There is no mercy in killing

AS a nurse with many years experience in the area of terminal care I feel I must put on record my outrage at the HSE funding of a pro euthanasia lecture in University Collage Hospital, Cork.

As co-founder of the “Nurse for Daniel” charity, our function was to provide funding for nurses to care for dying children in their own homes.

My contribution as a nurse was to screen the applicants, work with those families that qualified for funding, and help the families and the nurses through the very painful process of giving the dying child the care needed to ease their suffering, and help the families to cope.

Many times, one of the parents would beg me to “do something” to end the unspeakable horror they were all going through.

Often stating they’d “ask no questions” when the child died. I know only too well the suffering the terminally ill go through.

I saw the same pattern when I worked for three years on a ward where the children died either from renal disease or cancer.

Euthanasia is not the way out. The term “mercy killing” is a total misnomer. There is no mercy in killing to ease pain. Perhaps for a time, there’s a genuine relief felt by the family and friends that the suffering is over. But later, when the emotional clouds have lifted, people will ask questions.

One of the most frequent ones I get asked is “I wished them dead, now they’re gone I feel as if I’ve killed them, will the guilt ever go?”

The fact that the HSE, the very public service that’s supposed to contribute to well being felt it OK to sponsor a talk on euthanasia a hospital is seriously sick. It’s a slap in the face for the nurses and doctors who either fight to save lives, or when the battle has been lost, work to ease any suffering the dying process might involve.

How are my colleagues supposed to do their work with the terminally ill effectively when their own employers are sponsoring education on “mercy killing”.

Florence Horsman Hogan


Co Dublin

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