Chapter XXVII: Death in the Gray Zone

By Fenigsen, Richard; Fenigsen, Ryszard | Issues in Law & Medicine, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Chapter XXVII: Death in the Gray Zone


Fenigsen, Richard, Fenigsen, Ryszard, Issues in Law & Medicine


The Death of Gene McC. (461) Shalom Newman was on the phone.

Shalom: I can hardly believe what Halina told me about Gene's last days. Do you think it can be true?

Richard: I see no good reason to doubt the story. Unfortunately, nowadays those things are being done.

S: But if this is true, it was murder!

R: You can call it so, but it would be difficult to prove. The doctors and the nursing home personnel say they had to stop the feeding and the fluids because it was no more benefit to the patient and his body no longer accepted it.

S: This is a lie! The feeding ran smoothly, Gene was in good mood, making plans for the summer vacation- and then the feeding bag and the stomach tube were removed. On the next day Halina found him dull and mumbling, a few hours later she could no longer awaken him. He was comatose for another two days, and then he died.

R: Yes, after the removal of the tube he was heavily sedated, and they will say that since fluids had been stopped they had to sedate the patient to prevent suffering due to dehydration. Of course, you know Halina was remonstrating, begging, and shouting, but all that was no avail. She had no standing, being just a friend, while Gene's children repeatedly called from Florida insisting that their father "be allowed to die." They had demanded that again and again: five years ago, when he had his first surgery for bursting aorta, and when the aneurysm recurred. When another recurrence of aneurysm compressed Gene's esophagus, the children tried to prevent the insertion of stomach tube.

S: A remarkable man he was! He used to joke about his tube, said his usual portion of white wine should be added to the meals.

R: Oh, he was a great guy. Quietly proud of his war-time colonel's rank, on first name terms with all Boston's politicians, his shirts always impeccably white, his belt buckle a work of art, his car perhaps a little battered but always a Cadillac; and while keeping up all those appearances he remained such a simple and friendly man, and so patient and brave while facing his illness. I shall miss him badly.

S: But say, why did the children wish his death? He had adopted this boy and this girl, raised them, supported them all his life. Inheritance? Gene hardly left anything worth while.

R: I think they wanted to get rid of the psychological burden, the sick father lingering somewhere in a Boston nursing home. And, above all, power! Power! There is no greater sense of power than that derived from putting a human being to death. They now know how to express such wish in socially acceptable terms, they speak in modern lingo.

S: You know, Richard, I am all for the right of a competent person, acting under no constraint, to choose the time of his own death and to be assisted in committing suicide. But that was not what happened to Gene. He did not want to die, he was murdered!

R: What you support is an ideal concept. What happened to Gene is the reality. (462)

What is happening to elderly persons in hospitals and nursing homes has alarmed public opinion in several countries. In hundreds of cases there have been clear indications that medical personnel acted to cause or at least hasten old people's deaths.

In Britain, the deaths of fifty elderly hospital patients were being investigated by police and health officials in January, 1999, "amid allegations of a creeping tide of backdoor euthanasia." (463) At least five hospitals were at the center of police inquiries as a result of relatives' complaints or nurses' whistle blowing. The number of deaths under inquiry soon increased to sixty. (464) The published reports and case histories illustrate the various ways the deaths of older people were induced by the staff. The nurses at Kingsway Hospital in Derby claimed that forty people with dementia were starved and dehydrated until they became so weak that they died from infections. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Chapter XXVII: Death in the Gray Zone
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.