Hazel McHaffie

Abu Dhabi

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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