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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

the right to a 'good' death | Jo Cartwright | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk‏

A horrible subject, but one I'm compelled to comment on as my family are going through it now. We found out over Christmas that my granddad has cancer, and since then he has gone down hill at a rate of speed.
We are now hoping that he will not wake up one morning.
He's in a hospice who do the most amazing work, and who have been kind enough not to move him on when he's hung on a bit longer than expected. The stay is supposed to be limited to 7-10 days, and he's been there a week now.
But the principle at stake is that his life is at an end in meaningful terms, but his body hangs on in there. He was always stubborn and awkward, it's a family trait.
There is talk among the family of pillows and hopes that he will not open his eyes one morning for the good of all concerned. It's a tough place to be, hoping that your father/grandfather/husband etc. will soon leave this life.
But we're all lucky to have such an amazing hospice, because his wife has to suffer looking after him at home, not to mention the fact that her life will go on after his light has blown out. I'm not sure how I'd feel living in the place where my husband/wife etc. died, but it's not a bundle of laughs.
So I'm not so convinced by people dying at home, what about those who live on?
It's a tough subject, but this episode has convinced me of the need for some level of assistance in assuring a 'good' death - that those leaving this mortal coil are able to do so on their terms and without suffering, both their own and those around them

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