First, read this article … I’ll wait…
While in the grand scheme of all that is going on in this world, perhaps, to some, this is not a big issue. Luckily, like many other people, I am able to be passionate about more than one issue at a time.
I live in Québec; assisted suicide is now permissible in my province of Canada. There is, currently, a phalanx of doctors and other health professionals jumping on the ill-informed bandwagon.
A lot of rhetoric that boils down to, “You can’t make me!” On the other hand, what they are also saying is that they can and will force patients who would choose otherwise, to suffer in unimaginable pain.
Bill 52 is called the Right To Die bill and it was passed by the Québec government. Québecois now have the right to determine if they wish to live in pain, if they wish to continue with a terminal illness or simply die with dignity. The aforementioned “You can’t make me!” contingent is choosing to take this most personal and deep decision away from the individual who is suffering. They have decided that they have the right to determine who lives and who dies.
I had to watch my mother suffer unimaginably and when it was clear that there was no hope; she was turned down by a palliative care facility close to family. The reasoning? She may not have survived the move and 15 minute ambulance ride. So instead, she was forced to remain, for what turned out to be hours, in a hospital room, far from family, in a horrible environment because the facility made an arbitrary decision over how and where my mother should die. They took the choice away from her and from us, her family. This a palliative care facility is partially funded through government money and yet, took the authority upon themselves to deny access to my mother, to die in a familiar and more comfortable setting.
And now, this same facility, is again planning to take away personal choice. Death, it seems, must happen under their rules.
We all die. Such an easy concept to understand yet, it appears, the medical establishment views death as personal failures. Get over yourselves. You cannot nor will you ever be able to stop the dying process.
Medical professionals have a duty to their patients and one of those duties is to allow the patient the right to determine their fate. Bill 52 has very strict guidelines. There will be no widespread euthanasia of dementia patients, of the intellectually or severely physically handicapped. Husbands will not be knocking off their wives or vice versa. The decision is the patient’s, alone, to make. The patient will undergo a rigorous consultation process before this right is granted. Gold-digging relatives will have no say. Selfish family members will have no say.
There will always be those people who choose to hang on to life until the last breath. And now, those who choose to leave this realm, when there is no other option than pain meds and diapers, will have their own say in how they leave. Terminal illness does not happen in an instant; there are tests and there is time. I’ve heard the argument that palliative care gives the individual and family time to say good bye. And how does the Right to Die bill alter this, in any fashion? Family needs to come to acceptance? I’m sorry but this is not the family’s call. They are not dying. They will have the same time to grieve as will anyone else.
This is a RIGHT to Die bill. The Right to die. The right to determine when we join the night sky or whatever myth gets you through. We have a right, as individuals, to determine this most personal of all decisions. There is no decision more personal or individual. No doctor, no nurse, no bureaucratic should have ever or should ever make that decision for us.
I may hang on, kicking and screaming when my time comes or I may choose to leave on my own terms, in peace. Regardless, this is a decision of my choosing and no doctor who wishes to play god should make that decision on my behalf.