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Quality of Life over Quantity of Life Movement. How do we cultivate quality life choices in the United States?

Modern medicine allows lives to continue living in a vegetation state with the support of machines. Many of these people have no scientific hope for recovery or of a life without excruciating pain. While, in the same vein, if a person has reached a point in their suffering that they wish to die and the doctor also deems this the only means to end the suffering the doctor would be harshly prosecuted. This tells me that in the US we live in a culture that supports the quantity of life rather then our quality of life. How do we help to cultivate a healthier relationship with death while supporting quality of life choices?

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  • Nov 22 2013: I have already signed a DNR and told my wife and children no extreme measures. I guess what bothers me is a discussion I had with a neighbor many years ago (believe it is still true today). The neighbor was and is an ER doctor and he said that many doctors ignore the DNR because of personal views and training to save lives no matter the cost. He also mentioned that there have been cases where doctors have been sued for following a DNR in certain states (never verified this statement).

    This led me to think about it and I guess we are trained to never give up and assume that life is more important than anything.
  • Nov 19 2013: Ending artificial life support is not the same as actively killing someone. If someone wants to, of their own free will, just take palliative care, that's okay. Actively murdering someone is never a mercy. If it ever becomes legal to actively end human life because it is "merciful" or "better", then it will become legal to actively end human life merely because it is inconvenient. First, those able to claim they have chosen. Afterwards, we kill those who have no voice on the behest of others. Look up "Lebensunwertes Leben".
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    Nov 19 2013: "How do we help to cultivate a healthier relationship with death while supporting quality of life choices?"
    I think if everyone told their general care doctor, whether or not they want to stay alive in a vegetative state, would help. This way it would be premeditated and on paper.
    I think respecting the powerful forces of nature, instead of attempting to control them, would help too.
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    Nov 18 2013: I agree! It is not only in the US, however, that we seem to value quantity over quality. I think this is an issue occurring around the world.

    The best place to start is with yourself. I have always strived to live a quality life and I notice people around being inspired to do the same. This is what TED is all about. Society and culture is built around it's people, right? So we need to start small in order to change the world.