Euthanasia for Euphoria

“Mom…  Mom… Where are you? Mom… Nurse… Mom!” I woke up to redundant cries of Tara in Ward Number 7. It was one of those dead hours of the night when she trembled on the white mattress laid over the metal bed and shrieked out for help. You could actually hear the owl hooting in the nearby jungle and dogs distinctly barking on the street. The road lamp flickered and the watchman, uninterested, continued blowing his whistle.

“Nurse! Can someone hear me? Mom! Please come and give me a shot to ease my pain!” She wailed again. It was this time that her mother hurriedly entered the room.

“Mom, can you please call the nurse and ask her to give me a shot? Look at my hands! They are swelling with pain. Please give me a dose and let me sleep till morning,” she said, her voice bubbling into hiccuping sobs.

“Oh my Tara! Remember what the doctor said in the morning? Only one shot per day. You already had today’s eight hours back. Stop crying my baby, stop crying. I’ll massage your hands to…” her mother responded, breaking into tears and leaving her sentence incomplete.

I have been working as the blue paint on the walls in Irawati Hospital for the past five years. The day I was painted and was ready for display, I was sure that Irawati is the ideal place for being painted on the wall – it was so cool to see new people every day! But gradually, my notion broke into a billion pieces and I started peeling down, little by little, falling apart. It is not very easy to work in a place like this where all you get to see is – people dying and crying. All what patients do here is screaming for help or taking final breaths no one even gets to know about. It is almost heartbreaking to see a little child crying over his broken leg, a newlywed bride burnt with flames of greed, a fully conceived woman giving birth to a dead child and then, patients like Tara who fights defiantly against Cancer day and night – without fail.

It has been almost a month that Tara got admitted into Ward 7. I remember very clearly, I was staring out of the window and praying to the Lord that, at least this time, He should admit someone who does not suffer with a major deadly disease. It tears me apart to see a healthy patient entering the glass door and exiting as a non-living object; entering as everything and exiting as nothing. But like always, He did not listen to me. He sent Tara, a little seventeen year old girl, fighting cervical cancer. The diagnosis reported that this form of cancer arising from the cervix is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. There were absolutely no symptoms when she entered, and perhaps, she entered only for a routine check up. But now that the tumour has grown, her private parts bleed abnormally and the lower abdomen churns with pain. The Human papilloma virus has caused genital warts which sting her like a bee. Within seven days of her admission, she complained of watery vaginal discharge, urinating problems, defecating problems and swelling of the legs.

I found Dr. Bose scolding Tara’s mother for not vaccinating her child with the vaccine during the early years of Tara’s life, but I fail to understand that why doesn’t Dr. Bose treat Tara instead of cribbing over what did not happen?

Tara went through her third Chemotherapy session today morning. She had entered with straight black hair rippling like a beautiful cascade down her shoulders, but now, not even a single strand can be seen on her head or elsewhere. The radiations are killing her bit by bit. The doctor advices an injection which would somehow ease the pain; but then only one shot per day. Until today, Tara only asked for shots but today, I heard a very bizarre word escaping her lips – Euthanasia. Tara overheard the doctor speaking o her mother, informing how there is no certainty of Tara surviving her disease and then on, all she asks for is Euthanasia.

Tara wants to end her life deliberately. All she wants is an injection to pierce her veins and the medicine to dissolve in her blood; killing her immediately. Tara wants to end her pain, her worry in a compassionate, quick and dignified manner; and I don’t think there is anything incorrect or imprecise in her proposal but the doctors think otherwise.  They want Tara to die in agony. They like seeing her jerking with fits of twinge in her abdomen and tears of radiation trickling down her cheeks. They like Tara waking up at odd hours of the night, stuffing a mattress inside her mouth and suppress her sob in order to avoid breaking her mother’s sleep. They are ready to see Tara die in their presence, they are ready to see the beautiful soul transform into a dead soul, they are ready to see her collapse but they are not ready to kill her with mercy.

“We doctors have a moral responsibility of keep our patients alive as reflected by the Hippocratic Oath. And perhaps, it is also illegal in the eyes of the law,” they try to make Tara understand.

“Bloody selectively applicable law,” I think to myself and pray for Tara.

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