Care-In-Dying: the thoughts of the CHAC

CARE-IN-DYING

The Catholic Health Association of Canada Brief

to the Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
(September 1994)

Executive Summary

A national Christian organization comprising persons committed to the tradition of health care undertaken in imitation of Jesus' healing ministry, the Catholic Health Association of Canada opposes the legalization and practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide on the grounds that they undermine the dignity of the human person by denigrating the dying process and by rejecting the community dimension of the person. We believe that euthanasia and assisted suicide are contrary to the practices of holistic health care, cannot be regulated to prevent abuses and are inconsistent with Canada's reputation as a protector of personal dignity and human rights. As health care providers, we offer an alternative vision to assisted death: care-in-dying.

For patients near death, there is never a point where there is nothing more to be done. If we listen attentively to their needs, we may find that they yearn to see the sunrise, to hear a beloved piece of music, to have a friend nearby. Compassion in this case means meeting these needs, providing comfort and companionship, and helping them to find and experience wholeness of body and spirit and solace in their connectedness to a caring community. These are the components of a good death, of a death with dignity, and these are what we undertake to achieve through care-in-dying.

The Catholic Health Association of Canada urges Canadians to reject aid-in-dying as a solution to the challenges posed by the suffering and terminally ill members of society and instead to adopt policies and practices that promote care-in-dying. By attending to the needs of dying persons among them, Canadians can transform health care. By committing itself to care-in-dying, Canada can provide the world with yet another model to be imitated in the realm of health care.

To read the full CHAC brief, click here.