It just occurred to me this morning that, technically, I have witnessed a murder.
This happened years and years ago in my twenties.
A woman writhing in bed dying in hideous pain. She was screaming so loud the RN called the doctor and he came in and saw her in the middle of the night. She had a pain pump, oral meds and injectable meds but we could not get her pain under control.
He wrote and order and handed it to the nurse. As he did so, he said "I consider breathing movement."
She scanned it, paled, and thrust it back to him. "I can't do that."
Unaware I was just a medication aide, he passed it to me. "Can you?"
It was an order for a lethal dose of morphine with instructions to give every 5 min for "movement."
This was way back in the days before physician assisted suicide. Even before Dr Kevorkian was a common name.
Before I could answer him, the nurse snatched the order out of my hand and half shouted, "She can't either!" and stormed off the wing.
The doctor and I looked at each other and he said, "Will you give me a hand?"
I nodded and followed him into the room. He leaned over her and called her name. She began clawing at his arm pleading for help. "Do you know who I am?" he asked.
Through a spasm that wracked her entire body she called out his name and again begged for help.
He and I gently repositioned her and then she grabbed my hand. I let her hold it.
He took the key chuck and opened the IV pain box and reprogrammed it. Then spun the IV tubing stopper wide open, and the machine began purging the drug from its bag.
It took an incredible amount of the medication to stop the painful tortured cries. That was followed by a peaceful look of relief on her face. A few agonal gasps....and then she was gone.
Even though this has gone on since the beginning of time it was still a crime when this occurred. I hope I live long enough to see the stigma leave and dying people offered loving peaceful euthanasia options.
We are making strides with the passing of the physician assisted suicide bill, but there is still much more work to be done.
For the record I am D.N.R, I do not wish to be returned to life if I have died, no matter how I have died.
And should I ever become old and feeble and in hideous intractable pain....find me a doctor who will write me a script for: a lethal dose of morphine with instructions to give every 5 min for "movement."
Because I too, consider breathing, movement.