ST: That is all we have been allowed to know about a young 19 yr old, UK teenager who has spent the last months of her life fighting to live not in some kind of fox hole, but in hospital. Not fighting, her condition, she knew that it was going to shorten her life, not fighting death, it was inevitable given her illness and, again she knew she would meet him earlier than she would have liked. Not the obvious fight at all, but a fight against her medical team who somehow believed that because she had hope of possibly undergoing treatment abroad, that might provide her a little more time with her family, she was delusional! She also did not agree with her medial team on being taken off her current treatment – again as it turns out a fatal mistake, since that team then went to Court for the right to withdraw her treatment!

Can you imagine that because you disagree with your medical team on a course of treatment, you are considered out of your mind? She had been interviewed and found quite capable of understanding her situation and making decisions, but because she did not agree with her medical team, her sanity and capability were challenged. I believe this is an important piece for us to consider this month and I implore you to watch Laurence Fox and his comments which apply to Canada even more than to the UK in my estimation, given the 30,000 or more Canadians who have been killed by physicians under the guise that euthanasia is actually medical care!

I hope that you all realize that MAiD, as it is euphemistically known in Canada is an “exemption” to the Homicide Law. Most of these deaths are conducted by physicians, or health professionals killing patients, at their request. Have you ever stopped and asked yourselves, how abandoned and hopeless a person must feel, not only be so low as to ask to be killed, but to actually listen to someone agreeing that being killed is your best option, must be soul destroying.  I have served the dying and sat at the bedside of six people I loved dearly, and one dear soul I did not know at all, watching the inevitable dance when one finally realizes that death is taking the lead. At first it feels a bit like a Tango, the passion and expression, the lamentation and posturing that goes on in dealing with your own mortality. Then the dance turns into a gentle waltz, death is still leading, but in a different way. It reminds me of when we were little and I stood on my father’s feet while he danced gently showing me the way and carrying me as he moved, while I perched on his feet. We adapt, we accept, we reconcile, we lament, and we hold on, but there is only one dance at the end.

In Canada only 15-30% of us have access to proper Hospice and Palliative Care, a situation that has been bemoaned by Senators, Politicians, Medical professionals, and the public, alike since the Of Life and Death Senate Report of 1995, which stated in its recommendations, that Hospice and Palliative care were to be made a “top priority” in the health care system. Yet there is no will it seems to make it universal health care, and yet there is strong political will to have us killed when we are most vulnerable and that only took a few years to become universal. It does cost way more for the health system to support our life than it does to take it, so why am I surprised? That, I  believe was the crux of the matter in the UK with ST – the cost of caring for her and the apparent waste of such medical ability and technology, when we all know that death could not be kept at bay for ever, so why waste all that money and talent when we cannot prevent the inevitable? So off they went to Court and got a judgment from hell from the last recourse ST had.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, we usually place ST in front of a name when someone is martyred and I believe this young woman was a saint, who loved the life she had and wanted to live it as long as she could, but she needed help. She was martyred on the altar of money, ego, power and prejudice because that altar has no heart, no compassion and no time to waste on lost causes or people. God help us all and please watch the video with Lawrence Fox who uses words more eloquent than I. May St rest in peace and her parents be comforted and may the rest of us wake up before it is too late.

Civilization grows with morality and spirituality and expires without them. Mercy, pity, love and peace.” Winston Churchill