I have always had a soft spot for those who are suffering. Whether this is related to social, financial or medical circumstances, I’ve always felt sympathetic toward these individuals. Having been at 2 paediatric placements thus far (St Josephs Children’s Home last year and Red Cross Hospital this year), it has been a real eye opener; has made me attempt to appreciate life more than I have before.
On my second day at Red Cross Hospital, I received a referral to see a 3 year old girl who has been neglected by her caregivers and diagnosed with spastic CP. I was fearful of what I may come across but what I had actually come across was much worse than I had anticipated.
Seeing such a young girl with multiple contractures, multiple pressure sores and the complete inability to lead a normal life is heartbreaking. This poor child does nothing but lay in bed all day, completely helpless and suffering. Doctors had been planning to transfer the patient to The Sarah Fox Children’s Hospital Paediatric Palliative Care Unit.I would always want to go and see this patient early in the morning, do what I need to do and just get it done with because, I felt what I was doing had no purpose, was not going to improve her state and seeing her like this made me feel terrible.
I understand that as a future physiotherapist, I have to maintain and/ or improve the quality of life of patients. However, there needs to come a point where we can put our hands up and say there is no longer a possibility of ‘our patient‘ living a life of any form of quality; therefore certain actions need to be put in place to avoid suffering in which there is no chance of a positive outcome i.e medical euthanasia.
There are extensive readings on the physician-assisted suicide debate. Proponents argue that medical euthanasia promotes human dignity and represents a deeply humanizing act. The opponents of this feel that the patients are made to feel even less as a person because they point out those patients have lost their dignity due to ravages of their illness (Boudreau, 2011).
In the Christian religion it is said that nothing can lessen true human dignity even the pain and suffering caused by a serious illness. This is because the human being is unique as he/she was created in God’s image who provides the gift of life. These opponents believe that it is not up to anybody but God to decide when to end the gift called life (Paku, 2015).
I am an open minded individual and believe in religion but firmly believe in medical euthanasia.
Boudreau, J. D. (2011). Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: Can You Even Imagine Teaching Medical Students How to End Their Patients’ Lives? The Permanente Journal .
Paku, J. (2015). Debate on Euthanasia (Pros and Cons). Liboa.