The Right to Die is a hot topic in Canada right now – brought forward by Member of Parliament Steven Fletcher, who is a quadriplegic as a result of an accident. He is proposing that under certain circumstances, and with statutory requirements in place, doctor may be allowed to help people end their lives if that is their desire.
Here’s what I think:
In Toronto in 2006, a man in a car attacked a police officer who was mounted on his horse and injured both of them. Now this was no mere horse – Brigadier was star. This is how the press covered what happened:
“A Toronto police horse killed in the line of duty last month was given a hero’s send-off at a memorial on Monday that drew 1,000 people, according to police estimates.”
Now you will notice that is says the horse was “killed in the line of duty”. But this is not true. He was horrifically injured in line of duty, and as we treat our animals far better than our family members, he was mercifully shot.
It’s all well and good to say that there are drugs available that can manage the pain and suffering for those with life threatening or terminal diseases. It just isn’t true. Sometimes the pain can’t be managed and it’s horrible for the patient, his family and his caregivers.
People should have the choice to end their life when they choose. Nobody can make that choice for them – and the ‘slippery slope’ that people talk about can surely be managed through review boards, or procedures that protect everyone involved.
Have you ever watched someone drown in their own fluids in their own bed? I have. And felt so clearly that if my cat or dog was in such pain and fear I would not allow it to continue. Yet still people want them to carry on. I fear we are on the wrong side of history here – that our grandchildren will look on this practice in horror.