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Recently the Canadian Senate introduced Bill S-225. This is an extremely dangerous bill that aims to legalize Euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition published a critique of Bill S-225. The following is a link to their critique:
As Canadian citizens and more importantly as people of faith we have a duty and an obligation to speak out against this horrible reality. If euthanasia becomes a reality it will be extremely hard if not impossible to get the law reversed. Please contact the Canadian Senators and our Members of Parliament today to voice your opinion. You can contact any Senator or Member of Parliament for free (no stamp required) by mailing them a letter in the following manner:
The following article was written by Tim Runstedler, our worthy Financial Secretary, for the Spring Newsletter for the KW Right to Life, and has been reprinted here.
Realizing that the political situation in Germany was not going to get any better under the Nazi regime, Ludwig Guttmann, a German born Jewish doctor, and his family emigrated to England in 1939. At the time Dr. Guttmann was a well respected and world renowned doctor of neurology. In 1944, Dr. Guttmann was asked to run a Spinal Injuries Unit at a Ministry of Pensions hospital in Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Dr. Guttmann agreed, provided he was given complete authority of the unit and was allowed to treat patients as he saw fit. Up until this point, a person who suffered a spinal cord injury carried a death sentence. The normal practice was to put the patient into a body cast and with little else that could be done the patient died a slow agonizing death as a result of infection.
The first patients that were treated at Stoke Mandeville were British soldiers that had suffered severe injuries from fighting in World War II. These were young men that before the war had hopes and dreams with their whole lives ahead of them. As a result of the war, their dreams were shattered and they had given up all hope of living any kind of fruitful life or a life worth living. These men asked and pleaded with Dr. Ludwig to end their suffering and simply put an end to their misery, but Dr. Guttmann had other ideas. Not only did Dr. Ludwig Guttmann give paraplegics a second chance at life, he also set the standards and showed the world what palliative care was all about.
Dr. Ludwig treated each of those soldiers as people who had unique gifts, interests and families that cared for them, rather than patient number whatever in need of care. He realized that the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries was not just physical, but mental as well. It was essential to care for the whole person. Writing about the care of paraplegics, Dr Guttmann observed that,
The sudden conversion of a vigorous man into a helpless cripple naturally tends to severe psychological shock and reactive depression. From the beginning, the patient’s mental condition needs careful attention and treatment to prevent anxiety or resentment, which lead to apathy and inactivity.
In dealing with these mental disorders, the creation of a cheerful atmosphere and high moral in the ward is of vital importance. The whole unit must be impregnated with enthusiasm, and this inspires the patient to cooperate to the full. “New Hope for Spinal Cord Sufferers.” Paraplegia 17 (1979):6-15.
In order to bring meaning and excitement into the lives of his patients, and to help with rehabilitation, Dr. Guttmann used sports. Sports were fundamental in the physical, psychological, and social rehabilitation of those who had spinal cord injuries. After some time, Dr. Guttmann held small competitions for the patients. As word got around and individuals from other countries got involved these small competitions evolved into the Paralympics, which now has over 4,200 participants from over 165 countries.
There is an obvious difference between those who are dealing with end of life issues and the patients that Dr. Ludwig Guttmann was dealing with; however the principals remain the same. People who are facing death are not just in need of physical care, they are in need of psychological, social, and spiritual care as well. The answer to euthanasia is not granting a dying person’s last wish, but rather to take that journey with them. The kind of care that Dr. Ludwig Guttmann gave his patients is what the World Health Organization defines as palliative care, which is “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” Proper palliative care can ease a person’s pain, but still allow them to take advantage of the few moments he or she may have left with family and friends.
Euthanasia was a topic of debate before and during World War Two. Hitler believed that it was for the “good of the Fatherland” to kill undesirables because they were a burden to society and on national resources. It was called “mercy killing” back then as well. Dr. Guttmann worked with patients that at the time were considered hopeless cases, but regardless of the diagnosis Dr. Guttmann took the time to give them best care possible; for some patients that meant giving them a new chance at life and unfortunately for others that meant making their last moments on earth as peaceful as possible. This is true health care! Right now our Canadian Senate is preparing to debate whether or not euthanasia should be legalized in this country. It is our job to take a stand like Dr. Ludwig Guttmann and make sure that our health care remains just that, “Health Care”.
Name of senator
The Senate of Canada
For a list of our current Senators
Name of Member of Parliament
House of Commons
For a List of our current Members of Parliament