Compassionate Death: A Final Appeal for My Mom
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ~ Clive Staples Lewis
Why We Need Your Help Now
My mother’s condition is terminal. My mother, Lisa Hughes is living in a constant state of torture and fear, as her body struggles to circulate oxygen to its desperate organs. Her life has been taken away from her. First by severe childhood abuse, and then by the resulting trauma and brain damage that affected every aspect of her life. When she sought help, she was met with a broken medical system that abused her body and mind further.
There is no cure for the heart-lung disease (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
) and congestive heart failure
my mother has been diagnosed with. Her condition is further complicated by iatrogenic illness
caused by prescription medication. Her physical health continues to rapidly decline as she is experiencing the torture of akathisia. Akathisia
is a severe neurological condition associated with prescription medication withdrawal, especially psychiatric medications. Her doctor recommended that she consider Hospice in lieu of further invasive treatment. Hospice is one of the many broken systems that has hurt my mom and traumatized my sister and I. (See, Killing for Profit The Dark Side of Hospice
, By Michelle Young-Doers, B.S., R.R.T., C.P.F.T).
My mother has outlived expectations for her heart-lung condition alone. Her pulmonologist estimates that with her multiple diagnoses, she has less than a year to live, and is urging her to prepare for transfer back to a long-term care facility. My mom called me in tears, was her life going to end as it began, with trauma, pain, and dehumanization? It was at this time that we began honestly exploring what it could look like if she was able to experience autonomy and compassion in her last days. Is it possible for her to spend her last moments surrounded by her only family, her two daughters; the only love and safety she has ever felt?
Voluntary Assisted Dying - Dignity in Death
My Mom is asking for help in having a say in the way her life ends. This is her final chance to experience dignity, autonomy, and her right as a human being to be treated ethically. My mom deserves to pass away peacefully. We have extensively researched the Pegasos
facility, a Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) center in Switzerland (https://pegasos-association.com/
). This is the best, most compassionate option for my mom. Why Pegasos?
In the US, some states have "Death with dignity laws," also known as physician-assisted dying or aid-in-dying laws. Even in a legal state, it is difficult to find a doctor who is actually willing to fill out the prescription due to the risk of litigation, personal beliefs, or affiliation. If this ia achieved, the patient is given one pill to take at home, alone or with a family member. The medication causes side effects like vomiting, seizures and frantic gasping for breath
. There is no trained professional
on site to care for the patient or support caregivers. These deaths can be extremely traumatic for all involved, and sometimes end with the family/caregiver calling 911.Pegasos
uses an IV medication that is effective and humane
, and avoids traumatic side effects. The whole process is attended by trained medical professionals
, who can make adjustments as needed. Trained professionals offer support to the patient and caregivers
throughout the entire process, helping the patient to pass away peacefully with their loved ones. The program cost is $11,556.41, plus travel and accommodation. What your contribution would be used for
- Cost of VAD (Voluntary Assisted Death) $11,556.41
- One-way flight for my mother to Switzerland (approx. $1,000)
- Round-trip flight for my mother's caregiver (approx. $2,000)
- Two train tickets from airport to hotel/AirBnB (approx. $20.00 each)
- A hotel or AirBnB near Pegasos (approx. $450.00)
SUB Total: $15,046.41
***$5,000 paid to Pegasos for VAD down payment donated by friend that is purchasing my mothers 2009 ToyotaTOTAL AMOUNT NEEDED: 10,046.41
How it Began
It is hard to know where to begin with the impossible story of my mother’s unrelenting traumatic life. My mother’s anxiety began when my little sister was born. The traumatic birth of my sister left my mom needing repair surgery due to scar tissue from severe child abuse and the fresh wounds from the birth. On top of dealing with her own suffering, she was taking care of her new baby who stopped breathing 100+ times a day. My sister spent a month in-patient at the hospital after she was born. Every day the pediatrician verbally abused my mother, reminding her that she and her child were a drain on society, and implied that my mother was to blame for her child’s illness. The doctor said, “Sometimes these babies just die of ‘crib death’ and we don’t know why.” Rather than expend any more “tax-payer’s money” on accurately diagnosing my sister, the doctor discharged her with a monitor that would alarm when my sister stopped breathing. My mother was taught how to perform CPR on my sister and did so many times throughout every day and night. My sister was put on medications with side effects like excessive crying, trouble sleeping, trouble eating (nausea), fussiness, shakiness, etc. My mom began experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks and was prescribed Klonopin, a benzodiazepine
for the first time. The doctor told her that she would need to take it for the rest of her life.
Seeking “Help”- Medical Trauma
When I was 10, and my sister was able to attend a specialized pre-school, my mom completed her respiratory therapy degree. She began working with children that were extremely sick and on ventilators. Some of these children were born with birth defects and others endured such horrific child abuse, they would never walk again nor breathe on their own. My mother started having flashbacks of her own childhood and did not recognize it at the time.
Eventually, she sought help via the broken psychiatric establishment and was hospitalized. The doctors there started her on several medications. This was the beginning of her victimization at the hands of socially acceptable medical torture.
She was further traumatized by psychiatric “standard practices” such as forced isolation, beratement for her misdiagnosed trauma and dissociative symptoms, and forcible delivery of injected tranquilizers. Her rights as a human were taken away, and she could not just walk away until “they” were assured of her compliance.
Due to the medications, my mom gained over 100lbs in 6mos time. She developed a multitude of related health problems, including terminal heart/lung disease. She was placed on Hospice when I was 15, and my sister was 9. As my mom’s only advocate, I watched the medical system continue to abuse her body, mind and soul. I saw practitioners verbally abuse her for the very condition their medication had created. She was treated like a contagion and handled with disgust due to her weight and socioeconomic status. I stood by helpless as they performed unnecessary and spiteful “treatments” to cause her undue physical pain and emotional torture. All considered acceptable for a poor “Medicaid patient,” deemed a drain on society and unworthy of real help.
The Nursing Home
When the hospital decided that my mom’s case was too complicated to manage within their short-term structure, they transferred her to a long-term care facility, a fancy word for “Nursing Home.” There she was treated like the rest of the elderly and disabled people who didn’t possess their own autonomy or families to care for them. I went to visit her in this dingy, disgusting facility to see that they had put my 36-year-old mother in a diaper and drugged her rather than “deal” with her needs. In an effort to cut costs, troubled nursing homes...drug the elderly & disabled rather than hire needed staff. This atrocity is still happening today
No treatment, intervention, or help. Only more trauma, abuse, neglect, and worsening of my mother’s condition.
Trying to Heal
In 2009 my mother started the long journey of reducing the number of medications she was on. She was finally able to address some of the physical effects of long-term ploy-drugging through the application of intensive therapy, diet changes and exercise. Even as she was being praised for the positive changes she was attempting to undergo, she continued to suffer in silence with a plethora of physical and neurological side effects, including Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
In 2021 my mom celebrated having weaned off of all her medications. Two months later, she woke up to severe, unexplained symptoms. She had developed neurological effects from the medication withdrawal, including akathisia. Akathisia
is a neurological condition associated with a multitude of prescription medications, especially psychiatric. Symptoms that my mom has experienced
include severe restlessness, anxiety, panic, increased sensitivity to light, sounds, foods, and most common household chemicals in addition to neurological sensations like jolts, burning, and electric pulses in her brain. To deal with this panic, pain, and discomfort, my mom would walk for hours at a time. Now, she cannot tolerate even moderate exercise, due to her serious heart-lung disease, also the cause of medications.
A Daughter’s Appeal (From Lorissa Hughes)
This is a final appeal for my mom, my last chance to advocate for her. My mom, who set aside her pain and suffering in order to raise her children to believe that they have value and worth; My mom, who taught us that we are not merely consumers, or products to be bought and sold, regardless of what society says about our “welfare family.” My mom, who continued to endure the assaults of systems that didn’t care about her or her children. My mom, who is asking to experience peace and dignity in her final days. Please consider contributing to our cause.