Ariel Sharon, the beloved prime minister of Israel, is being loved to death; or rather oblivion. More than eight year ago he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke that left him in a persistent vegetative state on life support. Recent reports suggest his already deteriorating medical condition is worsening as key body organs are failing. The director at the hospital near Tel Aviv said, “Sharon’s days were numbered, but that the doctors treating him ‘remain hopeful.’” Being an emergency physician who could have potentially place Mr. Sharon on life support, I would feel shameful for what has become of his dignity. Why is this man not allowed to rest in peace? Where is the breakdown in communication with family members?
I see the same type of breakdown reoccurring with the family members of Jahi McMath, who continue to refuse permission for her to be removed from life support. Ms. McMath bled significantly following a tonsillectomy and suffered brain death. At present, the courts have declared a stay in this case. The Terri Schiavo family, along with the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, has intervened in the quest to keep Ms. McMath on life support, suggesting she be kept alive until perhaps Mr. Sharon’s age of eighty-five? This present hysteria concerning death is approaching brinkmanship instead of offering compassion and dignity for the dying. I am reminded that no one can ensure my dignity; I must take these matters into my own hands. Wishes To Die For is my book currently in the making that intends to provide a dignified hands-off approach to dying rather than attempting to sustain life with unrealistic hope.