Re: Letters: we should first focus on how we can optimize the palliative care experience (Optimist online).
I respect the opinion of Alex Muir and understand he is passionate about medical assistance in dying (MAiD). Muir is co-chair of the Vancouver Chapter of Dying with Dignity Canada (DWDC) and is a strong lobbyist for MAiD to be delivered everywhere. No other medical procedure is offered in every medical facility in B.C. or Canada, so it is curious why DWDC believes euthanasia is different.
DWDC has taken the liberty to align itself with delivery of palliative care, using terms like dying with dignity and speaking about palliative care and MAiD as mutually compatible. The MAiD advocates compare a medical procedure to end a person’s life to a program that supports the living with skilled and expert medical teams. The program includes a holistic approach to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of patients living with illness and living with dying.
Sadly, if MAiD continues to encroach on palliative care resources, the access to palliative care for those who seek it will be diminished. With reduced access to symptom management because of limited resources, people may choose to end their lives earlier because of untreated symptoms.
Palliative care can extend the quality of life for months and even years, still maintaining control, dignity and meaning in one’s life. No, improving quality of life in my mind is not the same as ending a life by lethal dose of medication.
Nancy Macey/Delta Hospice Society Founder and Former Executive Director