Saturday, June 15, 2013

Killing is not Caring, Letters to the National Post.

The National Post printed several excellent letters to the editor explaining why Quebec is wrong to decriminalize euthanasia. It is also very wrong that the Quebec government is defining euthanasia as a part of palliative care and as a medical act. Killing is not Caring.

The following letters were published in the June 14 edition of the national post and each offers a different angle on the issue of euthanasia.

I wish express my great concern regarding the bill tabled in the Quebec National Assembly concerning the legalization of euthanasia in that province. Being of Dutch heritage — my parents emigrated from Holland in 1949 — I have followed the euthanasia trend in that country since it was legalized. There is clear evidence that what begins as an issue for only those few people who request that they be killed, soon develops into an abusive system where people with disabilities, people living with depression, the elderly and even children are put to death, some without their consent. The path that Quebec is taking in legalizing euthanasia is very dangerous for society’s most vulnerable.
Joanna Simpson, West Lorne, Ontario
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Now that Quebec has tabled a bill to legalize euthanasia, it must be said that under such law, society will fail to defend the most vulnerable and the doctor becomes a death dealer instead of a healer. A 2009 UN report found that, in Holland, a physician could euthanize a patient without any independent review to guarantee that the decision was not the subject of undue influence, and, though a second doctor had to give an opinion, even that could be obtained from a telephone hotline.
I am deeply disturbed by those who overlook the failure of this experiment in other countries. Why do they coldly dismiss all those hundreds of people who have been euthanized without their consent? Are they just collateral damage? Canada rightly forbade capital punishment, due to the fact that no system can guarantee that no one will be killed by mistake. We have the freedom to make choices, but those choices should not endanger the lives of others, especially the defenceless.
Dr Rene Leiva, Ottawa Ontario.

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Those who enter the medical professions are, for the most part, caring individuals. To have them involved in killing their patients goes against the basic reason for medicine — to heal the sick.
How soon will the “right to die” become the “duty to die”? Elder abuse is bad enough today, without fortifying it under the guise of those euphemistic words, such as “caring” and “dignity.” Whatever safeguards are devised by the legislators will be circumvented. Surely, the situation in the Netherlands, where anyone over the age of 65 is afraid to go to hospital for anything minor, is proof that these warnings are valid.
But it is not only the elderly who are at risk under this proposed legislation. The disabled, those living with depression and anyone dependent on medical care will be left vulnerable. Perhaps someone in one of these categories does not wish to die. Will he receive the standard of care to which he is entitled? Or would some of the staff resent having to care for him when he could be killed, thus freeing a bed for someone higher on our scale of desirable people?
Resources would be better used to develop pain management tools and improve palliative care. It may be easier to get rid of the problem by killing the patient. But the easiest solution is seldom the right one.
Joyce Pringle, Oxford Station, Ontario
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I understand it is very likely that the Quebec government will soon introduce a bill to legalize euthanasia. I strongly oppose this because it would lead to the abuse of the depressed, elderly or disadvantaged, stripping them of the dignity they deserve.
The decision to terminate a life is generally proposed by people who may be depressed or desperate. I’ve heard of people who contemplated suicide because of terminal illness and later realized that their lives where worth living.
Prohibiting euthanasia is an effective way to prevent elder abuse and the abuse of people with disabilities. Euthanasia is a form of homicide. It is not health care, as killing is not caring.
Ana Clarridge, Burlington, Ontario
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I was privileged to help care for my father during his long physical decline. Human dignity is wounded by helplessness, hurt, neglect and loneliness. But every time a sick or dying person is helped, comforted, cleaned, fed, every time he or she converses, is consoled, prays with family or deals with pain through real medical care and the emotional support of loved ones, dignity is protected.
Killing the patient, as Quebec now proposes to do, is the final act in a long story of neglect. It is the ultimate admission of defeat. We should have the courage to question our whole social project and remake it, rather than take this final step into darkness.
John Kane, Gatineau, Que.

1 comment:

Ironsides said...

I'm really glad to see really good points being published in the Gazette and National Post.

Although my Letter to the Editors didn't get published, I sent them anyway, and later posted them in the comments sections.

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