A piece by Mary Wakefield in the current edition of The Spectator. The start:
We all think pretty highly of ourselves these days, free from old-fashioned ideas about sin. We’re good people. And yet… I read in a letter in a local newspaper recently a description of an event in the writer’s own home which shows that we might also be becoming monsters.
The letter-writer, Jane, was a lady in her late fifties who cared at home for a husband, Fred, with terminal brain cancer. As Jane’s letter explained, Fred had fallen recently on to the bathroom floor, and as she was unable to lift him, she telephoned for help. Seven medics arrived and rushed to the scene. All seven then stalled. Though Fred was not obese, though there were seven of them, they told Jane that they were not allowed to help him up.
Jane wrote: ‘I had two Marie Curie nurses, three district nurses, two paramedics and myself, all standing in a circle while they told Fred that he would have to try to get himself up from the floor… . Is this right, that in this day and age, a terminally ill man in great mental and physical distress, unable to comprehend why nobody would help him back to bed, is allowed to remain in terrible discomfort because the professionals involved are all too concerned about their own safety?’
Her letter ends: ‘I’m so tired of being told I need to look after myself, asked what my feelings and emotions are… and yet the patient, the person requiring practical assistance, my husband of 27 years, was just being talked over while he lay helpless on the floor for two hours.’
I simply cannot believe a woman with terminal brain cancer would have been left lying on a bathroom floor for two hours, by those seven people.
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