Cause of Death: reaching the end of life

I have now had a chance to reflect on my concern over Liz Kershaw’s Sunday Times article (20th Feb), Cause of Death: the NHS (only accessible to those who to subscribe to the Times On-line).

It is about her experience of how NHS medical staff treated her 87-year-old dying grandfather.

She starts the piece by saying, ‘Tell you what: why don’t we just put a pillow over his face and finish him off?  Day after day’, Liz continues, ‘I witnessed the deliberate withholding of nutrition that resulted in his ‘accelerated, yet agonising and undignified death.’

I too, have witnessed the death of an elderly person in an NHS hospital.  He was my 87-year-old bull of a father who was struck down just over two years ago by a massive stroke.  But, I had a completely different experience from Liz Kershaw, as I have also discussed in my book, The D-Word: Talking about Dying.

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Mandela not in danger! Of what? Dying in his nineties?

After announcing this morning that Nelson Mandela has been admitted into hospital for tests, BBC Radio 4 News continued by saying he was ‘not in danger.’  Much loved though he is, Nelson Mandela is 92, and as far I am aware, not immortal.  Clearly his body is beginning to pack up, and he is getting ready to die.  That’s what happens to people who reach this grand age.  Attributing the concept of danger to this is, for me, ridiculous.

Continue reading “Mandela not in danger! Of what? Dying in his nineties?”

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