How Do You Prepare for Death?

Meet Heather Meyerend, a hospice nurse who works in South Brooklyn. As such, Heather addresses people’s physical, emotional, psychological and spritual needs when they are most vulnerable.

She sees her work as preparing a patient for the voyage he is about to take, and accompanying him partway down the road. She, like most hospice workers, feels that it is a privilege to spend time with the dying, to be allowed into a person’s life and a family’s life when they are at their rawest and most vulnerable, and when they most need help. Some hospice workers believe that working with the dying is the closest you can get on earth to the presence of God.

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A Historic Day in Canada?

The long-awaited and much-debated doctor-assisted-dying Bill C-14 was tabled in Parliament today. According to the bill, individuals who are “suffering intolerably” and whose death is “reasonably foreseeable” will be able to access doctor-assisted death, but “mature minors” and the mentally ill will not. In addition, advance consent for individuals with degenerative disorders, including dementia and Alzheimers, will be disallowed.

Not surprisingly, there are many people who feel that this legislation is far too restrictive and limiting. However, according to Jane Philpott, Canada’s Health Minister, “We believe this legislation is the best approach to ensure that dying patients who are suffering unbearable pain have the choice for a peaceful death and the vulnerable are protected.” What are your thoughts?

Click here to read more about what some see to be a “historic day.”

Even in Death There is Inequality

Death is often seen as the great equalizer. However, according to  Sunita Puri, this is not the case.  Drawing from her experience as a palliative physician, Puri describes how inequalities are often present throughout an individual’s life, even when they are dying.  Unfortunately, such inequalities can make such things as end-of-life care less than ideal.  As Puri states, “We need to provide all patients – not only those who enjoy socioeconomic stability – with the comfort and dignity they deserve at life’s end, regardless of the inequalities that have shaped their lives.”  Read the full article here.

First Physician Assisted Death

According to a spokesperson for the authority that oversees health care in the Quebec City region, a Quebec City patient is the first to die legally of physician assisted death. However, given the lack of transparency and the privacy issues involved, other physician assisted deaths may have occurred since the Dying with Dignity law was passed on December 10, 2015.