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Wednesday, January 25

Man begs for permission to kill his 3 terminally-ill family members (photos)

A businessman from Bangladesh has begged authorities in his country to either help him look after his two sons and grandson who suffer Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a debilitating incurable condition. Or allow them get euthanasia because he no longer has the means to properly look after them.

Tofazzal Hossain's two sons and grandson are aged 24, 13, and eight-year-old. They suffer a rare genetic disorder that is characterised by progressive muscle degeneration and extreme pain. Patients rarely live beyond 30 years of age.

To look after the three children, the businessman sold his shop and now is out of funds.

Desperate to end their suffering, he begged for permission to kill them with medicine, sparking a rare
debate about euthanasia in the deeply conservative society.
“I have taken care of them for years. I took them to hospitals in Bangladesh and India, I sold my shop to pay for their treatment but now I’m broke,” he said as he describes his years-long struggle to cope with the costs of looking after his two sons and grandson. 
“The government should decide what it wants to do with them. They are suffering and have no hope of recovery. I can’t bear it any longer.”
One of Asia’s poorest countries, Bangladesh lacks any kind of free health care and medical treatment is often beyond the reach of the tens of millions of inhabitants who live below the poverty line.

An estimated 600,000 Bangladeshis suffer from incurable diseases, yet the country has just one palliative care centre and no hospice services.

This leaves few treatment options for Hossain’s sons.

Hossain said his sons were aware of their condition but could do little for themselves, unable to move and confined to their beds. The grandson can still go to the washroom, but his condition is worsening.
“I told them about the letter. I told them (about seeking permission for their deaths). They did not take it seriously. Perhaps they did not understand the severity of the situation,” he said.
His eldest son, 24-year-old Mohammad Abdus Sabur, said he spent his days watching television and talking with their father. “I tell father not to worry too much,” he told AFP.

An AFP correspondent’s attempt to ask the son about his father’s desperate appeal was met with stern rebuke from Hossain, who said it would hurt them.

Mahbubul Alam, a doctor who has treated the Hossain family, said there was no cure for their condition and they lived in extreme pain.
“It’s a humanitarian case. Everyone should come forward (and help).”

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