There I was sitting beside her bed staring at her lying helplessly. I couldn’t help but cry knowing there’s like 5% chance of her survival. She took my hands plaintively and her last words were “How am I going to get out of this mess?”. Right before my eyes, mom was gone. I cried out in a loud voice. I felt so useless knowing I couldn’t help her in anyway. She suffered from advanced cancer. The pain she went through during her last few days was nothing to behold. I’ve never seen a human in so much pain. Mom was my pride and I swore on her to help save as many people as possible.
I am Donald, now known as Doctor Donald. I have been practicing for 10 years now and considered one of the best in my profession. Saving lives like I swore on Mom I would. Little did I know that a great trial awaits me.
Doctor! Doctor! there’s an emergency! We need you in the ICU now! I hurriedly ran out of my office and behold was a woman near death boundary. At first glance I was confused because of the intensity of her condition. “Please don’t let my wife die, she’s all I’ve got” cried out the husband. I looked at him straight in the eyes and assured him everything was going to be fine and I shut the door against him. About an hour later, I was out of the ICU with my bowed in sadness.
Doctor, how’s my wife? Critical but stable I answered while walking away trying to wrap my head around the situation. Come with me to my office. How did this happen?
She was involved in a ghastly accident, I was called upon by a friend who was at the accident scene…… ( he tried explaining further but he broke down into tears). I tried as much as possible to hold back my tears because everything about this woman reminded me of mom. The last days she spent being useless and in complete pain.
“Assure me she’s going to be alright” he cried. I nodded in agreement but deep down I was in total doubt. She had brain hemorrhage and her spinal cord was injured. This was a severe case of paralysis.
Days past and she finally regained consciousness. She was awake but practically a vegetable. Unable to move a limb nor talk. All she could do was blink.
I could see depression written all over her husband. He was grieving his wife whom was still alive. He was practically in the hospital almost everytime, day and night sitting beside her bed hoping she could at least speak to him to let him know how she was feeling.
It wasn’t easy on me either because the last time I was in a situation where I couldn’t do anything but hope for the best was when mom was on her dying bed. I could fit into his shoes.
Months past, no improvement. A year gone, still no improvement. Everyone gave up but I couldn’t because I was emotionally attached.
One fateful day he walked up to me and asked “Doctor how do we get her out of this mess?” This question sprang up flashing images of my mom in her final moment with the pain in her eyes when she said her final words. I took few steps backwards and shut the door against him, fell on my knees and banging the wall in pains.
As a doctor, the only way I could help her was painlessly putting her to death but as a human it was an excruciating thing to do. I was in total disdain. I never knew I’d be faced with this in my career. All I wanted was to save lives not end them.
Patient assisted suicide should be on the request of the patient but she hasn’t spoken in a year. She was clearly suffering being alive. Pooing and peeing on herself, feeding through tubes. It was really an appalling sight to behold.
Upon approaching her room, I saw her husband disconnecting her from life support and everything sustaining her but I did nothing to stop him. He turned back and froze knowing I saw what he did. I patted him on the shoulder, hugged him and told him to take heart. He did what had to be done and I was passively involved in her death.
That particular incident took a toll on my mental health especially being there when she was put to death. I lost confidence in myself as a doctor. Few weeks later I resigned and moved to another state. The hospital was no longer my happy place. I needed peace of mind and emotional tranquility and I couldn’t find it in the hospital with patients depending on me to save their lives.
Euthanasia………. Can it be justified or should never be done no matter the condition of the patient?
Writer: Elemue Tuvie
Delta State University Abraka, NIGERIA