LETTER: Euthanasia is a slippery slope

Several times a week I go to Maplewood House to visit my dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Several times a week I go to Maplewood House to visit my dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s sad to watch someone you love deteriorate over the years. But, I’ve always tried to put myself in his shoes and I believe it is important to keep visiting him and tell him we love him. I cherish his smiles. It’s not easy – for him, or for the rest of our family.

But, the sorrow is lightened by the compassion shown by the care aides, nurses, and managers at Maplewood. They feed my dad and take care of his personal care needs. But they do so much more. We sigh together, we laugh together. They walk this journey with me.

I’m troubled by the family of a patient, Margaret Bentley, who are pursuing a lawsuit against Maplewood House. Why? Because they want the care aides to stop feeding her.

I understand this wish was in her living will. But let’s be practical. If she had to be force-fed through a feeding tube, that would be extraordinary measures. But, it’s quite another decision to stop feeding someone who continues to eat when you put a spoon to her mouth. If they quit feeding her, the care aides would feel this is essentially causing a slow death – in other words, murder.

I’m not in favour of changing the compassionate nature of our health care facilities through the courts.

Euthanasia is a slippery slope and I don’t think we should go there. I hope the family loses the lawsuit, not because I don’t understand their sad situation, because I most certainly do, but because the majority of people in Canada still believe it is an act of kindness to tenderly care for patients until they die a natural death. That, to me, is compassion.

Thank you, Maplewood House – for going the second mile caring for our loved ones.

You have many community friends supporting you.

Trudy Beyak, Abbotsford