Euthanasia is not something one turns to

Here's what I experienced with family or friends at end of life. Euthanasia was not something one turned to, but instead, at the end, to be with family and loved ones.

My mother-in-law died of cancer fifteen years ago in Toronto in a hospital. She suffered very much due to the cancer. Near her end, she experienced a tremendous burning sensation going through her and began throwing up feces. Her thoughts (up to the end) were of her two sons (one (not married) lived in Toronto and my husband who was hurrying from Montreal to be with her) of me and the grandchildren. She was given morphine and ice to sooth the fire inside her. She died in my arms. This meant a great deal to me because I considered her my mother (since my mother did not live in Canada) and when we were alone together, that was when she died.

My daughter-in-law's grandmother died a couple of days after Thanksgiving last year in Longueil. My daughter-in-law suffered an abusive upbringing which only ended when her grandmother got to know the situation and cared for her. Last year, this wonderful lady who was now in her mid 70's, had been paralyzed for fifteen years, suffered from Alzheimer's, was healing from a previous fall, fell out of bed and broke a large percentage of the bones in her body. As it was described to me, this fall had rendered her body like a bag of jello. This time there was no hope of healing. She remained in the Home for the elderly. She was given morphine. Breathing and every move she made was excruciating and unfortunately, the nurses did not come regularly to administer morphine, which left the grandmother in agony screaming and my daughter-in-law ran from one floor to another looking for nurses to give the morphine to her grandmother. The grandmother refused to give up even though she screamed for death in those moments. She fought to stay alive because she did not want her granddaughter to feel abandoned by her grandmother and she told my daughter-in-law that she would never abandon her. They also had the time to mend any disagreements. Following her grandmother's death, my daughter-in-law is able to reach out to others in a better way. Had quality care been available, the grandmother would not have suffered at the end of her life.

Before I knew my daughter-in-law, she had a situation which left her in a coma. Her mother asked the doctor to pull the plug on her daughter. At that time it was illegal for doctors to do so and they told her they would not do so. My daughter-in-law was in a coma for three months.

I am extremely opposed to euthanasia ('assisted suicide', 'medical aid in dying') under ANY circumstances. I strongly believe that life must be respected from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. I recommend that our government provide province-wide funding for extended palliative care, allowing everyone to die with dignity..

Respectfully, Agnes Gucciardo