Quills Quotes & Notes: Articles and Stories by Rosemary Phillips


Index of Articles on the QQandN site


Public Response to the Article "The Cost of Cheating Death"



Keeping seniors alive
Get "Do Not Resuscitate" tattooed on your chest
Article really hit home
Interested in experiences of the hereafter
How to help friends who are dying
Where to turn when you know you are dying
Definitely touched a nerve - maybe missed the point?

INTRO: Death and dying is a very touchy subject and one that can really hit sensitive nerves. I received a number of e-mails and there were several letters to the editor of the Vancouver Sun in support of the article, and a few against. (Follow this link to the article The Cost of Cheating Death.) A few people really reacted to the idea of equating death and life with dollar figures. The following are some of the responses. Some names have been purposely withheld.

Keeping seniors alive

I was so happy to read your article about cheating death. Nobody talks about this stuff and it is all I think about. I work at a hospital as an RN in extended care and I am constantly asking, “Why do we treat these people so aggressively?”

We never used to. We used to let them die peacefully. Not now; they are treated as if they are going to get better. They get all kinds of expensive drugs – blood thinners, blood pressure pills, vitamins, calcium, anti-depressants, bone builders, plus excess antibiotics when they get sick.

Even if you dismiss the cost, it is the moral and ethical issue of keeping these people alive past any quality of life (that is important). All we do is prolong misery and drag out the end of life. They get IV fluids which keep them going another few weeks until finally they let go. How many times have I put up tube feeds on people who push my hand away? They know what it is and they don’t want to be kept alive artificially, and who does?

But family and the doctor make the decision. I have seen so many useless surgeries done on people and a month later they are dead. What a waste. Nobody would choose to suffer this way if given a choice. I blame the doctors because they are the gatekeepers. They make the decisions, not the nurses. I don’t know why this is. We never used to over-treat people this way.

The last time I worked on a discharge planning unit, a lady was doing really poorly with chronic lung disease, and the doctor saw her and ordered all the lab work, chest x-ray and ECG. By the time they came to take the blood she was obviously dying, and they couldn’t get the blood because her body was shutting down already. So, I sent the lab people away and cancelled all the tests. The doctor was so mad and wanted to report me. But I was right. She died a few hours later.

Who wants people poking you and doing x-rays on your deathbed? I just don’t get it. And I keep asking where are we going? But nobody has any answers. I don’t get any info from my union or professional organization. It’s a crazy world. Now we put everybody on nutritional drinks so they just go on and on, and suffer through it.

Please understand, I think that if you want all these treatments and you live at home, so you should. No problem there. But the people I work with cannot voice their opinion, and many families want them to live forever.
Registered Nurse, Extended Care Unit


Get "Do not resuscitate" tattooed on your chest

Dear Rosemary,

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your article on “The Cost of Cheating Death”. I am a nurse who has seen this same scenario happen many times and can say you hit the nail on the head. Many nurses have suggested that they will get “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed on their chest so to hopefully avoid the same fate. Unfortunately, family members can override a person’s wishes and it has been my experience that the ones who do, are usually the ones with unresolved issues with that person and can’t let them go.
Nurse


Article really hit home

Good morning Rosemary,

I just wanted to compliment you on your great article in this morning’s Vancouver Sun. Being a volunteer for a Hospice Society, and having a mother very near death, it really hit home with me and I agree completely. I will be taking your article to our next meeting and sharing it. Keep up the good work.
Sincerely
Barb


Interested in experiences of the hereafter

Hi Rosemary,

I read your full-page story in the Sun about a man cheating death and our welfare state. I found it an intriguing perspective! I am very interested in your experiences with the hereafter. You say that you have been a hospice volunteer. So I presume you have knowledge first hand? I have had some interesting experiences too. I would love to hear some of yours – or it you could direct me to where you might have written more about such experiences. I would appreciate it greatly, as I am still trying to make up my mind about death and what it means to the evolution of the soul, if anything.
Thanks so much
Lorraine


How to help friends who are dying

Rosemary,

Thanks for your piece in the Sun the other day on the costs of dying. I was hoping to read more on your site about your experience in hospice care and how to help friends who are dying but didn’t see any. Can you direct me to such writing?
Regards
Bill


Where to turn when you are dying

Hi Rosemary,

Thanks for listening this morning. Attached is a quick review of what I’m trying to do re “The Front End of Dying.” From the moment of diagnosis there has to be something in place for us to turn to. We all have to try and understand that it is okay to talk openly about death. It is stories like yours that will help us get there…
Gary Fish


Definitely touched a nerve - maybe missed the point?

What in the name of God is wrong with you? To equate, compare, or value in any way money over human life is evil, stupid and deeply offensive. Your article “The Cost of Cheating Death”, treats human life so callously, so illogically, and so trivially that it staggers the imagination. This article is disgusting and vile. I don’t care that you have volunteered in a hospice. Obviously, you learned nothing about the value of human life.
Name withheld

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