Often Victo Dolore inspires me with her blog “Behind the White Coat – Beats a real human heart”.
In her blog, she wrote about her 90-y old patient who wants to die.
It happens a lot, sometimes, life just stops being fun.
I remember an elderly woman Mrs B. in a residential home- you call it “Assisted Living” in the USA.
She asked them to call me for a visit. Didn’t tell the staff why. AN intelligent witty woman, an ex-head teacher.When I came, she said “I have had enough, doctor, I would like you to kill me.”
She was blind, chair bound, had no relatives. Her brain was working perfectly, but her only stimulation was radio and her audiobooks, and her hearing started to deteriorate. I told her I couldn’t do that. I held her hand, and told her I understand. To change the subject, I asked her what audio book is she listening to. She wouldn’t budge.
“If I stopped my tablets, would I die, doctor?”
She was on heart failure medication.
“Yes, I said, but you would get very breathless and uncomfortable.”
“You are being a great comfort yourself, doctor,” she said with a smile.
Next day, the staff called me telling me that she is refusing her medication. I told her to leave her alone, she is fully with it, and that she discussed it with me. “We should not force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do”.
Mrs B. died two weeks later. She died when she wanted. I think that is a blessing. Maybe the idea of Assisted dying as well as assisted living would not be such a bad idea…