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Crossing OverNarratives of Palliative Care$
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David Barnard, Anna M. Towers, Patricia Boston, and Yanna Lambrinidou

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780195123432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123432.001.0001

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Paula Ferrari: Another Triumph of the Spiritual Over the Practical

Paula Ferrari: Another Triumph of the Spiritual Over the Practical

Chapter:
(p.377) 21 Paula Ferrari: Another Triumph of the Spiritual Over the Practical
Source:
Crossing Over
Author(s):

David Barnard (Contributor Webpage)

Patricia Boston R.N.

Anna Towers

Yanna Lambrinidou

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195123432.003.0021

This chapter discusses the case of Paula Ferrari, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is an incurable degenerative motor neurone disease that leads to progressive weakness of the muscles in the extremities and trunk. Ms. Ferrari lived with ALS for the next three years, wherein she tried to cope with the illness at home. During these periods, her family rallied and provided all the nursing services and care they could. As Ms. Ferrari's disease progressed and she became unable to walk, talk, and eat, she was admitted to the Palliative Care Unit. Although Ms. Ferrari knew the difficulties that would come as her disease progressed, she never sought out physician-assisted suicide to hasten death and to escape from the pain and suffering her disease entailed. For her, seeking methods to hasted death was self-deprivation. Death according to Ms. Ferrari was an integral part of human beings and their existence. For her, to undergo the experience of dying regardless of the physical suffering is the ultimate lesson of life. This chapter discusses the brave manner in which Ms. Ferrari faced her death. It narrates the experience of suffering, which provides a unique way of looking at one's self and spiritual existence.

Keywords:   amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, degenerative, motor neurone, suffering, physical suffering, experience of suffering, spiritual existence

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