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Dr Westwood's mother

18 September, 2016

I’m a retired physician. I had been working for over 50 years in my profession, first in Poland, later in Australia.

I strongly support euthanasia as the way to end unnecessary suffering of the patients without any hope for recovery. In such cases, with the right safety guards in place, it should be a patient’s choice when he or she wants to end his/her life.

My mother suffered from emphysema and the last few weeks of her life were just a torture for her and also for those who loved her, especially for me. During that time, she begged me to end her suffering. I didn’t do it, but the guilt is still with me.

Drops of Mercy

You begged
I didn’t do it
there was no strength in me
to push the shaft of that syringe to add
drops of mercy to your cup
you begged and I couldn’t
was it cowardice behind a screen of Hippocratic oath
did I not love enough? 

Dr Barbara Westwood, first published in The Damage Done, August 2016

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