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Focus more on pain control, less on assisted suicide

By: Letter to the Editor

 | Feb 05, 2014 - 2:22 PM |
I remain concerned that hospital physicians are looking more at assisted suicide than appropriate pain and symptom control, as is done in palliative care.

First, individuals have a right, by law, to refuse or to accept treatments or procedures proposed by physicians and health-care professionals.

Second, one should not confuse refusal of treatments with euthanasia or assisted suicide. Killing someone remains illegal in Canada.

Third, clients/patients being diagnosed with any type of diseases should be informed of their diagnosis and provided with options that include the relief of pain and symptoms, especially when facing a terminal illness such as cancer.

Fourth, two of my three specialties are in palliative care, and I have learned through many courses and hours of clinical practice that sick individuals require professional accompaniment under the bio, psycho, socio and spiritual aspects.

It is amazing that basic pain and symptom control is not well mastered by health-care professionals and that assisted suicide becomes a possible option.

Can we educate each other on palliative care and expand our understanding of health care?

Paul-André Gauthier
clinical nurse specialist in palliative care

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