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As Bob Malm’s attorney Jeff Chiow loudly carries on about his legal ethics, both he and client Bob Malm face one incontrovertible fact: Trying to drag my mom into court for a deposition carries with it serious ethical implications.

For example, the vast majority of end-stage COPD patients suffer from anxiety and depression, with 66 percent experiencing panic attacks. These symptoms appear to correlate both with physical issues, including dyspnea (shortness of breath), erratic sleep patterns, and with several specific sources of anxiety. The latter include awareness of death, fear of suffocation, separation anxiety, and fear of suffering. Regrettably, medical literature suggests that treating physicians frequently fail to adequately treat these issues, with some regarding depression in particular as part of the grieving process associated with knowledge of impending death.

Notably, perceptions of dyspnea both cause anxiety and depression, and emanate from dyspnea. Thus, a vicious cycle may come into play that further interferes with the ability to perform daily life functions.

So, in situations such as this, efforts to (to use Jeff Chiow’s language) “compel” a terminally ill patient to participate in civil litigation are not something to be taken lightly. And with Bob Malm, Jeff Chiow, Bishop Shannon Johnston and Bishop Susan Goff all aware that mom is suffering from end-stage COPD, you’d think that one of the bunch would consider the ethical and moral implications, wouldn’t you?

Of course, you’d be wrong. After all, this is St. Dysfunction Episcopal Church aka Grace Episcopal Church, where such things aren’t even a factor. They aren’t a factor for Dysfunctional Bob. They aren’t a factor for Jeff Chiow.

Nor are they a factor for The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. Lots of lip service and bragging about social justice, marching in Charlottesville and other hoo-ha, but when the rubber meets the road there is absolutely zero substance.

For those interested in learning more about the psychological and emotional suffering experienced by end-stage COPD patients, a good starting point can be found here.