NRL News

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s “Carter” case will include many sad experiences

by | Oct 7, 2011

By Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

The Associated Press wrote an article concerning the affidavit from Susan Bracken, a woman from Barrie, Ontario, submitted as evidence to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s “Carter” case that will begin to be heard on November 14, 2011.

The case is an attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide through the court. There have been several very upsetting stories that have been submitted to the court as evidence that euthanasia and assisted suicide should be legalized to allow people to die a “dignified death.”

I have read Susan Bracken’s, story concerning the death of her husband, and my heart is torn by it, but I fail to understand how her story is a good reason to legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The question to me is why did her husband need to suffer in this manner? There are many things that are being done to enable a comfortable death, without intentionally causing that person’s death. Excellent end-of-life care exists, but it needs to be more readily available.

The concept of giving a physician or medical care-giver the right to lethally inject or provide a lethal dose to a person to supposedly eliminate suffering is confusing when we further learn how it is often a lack of training or the neglect of the medical care-giver that led to the uncontrolled suffering in the first place.

Bracken also writes about the concerns that she, and others have, related to the aging population.

I share her concern with how we care for people who live with chronic conditions, elderly dependent people and people with disabilities. There is a growing prevalence of elder abuse and abuse of the vulnerable within our society. Governments are taking action to mitigate the scourge of elder abuse but the abuse of the elderly and other vulnerable people is related to societal attitudes. These are the same societal attitudes that lead to the abuse that will occur if doctors, and others, are given the right to intentionally cause death.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition believes in the importance of societal change and improvement. We are looking forward to the November 2011 release of the report from the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassion Care. This all-party parliamentary report is written in response to consultations from leaders and people from across Canada. The report will reportedly make recommendations concerning the effective changes that relate to the concerns that Susan Bracken is expressing with respect to the death of her husband and the type of deaths that we will all experience in the future.

We need to provide the necessary care. We do not need to give physicians, and possibly others, the right to cause our deaths.

Editor’s note. Alex Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. This post appeared on his blog.