67. Loving your child to death: Considerations of the care of chronically-ill children and euthanasia in Emil Sher's Mourning Dove and implications for medical educations

K. Mukhida


How do parents cope when their child is ill or dying, when he or she experiences constant pain or suffering? What do parents think of the contributions that medical professionals make to the care of their chronically or terminally ill child? Is it possible for a parent to love a child so much that the child is wished dead? The purpose of this paper is to explore those questions and aspects of the care of chronically or terminally ill children using Mourning Dove’s portrayal of one family’s attempt to care for their ill daughter. A play written by Canadian playwright Emil Sher, Mourning Dove is based on the case of Saskatchewan wheat farmer Robert Latimer who killed his 12 year old daughter Tracy who suffered with cerebral palsy and lived in tremendous pain. Rather than focusing on the medical or legal aspects of the care of a chronically ill child, the play offers a glimpse into how a family copes with the care of such a child and the effects the child’s illness has on a family. Reading and examination of non-medical literature, such as Mourning Dove, therefore serve as a useful means for medical professionals to better understand how illness affects and is responded to by patients and their families. This understanding is a prerequisite for them to be able to provide complete care of children with chronic or terminal illnesses and their families.
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2828


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