ALS sufferer will need palliative care before choosing MAiD

Editor:

Re: MAiD at Delta Hospice could deny access to palliative care, letter to the editor, March 17

I see Nancy Macey is at it again, trying to justify her own narrow view of palliative care, and at the same time displaying a remarkable lack of understanding about MAiD and the people who might choose to access it.

I have ALS. One day I will have greatly diminished physical functioning, increased pain from muscle spasms and contractions, and difficulty breathing. I will need and want hospice care.

I also know that I want some control over the manner and timing of my death. I will then want and need MAiD.

If I go to the hospital for MAiD, I won’t get the specialty palliative care I need. If I go to the hospice for that amazing specialty care, I don’t get the choice to have some control over my demise. 

Would Macey have me choose MAiD before I really need it just so I won’t take up a hospice bed? I will likely need palliative care for days, weeks or maybe even months before I choose a time for MAiD. The MAiD provision itself will take less than one day.

For those days, weeks, months leading up to my day of death, I will be getting the benefit of hospice care exactly as it was intended. For one day my bed won’t be available because I choose MAiD.

People are not lining up at the door of the hospice to receive MAiD. You can’t book an appointment for MAiD at any hospice as if at a clinic for a “procedure.” People are coming to hospice because they are ill and dying and need palliative care. Some of them might decide, as their quality of life diminishes, that, like me, they want MAiD.

But by denying me, and those people like me, access to hospice because I am at some point considering MAiD, she is also denying us access to the palliative care we need. As Macey says, people who are seeking palliative care have no alternative other than a hospice.

If it was up to Macey, and the current Delta Hospice Society board, I wouldn’t even have that alternative. Thankfully, Fraser Health is stepping in to make sure everyone who needs palliative care in Delta will get it, regardless of their choices related to MAiD.

M. Connolly

© Delta Optimist