Questioning ethics in Canada

This wide-open decision announced by the Supreme Court removes the safety net for the elderly, persons with disabilities and individuals suffering suicidal ideation to name a few. It will allow coercion and intimidation of those costing the healthcare system money.

What will happen to those doctors and nurses who act or are forced to act on the request of a patient who asks for death? Will they develop PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression? Will some enjoy the power which available in putting a person to death? How much of future life and death issues will simply be based on economics?

Our society has been accused of “death denial,” now it appears that we are enamoured of death. Palliative care can manage suffering and yet it remains a hodge-podge of services across Canada. We have failed Canadians regarding this care specialty by: lack of funding for hospice palliative care; lack of education on excellence in end-of-life care even at the undergraduate level for our multi-disciplinary care providers; lack of specialists in geriatric and palliative care medicine and nursing; lack of appropriate emphasis on the problem of pain and suffering particularly in long term care settings; poor staffing patterns with reliance on unqualified staff instead of registered nurse and registered practical nurse staff.

Jean Echlin R.N. M.S.N.