Medicine has traditionally been focused on trying to keep patients alive, with the notion being that dying is the worst thing that can happen to someone. However, it has always been known that not everyone agrees.
Many terminally ill patients have sought ways to end their own lives and they now have the right to do so in a few states. A new study reveals that it is not just the terminally ill who might prefer death.
Fox News Health reported on the survey in “What's worse than death? Dementia and breathing machines, patients say.”
Elderly patients were asked about a wide range of possibilities and whether they viewed them as worse than death.
Conditions such as being confined in a wheelchair and being at home all day were seen as preferable to death by the majority of those surveyed. However, a wide range of conditions were seen as worse by a majority, including having dementia, incontinence, needing a feeding tube and being unable to get out of bed. The survey was conducted of a very small group of elderly patients who had serious illnesses so it might not be representative of a larger sample.
Anyone who is concerned about living with a condition they think would be worse than death should visit an estate planning attorney to get a living will. This document will allow you to give advanced directives to doctors about treatments not to give you if you become terminally ill with no chance of recovery.
Reference: Fox News Health (Aug. 2, 2016) “What's worse than death? Dementia and breathing machines, patients say.”