Providing a Good Death

Salim had oral cancer and he was in excruciating pain. He knew he was in the last stages of his illness, but his last hope was to attend his daughter’s wedding.

He was brought to an EHA hospital for treatment because his wound was infested with maggots, increasing his pain considerably. The standard treatment of using turpentine-soaked gauze was not working because the infestation was deep in the tissue, so the palliative care team made a call to the coordinator to find another solution.

They consulted experts, searched books, and combed reference articles. The doctors found a recent publication that listed a treatment plan of Clindamycin, Ivermectin, and Albendazole to solve the problem, and the medications were started immediately. The team prayed for relief for Salim.

Within a few hours of starting this treatment, Salim began to feel much better as the medicine wiped out the infestation. The next morning, Salim was beaming from his hospital bed, filled with the hope of attending the wedding. The staff were jubilant at this dramatic transformation from heartrending moans to a brilliant smile.

Two days later, an extremely grateful Salim went back home, put on his best clothes, and joyfully attended the wedding celebration. He came back to the hospital later to thank the team for their loving care and prayer. He passed away peacefully a week later.

The palliative care team was touched as they realized once again the high value of end-of-life care that does not delay death, but does affirm human dignity. They care deeply about providing the highest quality of life to the very end, and they aim for a good death for everyone.