Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Earth To The Media: Palliative Care & Euthanasia Are NOT The Same

Here’s a perfect example of how the media don’t do their homework. First we have the standard tragic story of a terminally ill person. Then, that the person has decided to refuse further treatment (an absolute right recognized by all) and enter a hospice (a good thing). But then, palliative care gets mixed up with euthanasia. They’re not the same. Palliative care is making the dying patient comfortable via medication up to and including unconsciousness. Euthanasia is using meds to make someone unconscious in order to kill them (usually by withdrawing nutrition/hydration after they are unconscious.
Special Report: Last Wish
Sean Holland and his partner Robbie are embracing every moment they have left together, knowing the inevitable end is coming soon.
"I have metastatic renal cell carcinoma," said Holland. "This is kidney cancer."
. . ."They could resolve it by putting tubes in me, but that's one of my greatest fears, to be hooked up to a machine and to die that way," said Holland.
Difficult as it is, he is coming to grips with his death, by refusing cancer treatment and moving into the palliative care unit of the Montreal General Hospital.
It's not home, but Holland is comfortable knowing he will be able to sleep through the suffering that will come with his last breath.
"It relieves so much anxiety about it actually happening, about actually dying," said Holland. "I'm not caught worrying about the sort of horrible things that could go awry." more

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