Citizen Columnist / Joan Mahon / To a nurse, Death With Dignity Act makes perfect sense - Press of Atlantic City: Commentary

Citizen Columnist / Joan Mahon / To a nurse, Death With Dignity Act makes perfect sense

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Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 12:01 am

I remember Catherine. She was in her 40s and was the first terminally ill cancer patient I cared for. Working full time as a 19-year-old nurse's aide on the 3 p.m. -11p.m. shift in 1973, keeping Catherine comfortable during her final days of life was a challenge. She had retained well over 100 pounds of fluid because her kidneys were shutting down. Unable to roll over or lift up on her own, the excess fluid literally seeped out of the pores of her skin, and her sheets and hospital gown needed a complete change every hour. The slightest move caused severe pain, yet she always tried to pull herself over in the bed, and thanked me every single time I cleaned and dried her.

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