“The best thinking has been done in solitude. The worst has been done in turmoil.”
The Kerrie Woolterton case is still troubling many doctors as well as lawyers and medical ethicists around the blogosphere. On Dr Grumble's site, the debate on his post 'Any clinician will tell you' is still going strong since 5 December, ie, for the past two whole weeks. I have been watching the debate as it went forwards only to go back to where it started from and it seems that the matter now hangs on whether Kerrie had the capacity to decide when she arrived to hospital. Well, here is the dictionary's definition of capacity:
|1. n.||The power of receiving or containing; extent of room or space; passive power; -- used in reference to physical things.|
|2. n.||The power of receiving and holding ideas, knowledge, etc.; the comprehensiveness of the mind; the receptive faculty; capability of understanding or feeling.|
|3. n.||Ability; power pertaining to, or resulting from, the possession of strength, wealth, or talent; possibility of being or of doing.|
|4. n.||Outward condition or circumstances; occupation; profession; character; position; as, to work in the capacity of a mason or a carpenter.|
|5. n.||Legal or noral qualification, as of age, residence, character, etc., necessary for certain purposes, as for holding office, for marrying, for making contracts, will, etc.; legal power or right; competency.|
Which is really a definition once simplified affirms this Arabic proverb: “A man's capacity is the same as his breadth of vision” ... So, simply; did Kerrie have that 'Breadth of vision'? And the answer is NO! For how can this woman be deemed to have breadth of vision when presenting to hospital tormented and with self-inflected poison in her stomach?! Surely, the very idea that she had drunk this poison then decided to run to hospital afterwards means that she had no vision to help her make a sound decision! Breadth of vision means having the capabilities that a person in their normal everyday state uses to weigh up argument and make a decision. Even then, we can still make mistakes and Kerrie did not even have this ability at all then given her tormented state! How about also having a deadly dose of poison inside her too?! Drinking poison is not a normal everyday activity for any normal person and for that, if I were a doctor, I would have deemed this young woman not to have capacity based on that alone and would have treated and saved her life.
And despite all the debate, no one considered the impact of the decision to allow Kerrie to die on her family! Surely, a law such as this mental capacity Act 2005 was not meant to inflict life long torment on Kerrie's father by allowing his daughter to die while he probably was sitting in front of the TV at home not knowing what was happening to her 'in hospital'!
I believe that the hardest thing for a parent to bear is when they out live their own children. Indeed, we all sympathise with the parents and families of young people who die because of a terminal illness or even while doing their duty as soldiers who then get killed in action. We feel for those families and parents even though in both cases death is expected to a certain extent. But Kerrie's father's experience with how his daughter was allowed to die 'in hospital' and while surrounded by 'healers' who simply stood by and allowed it to happen is unique! Cruel, savage and harsh 'unique' IMO! That's why the case doesn't want to go away!
Because every way you look at it ... It Hurts!
... and why wasn't this man called when a decision not to treat his daughter was made?! Could Kerrie have been saved by her father's presence comforting and consoling her in her moments of despair? Or at least, could her father been saved the torment had he held his daughter's hand while she died? In any way you look at it, it was cruel not to contact the father to allow him to persuade his own daughter not to commit the act or, have a say in the matter and what to do next .. or , at least, a way to come to terms with this predicament!
And there are some out there who wonder, now that this father has decided to go to court, if he would win that case and be compensated as a result! While I wish this father wins this case because he and his daughter were badly let down by a system that is supposed to 'heal' first and foremost, I wonder if a daughter can be compensated for with all the money in the world?! :-(
It seems this law was passed by people who perhaps have no idea how ordinary people live ... and die! By people of a certain class in society, not neccessarily to do with wealth, but standing wise too. People who perhaps have never, or their children, experienced or been involved in, or witnessed the type of agony Kerrie was under when she took this poison or the agony now being suffered by her father and the rest of those who loved her!
This Mental Capacity Act 2005 is an arrogant Act ... A flawed law! .... It should be revised to stop such cruelty happening again!
... and next time laws like that need to find a way to include the voices of ordinary people and the man and woman on the street before they are passed, and not only the views of those experts who, in a day's work, are left to decide on matters that perhaps have or will never actually matter to them!
We need a 'Jury system' for when laws that affect humanity are being debated and passed!
... I wonder if that Act would have been passed in it's current form had those who originally debated and passed it had access to the current debate on Kerrie's case all over the blogosphere!
Those views of ordinary people like us!
“Make no judgements where you have no compassion.”