One mother's decision to let her daughter die

Oct 29 2014 - 7:25pm

Normally I write about autism but a debate on my Facebook wall, of all places, brought to the forefront how important this ruling--this decision is to the world. The question: Exactly how much suffering is enough suffering to end another’s life?

I am not talking ending your own life, I mean the life of another. To be more specific, to end your living, breathing, functioning child’s life because you determine their life too be filled with suffering, to be one that could not be lived with value.

The Back Story
Now, I have to be fair and say that “functioning” is used loosely there, the little girl reportedly functioned at a 6 month old level.

The little girl, Nancy Fitzmaurice, was 12 years old physically and depended on round the clock care; Nancy required a tube to be given her medication also to be fed and given water. She received care with these things as well as with being able to talk and walk from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. Nancy was a beautiful child, a red head with porcelain skin. Looking at this little girl you can tell she was the light of every room she was in. She certainly had devoted parents. There is no way her parents weren’t devoted - devotion and special needs parenting are pretty much synonymous.

(Being a special needs mother I do understand parts of this families decision, but only part of it)

Nancy spent much of her life in the hospital being born blind and having hydrocephalus, meningitis, and septicaemia. After a routine surgery to remove kidney stones Nancy was left in terrible pain; screaming for 24 hours. Morphine nor ketamine were helping given Nancy’s tolerance to pain medication. Charlotte decided she couldn’t watch her daughter in pain anymore, she couldn’t allow her daughter to suffer. Her next step was to go to the hospital’s ethics board and talk about ending her daughter’s life.

After 12 years of caring for this human being--that could breathe freely, that could function on some level, that wasn’t in a coma--this mother decided her daughter’s suffering needed to come to an end, she decided the only choice was to end her child’s life. I would think that this would be another case like we saw with Kelli Stapleton (10-22 years for the attempted murder of her autistic daughter) or Karen McCarron (36 years for suffocating her special needs child) yet it isn’t. Nope, no criminal judgment to be handed down in this death, just a ruling allowing a mother and a hospital to allow a 12 year old child die.

The Case
In a court room rarity a mother and a hospital came together to ask a judge to allow them to take a life. During the hearing Nancy’s mother, Charlotte, gave a statement to Judge Eleanor King at the High Court of Justice. This statement pled for her allowance to end her daughters suffering, it told that her daughter “wanted peace.” This statement, this life altering document asking permission to take the child she had given birth to and end her life was 324 words. At this point this article is 500 words (without title). Looking at that--all I have to say is that it better have been one heck of a 324 word document.

Here is an excerpt from it:
“My daughter is no longer my daughter she is now merely just a shell, the light from her eyes is now gone and is replaced with fear and a longing to be peace,” Charlotte said.
This is world changing because this is the first time that a court ruling has been set forth that has allowed a child that was breathing on their own, not on life support, and not suffering from a terminal illness to die.



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Oh no - oh no no no. This was prolonged. To starve the child and deprive of hydration is unthinkable. Why like that? - There are penalties for doing this to animals. I personally cannot accept it. Humans very well may be the lowest forms of life. This could have been done humanely.
What is the humane way(s) that you think this should have been done?
I don't think it should have been done at all!. If you're seriously asking, medication would be more humane rather than a slow death.
This is so sad. I fact I think that it is disgraceful that you would kill your own disabled child by starvation. This is horrible. I understand that she would want to end her life because she couldn't function properly and she couldn't feed herself and was in pain for the whole of her life. But 1. She wasn't terminal. Not to emanation starvation. I'm sorry I'm on full fricken annoyed as heck mode here so it's not pretty. It's horrible that she would even let the doctors do that. Why starve your child. Why?! What is the actual point?! Why not give her an injection instead. Do they know how much pain is involved in staving and dehydrating a child? Do they know? Sorry I had to let my sassy annoyed out there. Better now. :(
It is horrible and uncomfortable for any living being to starve to death and to be thirsty. It is one of the most basic needs of everything , everyone living. :(