A ProLife Alliance member who watched the BBC Documentary on the death of Simon Binner, reflects on the palliative care and hospice approach to the end of life of a friend with motor neurone disease.
Remembering Claire and St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney
After watching the harrowing BBC 2 Documentary last week ‘How to Die: Simon’s Choice’, which followed the story of Simon Binner, who ended his life in Switzerland, after developing motor neurone disease (MND), my thoughts went back to somebody I had the great privilege of meeting some years ago, a courageous friend, Claire, who also suffered from this debilitating condition.
Claire eventually died as her condition worsened but I had the enormous privilege of being with her often in the last weeks of her life and witnessed the extraordinary standard of palliative care she received at that time. She was looked after in these last weeks by the Religious Sisters of Charity and Staff at the wonderful St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney (http://www.stjh.org.uk/).
I was with Claire at the moment of her death. This is the only time I have witnessed the process of dying so closely and I can only say that as well as having the privilege of observing the amazing faith, calm and courage of Claire, the love she received at St Joseph’s was absolutely extraordinary and the atmosphere surrounding the other patients in the hospice was equally peaceful.
Isn’t it about time the BBC told the other side of the story, highlighting the history of hospice medicine and recounting the many stories of others like Claire who will continue to benefit from such extraordinary loving care as their lives come to their natural end?
On 16 February Radio 5, following on from the Simon Binner coverage, focused on end of life issues in some detail, whilst mainly reflecting on a dual suicide pact which took place recently in Australia.
This Radio 5 discussion can been accessed at around 10.20 on the following link:
Dominica Roberts, from the ProLife Alliance, can be heard in this Radio 5 link, giving a much-needed and balanced voice to the pro-life perspective.
The ProLife Alliance is a member of the ‘Care Not Killing’ Alliance.