Ending life - inexorable decline, manipulation, autonomy. Who decides?

More than a year ago, I made the decision to stop my Dad's medical treatments.  He was 89 years old, with 3 types of metastatic cancer.  He was receiving multiple transfusions, in the hospital more than out.  He was in and out of delerium.  Multiple minfections, any one of which would have killed him if left untreated.  When he could express himself, he stated he did not want further intervention.

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I take it your father is being "cared" for in your parent's small midwestern town?

How long did it take for you to become an outsider? I was considered an outsider in my small midwestern US town, even having family on one side going back six or seven generations, and even having grown up there. I may also be an outsider in Vermont. I've pretty much resigned myself to being an outsider most places except for Atheist Nexus.

It's very hard to know if one is projecting one's values on one's parents in situations like this. When my mom was dying from cancer, she was only 51, At 29, I was suddenly thrust into the role of decisionmaker. By the time I got back to take care of her, the cancer was too far gone. She'd been seeing a chiropractor who just kept taking her money instead of suggesting she get a second opinion.

Anyhow, it's incredibly hard to deal with passive-aggressive people in situations like this. My mom wasn't, but her mom was. You have my empathy.
Readers of this thread might be interested in this article by the well-known doctor/author Atul Gawande:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/02/100802fa_fact_gawande
The value of hospice care has been definitively established; it is not only cheaper, but may actually extend life as well!
I'm volunteering with a hospice organization, and my boss happened to bring up the "rebound effect" that Daniel mentioned, saying that it's a common phenomenon.

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