Dear Family: Don’t Bump Me Off

A brilliant “memo to my children” from Barbara Kay in light of Bill C-384 (via ProWomanProLife [where else?]). (emphases mine)

My dear family,

As I write to you in September 2009, I am still physically healthy. But since I expect to die in Netherlands-wannabee Quebec, let me be perfectly clear about my wishes in the event that euthanasia has been decriminalized by the time I am suffering a terminal illness, or am languishing in what appears to be intractable chronic pain.

I do not want to be bumped off. I can’t state the case more unequivocally than that. I don’t care if I am a “burden” to you (you were once to me, that’s how life works); I don’t care how long it takes me to die, and how inconvenient that is to the medical system; and I don’t care how selfless an example other parents are setting in graciously exiting the world for their dependents’ sake before nature intended.

[…]

My deathbed physician should be familiar with a 2002 John Hopkins University study indicating that although 45% of terminally ill cancer subjects voiced a wish to die (i. e., subjects meeting the standards of Bill C-384), the wish turned out to be transient in all but 8% of the cases. If all 45% had been euthanized, we wouldn’t know that. So even if I say I want to die, take that as a cry for comfort, reassurance or pain relief, which it almost certainly will be.

[…]

Do not fall for any claptrap about what “your mother would have wanted.” Read my lips: Your mother does not want to be made to feel it is her duty to die before nature decrees, so that others may be freed from care and responsibility, a subtle shift that inevitably follows upon an established “right.”

[…]

Intention is all. I want an unequivocal healer-patient dynamic with my doctor. His or her intention should be to kill my pain, not me. Finally, my doctor should be well versed in palliative care techniques, improving all the time.

And now she has thousands of witnesses in National Post (as well as ProWomanProLife and UTSFL) readers. Brilliant.

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4 Comments on “Dear Family: Don’t Bump Me Off

  1. Is it really up to the lawmakers to decide who gets to die and who does not? I think it should be a choice of the patient if they want to die. We can not have our tax dollars going toward prolonging the death of terminally ill patients if they do not want to live any longer anyway.

    • I’m not sure I understand your argument. You don’t need to have euthanasia or assisted suicide to avoid “prolonging the death of terminally ill patients if they do no want to live any longer.”
      That’s what palliative care is for. Palliative care does not attempt to prolong anyone’s life — and a patient always has the right to refuse treatment.
      But neither palliative care nor the refusal of treatment involve killing a patient — that’s a dangerous line to cross.
      This hardly has anything to do with government control over who gets to die, nor with prolonging the death of patients who are dying.

  2. Refusal of treatment now allows for no food and hydration. Should someone feed or offer water to someone “in care” they are accused of interfering with care. This is the standard practise in Saskatchewan and does not allow for the individual to change their minds. In care means the individual is not a person under the law and has no right to change their minds or to refuse anything inflicted upon their persons. THus the police will not attend to a nursing home even if the family member requests they do.
    In one case the individual was over sedated so that speaking (begging for water the night before) was no longer possible. He lived less than 24 hours in this druginduced coma state.

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