Family Members Should NOT Decide When Life Support is Needed Essay

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Should the decision to keep a person on life support be made by family members only? This question has major impact on many people’s lives, their deaths, and their quality of life. Many other questions can be asked in conjunction with this question. How would you like to be kept on life support? Would you want a doctor to make the decision of ‘life or death’? The questions just keep on coming, and every time we seem to find ourselves divided. This issue is relevant because of the recent media coverage over Terri Schiavo’s right to live or die and the fact that any of us could be in her situation. In the case of Quinlan1., the court asked, "If the patient could wake up for 15 minutes and understand his or her condition fully, and…show more content…
The British Medical Journal conducted a study in 1996 concluding that there was a 43% error rate in the diagnosis of PVS4. This study makes it clear just how difficult it is to get an accurate diagnosis of PVS. A patient that has been diagnosed as ‘minimally conscious’ can have dementia- but can respond to simple instructions or follow objects with their eyes. The individual can show occasional moments of awareness- through speaking, writing or using yes/no signals. The journal Neuroscience explains that the individual could be quite aware, but ‘trapped’ in a body, for the most part, unable to function.       Terri Schiavo was 5 feet and 3 inches, when Terri was a young adult she weighed over 200 pounds. She has been recorded to have dropped to 110 pounds before her collapse in 1990; this plummet in weight suggests an eating disorder, other information on this issue that suggests an eating disorder would be her dangerously low potassium level of 2.0. Chemicals interfere with cells metabolism everyday. We eat, drink or inject chemicals into our bodies’ everyday; our bodies are chemical factories with millions of chemical reactions happening all the time. Occasionally, however, chemicals are abused or neglected, and our bodies suffer for our decisions. Normal potassium levels are between 3.5-5.0 mEq/L, potassium is needed to maintain many of our bodily functions, for example,

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