” Assisted Living”, yes, but how about ” Assisted Dying”?

Often Victo Dolore inspires me with her blog “Behind the White Coat – Beats a real human heart”.

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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…

 

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One thought on “” Assisted Living”, yes, but how about ” Assisted Dying”?

  1. Thank you so much for the shout out! I have had conversations with patients like this one about refusing meds. It seems like we should be allowed to have a choice on these things. I have used hospice more than once when patients are ready to stop taking their meds. But for the healthy ones who don’t have the luxury of refusing their life saving meds, what do you do? Seems we could be better at caring for them than we are at this point. I admit that I have mixed feelings about assisted suicide.

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