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Grandma on Feeding Tube Symbolizes Japan

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A quarter of a million bedbound elderly people are kept alive in Japan, often for years, by a feeding tube surgically inserted into their stomach. A few months ago, my 96-year-old grandmother became one of them.

Feeding tubes are so common in Japan that my family wasn’t initially consulted about the procedure, which is effectively irreversible. When my mother walked into Grandma’s room the next morning and saw a tube, she dropped to her knees by the bedside and stayed there for hours, crying.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to do this to you,” my mom repeated over and over.

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So it's easier to just keep folks alive when they shouldn't than to have "uncomfortable" conversations about aging and death?

Gotta love the Japanese.

Unfortunately, the economic realities of today's world and Japan's demographics will probably bring an end to this practice.

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Along with possible improved nutrition, I'd guess it's sometimes done for the convenience of the care givers ? It takes a lot of time and effort to feed very old people.

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.. and by the way, never stand on the tube while visiting.

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It sometimes shocks me when I talk to some people I know who would still rather be alive even if they are some vegetable.

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It sometimes shocks me when I talk to some people I know who would still rather be alive even if they are some vegetable.

That is because most people prefer the unknown evil to the good not yet known.

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Social standards evolve.

"m********ion: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century, it was a disease; in the twentieth, it's a cure." Thomas Szasz

Terry Schiavo an obvious example.

In context of Terry Schiavo U.S. President Bush (the younger) said:

"In extraordinary circumstances like this, it wise to always err on the side of life."

George Will

"This is the most litigated right to die case in American history; more than ten years."

Two ostensible "conservatives' with opposite opinions.

Sadly, the "living will" may be an individual's best legal protection against the humiliation of geriatric infantalism.

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