Back in 2001 my mother contracted pneumonia at the old age home. She had been totally blind for over 3 years, had broken her hip and consequently not able to walk.

The treatment was antibiotics and physiotherapy. After 2 weeks we were told that her condition had deteriorated sharply and we decided to have her admitted to hospital.

She was placed into intensive care and the specialist physician told us that her chances were 50/50. After 2 or 3 days she was moved to a ward on a Friday.

The standard treatment was daily physiotherapy. So daily, my mother was being pummeled and wrenched while struggling and desperately gasping for breath. This can’t be right!

I imagine this to be similar to ‘waterboarding’. And waterboarding is the worst torture known to man. I just don’t get it – I must be stupid.

Then on the Sunday night, my brother and I visited her. She was unable to communicate and at this stage had been suffocating for almost 3 weeks and was in great distress.

A specialist (Pulmonologist) doing the rounds did a brief examination and told us that it was terminal. My brother asked her to give my mother something to alleviate her suffering – perhaps morphine? The specialist lowered her voice and said it would kill her!

My brother and I looked at each other perplexed. She did however instruct the nurse to give my mother some other medication intravenously. The effect was immediate: My mother became relaxed and calm for the first time in 3 weeks.
Why did the specialist not leave instructions for the injection to be repeated every 6 hours or such like?

My dear mother died in the early hours of Wednesday morning July 18, 2001.

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