Posted by: ritagone | December 9, 2015

If This Don’t Beat All!!!

 

Yes, I know the grammar is wrong for the title of this blog, before anything that I say. But it fit so well with my shock and horror after reading the piece below that I felt it had to be said that way.

         After you read this piece from The Guardian’s U.S. edition (British newspaper and online news distributor) from Thursday, December 3, tell me if this woman, known as “C,” isn’t the poster child for our culture and its worldview of when life is worth living and when it is not.    

         She wants to die because she feels she has lost her “sparkle.” Heck, I feel like my “sparkle” is gone nearly all the time. Is it merely the amount of sparkle we feel we have or can look forward to for the rest of our lives that determines whether we stay or go? I hope not. I truly hope not.

 

Court grants woman right to die after ‘losing her sparkle’

 

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Woman known as C is described as ‘impulsive and self-centred’ but competent enough to refuse dialysis after destroying kidneys in suicide attempt.

A 50-year-old woman who fears that the passing of her youth and beauty means the end of everything that “sparkles” in life has been granted permission to die by the court of protection.

In a highly unusual judgment published this week, King’s College Hospital NHS Trust has been told that the unnamed woman has the capacity to make up her own mind and is entitled to refuse the life-saving kidney dialysis treatment she requires.

The decision includes a detailed account of the lifestyle of C, as the woman is known, describing her as “impulsive”, “self-centred”, heavy drinking and four times married.

But the judge, Mr Justice MacDonald, explained that the principle was the same for any patient. “The right to refuse treatment extends to declining treatment that would, if administered, save the life of the patient,” he said in his court of protection decision.

“This position reflects the value that society places on personal autonomy in matters of medical treatment and the very long established right of the patient to choose to accept or refuse medical treatment from his or her doctor.

“Where a patient refuses life-saving medical treatment the court is only entitled to intervene in circumstances where the court is satisfied that the patient does not have the mental capacity to decide whether or not to accept or refuse such treatment.” Intervention, he said, was not required in this case.

MacDonald continued: “C is a person to whom the epithet ‘conventional’ will never be applied … C has led a life characterised by impulsive and self-centred decision-making without guilt or regret. [She] has had four marriages and a number of affairs and has, it is said, spent the money of her husbands and lovers recklessly before moving on when things got difficult or the money ran out.

“She has, by their account, been an entirely reluctant and at times completely indifferent mother to her three caring daughters. Her consumption of alcohol has been excessive and, at times, out of control … In particular, it is clear that during her life C has placed a significant premium on youth and beauty and on living a life that, in C’s words, ‘sparkles’.”

Having been diagnosed with breast cancer, she had taken an overdose with alcohol. She did not die but caused herself such extensive kidney damage that she required dialysis – which she now refused to undergo.

The judge added: “My decision that C has capacity to decide whether or not to accept dialysis does not, and should not prevent her treating doctors from continuing to seek to engage with C in an effort to persuade her of the benefits of receiving life-saving treatment in accordance with their duty to C as their patient.

“My decision does no more than confirm that in law C is entitled to refuse the treatment offered to her for her benefit by her dedicated treating team. Nothing I have said prevents them from continuing to offer that treatment.”

MacDonald analysed evidence from psychiatrists and medics, and from one of the woman’s daughters. One daughter told him that her mother’s life had “to all appearances” been fairly glamorous. She said her mother did not want to be “poor”, “ugly” or “old”.

“She has said the most important thing for her is her sparkly lifestyle,” said the daughter. “She kept saying she doesn’t want to live without her sparkle and she thinks she has lost her sparkle.”

The daughter said family members would be devastated if her mother died, but added: “We think it is a horrible decision. We don’t like the decision at all. But I cannot get away from the fact that she understands it.”

 

 

I truly feel sorry for this woman’s family, her three daughters, particularly, and the trail of husbands and lovers she has discarded and abandoned throughout her lifetime. Her desire to allow death to remove her from the scene is to me just another example of selfishness at work: “I’ve botched things up, but I’m too much of a coward to stay around and work it out. You take care of it. You manage without me.” Well, that’s what her daughters seem to have been doing all their lives.

         I haven’t been this shocked and appalled at a behavior pattern in a long time. While I wish this woman, “C,” would stick around and be brave and face head-on the mess she’s made of things, I am also appalled that her reasons for wanting to die are so shallow: she won’t be pretty, she won’t be young, and she would be poor.

         Well, if we all opted out for those reasons, the population of planet Earth would be considerably reduced.

         I’m trying hard not to be judgmental here, because I realize that “C” may have a classic case of clinical depression which needs medical attention.  At least I hope so, because that in my mind would make her request a bit more understandable.  I’m trying to think through concerning her position and her rationale for wanting to die, because I believe it has such repercussions for us and our society outlook.  I have to ruminate on this some more. Its implications are so profoundly deep and relevant to our culture and Western society that I need to think through what the lines of defense could possibly be here.

         What do you think?

 

 

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Responses

  1. I found it interesting that the daughter talked about how devastated family members would be if she died. She sounds so incredibly selfish, I’m having a hard time understanding what they’d miss. “C” reminds me of my mother in so many ways- the difference I guess is that my mother still thinks she “sparkles” after all this time!


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