be kind

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 28, 2005

Thinking myself unshockable, I was shocked to read in the U.K. Telegraph that Britain's famous mass-murderer Dr. Harold Shipman (who killed himself in prison last year) is believed to have killed 284 people. You read that right. The sidebar below illustrates the constellation of attitudes that permitted the number to rise so high. It concerns a 4-year-old sufferer from cerebral palsy.

"We both stood by Susie's cot when a doctor came into the room. The doctor told me that Susie was very, very poorly. He was very gentle and sympathetic. He said she had pneumonia and that her lungs were filling up.

I think the doctor also said that if Susie was not so severely disabled they could have given her medication to treat the pneumonia. I think that by these comments the doctor was trying to see whether we wanted to keep Susie alive at all costs. I could see that Susie was dying.

"I told the doctor to be kind to Susie. I gave Susie a kiss and said a little prayer and Barbara and I went outside for a cup of tea. We went back inside 10 minutes later and found the door to Susie's room closed. A nurse came out and said she was sorry but Susie had died.

Notice the little lying insinuation? "Alive at all costs..." If you can get them to bite on that offer, you've made the sale. Make that 284 sales.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 29, 2005 9:56 AM ET USA

    From the article: "Susie Garfitt, four, was not expected to survive her latest bout of cerebral palsy." You don't have "bouts" of CP, though the problems associated with CP can make developing pneumonia more likely. That aside, I have a hard time with the cop-out by the mother on this whole thing.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 28, 2005 10:14 AM ET USA

    Part and parcel of the "Culture of Death" is total aversion of natural death. The culture of death is actually therapeutic. As much as I despise the Kennedys, I give Jacqueline Kennedy great credit for going home to die with family. I do not understand people who go to the hospital to die in the hands of strangers.