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Extreme world - Dying

23:14 UK time, Sunday, 16 January 2011

Extreme World is a new season of coverage on BBC News on TV, radio and online, examining global differences. The first theme explored the world's coldest and hottest places, while the second one focused on corruption.

Part three will look at the subject of dying. The age people can expect to die varies enormously around the world - from 83 in Japan to 42 in Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.

Also, a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care and India as the worst.

We want to know what death means where you live. What is the end of life care like in your country? Has the experience of death and its significance changed over the years? Have any traditions been lost?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I saw my mother´s corpse about 24 hrs after she had died. I had the feeling that her body was like a cocoon ... and the butterfly had left it.

  • Comment number 2.

    if the uk has the best for quality of death and end of life care?
    then my god it must really suck else where!

  • Comment number 3.

    ". . . quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place. . ."

    Quality of death index? I love it! Does the UK do so well because death is such a welcome alternative to living under New Labour or the Coalition?

    Also: how do they work it out - result of a series of séances?


  • Comment number 4.

    I am not surprised the UK ranks so highly when it comes to palliative care for the elderly.

    There appears to have been a marked change in the attitude to what is the natural process of dying, whereby patients with terminal illnesses are whipped into hospital or a specialist care home and kept alive at almost any cost. Often their death occurs after weeks, months and sometimes years of lying on a bed, staring at the ceiling and unable to communicate their wishes. Whether this extended treatment costing thousands of pounds achieves anything beyond an undignified exit is something that requires urgent debate, particularly in a world where population growth is out of control.

    I remember well that my grandparents on both sides died in their beds, two after very short illnesses. In each case, the doctor probably prescribed something to ease their passing, ie the relief of any pain they might have been suffering. Beyond that, he doubtless knew that there was nothing that could be done to prevent the inevitable. They went the way I am certain they wanted to, and the way I would like when my time approaches.

    As one who has an Advance Decision in place, I feel reasonably certain that I shall stand a good chance of dying painlessly and with dignity, and not fed cocktails of drugs merely to keep me alive for as long as possible. I have no desire to have my life prolonged simply to help government statistics showing that the UK is top of some health league table.

  • Comment number 5.

    To me death is another threshold to cross. The end of a physical life and the possibility of more.

    Please do not tell me there is nothing more as you cannot prove it and I cannot disprove your claims so that is that.

    Many theosophies of old relate death as a doorway, so when it comes just open the door. If there is nothing then you were right but you cannot say I told you so. If there is more then hello stratnger!

  • Comment number 6.

    When I die, I will let you know my opinion......

  • Comment number 7.

    "We want to know what death means where you live"

    The end of life. Why, what does it mean where you live? Something else?

  • Comment number 8.

    The Mediums will have to work overtime to comment on this one.

  • Comment number 9.

    To me death is the end. To me the idea of life without living is far more scary. I watched my grandad slowly die over a few years. My nan became house bound looking after him until he was put in a home. Then she spent most of her time in the home with him. He was in pain and as his brain wasnt communicating well with his body he was frustrated.

    He died after saying a lot of hurtful things because of his frustration. He died after repeating that we was never gonna get out of his chair, then that he would never get out of the care homes bed. He died after a huge struggle to do anything and being so unhappy being stuck in a white room to die.

    The care home was lovely. But even the most lovely prison is a prison.

  • Comment number 10.

    The old saying, there are no pockets in shrouds, should resonate now with those who have bank accounts in Swiss banking. I suggest you spend, spend, spend because Wikileaks has got data on many politicians and businesses.

    Could this be the end of life for some? What will this mean to them?

    I know a bit off the mark but hey it is not a topic on HYS yet.

  • Comment number 11.

    Dying: death can come at any moment between the minutes before birth to 110 years; death can be natural or unnatural.
    There are likely far more unnatural, unexpected deaths - drones, bombs, executions, killings; than deaths that are expected - starvation, disease, malnourishment...old age.
    In Canada where I live, death is - for the most part - "the" unspoken word, the hidden word, the secret word that we all keep repressing into the back of our skulls - as though we can hold off the reality forever.
    This puzzles me.
    We celebrate birth; the begining of life.
    We sorrow at death; the end of life.
    Western socieites do not grasp the circle of life: It starts; it ends, like the snake eating its own tail. Both - natural circumstances prevailing - should be celebrated: a life begun, a life ended - the completion of the circle.
    In Canada we tend to hide the dying in hospitals or hospices; very few die at home, among their most cherished posessions and dearly beloved.
    Dying is a lonely business - people afraid to hold and touch, maybe afraid (I guess) of catching death.
    It used to be that the dead were laid out at home; the home was the funeral parlour. Families gathered. Now the death happens; the mortician grabs the body. Hos job is to restore the life-likeness. At funerals we walk up to a casket wherein lays the drained and chemically-filled remnants of a person who once lived. We seldom touch - maybe a quick and light kiss. Tears, surely lots of tears. We "comfort" each other with platitudes:
    - "I'm sorry for your loss."
    - "I understand how you must feel."
    - "If there's anything I can..."
    The bereaved in now "less then" - a widow without a husband, a husband without a wife, children (even grown) without parents...
    You might ask yourself: Well, what in earth would you like to see happen?
    And my answer would be - something similar to what happens at birth - joy, celebration, laughter, singing, recollections - all in companionship of the dying: a good death!
    We western fold say we believe there is a God; there is a better life, generally called Heaven. Yet, we bewail this new life that our loved one has now passed into. I have to question how deep is our belief; we cannot have much faith in a beneficient God or God's Kingdom, or even in the probability that are deceased loved one got through the gates.

  • Comment number 12.

    "We want to know what death means where you live"

    It means precisely and exactly the same thing it means in the hallowed halls of BBC HQ....the end of a human life.

    I am aware some people get comfort from the notion that physical death may not be the end, but that something survives they call 'spirit' or 'soul' and which goes on to a higher plane of existence.


    Personally I have no problem with people believing that, all I will say is that if it does not they are never going to know it.


    So far however, no one has ever returned from the 'afterlife' to confirm to us that it exists.

  • Comment number 13.

    When my Stepfather was dying with cancer he had asked to die at home to be near to my Mother.
    My sisters and I put a huge effort into looking after him with NO help from anyone. It was so hard for us that it became impossible to keep him at home and 2 days before he died we put him into a nursing home. We were all mortified at sending him there.
    When he was first diagnosed he had a pain in his side constantly. He was able to talk, walk and eat through this pain however the Dr.gave him a morphine (no mid-strength pain killer was offered) which my Stepfather didn't want to take so kept it aside. A District Nurse came and she was 8 months pregnant and just took his vital signs whenever she came. After a few visits she left for her maternity leave and another District Nurse was sent. She also only took his vital signs. By this time we were worn out. Someone was having to stay in his room in a chair at night because he got up so often for the toilet and he was vomiting a lot but this was taking it's toll and we were starting to squabble about who was doing what. Things got worse and he started to be incontinent but, being a very private person he would only allow one sister to help him to stay clean. He started to take the morphine since he was only sleeping a couple of hours at a time and my sister was becoming worn out. This was even worse. He was stoned off his head and soiling himself, projectile vomiting and staggering up an down the stairs precariously. We were following behind him, cleaning up the mess, trying to clean him up and trying to stop him falling down stairs. A new District Nurse was sent to him and we said to her that we needed help desperately. She said that only he could ask for any help since he was the patient. This was a man who was staggering around with his eyes not focusing absolutely high on a serious drug. We were told that unless he had a hospital bed at home the District Nurses would not touch him. We asked about Macmillan Nurses and she said that they only attend at the very end and only to visit once a day to wash him and change the bed but again, not without a hospital bed. We asked about anyone to sit with him at night so that we could get some sleep and she said that there is one charity who will sit for about 2 nights a week but that would depend on if they weren't too busy. She shouted into his ear did he want a hospital bed and in his haze he said no. We pointed out that there seemed to be no help for him and at this the Nurse ordered a hospital bed. After a couple more very bad nights we asked the Dr to come over and he suggested a good nursing home. On the day that he went in to the nursing home the bed arrived. He and all of the immediate family were heartbroken that he couldn't stay at home and he died 2 days later in the home. The Dr. just wrote a prescription for the strongest medication he could find and ordered the Nurses. The Nurses just took his vital signs which was no help to anybody and they may just as well have not come. By the time we found the key to some help (the bed) it was too late for him to have a peaceful death.
    There should be a plan for people in this position. If we had some way of getting some information we would have co-ordinated it all ourselves. The dying person is too busy being ill to be concerned with bureaucracy and the family have no knowledge of what care is available or what to expect.
    This was our experience of the care that the NHS offers if you want to die at home.

  • Comment number 14.

    In the U.S.A. we seem to try and avoid death more than prepare for it.We are a country obsessed with youth so thinking about death is almost taboo.
    My husband died at home in bed because he had family to care for him and even though his cancer progressed over many years his heart gave out before it might have been necessary to hospitalise him.I was not as lucky with my mother who was in a hospital at the time of her death.I had daily struggles with hospital policy and had to be at the hospital every four hours to make sure she received pain medication and was not put through rehabilitation that was painful and fruitless.It was no longer possible to bring her home.Luckily there was an independant hospice wing attached to the hospital that I got her moved to so her last week was painless and how she wanted it.

    From what I have seen having family or concerned caregivers makes all the difference.If you are alone you are at the mercy of beurocrasy.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    4. At 12:22pm on 17 Jan 2011, milvusvestal wrote:I am not surprised the UK ranks so highly when it comes to palliative care for the elderly.

    There appears to have been a marked change in the attitude to what is the natural process of dying, whereby patients with terminal illnesses are whipped into hospital or a specialist care home and kept alive at almost any cost. Often their death occurs after weeks, months and sometimes years of lying on a bed, staring at the ceiling and unable to communicate their wishes. Whether this extended treatment costing thousands of pounds achieves anything beyond an undignified exit is something that requires urgent debate, particularly in a world where population growth is out of control.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Is this the NHS -- kept alive at any cost...treatment costing thousands of pounds...? And then the giveaway at the end. 'population growth is out of control'. We need urgent debate eh. Looks as if you have already drawn the conclusion to this debate. The argument is that the NHS is collaborating with population growth. Pull the other one.

    Sounds to me like the propaganda put out by euthanasia societies. But posts I have done criticising euthanasia societies have been rejected.

    An elderly relative of mine died recently in an NHS hospital, could not get hold of a nurse, could not get a glass of water to wash down his pills. Members of the family complained and after several hours were told that the person in charge of the water jug was absent.

    After his death we received a three page letter justifying the hospital, and this letter must have cost more in legal fees than the patient's treatment.

    Is it a coincidence that this topic is put for discussion on the day Cameron wants to make cuts (sorry, reforms) in the NHS?

  • Comment number 17.

    ".....a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care..."

    Really? Serioulsy? lol. Apart from the fact this study is like most... meaningless, it's swings and round abouts.

    My grandad, on mum's side, suffer the most undignifying death in hospital. Even the tea ladies would come around, with rasied voices, asking if my granddad wanted a cup of tea. He was hardly in any fit state. The nurses and doctors weren't exactly respectful in their care of him when they could see to him.
    Yet, my granddad, on my dad's side, spent his last days in a hospice. He's care couldn't have been better. The staff were wonderful, the place was as peaceful as can be in this day and age. The staff were always willing to see to him if he was in pain. So, depends on where in the UK you leave life behind.

  • Comment number 18.

    "....a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care and India as the worst."

    but you won't find it on the front page of any newspaper because it makes the NHS look good.

  • Comment number 19.

    16. At 1:39pm on 17 Jan 2011, Dr Llareggub wrote:

    4. At 12:22pm on 17 Jan 2011, milvusvestal wrote:I am not surprised the UK ranks so highly when it comes to palliative care for the elderly.

    There appears to have been a marked change in the attitude to what is the natural process of dying, whereby patients with terminal illnesses are whipped into hospital or a specialist care home and kept alive at almost any cost. Often their death occurs after weeks, months and sometimes years of lying on a bed, staring at the ceiling and unable to communicate their wishes. Whether this extended treatment costing thousands of pounds achieves anything beyond an undignified exit is something that requires urgent debate, particularly in a world where population growth is out of control.
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Is this the NHS -- kept alive at any cost...treatment costing thousands of pounds...? And then the giveaway at the end. 'population growth is out of control'. We need urgent debate eh. Looks as if you have already drawn the conclusion to this debate. The argument is that the NHS is collaborating with population growth. Pull the other one.

    Sounds to me like the propaganda put out by euthanasia societies. But posts I have done criticising euthanasia societies have been rejected.

    An elderly relative of mine died recently in an NHS hospital, could not get hold of a nurse, could not get a glass of water to wash down his pills. Members of the family complained and after several hours were told that the person in charge of the water jug was absent.

    After his death we received a three page letter justifying the hospital, and this letter must have cost more in legal fees than the patient's treatment.

    Is it a coincidence that this topic is put for discussion on the day Cameron wants to make cuts (sorry, reforms) in the NHS?

    ----------------------

    Keeping people alive requires surgeries and drugs. This can be very expensive.

    I am a believer in euthanasia because when my time comes I dont want any messing around. Dont want to be trapped in a broken shell. This is my life and I make my own choices. The evil thought that people can control other peoples lives makes them nothing less than torturers. Why must we be forced to stay alive?

  • Comment number 20.

    I have lost relatives both old and young. My grandmother died at home, receiving palliative care, and was content that she had led a full life and happy to die at home and not in a "strange bed" - her words. My son died, aged 14 days, after a struggle from birth. He died in hospital, receiving the best care available, and my wife and I were looked after throughout this, and even beyond - we are invited annually to a short service at the hospital in memory of deceased babies.
    So I have found death to not be quite the experience I might have expected. My experience has been one of caring for those who are ready to leave this life, at whatever age. I am not ready to go on that final adventure yet, but I am encouraged that when my time arrives I, as a resident of Scotland, will have my wishes taken into consideration and will be allowed to die with dignity. I feel for English people, who are losing their NHS to Mr Cameron's insidious reforms, and fervently hope that Scotland doesn't go that way.
    As for traditions, I quite enjoyed my grandmother's last wishes. At her funeral the minister reminded us that she wanted us to remember her life, not mourn her death. He said her last words to him were that "anybody who has the bad grace to cry at my funeral isn't getting invited back for the wake - and that includes family". I could even hear her voice saying it. Death is sad, but the life the person lived should be celebrated and remembered. Don't mourn me when I pass on, praise me for my accomplishments drink to your own health - mine will already be gone.

  • Comment number 21.

    A quality of death survey?!!!!!!!!! Awesome. I'm really curious to know how the statistics were arrived at. Who the hell are you going to quiz?!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    The animal jailed yesterday for kicking a puppy should experience a quality death!

  • Comment number 23.

    The subject of death is one of the sternest taboos in China among our culture. During the coming lunar New Year festival, all folks accord to bestow blessings to everyone around, no matter family members, casual acquaintances, and even past feuds. In contrary to blessings, any reference to deaths, implicitly or explicitly, are formidable and therefore inhibited. Because the word 'death' is pronounced as 'Si' in Chinese, any sounds to the rhythm of 'Si' are prohibited or otherwise replaced with pleasant-sounding or mild terms. For example, just as in English 'pass away' equal in meaning to 'die', Chinese people have to say 'lao le' (translated to be 'aged') to take the place of 'si le' (meaning 'died'). This convention is stuck to at present notably by the elderly in some rural regions.
    As people from many other cultural backgrounds, Chinese people regard their ancestors or the deceased as reverent, and often remember them on fixed dates (named Ghost Days) every year, such as April 4th and lunar July 15th. The dead are supposed to stay at first in a place called 'Yin Cao De Fu' (similar to 'the hell') where they are waiting for reincarnation in the mundane world. Like the substantial realm, however, the hell is a place supposedly where the money calls the tune. So the popular way to celebrate your deceased folks in China is to burn a large sum of ritualistic paper money in front of their tombs or near your home if the regular visits to the tombs is less feasible. Correspondingly, this is the time of a year with an increasing rate of fire accidents, especially in the woods, primarily raised by the ceremonies of sending fake money.
    In the past, grandiose rites for the dead as well as the God would be presented by royalties led by a monarch yearly during scheduled celebrations. Sacrifices, fine wine, and harvest were provided to the shrines where might hold the statues of the God and the honored. Today, Chinese people still keep the customs of preparing alters and supplying foods, incense, fruits before the dead people's pictures during holidays. Through this curtailed procedure and by commemorating the decedents’ faces at the moment, people bond themselves with their predecessors, asking for benedictions and gaining spiritual supports.
    Nevertheless, modern Chinese people are more and more open and active to seek the essence of life, which can be reflected out of the attitude toward death. Many come to recognize the physical matter of their life--with the fire of living extinguished, the remains is none other than an ordinary body, which is not superior to any of other dead creatures out of nature. Some prefer returning their ashes to the nature, like open sea, or pits of trees to staying behind a chilly tombstone. In their dream, they hope a universal immortality when their life ends where the new being is brought forth.

  • Comment number 24.

    UK the best place for end of life care? Yeah, right - pull the other one!

  • Comment number 25.

    "We want to know what death means where you live?".
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


    Where I live Death means the termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. The word refers both to the particular processes of life's cessation as well as to the condition or state of a formerly living body, satisfied?.

  • Comment number 26.

    I second post 24.

  • Comment number 27.

    The UK is the best place to die in the world - did they get confirmation from the unfortunate patients at North Stafford NHS Trust who died of neglect?

  • Comment number 28.


    Death should help us to put life into perspective. Is it really all about acquring more to leave behind, or is there more to it?

    We all only have a finite time here on planet earth but so often we are immersed in debates that at the end of the day won't matter. It simply will not matter which party is trying to promote itself when the final bugle blows. And what the level of inflation will be after I have gone, I care not.

    The meaning of existence is surely something that should occasionally be above the trivia of everyday life. But then there is always tomorrow, if it comes.

  • Comment number 29.

    Dr Llareggub's argument (No. 16) might hold water if I could follow his logic.

    Unfortunately, it appears to be little more than a rant at the world in general. If, however, he is implying that life is somehow sacrosanct, and that we should do all we can to have everyone receiving a telegram from the Queen, he really needs to get out more and, for a start, have a look at the rise in world population growth during the last 200 years.

    Have it his way, and people will be standing on top of each other in the fourth millenium.

  • Comment number 30.

    Also, a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care
    .
    ............................................................
    .
    Yeah, dont worry about your quality of life in UK because your quality of death is great. Almost makes life worth living just so you can die a great death??

  • Comment number 31.

    What you have to consider is.

    Why is it in some entities interest to make you believe that what you do in this life affects the next!

    I wonder what it is exactly that they gain....ehhhmmm.

  • Comment number 32.

    11. At 1:21pm on 17 Jan 2011, BluesBerry wrote:
    We western fold say we believe there is a God; there is a better life, generally called Heaven. Yet, we bewail this new life that our loved one has now passed into. I have to question how deep is our belief; we cannot have much faith in a beneficient God or God's Kingdom, or even in the probability that are deceased loved one got through the gates.


    ==============================================

    Sounds lovely, but in reality you will feel the loss.

    At a funeral recently the vicar said something very true "The pain of loss is the price we pay for love".

  • Comment number 33.

    saw a programme recently where someone was trying to find a relative she found him but hr died many years ago so she percivered and found which cemetry he was buried in when she got to the plot it was empty the reason being no one had renewed the plot fees so they removed him last resting place....... not a hope If youve not got the cash your not staying

  • Comment number 34.

    . At 12:28pm on 18 Jan 2011, Chris wrote:
    A quality of death survey?!!!!!!!!! Awesome. I'm really curious to know how the statistics were arrived at. Who the hell are you going to quiz?!!!!!!!!!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Count Dracula, and his legions of the undead???

  • Comment number 35.

    If you are talking about the NHS, NO, the only thing they can do with the elderly, is kill them, but in the process leaving them in agonizing pain. Ive seen it with two close relatives, and friends! I dread to think what my life will be like if | ever have to finish up in an NHS hospital, and I am 71.

  • Comment number 36.

    What death means where you live.


    That is the day that the people who know what is good for us are proved correct. The warnings on eating, drinking, smoking, recreational drugs and cheeky tarts are a sure recipe for the grave are finally proved on a person by person basis.

    Enjoy your nosh, booze, fags, the odd toke and as long as the cheeky tart is the wife, good on you.

  • Comment number 37.

    24. At 4:26pm on 18 Jan 2011, Nietzschean_Acolyte wrote:

    UK the best place for end of life care? Yeah, right - pull the other one!

    -------------------------

    Why is it that we will accept any comment against the UK and how badly run britain is. So many people stating how bad things are and how aweful this country is to live in.

    But when we are stated as the best at something we feel the need to argue against it. Reject the complement outright. Want to be the worst.

    Surely the idea is to aim to be the best. When we achieve it we should be proud of it and use the award as a statement of our capability and inspire other sectors in this country to aim high.

    Does nobody bother anymore? If not who are we going to blame for our own failure to accept responsibility?

    Responsibility is an interesting concept lost in this country I think. We blame everyone and anyone for things which are real or imaginary and dont want responsibility. But we also dont want to be responsible for being the best at something.

    Personally I will take pride in claim that we are the best at something.

  • Comment number 38.

    "Also, a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care and India as the worst."

    Really? I'm very surprised, especially considering the number of people in previous HYS debates who claim countries like India have more "respect" for their old people and treat them better than we do.

  • Comment number 39.

    We want to know what death means where you live.
    It means I can no longer do the washing up

    What is the end of life care like in your country?
    It is the best in the world, I know my Gran got excellent care during her final days in hospital. It's worth remembering that for every horror story there are thousands of cases like my Gran that are not deemed worthy of reporting by hysterical newspaper editors who think basing government policy on a few outliers is a good idea.

    Has the experience of death and its significance changed over the years?
    I'm pretty sure dying and being dead are pretty much the only experiences not affected by fashion, politics, or Simon Cowell

    Have any traditions been lost?
    Yes but we don't know what they are because they have been lost.

  • Comment number 40.

    37. At 10:57am on 19 Jan 2011, in_the_uk wrote:
    24. At 4:26pm on 18 Jan 2011, Nietzschean_Acolyte wrote:

    UK the best place for end of life care? Yeah, right - pull the other one!

    -------------------------

    Why is it that we will accept any comment against the UK and how badly run britain is. So many people stating how bad things are and how aweful this country is to live in.


    =========================================


    I think the problem lies with the blame and compensation claim culture.

    In some instances people who would have died long beforehand if nature took its course are kept alive for various reasons: the nursing staff's religious beliefs, a fear of a complaint and then possibly being struck off their professional association, relatives who cannot accept that some things are incurable and we will all die eventually. Sometimes those kept alive cannot be treated adequately with painkillers, have no dignity left to them because there are insufficient numbers of staff to assist.

    If we do well in this area, then we need to do well for everyone, not just the majority, and from the posts on here we clearly do not.

    This is along the lines of an NHS hospital failing miserably in one instance and then a lot of silly people say what excellent treatment they had there - that is irrelevant. Of course tell the staff at the time how well they did. But that is no defence for the time the system failed. Everyone should receive the same level of care.

  • Comment number 41.

    My Mother has just died and I have been monitoring her care over the last 9 months. I was concerned that she died in her own home, in her own bed and it has to be said that in General the care was good but problematic.

    The first point worthy of note is that more people now die alone because the extended family is gone and that means that the carers dealing with all these people have an exhausting job providing that function. This results in varying meal times which is not good for the elderly as they depend on routine. This has been engineered by the Government over a couple of centuries.

    The second point is that no matter how cash strapped the NHS is- the people have paid into a system designed to help them- but that money has never been hypothecated by the Government. The money has been paid in but sucessive Governments have squandered it.

    So in short the Government have taken the money- split the family apart and replaced this system with a second rate caring system in which the right hand never knows what the right hand is doing. I have found myself doing- for absolutely nothing that which a professional would charge a healthy price for. I have had to been legally aware, my mother's advocate, clinically aware, her transport system- none of which has been tax deductable and there are hundreds of thousands like me every year. That is a collossal saving to the exchequer. If that makes the UK the best place to live out your life, I think I'll take a rain cheque.

  • Comment number 42.

    41. At 10:37pm on 19 Jan 2011, leoRoverman wrote:
    My Mother has just died and I have been monitoring her care over the last 9 months. I was concerned that she died in her own home, in her own bed and it has to be said that in General the care was good but problematic.

    The first point worthy of note is that more people now die alone because the extended family is gone and that means that the carers dealing with all these people have an exhausting job providing that function. This results in varying meal times which is not good for the elderly as they depend on routine. This has been engineered by the Government over a couple of centuries.


    ================================================


    Such a situation has not simply been engineered by governments. Women's lib and the ability for both parents to go out to work at a time when for many this was not essential meant that things such as property prices rose because people could ask higher prices. Now many couples have no option but for both of them to go to work, and for mothers to return to work after having children.

    Not a politically correct comment, but women's lib did contribute towards this situation.

  • Comment number 43.

    2. At 12:11pm on 17 Jan 2011, scotty1694 wrote:
    if the uk has the best for quality of death and end of life care?
    then my god it must really suck else where!

    --------------------------

    You are right it does . The worst thing about the UK is the moaners we didn't get the name "Whinging Poms " for nothing.
    My mother died not long ago at a ripe old age and the kindness and care shown here at hospital couldn't have been better. The nurses treated her with respect, patience and dignity. Many old people like the indignity of the final few days to be the responsibility of those other than family. They don't all want to die at home.
    We have so many good carers and services in this country which is why the few bad cases hit the headlines. In many countries the sick are not treated so well and we don't appreciate how lucky we are. Some of the press have the privatisation of the NHS on their agenda, the profit making health companies can't wait to get their hands on our service. They draw attention to every complaint with the aim of making us think the service is failing
    A few days ago Andrew Lansley said we have the worst cancer and heart outcomes in Europe. This was broadcast but the response from the Leader of the King's Fund who knows what he is talking abou said this was completely untrue. In fact we have amongst the best figures. This was not given the same press coverage. What we should ask is first why would Lansley tell an untruth and secondly why was the King's Fund information not in the headlines
    The private health care companies are worried, the number of people joining are declining. This is because our health service has improved.
    The wonderful peace of mind that a free at the point of use service gives can never be understated . I know the horror of never knowing whether you or your family will be too ill for you to afford treatment. Or that you will be ill and the insurance company will find a loophole to avoid payment. Slowly dying knowing that your family will be paying for your care for many years is a nightmare. We are so lucky

  • Comment number 44.

    My late husband died 4 years ago from a very aggressive cancer. He was diagnosed in August and died in October. Originally he was in a hospital in Europe who treated him very aggressively. We brought him back to the UK where he was treated with great care and dignity. From the hospital ward to the hospital hospice, including some time at home, his needs were the ultimate concern of not only his family, but the care professionals around him. His pain was controlled, his care needs met, his spiritual needs supported and his diginity preserved at all times. His family were treated with courtesy and care throughout, all for free on the NHS. He was allowed to choose when he died, how he died and what happened afterwards. You need to look underneath the surface of what happens to individuals and their families, the only sanitisation of death is in the caring approach of the professionals who deal with these situations on a daily basis. UK is good at this, don't critisise a service until you have experienced it.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have no trouble with the thought of death. I know I will at some point cease to exsist but I do not know when and cannot know when so do not trouble myself with the thought of my imminent demise.

    Besides I think that it may be possible that we are all immortal anyway. in that I for one cannot remember a time before I WAS and I am certain I will not recall when I cease to BE therefore I am immortal.

    And remember there is only NOW yesterday has gone tommorow may not happen so live in the NOW life is NOW live it to the full live in the NOW..

  • Comment number 46.

    Absolutely Recommend Post 43

    Well said Lucy and so true..

  • Comment number 47.

    Oh, and before the obvious comments on 'health tourism' begin, he was a full UK tax payer, working for a UK company abroad. As for the comment on health insurance, I fully endorse this, read your small print, they often do not pay and certainly did not for him....... he didn't call them before his emergency admission, therefore did not qualify for any payments from them .... blood suckers is too good a term for them and anyway this forum is moderated. Don't waste your money, make sure your EHC card is up to date, much better idea!

  • Comment number 48.

    At 61 I know what will appear on my death certificate. It will be pneumonia as I have COPD (too many cigs when I was younger - self inflicted). However I am still working, socialising and being a parent of a person still at school so I don't think i'll test out the British "Quality of Death" treatments just yet.

    I must say however that my father died 25 years ago and he had a hard death due to his own physical toughness but the NHS were excellent and the doctors and nurses did an excellent job of keeping him at home - where he wanted to be.

    My mother died aged 88 of cancer 3 years ago and her care from the home care staff, the hospital and the hospice for her last couple of weeks were exemplary.

    As i said, I don't want to find out by my own demise but my second hand experience in UK is positive.

  • Comment number 49.

    when i prayed i have some kind of direct contact with holly spirit. i seen one spin like solenoid got away from my front side of my head lively when my eyes are closed. one time i pray about the dead people my cemetry map scorll in to the blue globe and it s gone away from me. another time i was pray one lotus like structure red colour live in front of my head. on that time i use rosary to pray. but all these happend to me i still do not have a acceptace of god at my mind. i do not know how he is exist or what he does ? i know little about this univese and the humen history , my brain do not accept the god live on here . he is capabile to create this vast univese. i see through history when man started to worship god .if god do live at heaven what we will do when we get there ? just praise him , on juses speech he said their is no wife no husband like there is no relation in what we have in here at earth. muhammad nabi saying one day all grave will taken to heaven when jusus come again . ido not belive in god suprimacy through us . if some one come to us to say obey his rules and regulation ? then where is our freedom ? to live here as we wish , what is our role to be here anymore , in this physical world we are the creator of every development of our living , we can not put off that whole moral value in front of one , some time is i think if there is any god juses must me his son , he do not pressure any one in his life to hear his word , he said any one have ear they can hear any one have eyes they can see any one have heart they can accept. and he divide the authority of man and god he accepted cesor have the authoriry towards him . he said one time give cesors to cesor god to god , and also if there is any heaven or hell. i preffer hell to go and live my entire life , i see through out life most of people commited crime becouse of their low living standard. one day my friend steal food from store he had nothing to eat some times he take fruits from other people farm he had nothing to eat .most of people do wrong becuse of their circum stances, one of my fried mother live a vary dull life he had lot of boyfriends , that why he can not stand up at any friend group , he got hard time when ever he come on the central stage. allast he become one criminal.even today he doing crime.so am saying is our life is cetrlised to the our living standard some one get good atmospere to live some one had not. if we create a book and look at the bad and good to give visa to the hevean and hell it not a good idea. i have a will to be truth full man always but todays my profetion and life i can not be like that , if am true may be i lose my job, and i trthfull through my life i have lose too much relations along my friends. so its depends up on life . i belive in biological death. if death come to me i am gone forever. this short period of time make life beautiful , after death nothing, some one remeber some thing for me it is not affect me becuse i am gone , everything i created pass to some one , all of my dream s hope s hate worres,ambitions all dye with me , its good to be in life to build some thing to live others on it, i am more intrested in life that death . becuse i can nothing to do with death . if i wish or not one day it will come . i do not care about that . i do care the life this is one my poem about life ... if am silly sorry for that ...


    Hey Beautiful Minds . . .Give Me Y R Smile To Bring Happiness In My Days . . .Give Me Y R Slight Emotions ,To Create A Light Rhythm - ...Of Music In My Heart . ,Give Me Y R Heartbeats To Awake My Brain From Sleeping . . .Give Me Y R Mind To Full Fill My Dreams On It ,Give Me Y R Tears To Give Life To My SoulThese Time Shall Go . . .But , , ,My Dreams About Y R Love Will Live . . .Forever When Y R There ! ! !

  • Comment number 50.

    Agree with 43 - either moaning about the country and especially the Government is a national obsession, or there's something about HYS that simply attracts obsessive moaners.

    A few years ago my grandmother died in hospital in Bristol following a heart attack. The hospital did a really good job looking after her. She was looked after by a Filippino nurse who was wonderful to her and to our family.

    If we ask why politicans don't seem to care about what the people think - is it because those who really care would run a mile from a job that involves being a target of snide comments and vitriol from people who blame you for everything they don't like?

  • Comment number 51.

    24. At 4:26pm on 18 Jan 2011, Nietzschean_Acolyte wrote:
    UK the best place for end of life care? Yeah, right - pull the other one!

    ================================================================
    They missed a bit out...... "if you got lots of cash to afford it".

  • Comment number 52.

    43. At 9:08pm on 01 Feb 2011, Lucy Clake wrote:
    2. At 12:11pm on 17 Jan 2011, scotty1694 wrote:
    if the uk has the best for quality of death and end of life care?
    then my god it must really suck else where!

    --------------------------

    You are right it does . The worst thing about the UK is the moaners we didn't get the name "Whinging Poms " for nothing.
    My mother died not long ago at a ripe old age and the kindness and care shown here at hospital couldn't have been better. The nurses treated her with respect, patience and dignity. Many old people like the indignity of the final few days to be the responsibility of those other than family. They don't all want to die at home.
    We have so many good carers and services in this country which is why the few bad cases hit the headlines. In many countries the sick are not treated so well and we don't appreciate how lucky we are. Some of the press have the privatisation of the NHS on their agenda, the profit making health companies can't wait to get their hands on our service. They draw attention to every complaint with the aim of making us think the service is failing
    A few days ago Andrew Lansley said we have the worst cancer and heart outcomes in Europe. This was broadcast but the response from the Leader of the King's Fund who knows what he is talking abou said this was completely untrue. In fact we have amongst the best figures. This was not given the same press coverage. What we should ask is first why would Lansley tell an untruth and secondly why was the King's Fund information not in the headlines
    The private health care companies are worried, the number of people joining are declining. This is because our health service has improved.
    The wonderful peace of mind that a free at the point of use service gives can never be understated . I know the horror of never knowing whether you or your family will be too ill for you to afford treatment. Or that you will be ill and the insurance company will find a loophole to avoid payment. Slowly dying knowing that your family will be paying for your care for many years is a nightmare. We are so lucky

    ==============================================================
    Did you ever hear of postcode lottery in NHS?
    You were lucky that doesn't mean everyone is.
    For the first time in 65 years I have finally encountered the NHS beyond G.P. surgery. I would have to say could do a lot better.
    Sorry I whinge while the NHS meets targets before tackling rare high risk conditions.

  • Comment number 53.

    "I'm not scared of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens" (can't remember who said this)

    Dying itself doesn't bother me - I know I'm going to a better place thanks to what Christ did for me (and offers to anyone who will accept it). But I wouldn't want a long drawn-out decline. Given the choice of a healthy life to 75, or living to 95 but with 20 years of dependancy and degeneration, I would honestly take the first option.

    I believe euthanasia is wrong, but if a person is terminally ill it seems much kinder to let nature take its course, while providing pain relief and the practical/emotional/spiritual support the person needs, rather than prolonging 'existence'.

  • Comment number 54.

    We all die once, thats true. But how one will face it, is the reality.
    Emotionally, I died many times before my death and physically I am as bold as a robot.

    Yes, I am talking about persecution. It happened that once I disappeared from my clinic bed. I mean I was physically absent from my bed or from this world. I am talking about the magnitude that was responsible for such a mystery.

    While I was absent I could see and hear the people talking about my return. Thanks to the experts, those who knew that I would return.

    And they could not fool me why did I disappear and if I knew that I disappeared. I very well knew that they don't have any perception of knowing of what happened to me and my physical disappearance from this world.

    Death is not an escape and we all will have to face the reality. Wherever we are, either dead or living, our memories will recover us even if we have jumped into the hell.

  • Comment number 55.


    Well, my opinion on death is that it is inevitable, so LIVE YOUR LIFE while you can

  • Comment number 56.

    Death is the end of life. I believe that it happens once the brain has been starved from oxygen long enough. That is the end of the only life you'll ever have, so you better make the most of it.

    Live forever or die trying.

    I remember hearing that from somewhere, and its as good a motto as any

  • Comment number 57.

    Death in the uk means finding £1000 or more to bury someone.Then i had to put up with stupid traditions.My mother dies in a nursing home and i was the last to live in my mothers house.So the funeral started from my house.
    I was`nt there but i had family members who i now can`t trust who could`nt stop having a nosey through my personal things.
    The hurst went from my house to the church.
    The coffin is burnt and thats a waste of money.All coffins should be cardboard.As for my dad who died of cancer.I remember him showing off his cancer growths to friends and relatives.Reminds me of a ripping yarns episode.The nephew and uncle who had all manner of diseases and liked showing them off.The ironic thing,the nephew was called kevin,can you guess mine?

  • Comment number 58.

    The UK has the best end of life care? I'm sorry but that sounds to me like the most unbelievable manipulation of figures I've ever heard, utter nonsense, anyone else been into even an average nursing home? Poorly trained staff if trained at all, no empathy whatsoever for the 'inmates', many have a tenuous grasp of the English language and the owners are generally out to empty the bank accounts of those that have no other choice but to be their. If you're in you're own home? The government in the form of social services pare back what you're allowed to survive on to the minimum, I wonder how those applying the rules will be feeling when they're in the same position in a few years time?


    No. I'm afraid i simply cannot see how the UK comes even close to the top of whatever nonsense report has been quoted.

  • Comment number 59.

    It changed me, I think. My dad died rather unexpectedly (although admittedly after a long illness - you think you're prepared but no-one ever really is) nine years ago at about half ten at night (no idea why that sticks in my head). I had to give him CPR - carry him from his bed and onto the landing so that there was room , and give him CPR, which I had never done before. I remember thinking "WHY don't I know how to do this? What else was I wasting time doing instead of learning this?"

    I tried for, I guess, ten minutes, then the paramedics arrived and tried for what felt like hours, but it didn't work. I called my manager and said I wouldn't be in the next day. I don't really remember anything else, other than I didn't cry and I smoked a cigarette in front of my mum for the first time. The difficult bit for me was, I think, that my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer two days later (she made it and lives next door to me now!) I also found out that I'd badly hurt my back carrying him, and it still acts up to this day. Hey ho.

    Anyway - that's what death does. It knocks your world apart and you have to put it back together yourself, maybe (as I did in 2008) with some help. You can think you're ready for someone to finally go, but I don't think anyone ever really is.

    And with regards to care in the UK, it's a tradition to put the boot into the NHS at this point but I have to say that both my parents were treated by a wonderful, amazing bunch of people - the GP, the paramedics and ambulance people, the nurses, the doctors and surgeons - couldn't be more happy with what they did for my family. Mum was treated at Norwich hospital, and my Dad at Ipswich and at the end of his stint 'inside' he was at Cambridge (I want to say Papworth but that doesn't feel like the right name - I do know it was a cardiovascular specialist place, surrounded by trees): Dad had his first curry after fifty or sixty years of refusing it and LOVED it, and once our friend round the corner found out (who is head chef at our local Indian resteraunt) found out, he'd pop by every couple of days during the last two weeks he was at home and gave him various dishes, even one dish from his daughter's wedding feast! I think my dad nearly enjoyed his last month alive; he was very uncomfortable but happier than he'd been during the whole illness - which went on for a mind-boggling twelve years.

    Even the woman I eventually went to for councelling with three years ago - I was struggling at work and after a lot of examination I also found that I felt like I had actively killed my Dad during the CPR episode, which coloured my whole world with some very strange and unhelpful thoughts and some dark internal monologues - she was absolutely fantastic.

    That's also what death does, I think. It also reminds you that people are pretty amazing.

    If you do something for a living that helps people like this - then peace to you, and thanks. It's so fashionable to bitch on and on about folks who work at hospitals, surgeries and what have you - I think you are all individually and collectively amazing and you should be proud of what you are a part of.

  • Comment number 60.

    When my father was alive he always said he wanted to die at the age of 105, shot by a jealous husband.

  • Comment number 61.

    Fortunately for my family, death is just a new beginning, so none of us fear it in any way. However, in this very secular country where many do fear death, my heart goes out to those whose elderly parents are treated with such contempt in many hospitals and nursing homes. Whatever your beliefs and wherever you live in the world today, you deserve to be treated with respect at the end of your earthly life, wheather it be in old age, through illness or sudden misfortune, this country, and many others throughout the world have a lot to learn about respect for the dying. The worse possible form of death and the least respect for it, is that of those who end their lives murdering others, nothing could be more evil in our world then that.

  • Comment number 62.

    50. At 11:02pm on 01 Feb 2011, Rob_Hampshire wrote:
    ****A few years ago my grandmother died in hospital in Bristol following a heart attack. The hospital did a really good job looking after her. She was looked after by a Filippino nurse who was wonderful to her and to our family.****

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    I now live on one of the smaller islands in the Philippines where the medical care is somewhat rudimentary but the nursing care is really god and certainly makes up for it. The Philippinos are fantastic to their older citizens, nearly all rooms in the local hospital have a second bed for relatives to stay and there is normally someone there 24/7.

    My wife's auntie is 82 and lives on the side of a mountain not far away, she still climbs coconut trees, but relatives and friends always gather together when her roof needs fixing or the kitchen needs rebuilding


  • Comment number 63.

    Courtesy of the condemned government you will now have the choice ,die at home or die on a hospital trolley in a corridor!

    We're all in it together!

  • Comment number 64.

    Dying?......We have not seen anything yet.
    Think ahead 20 years.....same international poverty, same international greed , same hand outs from West to East and Africa. Detect ANY changes..NO... BUT ONE .....AN EVER INCREASING HUMAN POPULATION ON A PLANET THAT CANNOT GIVE ANYMORE.
    Until ALL governments around the world focus their attention on population control millions will be born annually ........to die young.
    Think GB....A population approaching 70 million. HELLO POLITICIANS ...Anyone out there with a brain cell???
    Think ahead....a term that does not sit well with politicians...GB is a tiny island heavily dependant on resources from around the world......THINK currently OIL, GAS, food stuffs, resources for manufacturing.....Think catastrophy.....
    Dying.....We have not seen a thing yet.

  • Comment number 65.

    Also, a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care and India as the worst.

    Did the EIU conveniently ignor the fact that many of our old people die of neglect in NHS hospitals? Did they forget about NHS Stafford?

  • Comment number 66.

    I intend to live forever.

    So far so good!

  • Comment number 67.

    Could the BBC please remove all of the discussions which are closed for further comment. Thank you.

  • Comment number 68.

    the help and dedication from family and indeed friends can give dignity to death and help those who want to die at home. to those who want to live for ever. i hope they have their hope from the scriptures. there is no other way!!

  • Comment number 69.

    "Also, a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care and India as the worst."

    What business do economists have in death, the whole world and everything in it is being turned into an economical variable, quite disgusting.

    However, my experience of death has been far to extensive. I have seen the death of my 22 year old sister (still something I cannot reason with), and the death of my 24 girlfriend, not to mention all my grandparent and I am only 28. I am not religous, not by any means. But as a science enthusiast, I like Einsteins theory on energy. Energy cannot be destroyed, only changed and we have energy within us. Whether it is invisible or not, it is still there. This gives me some comfort as it is an undeniable fact, unlike religion, which is merely from a book written by men with no fact. But, if people take comfort in religion, then i guess it is a good thing.
    I am not sure that I like the comparison of living ages. Surely the quality of life is far more important than how long you live. Granted, you would think that someone with a good life would live to a good age. But what is a good life, having lots of money, vanity, fame? Does this make for a good person, i personally do not believe so. Those who spend their lives helping their fellow humans, whether this be finanically, or emotionally, seldom live as long as they should.

    Surely we only live longer in England through midicine? is this really a good thing? I am of the belief that when it is your time, it is simply your time. The prolong life through midicine is not a tool for promoting longer living ages in England

  • Comment number 70.

    Everyone is afraid of Death, I wonder whether we were afraid of being born. Death is inevitable and the ultimate.
    By a recent reliable estimate average life expectancy in Mumbai or Bombay - hold your breath - 52 for men and 57 for women. The old age care is just not existing for poor. Senior citizens are looked upon as a burden and liability by the younger kin. The government allows seniors to board the buses from front door but they get no concessional fare. Banks give a paltry half-a-percent more on fixed deposits to seniors but that's as much. I dread oldage as much as I dread the horrible oldage care that's just about not existing. Jai Ho!

  • Comment number 71.

    What does death mean to me? Not much apart from the fact that it really is the only thing that makes all life equal,and furthermore that this is not a rehearsal.

  • Comment number 72.

    35. At 00:55am on 19 Jan 2011, feral child wrote:

    If you are talking about the NHS, NO, the only thing they can do with the elderly, is kill them, but in the process leaving them in agonizing pain. Ive seen it with two close relatives, and friends! I dread to think what my life will be like if | ever have to finish up in an NHS hospital, and I am 71.
    I have to agree. My mother died in an NHS hospital and the end to her life was appalling. After withdrawing food and drink they then reduced pain relief until she was in terrible pain. The reduction in pain relief was to save money but it did not matter as she was going to die anyway.
    Nurses standing about chatting quite oblivious to her agony.
    As I get older I get more and more afraid of having to be treated in an NHS hospital. Some people obviously have much better experience and I am very pleased for them but it is all part of the NHS lottery. When my little dog became very ill, he was already deaf and confused, I took him to a vet who was very kind and allowed me to comfort the dog whilst he gave the injections. My dog died without pain or neglect and was treated gently and with consideration.

  • Comment number 73.

    the quality of care in my country depends on you bank balance if it is healthy you control your exit.if you depend on outside sources it is a lottery.with the coming cuts in public spending this will, however, create a level playing field for those in need.everbody will be treated with the same intollerance and lack of feeling,everbody dies in the same state of apathy.still as we are all in this "together" musn't complain,
    may be the beeb could spend some of our licence fee on a program on care outside london,you could charge the north a small increase to pay for the travel cost.......

  • Comment number 74.

    64. At 09:08am on 02 Feb 2011, tc wrote:
    Dying?......We have not seen anything yet.
    Think ahead 20 years.....same international poverty, same international greed , same hand outs from West to East and Africa. Detect ANY changes..NO... BUT ONE .....AN EVER INCREASING HUMAN POPULATION ON A PLANET THAT CANNOT GIVE ANYMORE.
    Until ALL governments around the world focus their attention on population control millions will be born annually ........to die young.
    Think GB....A population approaching 70 million. HELLO POLITICIANS ...Anyone out there with a brain cell???
    Think ahead....a term that does not sit well with politicians...GB is a tiny island heavily dependant on resources from around the world......THINK currently OIL, GAS, food stuffs, resources for manufacturing.....Think catastrophy.....
    Dying.....We have not seen a thing yet.
    ___________________________________________________________

    What a happy chap, I thought talking about death was depressing untill I read this post.

  • Comment number 75.

    I am led to believe that palliative care in the UK is second to none. Certainly, the medical profession will do everything it can to prolong life for those suffering terminal illness.

    Attitudes to life as well as death seem to have changed significantly, but they cannot alter the plain fact that adults with terminal illnesses should be given the choice as to the timing and manner of their deaths. Keeping people alive for days, weeks and months partly to satisfy ethical ideals may not be right when the patients themselves want a dignified and painless exit. I for one have no desire to spend my final weeks staring at the ceiling, pumped full with drugs and with tubes coming out of every orifice; if I'm in that state, I want to go quickly, partly for my own benefit, but also out of consideration for my family's anguish. After all, what do just a few weeks matter out of an entire life?

    Those who wish to lie on some hospital bed and endure the indignity and a sometimes painful death can still have that choice if that is what their beliefs demand. Such beliefs should not be imposed on everyone else, however. It is recognized that the majority of people in the UK believe firmly that assisted dying should be made law, provided all the proposed safeguards are in place to protect the vulnerable. Anyone seeing what has been proposed has to agree that the safeguards recommended will overcome any such fears. Those still opposed to assisted dying are merely scaremongering for fear that powerful religious bodies will have even less influence over our daily lives than they had before.

    As an ex-smallholder, I treated all my livestock with care, and any sick animal for which there was no hope was quickly put down by the vet - not kept alive just for the sake of it, or to see whether a particular drug or operation might work. Besides, anyone found maltreating an animal in their care, or leaving it to die an agonizing death is rightly subject to prosecution. I find it deeply disturbing that there are still many who think that human beings and the rest of life on the planet should be treated differently, but religious bodies have no answer for that.

    If we care so much about all other life, as we should, then the same rules should apply to us. That's how it was only 50 years ago, when the elderly, for example, were allowed to die naturally and with dignity.

  • Comment number 76.

    Like most HYS issues, comments come pouring in from ranters, those with a grudge or a particular political viewpoint, but rarely from anyone with meaningful knowledge of the topic. I suspect that few commentators on this issue have actually read the Economist Intelligence Unit's report on services for the dying, which may be found at:
    http://graphics.eiu.com/upload/QOD_main_final_edition_Jul12_toprint.pdf
    It makes very interesting reading, and discusses topics such as cultural attitudes towards death, taboos and the economics of end-of-life care.
    The Economist itself comments "For all the health care system's faults, British doctors tend to be honest about prognoses, the mortally ill get plentiful pain killers and a well-established hospice movement cares for people near death."
    After thirty-five years experience of NHS medical practice, I agree fully with these observations.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think that allowing people to have control over their lives again is a common sense step. A lot of effort has been put into stopping people from ending others lives to protect peoples rights to choose. But this has been corrupted to force people to live regardless. People can and do commit suicide, but if a medical proffessional is there they must intervene and remove the freedom of choice.

    Some people fear death but I dont understand that so much. When you die you are gone and so that is it (unless you believe some religion). The problem is the dying which can be prolonged and painful. Why would someone choose to suffer? Why if someone chooses not to do we feel we own them and wont let them die? Why does someone who wants to die lose the right to their life?

    For religious people its even easier. The concept of dying to go to a better place should remove your fear of death. Although there is the problem of sin and the pushing that we are all sinners (hence needing the religion to control us).

    To me death is the last choice. We can make the decision ourselves or the choice can be taken away from us naturally (accident) or by evil people believing they own our lives.

  • Comment number 78.

    Regardless of whether you are religious or not, there two ways to view death, as an enemy to be fought at all costs, or as a friend to be welcomed.

    I would have thought that religious people would tend to fall into the latter view, as they believe there is a better place to go to, so I wonder at the sombreness of the traditional funeral. Surely there should be joy that the person has now left their corporeal body and has moved to their paradise/heaven/valhalla/etc.
    Contrary-wise, I would expect agnostics and atheists to form the former view, trying to avoid travelling into the abyss.

    But, of course, how you view death is also dependent on your quality of life. Those who have lived a long and full life, with family to love them, are more likely to welcome death when it finally comes, content that they have achieved their goals and can let their burdens pass to the next generation. In contrast those who feel they still have things to do, or who have missed their opportunities, tend to fight against death, unwilling to admit that final defeat.

    I am in middle age. I have married, divorced, and remarried. I have had children and variously watched them die or grow up to their own independence. I have travelled to quite a few places (and expect to travel to others). I have a good job and, while not overflowing with cash, have enough for me and mine. If my life were cut short unexpectedly I would probably still find an injustice to it, but as I get older I feel that death will come to me as a friend, probably one quiet night when I can take its hand and travel from this place to whatever may, or may not, lie beyond. Much of why I feel this way is because I know some palliative-care nurses and know how they respect their patients' wishes and allow them what decency and decorum they can. So I see UK as being a good place to end one's days, with dignity.

  • Comment number 79.

    After reading many of the replys, it appears that the only people to gain from death are the nursing homes. Doctors seem to prolong the passing of many by the use of ''heavy doses of pain killers''in the case of cancers. The Government must come up with laws allowing Drs to prescribe life ending quantities of drugs when in a 'no win' situation.
    I personally witnessed a loved one, waking up to moan and scream incoherenly in a local nursing home until the time elapsed until he was allowed to be given another injection of pain-killer, (as per presciption). This he endured for four weeks before the inevitable release. If need be, The Hippocratic Oath should be ammended to allow Doctors to administer their ''Love of Life at any Cost'' to one of Love of Pain-free Life.

  • Comment number 80.

    35. At 00:55am on 19 Jan 2011, feral child wrote:
    If you are talking about the NHS, NO, the only thing they can do with the elderly, is kill them, but in the process leaving them in agonizing pain
    ---------------------------------------

    This is just tabloid talk. Of course some people are in pain when they die but it is by and large well managed by medical staff and unfortunately pain killing medication can kill the patient. It is a very delicate balance.
    I have had a considerable amount of experience of the NHS not much for myself even though I am getting on but for relatives and in my voluntary work. I have found nothing but caring and kindness. I don't doubt there is room for improvement nothing is perfect. However there is one point that I feel is important, I know from my work with elderly people they can not be always counted on to tell things as they are. They get very confused. One day I was visiting an old woman I had helped for years. As I went in I met a man I knew in the hospital car park. I asked how his mother was. He said she wasn't happy as the staff were ignoring her. I was surprised but went on my way. When I got into the ward to see my friend there was the man's mother, she was in floods of tears really upset. I went over and asked her what was the matter. She said every one had forgotten her and no one ever came to see her, she said she had been left to die alone. I said I had just seen her son but she wouldn't have it
    The real problem is that the vast majority are more than satiisfied with the NHS. This is born out by the very small number of complaints every year, the majority of which are resolved satisfactorally. The voices of those happy with the service are not heard . Firstly our drama driven media are only interested in an unusual sensational story. They don't want good news or even a balance. Secondly the profit driven private healthcare companies are intent on making us think the NHS is failing. At present we have a government who is sympathetic to these companies. Before the election Cameron was having long discussions with them and Helen Evans of the Nurses for Reform. These companies look to the Tory party for assistance and are large donors to the party funds.
    If they can get us to believe that the NHS is not up to the job then we will accept the changes they want. It has started with GP funding, the government are determined, ignoring even the doctors themselves. We have to be vigilant and let them know what we think. Like other services once they have been dismantled only then will we realise what we have lost. Our NHS is the best thing about the UK and we must support it now, otherwise we will lose. Health is essential to all and a endless source of income to private profiteers

  • Comment number 81.

    The statistics, like many statistics, are endemically misleading as they include child mortality which has a massive effect on the statistics in countrys with high child mortality rates.

  • Comment number 82.

    So the HYS suggests that dieing in the UK is good and better than other countries, how is it then that we don’t look after them when they are alive.
    For example, the allowances for a pensioner are far lower(bear in mind they have paid taxes for the past 40-60 years) than an immigrant gets.
    That’s not a racist comment that’s just pointing out a massive Quango that the Politian’s obviously know about but do nothing to solve.

  • Comment number 83.

    "5. At 12:26pm on 17 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:
    To me death is another threshold to cross. The end of a physical life and the possibility of more.

    Please do not tell me there is nothing more as you cannot prove it and I cannot disprove your claims so that is that.

    Many theosophies of old relate death as a doorway, so when it comes just open the door. If there is nothing then you were right but you cannot say I told you so. If there is more then hello stratnger!"

    It is not a requirement of me to PROVE their is nothing it is a requirement of you to prove there IS somthing. As long as you fail to prove life after death we should assume their is none. Just like we do with everything else ie: fairys, big foot and father christmas.

    But lets assume you are right. Could you imagine anything worse? Sure the first million years might be good but the next trillion? The next eternity? And the eternity after that?

    Life is meant to be finite, the urgency of life is what gives us the drive to do somthing with our lives, to reproduce, to make a mark, to make your life have a meaning.

    If there was a every lasting life after death i could not imagine any worse kind of suffering. An eternity of misery.

  • Comment number 84.

    75. At 11:11am on 02 Feb 2011, milvusvestal wrote:
    I am led to believe that palliative care in the UK is second to none. Certainly, the medical profession will do everything it can to prolong life for those suffering terminal illness.

    Attitudes to life as well as death seem to have changed significantly, but they cannot alter the plain fact that adults with terminal illnesses should be given the choice as to the timing and manner of their deaths. Keeping people alive for days, weeks and months partly to satisfy ethical ideals may not be right when the patients themselves want a dignified and painless exit. I for one have no desire to spend my final weeks staring at the ceiling, pumped full with drugs and with tubes coming out of every orifice; if I'm in that state, I want to go quickly, partly for my own benefit, but also out of consideration for my family's anguish. After all, what do just a few weeks matter out of an entire life?

    Those who wish to lie on some hospital bed and endure the indignity and a sometimes painful death can still have that choice if that is what their beliefs demand. Such beliefs should not be imposed on everyone else, however. It is recognized that the majority of people in the UK believe firmly that assisted dying should be made law, provided all the proposed safeguards are in place to protect the vulnerable. Anyone seeing what has been proposed has to agree that the safeguards recommended will overcome any such fears. Those still opposed to assisted dying are merely scaremongering for fear that powerful religious bodies will have even less influence over our daily lives than they had before.

    As an ex-smallholder, I treated all my livestock with care, and any sick animal for which there was no hope was quickly put down by the vet - not kept alive just for the sake of it, or to see whether a particular drug or operation might work. Besides, anyone found maltreating an animal in their care, or leaving it to die an agonizing death is rightly subject to prosecution. I find it deeply disturbing that there are still many who think that human beings and the rest of life on the planet should be treated differently, but religious bodies have no answer for that.

    If we care so much about all other life, as we should, then the same rules should apply to us. That's how it was only 50 years ago, when the elderly, for example, were allowed to die naturally and with dignity.

    ======================================

    Tell me, where is the dignity in dieing in acute pain and reaching out gasping for a last breath that will not while choking.

    50 years ago, there was much LESS dignity in death.

    So many deaths are NOT peaceful events, just slipping off peacefully while asleep.

    Many deaths are FULLY realised and NOT nice experiences.

    Pain is a reality for most at the begining of life and also the end of life.

    How you prepare for it with what is available makes a big difference.

    Pallitive care in UK is good, WHERE it exists in its limited existance, which is BEING CUT , due to funding of essentially charitys who provide so much being cut.

    Childrens and adults hospices are under severe strain of cuts to funding which factually means that suffering is a GROWING reality and not a reducing reality.

    Lets get this right, count the hospices in the UK, each ONE is a FACTUAL REALITY of that which our government and health service do NOT provide.

    The reality is, is that when it comes to old age, death and economic costs, the old are relatively an area of cost savings because so much is measured in economic benefits of which greater costs in death are not of economic benefit.

    UK is of course much much better than many nations but I consider constantly measuring against the worst nations/realitys as a fundamental flaw as our systems improvements or regression should be measured against the present and even recent past.

    I think a fundamental which needs evolutionary change is the choice of death. It is outrageous that government promotes with propaganda the importance etc of freedoms and choices of life, during life, yet at its end we are denied freedoms to choose our OWN dignity due to essentially religious indoctrination dictate and other dictate based upon paranoia of extremes.

    I am not afraid of dieing but I do not look forward to it, solely because I do not want to miss the future and see what it brings.

    I would like to see a manned flight to Mars and even beyond but I doubt very much that it will happen in my lifetime though I still hopefully have a few dozen years left in me. But I would most like to see the world change to a sustainable life cycle which I think will ultimately only come with huge upheaval, revolution and even as a consequence of yet more mass destruction, hence my greatest hope is to see and experience necessary changes without violence etc.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    My mother died at home, after a couple of weeks of being stuck in bed she started to experience a lot of pain and when the doctor came out to see her he told me there was nothing else that could be done for her other than giving her pain killers.
    That evening I contacted the family and the next day all of them that could make it came round and said their final goodbyes, the doctor returned that evening and gave her an injection and within an hour she was gone. After a good and long life she died with a smile on her face surrounded by her family and friends in a place she regarded as her home.

    These days a doctor would probably get into a lot of trouble for giving a patient a lethal dose of painkillers but back then it was a common practice, even though it was a practice that wasn't really talked about.

    My wife died a few years ago, she also spent her final days at home but this was only possible thanks to the amazing work of the Macmillan Nurses who would come round several times a day to help me with her care. Without the help of the Macmillan Nurses my wife would probably have had to go into a care home for her last couple of years and I will be forever grateful that they helped her to stay at home with me, it was what she wanted and what I wanted for her.

    We in the UK are very lucky to have so many fantastic charitable organisations that deal with end of life care, sadly the NHS is not up to the job of dealing with this period in people's lives and without these charities many more people would end up dying alone in some soulless care home or on a hospital ward instead of being at home surrounded by their family and friends.

    Death is nothing to be afraid of, as Dumbledore said (yes, I have got grandchildren) "After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure". None of us know what, if anything, comes after death; whatever it is I hope to embrace it with a smile on my face and happy in the knowledge that I’ve enjoyed a very good and greatly varied life and that I’ve had the pleasure of sharing it with a great many people who I love very much.

  • Comment number 87.

    2. At 12:11pm on 17 Jan 2011, scotty1694 wrote:
    "if the uk has the best for quality of death and end of life care?
    then my god it must really suck else where!"

    The above comment epitomises the ungrateful attitude that some of the British population hold.

    Scotty, our system is far from perfect and I absolutely agree that we should strive to improve it...BUT you surely must realise that there are many places around the world where many people die in a truly aweful environment and circumstance?

    Both sets of my grandparents died between the ages of 75-91, and all four died in reasonable (as much as possible anyway) comfort surrounded by family and friends. Before you tell me...yes, I know, there are some people in the UK who die alone and in less comfortable surroundings, but as this report suggests, more people die in relevant comfort than those who die in worse circumstances. The reason for this is that MOST of us have reasonably strong family ties and good friends we can call upon.

  • Comment number 88.

    17. At 1:58pm on 17 Jan 2011, JustinRUK wrote:
    ".....a quality of death index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, ranked the UK as the best place for end of life care..."

    Really? Serioulsy? lol. Apart from the fact this study is like most... meaningless, it's swings and round abouts.

    My grandad, on mum's side, suffer the most undignifying death in hospital. Even the tea ladies would come around, with rasied voices, asking if my granddad wanted a cup of tea. He was hardly in any fit state. The nurses and doctors weren't exactly respectful in their care of him when they could see to him.
    Yet, my granddad, on my dad's side, spent his last days in a hospice. He's care couldn't have been better. The staff were wonderful, the place was as peaceful as can be in this day and age. The staff were always willing to see to him if he was in pain. So, depends on where in the UK you leave life behind.

    =========================================================================

    You've actually perfectly illustrated why the UK IS one of the best places to die...because even though the system isn't perfect and there are many things that could be improved, the vaste majority of us will have some sort of help to make our last moments just a bit more comfortable, whether that be with the help of family and friends or from care assistants and nursing staff.

    There aren't any countries that currently have a perfect system, or one that's much better than the UK for the majority of it's population...but there are MANY that are far far worse, where a very significant proportion of the population die in relative discomfort and poor surrounding with little or no help whatsoever.

    Like I said, the UK isn't perfect...but it could be a whole lot worse, so careful what you wish for.

  • Comment number 89.

    It is good that we have the highest quality of death as the quality if life is ever reducing. Also, I can not agree that this country is the best place to die as long as people are not allowed to die with dignity.

  • Comment number 90.

    83. At 12:52pm on 02 Feb 2011, bigsammyb wrote:
    "5. At 12:26pm on 17 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:
    To me death is another threshold to cross. The end of a physical life and the possibility of more.

    Please do not tell me there is nothing more as you cannot prove it and I cannot disprove your claims so that is that.

    Many theosophies of old relate death as a doorway, so when it comes just open the door. If there is nothing then you were right but you cannot say I told you so. If there is more then hello stratnger!"

    It is not a requirement of me to PROVE their is nothing it is a requirement of you to prove there IS somthing. As long as you fail to prove life after death we should assume their is none. Just like we do with everything else ie: fairys, big foot and father christmas.

    =========================================================================

    bigsammyb, it's no more a requirement for John to prove there is an 'afterlife' than it is for you to prove there isn't one.

    It all boils down to one thing...what you choose to believe, and if John chooses to believe in some sort of afterlife then a decent person will respect his right to believe that and not ridicule it by refering to fairys and bigfoot.

    For the record, I DON'T believe in an afterlife...but I can still maintain the courtesy of respecting that John does. If I wanted to I could put forward a reasoned and respectful argument to rebutt John's views without making puerile comments.

    Can you I suggest you learn this very useful art-form, as people are more likely to listen to your arguments and take you more seriously if you did?

  • Comment number 91.

    Extreme world - Dying

    Sounds like an Extreme Sport.

  • Comment number 92.

    There is only ever one certainty in life, that is death! I first encountered death at a very early age, my father died when i was just 54 years old. Over the years I had many pets that died and over whose graves I used to say 'ashes to ashes dust to dust, please rot away soon so I can bury the next one'. The first time I saw a dead person I was 11 and looking at the body of my 13 year old sister in her coffin, I best remember my little sister saying that she looked just like a sleeping princess, not bad for a 7 year old!
    Since then I have seen many bodies (not out of choice, just happened) and am still of the opinion that death is just part of life.
    I am not religious and believe that when we die that is it, no afterlife, no rebirth, nothing, a thought which I find very comforting!
    I have kids of my own now, age 14 and 11 and try to bring them up with the same attitude, seems to be working as well. A few weeks ago a girl from my daughters school died in a tragic accident at the age of 9, all the other kids and most teachers were deeply upset and distraught by this, but my daughter just shrugged her shoulders and said (rather philosophically for an 11 year old) 'well, the thing about death is that it happens to us all and there is nothing we can do about it. When it is our turn that is it!' None of her school mates or teachers seemed to understand this, and I was in fact called into school to talk about her 'unusual attitude'. Needless to say, having talked to the teacher for a bit I was told that my daughter is fine but just very impressionable and that I should stop filling her head with these strange ideas and instead educate her in the ways of the accepted belief of Christianity! I told the teacher where she could put her believes and said that it is up to me to educate my children in whatever belief system I choose to and not to blindly follow the one accepted by school!
    Personally I think that our believes about death are the normal and best ones to have, at least we don't need to be afraid of death, nor do we have to wonder what happened to the souls of those who have left us, instead we can concentrate on remembering the good times. (also in most cases giving the departed a jolly good send off party)

  • Comment number 93.

    I have seen the best and worse deaths whilst in the care of a hospital. Both my parents were granted a dignified end to their lives with just enough medication to help them on their way. However a dear friend, in the early stages of dementia was allowed to starve himself almost to the point of death. The staff insisted it wasn't their job to force a patient to eat. Another spirited elderly lady who we admired a lot decided that to starve was better than spending her remaining days in a nursing home. She succeeded - a very plucky woman.

    From my own experience the nursing staff who actually ask relatives their wishes are the best. No one knows the patient as much as those who love them. I shall never regret agreeing that my mother and father die without pain and with their dignity intact.

  • Comment number 94.

    to correct my previous post, it reads that 'my father died when i was just 54 years old' when it should read when i was just 4 years old. I apologize for my bad editing...

  • Comment number 95.

    Can I have a pint of what the poster at No.49 has been drinking?

  • Comment number 96.

    You can have the best care in the world, but when it gets to your time, off you pop.

  • Comment number 97.

    3. At 12:20pm on 17 Jan 2011, WiseOldBob wrote:
    Quality of death index? I love it! Does the UK do so well because death is such a welcome alternative to living under New Labour or the Coalition?

    Also: how do they work it out - result of a series of séances?


    Love it!!

    My main gripe in this country is the pressure to succumb to medical intervention to be kept alive beyond my sell by date, and the laws that make assisted suicide illegal. I would sooner die instantly or of a fast-growing cancer than being kept propped up on machines and drugs, perhaps lying in bed with dementia in what might be a horrible nightmare stasis, all prolonging the inevitable.

    The medical profession should remember that it has no cure for death yet... and keeping people here beyong their time might be as much as a crime as dispatching them prematurely.

  • Comment number 98.

    When my father passed away three years ago, he died just outside the entrance to the hospital. He knew he was having a heart attack, or that something was wrong and made the short walk from his office to the hospital. Unfortunately, he never made it in time.

    The hospital was run by the NHS and the staff were amazing. When I met the Sister in charge of the ward, she told me exactly what happened. They tried three times to re-start his heart, but to no avail.

    When I saw my Dad, he was in the mortuary. The NHS had taken such good care of him, and I thank for that, so I could pay my final respects.

    It's an odd concept: a Quality of Death Index. However, I think I can safely say my Dad got the best possible treatment in a country that welcomed him over sixty years ago.

  • Comment number 99.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 100.

    At 1:56pm on 02 Feb 2011, Nic121 wrote:
    83. At 12:52pm on 02 Feb 2011, bigsammyb wrote:
    "5. At 12:26pm on 17 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:
    To me death is another threshold to cross. The end of a physical life and the possibility of more.

    Please do not tell me there is nothing more as you cannot prove it and I cannot disprove your claims so that is that.

    Many theosophies of old relate death as a doorway, so when it comes just open the door. If there is nothing then you were right but you cannot say I told you so. If there is more then hello stratnger!"

    It is not a requirement of me to PROVE their is nothing it is a requirement of you to prove there IS somthing. As long as you fail to prove life after death we should assume their is none. Just like we do with everything else ie: fairys, big foot and father christmas.

    =========================================================================

    bigsammyb, it's no more a requirement for John to prove there is an 'afterlife' than it is for you to prove there isn't one.

    It all boils down to one thing...what you choose to believe, and if John chooses to believe in some sort of afterlife then a decent person will respect his right to believe that and not ridicule it by refering to fairys and bigfoot.

    For the record, I DON'T believe in an afterlife...but I can still maintain the courtesy of respecting that John does. If I wanted to I could put forward a reasoned and respectful argument to rebutt John's views without making puerile comments.

    Can you I suggest you learn this very useful art-form, as people are more likely to listen to your arguments and take you more seriously if you did?



    __________________________________________________

    I can see the attraction in some people dying happy in the belief they will go to a better place after they die, if an afterlife does not exist they can never be disappointed since they will never know it.

 

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