Early in October, British Columnist Virginia Ironside confessed on a video interview that she “would put a pillow over my child’s face if it was deeply suffering.”
You could say, yes, she makes sense. Right? Or does she?
It is natural to feel anguish and helplessness when a loved one is suffering. But is “shutting them down” the correct option?
There are two types of care for people with extreme and terminal diseases. One is Palliative Care and the other Hospice. (At least in the US. In other countries there is no distinction, they are both called Hospice).
Palliative Care has been around the US since 1967. You might be more familiar with Hospice, which is the care given to patients with less than 6 months to live, this certified by two doctors.
In a nutshell, Palliative is a very comprehensive care given by patients with painful diseases with hopes of recovery, such as those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment. The purpose of both Palliative and Hospice is to improve the quality of life of the patients.
For example, certain diseases will cause pain. So you will be prescribed narcotics. These narcotics might cause extreme constipation, while the medicine to cure your illness might cause your gut not to absorb nutrients.
A good Palliative Care team will be comprehensive enough to work with your regular doctor and prescribe, not only pain killers, but balance your meds, AND provide psychological and spiritual counseling to help you through these trials. The team will also make sure you or your loved one doesn’t have bed sores, has proper oral care, general hygiene, and is properly mentally stimulated.
One thing that will throw a patient into severe depression will be when they deem themselves useless, or a burden to their loved ones. Or not being loved by anyone.
In the case of the Netherlands, they have allowed doctors to perform assisted suicides and euthanasia when the patient requests it.
Do you think it is easier in socialized medicine to provide extra palliative care, and to make sure the patient has the proper quality of life or is it easier for the doctor to sign a form and save the state loads of money because the patient is physically/mentally suffering?
Going back to Ms. Ironside. In her shoes, I’d be crying and suffering with my child. And then I’d be requesting for a qualified team to give my child the proper care and quality of life that all humans deserve.