Second Thoughts - Disability Rights Advocates Against Assisted Suicide

Blog > Charlie and the DNR


By Amy Hasbrouck
(With credit and apologies to Jacqueline Steiner, Bess Lomax Hawes, and the Kingston Trio.)

These are the times that try men's souls. In the course of our nation's history, the people of Massachusetts have rallied bravely whenever the rights of people have been threatened. Today, a new crisis has arisen. Compassion & Choices, better known as the Hemlock Society, is attempting to set a troubling precedent in the commonwealth in the form of a dangerous law. Citizens, hear me out! This could happen to you!

Well, let me tell you of the story of a man named Charlie
on a tragic and fateful day.
He called two days in advance to get
accessible transit,
Went to have a tonsillectomy.


Well, did he ever return? No, he never returned
and his fate is still unlearned.
‘Cause a routine procedure ended in disaster
He’s the man who never returned.

Charlie handed in his card for insurance at admission
And they asked him to sign a form
When he looked down at the paper, it said
“do not resuscitate”
He said “what do they want that for?”


Now all night long Charlie lies in recovery
Thinking “what will become of me?
What if I get some kind of drug-resistant infection
‘cause there’s no one to help me pee.”


Charlie’s wife came down to find him pale and shaking
With a fever of a hundred and two
And to the nurse and doctor she yelled
“You treat my husband!
or I swear I’m gonna sue you!”


As it turned out the physician, well he’d changed that order
He checked off the box for DNR
He said “I don’t understand how you can live in a wheelchair
I couldn’t stand to be the way you are.”


Now you citizens of Massachusetts
This could be your future
If you vote for “death with dignity”
Fight discrimination, vote against assisted suicide
For Charlie, and for you and me.

Or else he’ll never return, no he’ll never return…

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