Hospice patients should have option of assisted death

Re: “Transplants and assisted dying: A family’s story,” comment, March 27.

First off, my heartfelt thoughts go out to the family of Kirsten Fowler.

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I expected a flurry of comments on their opinion piece but days have passed and there are none. At the very least, the public needs reassurance their experience is not typical in any way.

I am concerned with the statement that staff were “doing their job following existing protocol.” I hope this is not the case. It is not my intention to question the quality of care received by this unfortunate patient.

Let’s learn and look forward.

In the recent committee hearings in Ottawa, several hospice representatives stated more access to palliative care would greatly reduce or eliminate any need for physician-assisted death. They hold to their mission “to neither hasten death nor prolong life.” I disagree.

As of June 6, having a physician-assisted death will be a right of qualifying patients. Maybe it’s time hospice revisits their mission statement or risk denying their patients a Charter right.

The promise of hospice is assuring the patient’s comfort during the dying process. Once admitted, the patient’s choice is limited. They can’t decide to go elsewhere if they don’t like the protocol.

Hospice needs to offer assisted dying as one option for qualified patients who decide at some point they have had enough and just want to die. This is their right, regardless of institution.

Let’s hope no one thinks the experience of this family is typical or common.

Jeffrey Brooks

Pet Therapy Palliative Care Volunteer

Victoria

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