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The Killing of Tillie Boechat by Linda Lesky, MD, and George Washington University Hospital

By Dennis Sobin

 The Killing of Tillie Boechat by Linda Lesky, MD, and George Washington University Hospital is a special book. It doesn’t mince words in revealing the details of a cold-blooded murder at the hands of an incompetent and insensitive physician when a medical institution turned a blind eye.

It is the sequel to the highly-praised Unforgettable: Loving, Defending and Video Documenting My Wife with Alzheimer’s. This book is the dramatic end of the story of the life-loving Tillie Boechat.

Advanced Alzheimer’s does not necessarily lead to a loss of all sense of reality. Or dignity. Or isolation. In fact just the opposite can be true as in Tillie’s case. Extreme forgetfulness can enable a person to separate the meaningful aspects of life from the meaningless, and to love and cherish life.

But a nearsighted and arrogant doctor did not see that. This unconscionable physician made a grievous mistake in her rushed diagnosis and treatment, then sought to bury her murderous mistake.

            Here is a true-life courtroom drama instigated by an evil combatant when she insisted that the life of a woman be put in the hands of professionals, not loved ones. That medical methods should replace affection, that needles could take the place of hugs. Drowning opposition with legal papers and attorneys, she convinced a judge to go along with her cold plan. What were the motivations of the numerous—to use the legal term—“interested parties” involved? What were Tillie’s own thoughts on the matter? How could such a killing occur?

In presenting this story, the author does not claim to be objective. You cannot easily mix love and objectivity, particularly when the love is immense and has a rich and long history. In fighting for the rights and survival of his beloved Tillie the author pushed uncaring family and friends aside. He risked his own freedom.

He won important battles in his fight to save Tillie, but ultimately lost the war. Outgunned, out-degreed and out-lawyered, he bravely fought a tyrannical foe and her bureaucratic army, wounding but not stopping them.

With lessons learned from this book, perhaps you could do better if you ever face a killer with a medical degree, a destroyer of life who pretends to be a healer.

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