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Post-Polio Health (ISSN 1066-5331)

Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2013

A Gentle Death (Part 1)

Nancy Baldwin Carter, BA, MEd Psych, Omaha, Nebraska

My mother has been on my mind. She’s been gone now for ten years. Death finally came to her after several merciless years of progressive suffering and pain in the nursing home she had selected to take care of her. We had all discussed end-of-life issues with Mother; we knew this was exactly the quality of life she hoped to avoid.

She had a Living Will, as does everyone in our family. She could trust my brother, as her durable power of attorney for health care. He would do his best to see that her written instructions were followed should she become incapacitated. She had no idea that 65% of physicians surveyed said they wouldn’t necessarily follow a Living Will. As it turned out, that simply was not what she needed, anyway.

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