C H N  Kill the pain, not the patient BMJ Comment by Cheryl Eckstein

 

Kill the pain, not the patient 28 January 2002
 
Cheryl M Eckstein,
CEO, Compassionate Healthcare Network, (CHN)
11563 Bailey Cres., Surrey, BC V3v 2V4

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Re: Kill the pain, not the patient
 

 

I am grateful euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is not legal in Canada. I personally know several people who after serious accidents rendered them disabled; consequently they suffered great physical and emotional pain.

Serious depression, left untreated can cause one to feel "tired of life." It is not uncommon during depression to think about suicide or request assisted suicide. But after coming to terms with illness and disability; and receiving compassionate support and appropriate medical treatment, such feelings are replaced with an renewed appreciation for life.

As a chronic pain/fatigue patient, I have had feelings about being "tired of life." Although those feelings wax and wane, I know it's because I'm tired of the pain and fatigue constantly invading my body. Even on my worst day, I still want to live. Let us kill the pain, not the patient!

I can't help wonder if some physicians are just tired of caring for some of their patients, especially those of us who may be more difficult to deal with. No doubt we can be very difficult at times .. but for some, the difficulty lies when we have trouble coming to terms with chronic illness and disability, especially if we are in denial and more so if our pain is not properly managed. It certainly isn't easy to hear there is no cure for our illness, or that we will be disabled for life.

As far as "stretching the borders of euthanasia too far" -- clearly we learned those boarders were crossed a long time ago. All one has to do is study the Dutch report now commonly known as the REMMELINK COMMISSION, published in 1990.

Physicians should have no part in killing patients. Leave killing to veterinarians, who by majority, abhor putting to death animals who are not suffering or diseased, but simply because they are unwanted or a burden. I will close with a quote from FORCED EXIT, authored by Wesley J. Smith, who quotes Dutch opponent of euthanasia, Dr. K. F. Gunning:

"Once you accept killing as a solution for a single problem, you will find tomorrow hundreds of problems for which killing can be seen as a solution."

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