Lying by Pretending Hospice Doesn’t Exist

I once complained to my wife about how frustrated I was that euthanasia activists lie. She replied that if they are willing to kill, they are certainly going to be willing to lie.

I thought of that nugget of wisdom reading a column in The Guardian by Bronnie Ware, a  pro euthanasia palliative nurse who lies by omission (or is inexcusably ignorant of hospice)–another frequent tactic in assisted suicide advocacy. From, “I Regret the Way We Are Dying:”

Many were initially terrified of dying or would spend some time in denial of what was to come. As their suffering increased however, even those in denial came not only to accept their inevitable passing, but to wish for it. I cannot count the amount of times I heard, “I just wish I could die”.

Having witnessed many different deaths, there is no doubt that the physical suffering of a dying person is cruel and unnecessary. If someone allows their pet to suffer that much, it is called animal cruelty. Yet, we allow our fellow humans, people with the ability to clearly express their desire to die, to continue to suffer.

It is shameful that Ware leaves the impression that nothing can be done in these situations other than let these patient who just “want to die” to suffer on with out intervention or just give morphine and wait. But that is flatly not true.

Hospice experts–again not the same thing as a palliative nurse–know that the “I want to die now” problem is often treatable and can generally be ameliorated. They do it all the time.

They also know that a request for suicide can be a statement that something more needs to be done. Thus an essential aspect of hospice–almost as important as symptom control–can be suicide prevention.

As a hospice volunteer I have seen such interventions in action. I have seen the “I want to die now” wail change to “I wouldn’t have missed this time for anything!” Indeed, that is almost a hospice cliche.

And this paragraph really reveals the core mendacity of her piece!

Dying is not only a physical experience, but also an emotional one. So rather than finding solutions only through intellect, we need to consider the feelings of those who are dying.

With the subject of death so taboo in our society, it is heartbreaking to see the isolation that a patient experiences when having to deal with the emotions associated with their approaching passing. This is why the idea for end-of-life midwives makes so much sense.

But hospice is precisely about ensuring that patients don’t die in isolation. Good grief.

The founder of hospice, the great medical humanitarian Dame Cecily Saunders, was adamantly opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia. She told me that facilitating killing denies the intrinsic dignity of the dying patient. (It should also be noted that some “dying” patients don’t and get kicked out of hospice. I have seen that too).

The harm that misleading articles such as Ware’s cause–by killing hope–will never be measured. But there is hope. Even in the most dire circumstances as life comes to a close.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More