The push is on in Canada to normalize euthanasia as the best way to die — to save money and emotional turmoil. How hard is the push? Reader’s Digest Canada — no less — has published a guide to end-of-life planning that pushes euthanasia and doesn’t even mention hospice.
The guide advises readers to “pick the right time” to die, i.e., be euthanized — euphemistically known as “medical assistance in dying” (MAID). From “The Ultimate Guide to End of Life Planning”:
A scheduled death can allow people to say goodbye in the way they want. According to Helen Long, a MAID is often like a celebration of life—except the guest of honour gets to be there. “A friend of my dad had a classic car, and he and his son went for one last drive around the neighbourhood,” she says. “Once a person makes a decision, it’s often a very freeing experience for them. It gives them back their control.”
The allusion is to “the guest of honour” is to euthanasia parties, where people attend to say goodbye and watch the patient be killed or — as happens in the U.S.A. — take poison pills. In my view, people who attend such gatherings validate suicide and are morally complicit in the death.
Suicide prevention? Ha! What’s that?
Meanwhile, the guide is notable for what it leaves out. As mentioned above, there is no discussion of the compassionate services available to terminally ill people and their families from hospice, such as pain control, chaplaincy, volunteers, home-care givers, and the like.
Nor is there any discussion about how to access pain and symptom control. Nor of how to overcome the existential fear and anxieties — such as worries about being a burden — that are the primary cause of people asking doctors to kill them, but which can be significantly ameliorated with the proper interventions.
When the Reader’s Digest Canada boosts killing — and gives extremely short shrift to caring — and indeed, leaves out the most important information fearful terminally ill patients and their families need to make proper decisions, you know the culture of death has gone mainstream.
Shame on the Reader’s Digest Canada.