Letter to the Editor

Palliative care offers a better way

"One of the first leaders of the hospice movement was Dr. Balfour Mount of Royal Victoria"

Once new rules on assisted dying come into effect in Canada, it is envisaged that we will be able to make the choice between palliative care and euthanasia for ourselves. However, it has been shown that in jurisdictions where euthanasia is permitted (Holland, Belgium, California, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington), it leaves the door open to abuse. This may be from family members, caregivers, and members of the medical profession.

I’ve become concerned at the headlong rush by Canada to permit euthanasia, particularly concerning repercussions for our elderly population. But with euthanasia, everyone is vulnerable, especially those living in poverty, those without family or friends they can trust, battling addictions of any kind, or with disabilities, including depression and other mental health issues.

The situation in Europe indicates that the slippery slope is the reality. In spite of strong medical guidelines, Holland’s physicians admitted to killing 1040 patients without their knowledge or consent from 1981 to 91. (Remmelink Report 1991)

In Belgium, a study published in 2010 found that 32 per cent of the euthanasia deaths in Flanders region of Belgium were done without request or consent. (Canadian Medical Assn. Journal May 17, 2010)

Palliative care began in Canada in 1975, when units were opened in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital and Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital. One of the first leaders of the hospice movement was Dr. Balfour Mount of Royal Victoria, who described it in this way:

“Several features characterize hospice care…There is concern for the family and other loved ones as well as the patient: the fears and doubts of all involved, the strain on relationships, financial resources, and spiritual care needs are all considered in addition to the more traditional relating to the disease itself. There is a relaxation of institutional regulations concerning visitors, food, pets, and other details of daily life.

“When the length of remaining life is recognized as lying outside the influence of further treatment, the focus is not on death, but on each day’s quality of life, and on living in the moment.”

In 2011, under the government of Stephen Harper, the all-party report Not to be Forgotten was published and examined issues related to palliative care, suicide prevention, and elder abuse. The report by the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care makes clear, safe recommendations for improving care for all Canadians. Canada needs to implement these and reject the rush to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

If Canada decriminalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide, Canada’s court system must be responsible for handling each court case requesting euthanasia on a case-by-case basis.

The medical profession must be called upon to give factual evidence as to need and suffering of each individual, thereby protecting all patients, including the most vulnerable in our society.

Daphne Jennings,

President of the CGRA Member


Just Posted

Drug use a problem at Trail hockey games, warn RCMP

Police recommend changes to Trail Memorial Centre washrooms

Montrose moves to ban pot retail

Retail, production and distribution of non-medical cannabis sales prohibited under Montrose bylaw

Castlegar, Grand Forks areas to see cleaner winter roads under new contract

YRB set to take over 10-year maintenance contract on Monday

Setting sail to fight kidney disease

Trail’s annual Kidney Walk included an opportunity to raft down the Columbia River

MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read