You know that Kelly, who comes and cleans the spaces in my house which can be seen without moving furniture, also works as a peripatetic carer; she is the kind who gets a shift which allows her about 20 minutes max with each of her elderly and some very old patients. She is paid a pittance, barely above the minimum wage, whereas her employer takes a fair dollop of cash off both private and state employers.
Although this state of affairs makes me extremely cross it’s the not the point of this post.
With many of her co-workers succumbing to the flu, Kelly was swamped with calls over the Christmas period. One of her chaps, a man of 84 whom she described as a very sweet and friendly old gentleman, felt unwell when she visited him the day before Christmas Eve. Kelly decided to do something, she rang his doctor and the old man’s daughter too, to let her know that dad was poorly. Kelly stayed with him until the daughter arrived, who lived just half an hour away. The old man was still on Kelly’s roster the next day; she heard that the doctor had been and prescribed some medication. She did what she had to do and left for her next patient.
On Christmas Day a colleague of Kelly’s was on duty. When she arrived at the house she found the old man lying on the floor in front of his bed, stone cold. She immediately phoned for an ambulance and was told by the switchboard operator to attempt resuscitation. Kelly’s colleague said that rigor mortis had already set in and the man must have died sometime during the night, alone and helpless. In spite of her conviction that she could do nothing she performed CPR.
I don’t know whether the old man could have survived if somebody had actually taken care of him, but I’m thinking that death in the embrace of his family would have been infinitely preferable to such a miserable and lonely end to his life.