euthanasia - Treating the Terminally Ill: The Rights of a...

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Treating the Terminally Ill: The Rights of a Cancer Patient Scott M. Welch Biomedical Ethics Term Paper March 20, 2005 1
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At the onset of life one knows nothing of where it came from. At the end of life, one knows nothing of where it is going. Faith, religion, and/or beliefs are what drive an individual to see their future after death; some also argue that it is death that presents people with beliefs. For some this means Heaven and places like it, for others nothingness. Whatever belief one possesses, however, means little when death grows near. At this crucial life event, one needs guidance, love, respect, dignity, and credence. Pop: The title of this passage refers to a person who is facing end of life decisions at the present; the history has been verified with the use of official medical records (1). Pop is 72 years old, and has been battling cancer for almost 5 years now. He was born August 16, 1933 in Portland Maine. At the age of twenty he served for the Army from 1953-55 during the time of the Korean Conflict. He was introduced to cigarettes and alcohol while serving his country overseas and continued to use the drugs throughout most of his adult life. Some would be willing to say his cancer started with the first inhalation of a cigarette; however, doctors did not diagnose the disease until October 2000. The first signs of cancer appeared in the oral cavity, particularly with the tongue. After a relatively short time, doctors believed they had removed all cancerous cells, and Pop was in good health. They were wrong. He returned to Eastern Maine Medical Center to find that he was re-diagnosed with cancer, but this time it was in his left lung. For the rest of year 2000 until September 2003 he battled with the cancer. After many drug therapy treatments, several minor surgeries and one major surgery, his overall health declined, but in September 2003, he was told the cancer was gone. For the next year and a half Pop was in relatively good health. He had frequent headaches and extreme pains in 2
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his neck, but all test results came back negative for cancerous growths and nothing else seemed to be apparent. In January 2005, Pop saw the doctor for a follow up, but this time the results were not so good. He was told that his cancer may be back and he would have to go through two separate biopsies. The first biopsy will check his oral cavity, and the other to check his lungs. The dilemma he was facing with this initial diagnosis was that he has already been in such poor health, and any signs of cancer could be life threatening. Pop currently weighs one hundred and seventeen pounds, and is currently plagued with chronic emphysema. For Pop and all of his family, the fear is real, the pain is real, and the diagnosis is frightening. The brief history of Pop does not do him justice. He is a kind and gentle man,
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course RELIGION taught by Professor Lemasters during the Fall '05 term at McMurry.

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euthanasia - Treating the Terminally Ill: The Rights of a...

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