Debate on legalizing euthanasia is on the table in Quebec, where the Federation of Medical Specialists supports changes to legislation. Meanwhile, government officials like Sharon Carstairs (Liberal senator for Manitoba), and health professionals like Dr. Edwin Hui (professor of clinical medical ethics at the University of Hong Kong and contributor to The Complete Guide to Everyday Christianity) insist good palliative care – which sees to the needs of patients and their families – effectively eliminates the need for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. Unfortunately, many people are either unaware of palliative medicine, or confused about the parameters of withdrawing or forgoing medical treatment.
This month’s Herald focuses on two tools that help the church fulfill its mandate to care for and dignify the sick: palliative care – which focuses particularly on the needs of the terminally ill, and parish nursing – which tends to all ages and degrees of health within a congregation. We trust that what you read will not only be informative, but encouraging and comforting as well.