Health & Fitness

Mercy killing debate still rages unabated

Despite a patient’s condition, mercy killings are illegal in Kenya. FILE PHOTO
Despite a patient’s condition, mercy killings are illegal in Kenya. FILE PHOTO  

My grandmother has been ailing and in pain for a long time. I have gathered from her doctor that what the old woman wants would amount to mercy killing even though she has not discussed it with anyone in the family. Should we discourage her?

You have forced us into a conversation about grandparents and what role they play in society in general. You have also led us to a subject that is often avoided in our society, mostly because for most Africans, death is a taboo subject best left to the gods to determine the moment of its occurrence.

Many years ago, I made a serious error of judgment, in response to a question posed by a friend. As often happens, the boundaries between being a friend and being a professional become blurred as friendships grow.

Between friends, a question about challenges in a marriage can be directed at you, the friend, or your mental health expert. My error many years ago made me conscious of the need to be clear in which capacity my response is given.