LETTER: How can we simultaneously nurture life and respect death?

Dear editor,

Why hospitals? Care homes? Seniors' facilities? Hospice?

There is something in this current local discussion about hospitals and care homes and funding sources and compassionate care-giving and hospice and nurturing and respecting human life and inclusion of MAiD that seems to be causing some confusion.

Research on the history of hospitals and their purpose tends to strongly indicate that this sort of service was originated by varied spiritually minded people and as such, treasuring and nurturing life recognized as created by the creator.

At present, doctors and nurses, caregivers and volunteers in hospital facilities have been trained to give care with the aim to assist and treasure and nurture healing in the event of emotional, physical, disease, injury, or incapability as well as recognize a person's spiritual need. Accepting and respecting that there is a time to die which is decided by the creator.

It would make sense that the institutions that provide such intervention would want to be funded from a source of income that is known to coincide with and uphold these core values and on the leading edge of scientific advances in quality, life giving techniques and procedures.

It would also seem to make sense and be respectful of the function and purpose of a hospital/care/hospice facility, that if a person chooses, now legally, to have their life ended under certain conditions and that they are the "master of their fate," that there be a separate facility that is more specifically designed and specialized to have a celebration of life with that person and then end that life as per their wishes and according to government regulations. Otherwise, it is undermining and disrespectful of the core values and purposes of the medical care facilities, patients and medical professionals that are trained and choose to uphold life.

The definition of hospice is "a facility or program designed to provide a caring environment to meet the physical and emotional needs of the terminally ill." (Miriam Webster dictionary)

How then could we as a community of people living in one of the most beautiful spots in the world, nurture life in the appropriate places and respect death in the appropriate places? Mixing the two could prove to be deadly and counterproductive (pun not intended) in our culture of freedom and respect!

Grace Clarke


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