Letters: My mother deserved a better death

These letters appear in the print edition of The Independent, 3 August, 2013

Share

I read with anger and sorrow of the judgments on the right to die for Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb.

Both my parents have died on the NHS.

I sat by my mother this week, as she struggled with her last breaths.

Both their experiences (and mine) have been ones of fear, loss of dignity and pain throughout the process of dying.

As I have sat with my mother I have seen all around me, in every hospital and nursing home, both loved and forgotten people for whom a dignified, pain-free death is denied by those arrogant enough to think they speak for a nation’s conscience.

When are we – the nation – going to have a detailed, comprehensive and enlightened debate about assisted dying, not only for those who are terminally ill, but those who face death through dementia, frailty and loss of independence in old age.

I am determined, absolutely determined, that I will not die in the manner that my parents have died – pushed from pillar to post by a disjointed, malfunctioning, crippled NHS system, cared for by a family that has become so stressed it cannot cope. It will be forever on my conscience that I have let my parents die like this.

I challenge those who represent “the conscience of the nation” to put aside their private healthcare privileges and spend some time in struggling, under-resourced hospitals and nursing homes, and in the private homes of those families struggling to help those who are dying... and then let’s all have a proper debate and a proper decision – one which allows a person to die in peace, without suffering, as should be possible in our modern world.

Ruth Hair, Midgley, Halifax

 

Lord Falconer is introducing a bill to enable doctors to participate in assisting terminally ill people to die. This is a step in the right direction, but it is time for much more serious thought to be given to the subject.

Let’s face it, doctors have been assisting patients to die by putting them on the Liverpool Care Pathway, and very unsatisfactory it is. If a pet-owner deprived an animal of food and water in this way, they would be guilty of a serious crime. It would be far better to assist in the dying humanely and medically.

Although I am well and active now, I have no wish to live when the quality of my life deteriorates to nothing, and I think the politicians, doctors and lawyers should give serious consideration to changing the law to allow those who see no future value in their life to have assistance in terminate it.

I have no wish to have my desires inflicted upon other people, but I think that such an option should be available, with adequate safeguards, for those who want it.

I do not understand the attitude of a Government that so savagely cuts social support for the poor being prepared to spend millions on caring for the old and infirm and not at least consider allowing those who wish to be relieved of their misery being assisted to die.

Brian Crews, Beckenham

 

Lots of good experience  – of rejection

“Must have at least X amount of experience”... a line with which the young people of today are more than familiar.

I am employed, albeit on a lower wage structure than my job role would normally demand. But I have a friend who is an absolute stand-up, hard-working, honest guy – and how he can’t get a job is beyond belief.

The whole corporate structure in this country is a joke. Our Government claims it wants more young people in jobs, encourages people to go to university and lets us think that if we are decent, hard-working people, we will get what we deserve – but it’s rubbish.

It’s a sham and it’s the higher-ups who are to blame, because most of them are so far removed from regular society that they have no idea what it’s like to try to climb the ladder.

I have been there so many times myself in the past and it’s the same old story. You can’t get past the application stage because no matter how skilled you are or how well you feel you could suit the role, it states: “Must have experience.”

I’m sorry, but while others were working and getting great experience in work, we were at university doing what you told us we had to do to get the same role we’re now being told we can’t apply for because we have no experience.

Many companies are afraid of putting faith in younger people; because a piece of paper says they aren’t experienced in a particular role, they don’t get a look-in. A few brave companies do appreciate that what some young people lack in work experience they more than make up for with desire, new relevant ideas and passion.

Steven Ormrod, Oldham

 

Peace talks are a sham again

The Middle East peace talks have begun again. For those not familiar with the situation, it’s when Israel, with the help of its greatest ally, the US, tries to bully the Palestinians into accepting a fraction of what they’re entitled to by international law.

Since Israel’s creation in 1948 (having been given 56 per cent of Palestinian land by the UN), it went about stealing more land. In 1967, it occupied Gaza and the West Bank, and that continues to this day. Since then, Israel has continued to build settlements in the West Bank and has seized control of scarce water resources.

If you want peace, force Israel to follow international law. Dismantle all settlements, stop the military occupation, end the siege on Gaza, allow the displaced refugees to return and make sure the Palestinians are treated equally.

And perhaps get an impartial mediator. In other words, anyone apart from Britain or the US.

Clive Collins, London SW17

 

Strip Obama of his award

A Nobel Peace Prize for Bradley Manning (letter, 2 August)? How about making it a dual campaign? Let’s demand an award for Manning, while stripping Barack Obama of his 2009 Peace Prize for his now laughable “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples” – which he apparently thinks is achievable by bugging the peoples of the world.

Dr Gavin Lewis, Manchester

 

So now freedom is just for whites

Have I lost the plot? Am I a sleeping beauty who has woken up in a different world (“The new stop-and-search: spot checks at stations in hunt for illegal immigrants”, 2 August)?

I thought that we were free to mind our own business and did not have to carry ID or tell officials what we are about unless there is specific cause for them to be suspicious. Is this hard-won freedom now available only to boring white people like me?

This news is outrageous and  as a country we should be ashamed. Every media outlet should be lambasting this behaviour. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Yet in the current system I feel powerless. It is  time to shout out against our “masters”.

Dr Gemma Stockford, Hassocks, West Sussex

 

Sack them all

In the case of Daniel Pelka, we will be given the same old comment: “a thorough investigation will take place” and then “lessons will be learned”. The comment I would like to see is: all those connected with the failure in this case will be sacked forthwith, without a reference and their pensions forfeited.

That might make sure that, in future, should alarm bells ring about a child, all those involved will pull out all the stops to see exactly what the problem is – before the child is killed, not afterwards.

Joan McTigue, Middlesbrough

 

Lesser evil?

Here we reward party donors with peerages. In America they do it with embassies. Which is worse?

Robert Davies, London SE3

 

Be honest, we are corrupt

Are we one of the more corrupt countries in Europe despite our protestations otherwise?

We have a second cash for honours situation. And there are numerous stories of downright deception and lies by police chiefs and politicians.

It’s as if nobody ever wants to hold anyone accountable, because it would mean the end of the cosy relationship between money, legal shenanigans and those with influence.

Is this country simply staying rotten to the core in order to maintain its appalling status quo?

Martin Sandaver, Hay-on-Wye

   

It’s cars not cats

Rosie Catford thinks there should be a cat curfew to save birds and small animals from being killed (“It’s 10pm: do you know where your cat is?”, 2 August). How about banning car driving after dark? My money’s on roadkill accounting for more birds and mammals than any moggie could manage.

Gary Wiltshire, Bunwell, Norfolk

 

Don’t blame gulls

Pete Dorey (letter, 1 August) might consider why herring gulls are becoming an urban issue. The depletion of their natural food stocks and man’s landfill sites and litter have led to their increasing presence in towns and cities. Since 1969, the herring gull population has declined by 69 per cent and they are a threatened species.

Christopher Chappell, Somerton, Somerset

 

Heathrow misery

I agree with April Beynon (letter. 2 August). I have recently flown from and back to Heathrow. On both occasions we took off over 40 minutes late. Not much, but one is instructed to get there two hours before the flights – more, in my case, than the actual flight time. A fourth runway would make things worse.

Michael Lloyd, London N4

 

Perfect name

As the Home Secretary has announced a licensing authority for private investigators (PIs), no doubt we will have another body to monitor them, to join Ofsted (for education), Ofcom (communications) etc.

It will surely be called Ofpis. And can I suggest some individuals who would be fit to lead it?

Colin Burke, Manchester

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Women are working in some of the lowest-paid sectors such as cleaning, catering and caring  

Women's wages have gone backwards. Labour would give women the pay they deserve

Gloria de Piero
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker