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Interesting Lead
March 8, 2003 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Interesting Lead..Were George Harrison and Fred Rogers terminally sedated?The hospice movement started in this country because people were dying badly, often in pain. I have personal experience that the family is given a bottle of morphine with a eye dropper and a hint.(MetaonlineJournalism - A subsection of MetaFilter (like MetaTalk) where stories or rumors that need further investigation, research, or verification are actively worked on by webloggers, ideally working together to determine the truth of the matter.)
posted by JohnR (26 comments total)

 
This is a test!
posted by JohnR at 7:43 AM on March 8, 2003


I think Fred Rogers was born sedated.
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 AM on March 8, 2003


What lead? The hospice movement started in what country (the article is about Canada, or do you mean the US)?

Isn't using the name of 2 recently departed celebrities (who aren't mentioned in the linked article) the kind of journalism that MoJo should eschew?

The link seems to be a piece of advocacy, not reportage, not even approaching what I'd call a journalistic lead...
posted by jpburns at 8:34 AM on March 8, 2003


KookFilter: A subsection of MetaFilter (like MetaTalk) where stories or rumors that need further investigation, research, or verification are actively worked on by webloggers, ideally working together to determine the truth of the matter.
posted by oissubke at 9:06 AM on March 8, 2003


JohnR, you're right that the way to start these things is to just do them, but when you pick a story to investigate you need something more to go on than pure speculation.

(NB: I think you mean something different by "a bottle of morphine and a hint" than terminal sedation -- as the link you found says, terminal sedation is simply allowing the patient to die, but sedating them so they're not in pain. It is not active euthanasia.)
posted by mattpfeff at 9:07 AM on March 8, 2003


I have personal experience that the family is given a bottle of morphine with a eye dropper and a hint

and you want someone to "look into" this matter?

kookfilter indeed.
posted by clavdivs at 9:17 AM on March 8, 2003


Were George Harrison and Fred Rogers terminally sedated?

Twenty Twenty Twenty-four hours to go.....
posted by jonmc at 9:18 AM on March 8, 2003


Pyramid termite: I think your remark tasteless. Rogers was loved by many many children, including mine, and what he offered in a low-keyed manner was made him so well liked. What you call sedation is merely his ability to reach out without meaning shrill and sarcastic and all-knowing. Meditate. Don't sedate.
posted by Postroad at 9:59 AM on March 8, 2003


oissubke....I think you are projecting.
mattpfeff....I think hunches and educated guessing is how many stories begin. Then comes verification and research. Although I agree this might not be a suitable hunch. How would you ever get any evidence?
posted by JohnR at 10:30 AM on March 8, 2003


snarf! That was just occurring to me, jon. (Curse you and your beer-swilling, Asian-candy-munching ways! (although the little lychee jelly cups are pretty yummy.))

as mattpfeff points out, palliative care is very different from euthanasia. Are you asking if Harrison and Rogers were euthanized? You'd have to ask their doctors and family members (not that they'd talk to you.) Or are you asking if they were kept comfortable in their final days and hours? What exactly do you mean by "terminal sedation"?
posted by Vidiot at 10:49 AM on March 8, 2003


Vidiot Yes I am asking if they were euthanized. Terminal sedation being a code word for the illegal euthanasia.
posted by JohnR at 11:01 AM on March 8, 2003


well, your link explicitly says:

The Canadian guidelines define "Terminal Sedation" as "sedation with continuous IV narcotics and/or sedatives until the patient becomes unconscious and death ensues from the underlying illness [emphasis added], [and] is palliative care, not euthanasia."

and

What is important to note is that in the appropriate use of terminal sedation, the patient is sedated and death ensues from the underlying illness, NOT from the sedation itself!

and

in REAL terminal sedation, the patient dies of the underlying disease

The article linked to draws the distinction between "REAL terminal sedation" and sedation-induced dehydration leading to death, a.k.a. one form of euthanasia. I don't see at all where it sets up "terminal sedation" as a "code word" for euthanasia.
posted by Vidiot at 11:12 AM on March 8, 2003


(N.B.: I'm not harshing on the link; it's an interesting article, and it certainly makes the case that we should examine the hospice movement and the fine line that hospices apparently tread between palliative care and euthanasia.)
posted by Vidiot at 11:14 AM on March 8, 2003


Terminal Sedation:
Is It Good Palliative Care or Euthanasia?
The whole point of the article is that euthanasia IS happening, regardless what the guidelines say.
posted by JohnR at 11:26 AM on March 8, 2003


This is a horrible first step for "MoJo". There's no actual lead, merely speculation, and the only source is an apparent opinion piece which takes a dim view of a widely accepted practice and unnecessarily links it to legalized murder, while offering no proof other than nudge-nudge-wink-winkery that families are being urged to accept this and medical professionals are abrogating their responsibility under the Hippocratic Oath, not to mention the laws of the land.

I don't think, Vidiot, it successfully makes that case at all, any more than a Scientology screed against psychiatry makes the case that prescription psychiatric drugs are the "problem" and chucking all that psych 101 mumbo-jumbo is the "solution".

JohnR, what other sources do you have to back up this article's assertions? We'll need something pretty substantial, because at this point it looks to me like a dumpster-sized load of crap.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 AM on March 8, 2003


I think hunches and educated guessing is how many stories begin.

Sure -- educated guesses. Just what is it that informed your hunch that this applies to Harrison and Rogers in particular? Or are you suggesting some vast conspiracy of celebrity-doping terminal-care physicians, and that the death of every ailing star is suspect?

If you're going to call your speculation an "interesting lead", as you do, you at least have to arrive at a plausible notion -- one that you have some reason to believe might be true -- or have some basis for a suspicion that something is going on, before you can go and say it's actually a lead worth investigating.

The whole point of the article is that euthanasia IS happening, regardless what the guidelines say.

It doesn't say that. It says that if terminal sedation were to be abused, it would be bad. But nowhere does the article state any position one way or the other on whether hospices and their staffs currently are abusing it.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:34 AM on March 8, 2003


This is a horrible first step for "MoJo".

Not to worry -- the first steps already came before, even if the threads in question weren't called "MoJo" (or whatever it'll be called). And there'll be plenty more whiffs down the road....
posted by mattpfeff at 11:38 AM on March 8, 2003


KAYCEE NICOLE IMPLICATED IN ROGERS DEATH
Harrison Demise Blamed On Overmeditation

posted by quonsar at 12:45 PM on March 8, 2003


They were suffering and terminal. It's none of our business if they were assisted or even euthanized.

Whaddaya say we start off MoJo with something more substantial and tasteful (and extremely prevalent), like corruption in government?
posted by Shane at 1:21 PM on March 8, 2003


Agreed! There are some things we don't want to know.
posted by JohnR at 1:26 PM on March 8, 2003


Death is a messy business.

Given the realities of someone with lung cancer with only one lung left whos lung is filling up with fluid and the person feels like they are drowning and is in pain and nothing can be done -- you send them home with as much morphine as they want and hope it comes quick. Is this some kind of relevation? Happens all the time.
posted by stbalbach at 1:37 PM on March 8, 2003


Not that it wasn't a valiant attempt at pushing "MoJo" forward, John.

I had a similar experience with my grandmother, stb. Naturally, with fluid in her lungs, she couldn't eat salty foods. But at some point the doctors said, "Let her eat anything she wants.."
posted by Shane at 2:09 PM on March 8, 2003


JohnR,

This is just a post for unfounded rumors. You make up something totally out of your hat and defame the people you speak of without any evidence proving it. You are a vile human being.
posted by Sonserae at 7:21 AM on March 9, 2003


yes...somehow I got on the Black Road.
posted by JohnR at 8:04 AM on March 9, 2003


JohnR...You are a vile human being.

"vile" for mere speculation? geez, i wonder what one should call someone who did something really bad.

FWIW, King George V was "euthanized" by his physician, Dr. Dawson (later Lord Dawson) in 1936. (source: i've read this in several places. most recently in Dynasty by Donald Spoto.)
posted by deborah at 12:31 AM on March 10, 2003


As an MD, I can tell you that you should not be surprised at "terminal sedation." It is done all the time.
posted by emg at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2003


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