Hazel McHaffie

Money, medicine and morals

Sigh … another sigh – king-size this time … groan … gnash of teeth.

It’s official. On Amazon even. My next book, Saving Sebastian, will not now be out until January 2012. And yes, I’ve been both frustrated and cross. At each stage I completed my side of things on time – if not early. But these are circumstances outside my control. And no amount of appeal or indignation or even anger would change anything, so no point in wasting energy there.

However, we do now have a draft cover. Wahey! What d’you think? Does it appeal?Saving SebastianOK, I confess I’ve been a smidgeon depressed by the ongoing delay, but life has a habit of putting things into perspective. And in the face of real tragedy, well, it’s only a book. (Let’s hope my publisher doesn’t read this, eh?) Compared to the heartache of the Shakeel family, another five month wait for Saving Sebastian doesn’t even deserve a mention.

Five years ago this impoverished family in India rejected an offer from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to pay for their conjoined twins to be separated. The separation would have necessitated five or six operations over nine months, each one carrying a one-in-five risk of death. The parents were too afraid of losing one of them to accept that risk or the Sheik’s offer.

Those twin girls, Saba and Fahar, are now 15. According to the latest reports, they are in great pain and deteriorating. They share kidneys and vital blood vessels to the brain. They suffer severe joint pains, blinding headaches, slurred speech, distorted limbs. Their brother says they are enduring 15 hours of unremitting pain each day. They face increasing blood pressure, weight loss and weakness.

Their father says they should now be allowed to end their suffering which in his view is unbearable. He wants the government to either treat them or sanction mercy killing.

My challenge to you:

How would you respond to this request?

What factors would influence you most?

If they were your girls what would you want for them?

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3 Responses to “Money, medicine and morals”

  • Lily R. Crawford says:

    Hi Hazel – Well you do pose very difficult questions !! Seriously though how awful it must be to see your children suffering every hour of every day for years . What would you want most – for them to be treated and helped if possible and to take a chance on the outcome but nevertheless you would want their suffering to end . What a dilemma – no-one wants to lose a child but I suppose one would have to balance the day to day suffering of the child against the parent’s suffering over the loss of a child . I wonder if the parents of these twins ever regret not accepting the offer of an operation in the first place – we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing . I cannot imagine what it must be like to live daily with such suffering .
    We can only hope and pray that they find the right answer – for all of them .
    I thank God daily for our own healthy grand-children and all the love and joy they bring as I’m sure you do too – we are well blessed .
    Sorry to hear Saving Sebastian has been delayed – I was so looking forward to reading it – love the cover by the way !!
    With love Lily

    • Hazel says:

      Thanks, Lily. I think you’ve hit on an important distinction: the parents’ suffering v the children’s. In my former life I interviewed 109 parents whose children had died and they so often came round to the point that they would endure anything to spare their child suffering. Their pain weighs heavily but the next question is: in the case of this Indian family is it worse than death?
      Glad you like the new cover. Hazel

      • Lily R. Crawford says:

        Hi Hazel – I’m still thinking – which I suppose is the object of the exercise !
        Off on holiday to catch up with family – lovely . I’ll get them to read your blog and discuss .

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