She taught them all to love and to regard love as their most important value. She told them that nothing is possible without love and feelings are much more important than logic, which is limited and often leads to failure. She admired those who believed without the need of proofs, those who felt and followed the right path at a spiritual level, the trans-dimensional path that transcends the mundane. And she praised simplicity, peace and freedom, despite being a complex and creative human being.
I used to visit her on every occasion, sometimes without a specific purpose, not asking for anything special and on many occasions not even knowing why I was doing that. It was a promise made long time ago to come every time I happen to get by her place. By contrast with the rest of those visiting her, who revered or even worshiped her, I have always seen her as an equal to me – as another human being – although having skills in different areas and being able to do things rather different from those I could do myself. And this gave to our relationship a distinct flavor of equality in the midst of a community of servile folks.
One day she felt sick… they say… She wasn’t quite so old; she could have been my mother… Generally healthy, this came as a surprise for those around her, as she had an almost vegetarian diet and she rejected any form of standard medication, relying on natural remedies and herbal teas. For some time she kept telling us that she will die, that she was fed up with this world and with the disproportion between the growing evil and the perishing good. As a clairvoyant being, she was the witness of the changes in our people and our lands, and despite her good advice, people were too weak… or too stupid… or too slavish… High quality people were running scarce and she was already surrounded by weak people… or perhaps weak-minded people… In the absence of fine and strong individuals, capable of critical thinking, all she could do was to teach them at the emotional level, always repeating that one should follow their heart when making decisions, as the emotional side had its own wisdom. However, too much feeling and no thinking was in itself an imbalance and a disaster waiting to happen…
The day she couldn’t get out of her bed came unexpectedly, unforeseeable. It happened that she had as guests in her house two doctors. In theory, this was the best situation for one getting sick, as there was immediate medical help available. Stubborn, she nevertheless refused help and asked to be left to die. She then began to cough and expectorate blood. Blood from her lungs or from her stomach – it was hard to say – but obviously she had an internal bleeding. Her situation became a medical emergency. The two doctors who happened to be in her house were summoned to manage the situation. It was a tough decision for them – being caught between her wish to die and their duty as doctors to call the ambulance. They pondered on everything and you know what they did?
They left her to die.
Yes, she died of internal bleeding while two doctors watched her without doing anything for many hours.
Following her teachings, they followed their hearts.
And their hearts told them to let her die.
I was appalled when I found out about this.
First, I want to say a couple of words about the right to die, as I call it. Each person has, in my opinion, the right to be free and this also includes the right to die by their own decision. I am not a religious person and I believe that in certain cases of huge suffering, a human being should be granted the right to end her life without further questions. I also believe that a human being, having reached a philosophical conclusion that her life is vain, should be permitted to commit suicide, respecting her free will. However, these two situations require a mentally healthy person, someone who is neither depressed, nor psychotic. Suicide committed by a person influenced by a mental disease is nothing but the behavioral expression of that disease and should be medically treated. In other words, you can kill yourself, but on the condition that you are mentally well and not under the influence of a psychiatric disorder that can alter your judgment and decisions. How on earth could those two doctors (who were not psychiatrists) know that she was mentally sane? She was sick, perhaps she was not thinking clearly, yet they made the assumption that she was capable of deciding what to do with her life. And they left her to die while they should have called the ambulance and ask for a medical assessment. The fact that she wasn’t terminally sick and was not known to have a palliative condition makes things even worse.
Second, we, the physicians, are the guardians of life and not the undertakers or the gatekeepers of death. We made an oath to serve and protect life, and this means practically that we fight for the life of our patients and of every human being who happens to be sick next to us. This is a delicate situation – philosophically – because we oppose the normal evolution of life, we go against the current and against the decline of life; without our intervention, many patients should normally die, yet we save them and hence we change reality and their destiny in a radical way. We can’t do this indefinitely because our patients eventually die, but we delay their death. Again, from a religious viewpoint, we could say that we fight God and his wish to take back into death the lives of our patients. This is our standpoint and there are no exceptions to this. The two doctors witnessing a medical emergency should have called immediately the ambulance, without any further discussion. By refusing to do this, they have lost the right to call themselves doctors, because they served death and not life. They judged the situation while they should have acted immediately in the best interest of their patient. They vowed something they failed to respect.
Third, we’re talking about murder by negligence. This happens in primitive societies where science and the rule of law are replaced by magic and arbitrary/subjective decisions. Ironically, what my late friend taught them – to follow their hearts – was precisely the instrument used to kill her. Should the two doctors have followed their minds… things would have been perhaps different … As a side note, I still wonder how the two doctors could bear the view of a dieing patient (and loved one) for many hours in a row without doing anything. You have to be a really heartless being to be able to watch this. Paradoxically, their said hearts managed to cope with this…
To this day the two doctors have no regrets for having left my friend to die. Their hearts are at peace as they genuinely believe they did the right thing. To me, they are ignorant. Dangerously ignorant. They follow their hearts without equally following their minds, despite being doctors and despite the fact that medicine is a science and hence a rational subject. They call themselves doctors and guardians of life while they make judgments that occasionally transform them in guardians of death. But this is life in these murky lands, at the borders of the civilized world. Good and evil shift and transform one in the other depending on situation or perspective, the values are uncertain and unstable, truth is negotiable and life is low-priced.
I miss my friend. She was a good person who tried to do her best in a primitive country. What she couldn’t see, despite her clairvoyance, was the fact that she was also deceived and under the spell of the primitive game being played on these lands. She didn’t have the slightest chance and she ultimately ended up being killed by the very people she loved.