Paula Ferrari: Another Triumph of the Spiritual Over the Practical

David Barnard, Patricia Boston R.N., Anna Towers and Yanna Lambrinidou

in Crossing Over

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780195123432
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199999835 | DOI:
Paula Ferrari: Another Triumph of the Spiritual Over the Practical

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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

Chapter.  8159 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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