Friday, June 14, 2013

Letter: Mental-health crisis intervention worker would never help to kill

The following letter was published in the Montreal Gazette on June 13.

Letter: As a mental-health crisis intervention worker, I would never ‘help someone die

Re: “Proposal sets out detailed conditions” 
(Gazette, June 13)

It is my understanding that in our province of Quebec and in the North American context, the medical treatment and the level of care to assist the dying in their suffering has never been better. Drugs, multidisciplinary teams and facilities all assist those of us who are in the process of suffering and letting go of our lives. It is hard, suffering is tough ­ no one debates this.

However, it is curious for me to see that today and in this context of high end palliative care, the bill on “medical aid in dying” was proposed in the National Assembly is considered as being a valid option offered by our medical institutions to our most vulnerable people.

As a mental-health crisis intervention worker, I would never “help someone die” even though their suffering is chronic and unbearable. It is not what I do, and it is not what humans do to “care” for one another. My role, our role; is to accompany each other in our suffering ­ not extinguish life. The problem is the suffering and the pain, not the life. Pretty it up all you want: “medical aid in dying” is euthanasia.

Egon De Roth, MSW, PSW

1 comment:

Madellen said...

As a mental health social worker I entirely agree with Egon and thank him for his remarks on this issue. It may become difficult now for conscientious social workers to practice in any clinical setting to which this legislation applies. Emergent social work literature confirms that patients are requesting assisted suicide for many psycho-social reasons that are, in fact, treatable. But physicians are generally not concerned with the social-relational issues in a patient's life world. Non-medical motivating factors therefore are likely to be overlooked in the assessment and decision making process surrounding assisted suicide, just as they have been overlooked by the justice system.

Margaret deMello MSW
British Columbia