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Letters: Differing views on hospice situation

I am still unclear of the deeply anti-MAiD position of this board
delta hospice update


Re: Letter from Nancy Macey (Printed on-line in the Optimist)

In your letter to the Optimist, you imply that the medical professionals, who provide MAiD are not skilled or experts. I agree with you that the nurses and staff I met last month at Irene Thomas Hospice were highly skilled. Palliative care and MAiD should not be an "either/or", but rather a more inclusive and both can co-exist within the same facility. I don't think we have to reduce or deny either position or vilify any practitioner who provides care to patients. We can and should be able to coexist, without denying each other. How people live and die is always political.

In trying not to simplify complexities about how we live with and care for each other, I have been researching and reading published, peer reviewed articles about the philosophy of palliative hospice care. I understand that a commonly held view is that “euthanasia”/MAiD and palliative care are currently at odds, within parts of the world. Within Canada, The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA), states on their website that the “role that hospice palliative care plays in relation to MAiD has not been defined and is therefore unclear” and “Patients with life threatening conditions have a right to high quality hospice palliative care regardless of their end of life choice, including MAiD.” Within Canada, we are in the process of defining what this means. It should be an opportunity to learn with open-minds and compassion in order to widen our understanding of each other and our differing positions.

I am still unclear of the deeply anti-MAiD position of this board. I can understand if it was out of concern for patients in light of the history of Canadian institutions and the horrific examples of forced medical procedures under the guise of care. I would understand if that was the objection, but would argue that MAiD is not in the category with past forced medical procedures. I can also understand the "slippery slope" argument. However, I am unclear if this is a concern for you and the current board. Having recently seen my father die shortly after a much needed dose of hydromorphone in his system, I honestly ask, what is the difference between palliative sedation and MAiD? And why is this difference a reason for the board to willingly cause anguish and pain to the families they are purported to help?

You and I clearly have differing perspectives. It is precisely this difference of perspective that should be valued in a community that wants to learn, grieve and support each other with open-minds. I do not need to convince you of my position and I don't think you should have to convince me of yours, we both have our beliefs and values. I have hope in the possibility that our differing ideas on how a life might come to an end can be harmonious. How a person chooses to live their last days, while being provided quality palliative hospice care, should not be so polarizing. I hope that the energy and money currently put into fighting the FHA could be put to a more positive pursuit like providing more quality palliative care for everyone, not less.

Allison Hardy