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August 11, 1977 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-08-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page Six
Burn
FOSTON (I) - People burned
beyond hope are being asked
at a Los Angeles hospital whe-
ther they want doctors to keep
them alive with last ditch meth-
ods or let them die quietly.
Most choose to die.
I-or a few hours after their
ijury, even badly burned pa-
tients feel little pain and can
think clearly. During this time,
the doctors tell the patient how

THE Mt(-HIGAN DAILY

Thursday, August 11, ,19?7

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, Auguaf Vt, 1977

ca-ses o.
critically he is hurt and let him way they want," said Sharon
givz directions. Imbus, coauthor of the report
with other researchers at the
THE PROGRAM, started hosnital. "People have a right
the ee years ago at the Los An- to make their own decisions and
geles Copunty - University of to know what's happening to
Southern California Medical them," she said in an inter-
Center, is described in the issue view.
of the New England Journal of luring the past two years, 24
Meuicine that appears today. severely burned, adults who
"We believe that people have ranged in age rom 19 to 90
a right to live and to die the wet e admitted to the hospital's

live or die

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bur; center. Doctors checked
medical records and found that
no one whose burns and age
matched the victim's had ever
survived.
WHEN GIVEN a choice of
treatment, all but three of
them decided they wanted only
basic care and pain medicine.
All 24 later died.
In such cases, the center's
most experienced doctor tells
the patient of his condition. No
family members are allowed in
the room.
The doctor "tries to assume
the role of a compassionate
friend who is willing to listen,"
the researchers wrote. "Hands
are often held, and an effort
is made to look deeply into the
patient's eyes to perceive the
unspoken questions that may
lie there."
MOST PATIENTS accept the
seriousness of their situation.
"The very frequent question
-'Am I going to die?' - is
answered truthfully by the
statement, 'We cannot predict
t1,a #Sh t lxa ^f" n 1cr f-

in the past of your age and
with your size of burn has ever
survived this injury, with or
without maximal treatment.',"
the researchers wrote.
Once the decision is made
to die without a struggle, the
patients become peaceful, the
researchers said. "They then
try to live their lives complete-
ly and fully to the end, saying
things that they must say to
thoseimportant to them, mak-
ig proper plans, preparations
and apologies."
THE MINORITY who want
all that medical science can
give them are put in the burn
center's intensive care unit.
The researchers told of two
sisters, aged 68 and 70, who
were burned in a car accident.
The younger was burned over
92 per cent of her body and the
older over 96 per cent.
The younger, when told about
her condition, replied: "Well,
I never dreamed that life would
be like this, but since we all
have to 'go sometime, I'd like
to go quietly and comfortably."
THE OLDER sister, consult-
ed separately, could not believe
she was so badly injured. "I
feel so good," she said.
"Wouldn't I be hurting horrib-
ly if I were going to die?"
Finally, the woman refused
refused full therapy but denied
she was dying,
The younger sister died sev-
eral hours later, and the older
died the next day.

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