Friday, January 8, 2021

Alex Schadenberg. In support of the Delta Hospice Society.

Comments by Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in support of the Delta Hospice Society.

The situation with the Delta Hospice Society is a problem.

When Canada legalized euthanasia in June 2016, nothing in the law required every publicly funded medical facility to provide (MAiD) euthanasia and assisted suicide. It was the (British Columbia) BC government that established this policy. This policy does not exist throughout Canada.

I very clearly see that the BC government policy discriminates against people that want to be cared for in a euthanasia-free environment.

For instance, the Delta Hospice operates the Irene Thomas hospice which is located literally across the street from the local hospital. So this isn't an issue of denying people the legal option, or anything like that, this is a situation where they (BC government) is pressuring or forcing every institution to do as their policy dictates.

People who want to receive excellent care and die a natural death, without fear of being urged to consider euthanasia have been able to go to the Delta Hospice Society, Irene Thomas hospice. But after February 24, there will be no safe space in the Delta Hospice region. It will be gone.

I want to tell you also, that as the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition we have received many phone calls from people who are concerned when they are receiving medical care or a family member is receiving medical care, and they have said my mother, my brother, my friend, felt pressured to ask for euthanasia. So if your thinking that this is something that doesn't happen, that fact is this has been happening. Many people are concerned about his pressure upon them, especially in their time of need.

We must also consider the fact that we are human. What makes us human is the fact that we have emotions, that we are effected by our situation. So therefore I have a great concern for people who oppose euthanasia but at their time of need sometimes they become very depressed, they are human. They experience deep transient feelings of hopelessness or despair and they might request euthanasia, not because they are seeking it, but because they have become so darkened, they have gone to this dark place in their life. This is what some people experience.

We need a safe place to die. I need a safe place to die.

This concern recognizes the humanity of the person because we all experience these times, to different degrees, when we feel that our life lacks purpose, our life lacks value or meaning, and yet we know that time and good community care, like the Delta Hospice can provide, that we can die a natural death, properly cared for.

So we need safe places. This is what we need. We need places like the Delta Hospice Society.

The Delta Hospice Society is worth fighting for, and what the BC government is doing is discrimination.


Peter said...

Received at a moment when I was thanking God for the outcome of the vote on "Assisted Dying" in the UK Parliament on Friday 11th September 2015

Let it be a lesson to you - when the faithful few pray. What seems impossible or improbable becomes possible.

geardoid said...

I couldn't agree with you more Alex. My own aged mother was in hospital twice last year, once with blocked stools from too little hydration, and in the peak of her discomfort she was visited on both occasions with an orderly whose job is to get consent for MAiD . They spoke as if it's the common thing and even expected for a very old person who's already lived a good life, given the limits on health resources. They sit or stand by the bed with clipboard and pen half extended to the patient as a body-language signal that this is the expected matter of course. When both times my mother refused and asked for all due care to any natural end, the response was very evident disdain and a huffy attitude. In fact on one of these occasions a different orderly came back later and presented the case all over. This is the untold quiet oppression that's going on, and explains the dramatic surge in euthanizing in Canada. That line about 'limited resources' plays even more emotionally during covid, and the patient often doesn't realize that being already in the hospital means the ward has a duty of care. But then the savvy, reticent patient is often left for long times without due care.

gordon friesen said...

Dear Alex,

As I have mentioned to you once or twice in private conversation : I believe that this situation will provoke an all new phase of anti-euthanasia advocacy.

It is now time to organize as consumers who are simply being denied access to a service that we wish to buy.

I won't go into the services we can buy. It is a long and sometimes grotesque list.

On the one side, you will have the government saying that only they can provide healthcare, and that euthanasia friendly care is all that they intend to offer.

On the other side, you will have patients and families who know exactly what the want, and exactly why they want it. Who understand, for instance, that care teams who have been groomed to consider euthanasia as normal and, in fact, preferable, cannot provide the required conviction in caring for people who just will not consent to die.

These people will ask why they can not buy this service.

These people will invest in and build the required facilities.

These people will, eventually, engage in a certain level of civil disobedience in defiance of current healthcare delivery

Henry Morgentaler, went this route with abortion services. And he won.

We have to mobilize the same kind of energy around the idea of a good death (as we define that term). We will have the advantage that nearly no one (statistically) would deliberately choose a euthanasia factory over the sort hospitals and hospices that you and I imagine. All we need to do is provide a choice.

This, I believe in all confidence is a dispute that we are heavily favored to win. But only, if we create the institutions ourselves (because just nicely asking other people to do things, they do not want to do, has NEVER been a winning proposition.)

I actually think this is a bright new day.


Gordon Friesen, Montreal

Audrey said...

I believe there is a groundswell beginning to speak out against the "slippery slope" of the current attitudes and laws re: euthanasia. I am in this for the long haul.