The empty rhetoric of ‘compassion’

Serena Jones is a New Zealand mother and business woman who is living with terminal cancer. She has spoken up about her very personal experience of care as she navigates the medical system through the course of her illness.

And in no uncertain terms, she is calling out the empty rhetoric of pro-euthanasia advocates and their claims that euthanasia provides ‘compassion’ to dying patients.

Her own experience of being told there was no cure for her cancer put her in touch with the reality of her own death. She notes the reticence of most people to speak about unexpected or early death, “as if it’s either too delicate to speak about or not worthy of attention.” The challenge of an early or unexpected death confronted her with a ‘distinct lack of control’ that left her wanting to fight and take action.  She decided however to face things ‘square on’ and face her fears in life.

She then goes on to describe the relationship she has developed with the various medical professionals in her life:

“The care from my doctors is palpable at every turn – in their words and gestures, language and phrasing, in the messages they give me carefully and consistently. I have in them and with them an implicit trust and respect. This has grown over these two years into treasure for me, as precious as the golden egg from the golden goose.”

Ms Jones notes that New Zealanders are in a privileged position being ranked third in the world only after the UK and Australia in terms of being world leaders in palliative care.

“True care is an active and open-ended embrace. It’s a human interaction that, if it truly supports the individual, runs beyond individual care professionals and the community of carers to the nation. I experience pain – physical, emotional, all sorts and depths of it – and I’m lucky to have around me professionals and others, concerned and qualified to help me manage each of these.”

This is in sharp contrast with what the euthanasia lobby is offering – the supposed ‘compassion’, which involves no commitment to exploring the reasons behind a request to take one’s own life or to assist with managing the complex facets of suffering that can occur at the end of life, including physical, emotional and spiritual.  Instead, it offers no more than a lethal injection.

“Compassion is not the same as professional care. It may be easier to express compassion than to take the trouble to ask, listen and understand. It may be that this ‘compassion’ is a short cut or an exit, enabling the ‘compassionate’ to avoid understanding and participating in the actual requirements of care.”

We know that euthanasia is the short cut solution, the easy exit, the cheaper way out for governments and euthanasia doctors.

As Ms Jones states at the conclusion of her article:

“Euthanasia is an avoidance of this commitment [to care].”