Thursday, March 10, 2016

Killing isn’t the solution

The following letter was published by the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on March 8, 2016.
I feel entitled and compelled to express my opinion on legalizing doctors killing their patients, currently referred to as euthanasia and assisted suicide.
My husband of 46 years died six months ago of ALS. He was diagnosed a year earlier. We could never have imagined this terminal diagnosis at age 64. 
We were so grateful to live in a province that facilitated my being able to care for Lorne at home until he died. If you contributed financially to the ALS ice bucket challenge, you helped us. Thank you. The provincial society provided or facilitated all that was needed and more. 
I don’t think any of us know today what quality of life we will accept if ever we face the diagnosis of a terminal illness.

Lorne’s quality of life went way beyond “enduring.” He embraced every moment until the end. He died at home in my arms. Although he didn’t have a voice for several months, he communicated clearly in a variety of ways until his death. He participated in day-to-day decisions, even on a board that he served, before his death. 
We need answers to questions regarding diseases such as ALS, such as why did Lorne live for only 12 months with ALS while Stephen Hawking has lived for 50? We need to strive to provide the support needed by those on this end of life journey. 
Killing should never be our answer to those facing these life challenges. We need to think carefully before we “go along” with the crowd. With the cost of health care, the aging demographic and today’s quick fix attitude, who will be next?
Bernadette Mysko, Warman

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