• Are people too frightened of death that they take life saving too far?

    I happened to turn on the tv yesterday whilst I sat down with a coffee and on The Morning programme there was a couple who were campaining to have the age of the meningitis vaccination given earlier in babies. I believe that it is now given at a year as it was determined that the risk before tha age was so low that it was better for the children to leave this one until later. However, the couple on the tv were unfortunate to find that their daughter went down with meningitis at 8 months old.

    My query arises from that. As a result of the infection and to 'save her life' the hospital amputated all of her limbs. This raises numerous questions for me personally. Was the saving of her life for her benefit or for the benefit of the parents who would not have to suffer and deal with loss at that time. Oh, I should have also said that the doctors believe that she is blind as a result of the infection too.

    I have experienced the fear of a sick child. My eldest as a toddler was very ill and it was discovered that he was allergic to penicillin and my other son, as an adult, collapsed with sepsis two yers ago. Fortunately they both recovered without the loss of any of their faculties and of course nobody knows how they will respond when they find themselves in a situation, but it makes me wonder whether there are times when we should find acceptance for the loss of a life, rather than pursue it at any cost. Should the quality of life be considered when attempting to preserve it?

    I am sure that I have spoken about my father before, but he was two weeks from his 79 birthday when he passed from heart failure. He had signed a DNR but apparently unless he had collapsed in the doctors surgery and that the doctor had remembered him signing it, it was pretty useless. I am not sure whether this was because his surgery failed to process it as they should have done as my family did not want me to pursue it afterwards. Anyway the ambulance crew spent a long time trying to rescusitate him, even though my mother said he had died instantly and then informed her afterwards that it was a good job that they didnt manage it, because for the time he was out, he would have been brain damaged.

    Did they really think that it was a good idea for my 80 year old mother to have to be caring for her brain damaged husband, who had lived in pain for many years and had signed saying he didnt want his life to be prolonged?

    It seems to me that maybe our fear of having to deal with the grief f losing someone close to us, or in the case of the parademics fear of being accused of not doing enough, has meant that at times things are taken too far in an attempt to prolong life, whatever the circumstances.

    I have considered, particulary since my father died of making a living will, because with my own personal beliefs, I would not want to be kept alive by the medical profession at any cost, but i was advised by the solicitor that it would be a waste of time and money because my wishes would not be upheld.

    Surely we should have the right to decide how far we would be prepared to take things in order to stay alive. How many adults would choose to life without limbs and sight?

    Something to think about and certainly an incentive to care for ones body in the best way possible.


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