Alzheimer Patients "vs" Physician Assisted Suicide
Approximately three and two thirds millions of individuals are suffering from the Alzheimer Disease (AD), which considerably accounts and comprises of approximately half the cases of adult dementia in America. In order to help the Alzheimer patients have a good ending, various controls, among PAS, are popular for this purpose. Physicians as Jack Kevorkian’s support it completely (Knickerbocker, 2011). However, there are alternatives to PAS, since most people and patients strongly criticize it as a method of helping patients kill themselves. I concentrate on four alternatives, which include, pain control, hospice care, terminal sedation and palliative care.
There are alternatives to physician-assisted suicide for Alzheimer patients and dementia victims. One of them is palliative care. However, some opinion polls indicate support for PAS when it is administered only as a relief for a dying patient under extreme pain. Besides, Americans prefer an alternative such as ensuring control of pain and offering compassionate care for such Alzheimer patients, not helping them to die (Rhymes et al). Moreover, this preference is firmer among the patients of Alzheimer. A past study found out that numerous patients under pain preferred palliative care to PAS more than the public who also support palliative care. Masses still prefer pain relief and palliative care more than euthanasia or PAS though the latter method is not as popular as the PAS. This is because PAS underplays proper pain management practices. This therefore disputes Jack Kevorkian’s suicide assisted demise (Knickerbocker, 2011).
Secondly, hospice care is yet another option for patients with Alzheimer ailment. This is a method that has increasingly been seen as an end of life choice for individuals with this deadly disease. Furthermore, this alternative applies activities such as pet therapy which offers reassurance and compassionate care for them. Additionally, the patients can be read to or listen to music, which is believed to elicit long forgotten emotion, regardless of the fact that they may not be apt to communicate effectively. However, some aspects of hospice care may seem not to effectively help patients with serious dementia (Rhymes et al). For instance, counselling at the end of life may not be effectual for those patients with communication drawbacks.
Thirdly, patients with Alzheimer disease may make a decision to undergo pain control procedures disputed to the renowned PAS that Jack Kevorkian endorses as the best method of helping Alzheimer patients. Besides, pain is underrated and difficult to reduce in Alzheimer patients under dementia. Therefore, pain control aims at. at least reducing the pain than terminating it through PAS (Knickerbocker, 2011). This regards the fact that these patients are unable to describe, talk or rate pain. Additionally, the identification and treatment of pain becomes dependent on caregiver ability to recognize non-verbal signs of pain. Therefore, clinicians assess and respectively report pain at every contact with their patient. This is recurrent and helps control the pain that the patient experiences.
The fourth alternative to PAS for patients with Alzheimer dementia is terminal sedation. This method has received criticism that it is just an alternative form of PAS. However, apparently, most physicians no longer find PAS to be an effective medical necessity for patients fighting this deadly ailment and that the solution to that quandary would be terminal sedation. To physicians and ethicists, there is a distinction between denying a patient fluids and food and giving pain relief to the patient to the point of terminally sedating a patient to consciousness when they have suffered too much. This helps them to die in comfort, to evade the pain (Rhymes et al).
Knickerbocker, B. (2011). Jack Kevorkian drove the debate on physician-assisted suicide. Retrieved from Rhymes J. A, et al. Good care of dying patients: the alternative to physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. J Am Geriatr Soc 1995.43:553-62.