Mercy by Flavia Ida addresses the subject of who deserves mercy, who is responsible for dispensing it, and the moral question of what the definition of mercy is. The theoretical is put into a pragmatic context as the reader meets Linda, a caregiver in Unit 39, the psychiatric ward of a hospital. Linda had worked in several wards during her twenty-six years. This tour in the psychiatric ward precipitated a crisis in her personal and professional life. John was a patient who sought only one thing, to leave life. As Linda came to know his story, she agreed that he should not be discouraged from succeeding in his various efforts at suicide.
The Hippocratic oath did not stand in her way. The dictate of “First, do no harm,” did not bother Linda. The “harm” was in prolonging John’s life. Permanently confined to a wheelchair and with a history of horrible abuse his entire childhood life, John lived in despair. Linda would have no problem with assisting his death but there were a few problems. Her colleague, Manilang, monitored John very closely. Manilang’s strong religious beliefs deemed suicide a sin and Manilang determined John would not carry out his desire. Also, there was almost no inch of the ward not covered by CCTV security cameras. What could Linda do?
The hitman she hired did not take all her savings. She would still have enough to go on vacation, thus establishing an alibi as the hitman carried out their agreement.
Read the short story to find out what happened. It is approximately a 10-minute read and that leaves time for reflection. The ultimate question to be answered can be phrased like this: Mercy for who(m)?
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