Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The biggest problem with assisted death - patient safety

Thank goodness the Globe and Mail hasn't completely lost their way. Margaret Wente argues for the important question:
"Is there any place for conscience in medicine?"
She argues that:
"Faith-based institutions are places where you’re most likely to find that elusive promise of “patient-centred care” (the cruellest cliché in medicine, in my view). The culture of an institution is what makes all the difference to the quality of care. Many secular people who work in faith-based institutions are among the biggest opponents of the idea that they must be made to offer medically assisted death. 
The death dogmatists argue that people will suffer terrible hardship if they can’t get assisted death anywhere. They’ll be shipped around like so much freight, until someone takes them in and helps them die. This is rubbish. In fact, patients are transferred all the time for procedures (including assisted death) that aren’t offered where they are. Issues of access are pretty easy to resolve if people of goodwill put their heads together."
But what about people who don't want assisted death? Where can they safely go? If I am dying, and I go to a faith-based institution to die, I can be assured that I won't be killed. I won't ever be assured of that in an institution where assisted death is practiced:
"Dr. Leung told me that at a recent conference on palliative care, people had already begun talking about when it might be appropriate to introduce the idea of medically assisted death to patients who might be eligible. In his view this is the slipperiest of slopes. “I’ve seen so many seniors in hospitals,” he says. “They’re alone, they’re frightened, and they don’t know what their doctors are doing. We need to keep safe spaces for them.”
Having volunteered in a nursing home, I see this as a big concern. There are residents in these homes who are incapable of advocating for themselves, and many have no one else to advocate for them either. How do we protect them? We can't.

Residing in an institution where assisted death is not practiced, they will be safe. If these places do not exist, who can be safe?

1 comment:

  1. Another concern is the medical personnel who will be pressured (or perhaps even mandated) to offer assisted dying, or to refer to someone who will. Who will protect their right to say no? Under this present government, it remains to be seen if they will have any rights.