Why, why, why will no one address the problem of care of the elderly in a realistic way?
Why does the medical profession see fit to prevent a patient from dying when he or she is “done” – a term often used by the elderly themselves and which describes someone who is old, has lived their life, often to the full, and is now ready to die – a normal function in life’s pattern.
One is born, lives and dies. Moreover, this person who is “done” has no quality of life and is lying in hospital possibly being pumped with all manner of medication and possibly oxygen in an effort to prevent him or her from dying.
The Hippocratic Oath says: “I will use the treatments for the benefit of the ill and in accordance with my judgment but from what is to them harm and injustice, I will keep them.”
In my humble way of thinking, this does not mean: “I will strive to keep them alive forever, even if life itself has no quality.”
I am not advocating taking a life, I am simply suggesting that this old, infirm, helpless individual may be allowed the dignity of dying gracefully without days, weeks, months and even years of being prevented from doing just that.