.html?pagewanted=3&_r=0

 

I’m going to be honest it’s 10 pages so I didn’t read the WHOLE article. It’s about a couple — Peggy and Brooke — who feel very strongly about autonomy and having those advanced directives in place. Peggy has written plenty of scholarly articles and has even testified in court for the rights of others to be able to make their own decisions about EOL. Both Peggy and Brooke have AD’s that state that if either of them are in a traumatizing accident or obtain a chronic illness, they do not want any treatment that would only “unnaturally” prolong the time of death and the dying process(especially if it left them in a vegetative state). They quickly realized that these decisions are much harder to make when you’re facing them head on.

 

While on a bike ride (without Peggy), Brooke suffered a broken neck and had lost the ability to breathe. His EOL wishes were not known and he was resuscitated and rushed to the hospital. Brooke’s life was saved however, he was paralyzed from the shoulders down and continues to live a life with his wife Peggy.

 

We have talked about AD’s this whole semester and how important they are. But what if it came down to that moment where you are in a position to make that EOL decision for yourself? It’s one of those “easier said than done” scenarios. If Peggy was there when Brooke had his accident, the power of Brooke’s life would have been in her hands. She would have had the decision to either tell the paramedics about his AD or not. Brooke’s AD would have let them know not to resuscitate him. From the article I gather that Peggy would have told them about his AD, but situations like this could happen to anyone; Under that kind of pressure, who knows what a person would do? During his hospital stay, Brooke was fully competent and aware of his situation, though he was on a ventilator. He could have very well told the doctors to remove that device. But he didn’t and chose to live out his life. If his wife was there on the day of his accident he might not have been able to make that choice.  

This reminds of the point that it’s never too late to change your mind about your previous AD’s. You will always have that decision and the fear that your wishes won’t be carried out should not deter you.  Brooke chose to stay on the ventilator when his AD could’ve stated to refuse that treatment. It’s your life; No boundaries, no rules, no restrictions, and no restraints.

In an updated article Brooke eventually chose to end his life. This one’s pretty interesting too!

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/21/choosing-to-die-after-a-struggle-with-life/?ref=magazine

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2 thoughts on “No boundaries, no rules, no restrictions, and no restraints.

  1. Wow, this is definetly an interesting post. Before this class I was completely against being kept in a vegetative state or beiing kep alive my machines. Although I still am, I feel like part of me might change my opinion because as you said, it’s one of those “easier said than done” things. It’s really hard to let go sometimes, as we saw on Peggy and Brooke’s case, but if it’s what you really want in the long run, you will make the right decisions becasue it is your life and you have the final say in what happens everyday.

  2. This is an interesting article indeed. I’m not sure if one of the reasons many people don’t have advance directives is because they’re scared that they can’t change their mind later down the road. And I also completely agree that it is easier said than done. I personally would not want to live my life as Brooke did, but when faced with that decision, anyone’s mind could change very quickly. I don’t even know if I would be able to make that decision for anyone else either. I’d imagine it being very difficult, but if that is what the other truly wants, it is definitely that person’s call in the end.

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