I'm a nurse in a facility that cares for medically fragile and technology dependent children, I have worked here for eight years and really enjoy my work... well for the most part at least. One of the kids I have worked with since I started at this facility is now thirteen, a very mature thirteen year old boy, Wise beyond his years as some people would say. I have become very attached. His mother's once frequent visits, she lives forty miles away, are now down to about twice a year. He spends his days tapping at an I-Pad and a video game with a stick in his mouth.
This child was hit by a truck at the age of five, and has been a complete ventilator dependent quad ever since. Through the years we have become very close. Last night, we talked and he told me that he just wished that he would die, He explained if he ended up in heaven, or if he ended up in hell, it would be much better than the life he has now. I have always given the same stock response when a sick kid asked me about death and dying; That you need to make the most out of the life that you have now and on the flip-side, what a wonderful place heaven is going to be. I hate doing this, but I just don't know how to tell a dying kid the truth. I did this last night and he was having none of it. He told me that their probably was no God, and if there was, he must be evil to do this to a little kid. He also said that he really did not have any good friends, because a good friend would help him end his life and thus end his suffering. He said he did not expect me to it, because he said he knows that I would loose my job.(for starters) I got home from work this morning and felt this kid deserves for me to at least be truthful with him, I feel like I am really avoiding being truthful with him on how I really feel. I think like most people, if I was in his shoes (pardon the pun) I would want someone to pull the plug too.
Getting this Kid any kind of psychiatric care is never going to happen, this is do to the state of publicly funded healthcare.
I'm just wondering if anyone has ever been in this situation or has any advice on exactly how truthful I should be, or any little nuggets of wisdom I could give him?
It might be worthwhile to look into the productive lives of other quads (Stephen Hawking, et al) as inspiration and encourage him to turn inward rather than outward and record his thoughts. He has an opportunity, actually, that many don't have to engage in rather pure thought without the restrictions of the body.
I want to thank everyone for their responses and kind advice, it's nice getting different perspectives. Most of my co-workers know of my (lack of) religious beliefs, and pretty much respect my views, it's kind of hard for them to espouse the kind and loving God crap and then work daily with his handy-work.
The question of assisted suicide for someone who is dependent on life support is a little different, all their asking is to have the ventilator disconnected, not to be given a lethal dose of medication. It was interesting talking with my 21 year old daughter tonight, she just started her first job last month as a respiratory therapist, and had to disconnect her unconscious patient from the vent today, she died 2 hours later, this was the first time she had done this.