Ian Wood: During my 10 years as spokesperson for our group I have read many horror stories of extreme futile suffering inflicted by doctors in a most callous way. However this story of Genevieve McCool dying in a Canadian Catholic hospital must rank among the most horrendous! It was just prior to the Canadian MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying) legislation. Burning at the stake, as in the days of Giordano Bruno, burned to death for ‘heresy’ would have been far more humane!
The following is published with the authorisation of Theresa McCool. Warning: A photo here is graphic and disturbing. Theresa is sharing this story in the hope that it will assist in the passing of VAD legislation in the other states and territories of Australia, and not just be limited to Victoria.
Canada 22 June 2019
My name is Theresa McCool. I live in Canada where MAID (Medical Assistance In Dying) is now legalised. It was not legalised when my Mom died in 2015.
I believe Voluntary Assisted Dying, as it is known in Australia, should be legalised in every country in the world. We are all individuals, we all lead our lives in different ways, we choose different partners, different career paths, choose to have children or not have children, become religious, choose not to be religious. So, when it comes to the point where we do not have any choice, when we can no longer have control over our lives due to the debilitating nature of a terminal illness or an incurable illness, when quality of life disappears and we are left with pain and suffering and a loss of quality of life, then we deserve to have the right to request for assistance to end that pain and suffering.
I share with you the story of my Mom and what happens when the country in which you live does not have legislation and what happens when you find yourself in a Catholic hospital where the hospital’s policies and procedures, based on religious faith, override your basic human rights, deny you the opportunity to end suffering and leave your loved ones and their families, forever traumatised by the circumstances of their suffering and their deaths.
Before my Mom became ill, I worked as a volunteer with VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) for ten years, visiting clients with terminal illnesses, clients who had had surgeries, were at the end of life, receiving Palliative Care, and whose families also needed bereavement support. Many of my “assignments” would last from three weeks to a year. Continue reading