Palliative care is about ameliorating suffering and respecting the lives of each patient. It isn’t a synonym for assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Or to put it another way, hospice and palliative care are about living. Euthanasia/assisted suicide are about killing.
Indeed, when I interviewed the great medical humanitarian, Dame Cecily Saunders–founder of the modern hospice movement–she told me that assisted suicide was wholly incompatible with hospice because it denies the intrinsic equal dignity of every patient. Amen to that.
But once the culture of death takes poisonous root, it poisons all it touches–and particularly targets hospice and palliative care, which are its mirror opposite.
That’s why I am not surprised–infuriated, but not surprised–that Quebec’s Minister of Health is ordering palliative care docs in a hospital to kill legally qualified patients who ask for euthanasia. From the Global News story:
Health minister Gaétan Barrette is taking the MUHC to task for denying doctor-assisted death to patients in palliative care.
Barrette said he recently learned the hospital requires patients to transfer out of the palliative care department in order to follow through with doctor-assisted dying procedures. They are also required to have been patients for at least 18 months prior to the move.
Barette called this practice “totally illegal” because a hospital cannot decide which departments will or will not offer medical aid to die.