Terri Schindler’s horrific murder by state horrified me to no end. I sincerely hope someone does the same to that piece of *hit exhusband of hers that in all probability put her in that state to begin with.
Two threads by me.
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, August 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) A recently retired New York Times reporter has penned a book in which she details how she followed through on a shocking pact to help her 88-year-old mother, Estelle, starve to death.
In an excerpt from the book, A Bittersweet Season, published recently in the Daily Mail, Jane Gross describes her mothers increasing dissatisfaction with life as her health deteriorated, and her mounting desire to die, despite the fact that she was not terminally ill.
So here we were, my mother and I, wishing that she were terminally ill and feeling a bit creepy about it, Gross writes about her conversations with her mother about her death wish.
Gross admits that there was no pretending I hadnt been part of her decision [to die], and had arguably even encouraged it, but argues that she made sure that her mother, with whom she had never been particularly close, was doing this for herself, and not out of a desire to spare her children trouble and expense.
Finally, after her mother spelled out the words N-O-W, Gross met with staff at the hospice where her mother was being cared for, and thus began the lengthy and grueling process of her mothers death by starvation and dehydration a process that staff had told Gross would only last a week, but that actually lasted 13 days.
As the days passed, I watched the hands of the clock from my perch in a corner of my mothers room, she writes. They seemed to have stopped moving. She soon became a curiosity, as staff stood in her doorway to watch the old lady who would not die. I accused staff of sneaking her ice cubes when my back was turned. I was twitching with impatience. I wanted my mother to hurry up and die, and was ashamed to admit it.
Finally, Gross writes, On the 13th day without food or water, my mother finally got her wish.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews (LSN), Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, expressed his sorrow at Gross account, saying, Sadly, the concept of dehydrating and starving a person death, whether it is done in a voluntary way or not, is becoming more common.
This sad article about the death of Estelle, is held up as an example of fulfilling the last request or ensuring that a persons autonomy has been maintained, he said. The fact is that Estelle was abandoned in her death.
We need to make it clear that dehydrating people to death, who are not otherwise dying, is not only an abuse of good care, but also euthanasia by dehydration, Schadenberg said. The acceptance of euthanasia by dehydration leads to the acceptance of killing the most vulnerable in society. This abuse of the vulnerable cannot continue.
Schadenberg said that Compassion & Choices, the group that lobbies for the legalization of assisted suicide in the U.S., recently published an article extolling the virtues of death by dehydration.
The suicide lobby is using death by dehydration to break down the resistance to assisted suicide, he said. It is well known that once people have experienced someone dying by dehydration that, out of compassion for the dying, they will demand death by lethal dose.
Jane Gross, a retired reporter for The New York Times, has written a book about helping her mother die. And while euthanasia and assisted suicide are deeply disturbing but hardly new concepts, something about her story is especially upsetting. Perhaps in part its because she chose to write a book about it in the first place. Maybe its because my own elderly parents are suddenly facing serious mental and physical problems that I find Gross story so repugnant.
The book, A Bittersweet Season, was recently excerpted in Britains Daily Mail newspaper. The subheading of the article read, They were never closebut then Jane agreed to help her ailing mother starve herself to death. And that shocking pact brought them together.
Janes mother, Estelle, wasnt terminally ill. She was 88 years old, partially paralyzed, and unable to speak after a series of strokes. By Janes account, she was humiliated by her helplessness. Estelle communicated her desire to die to Jane by using a cardboard alphabet chart. Together they agreed on using a process called VSED (voluntary stopping of eating and drinking).
The nursing home staff agreed to their plan. As the days passed, I watched the hands of the clock from my perch in a corner of my mothers room, Jane writes. They seemed to have stopped moving. She soon became a curiosity, as staff stood in her doorway to watch the old lady who would not die. [It took 13 days instead of the expected week.] I accused staff of sneaking her ice cubes when my back was turned. I was twitching with impatience. I wanted my mother to hurry up and die, and was ashamed to admit it.
The positive blurbs for the book on Amazon probably shouldnt surprise me. In this day and age, such actions, and having the courage to write about them, draw praise. The Boston Globe reports, Gross writes movingly about the toll it takes on her and other caregivers. . . . [S]hes serious about documenting the often hidden workload borne by middle-aged daughters and sons. The Seattle Times praises Gross as an incisive critic of our systems and institutions. Commonweal lauds her for bringing up such a difficult topic, writing, Individuals, families, medical professionals, and our societys institutions have a pressing moral duty to reform our failing systems of care for the fragile old and dying. Jane Grosss excellent book can help us do better on all these fronts.
We can do better on this front, and it shouldnt involve twitching with impatience for someone to die.