The MARGARET BENTLEY STORY

 

On June 14, 2015 on CBC Radio, the host stated: “The devil is in the details” and this phrase got my attention, so I listened on.  The content was not about the politics of earth religions – getting rid of the Old Testament, raising up Marcion’s views or finding fault with the RC Pope; the topic presented was entitled: “IN the PRESENCE of a SPOON.”

This is the gist of a true story, the pure angst and medical moral dilemma of Margaret Bentley.  Margaret is an 83 year old, retired nurse who is unresponsive, ‘locked in’ her diseased Alzheimer mind. The plight for her daughter, Katherine Hammond is full of excruciating trials and tribulations, while endeavoring to honor and see through, her mother’s 1991, advanced personal directive, living will and right for self-determination, in particularly her end-of-life, palliative or appropriate and compassionate care she expressed when competent and first diagnosed with “Dementia” that included a directive for physician assisted euthanasia.

This case is currently in the BC Courts and deemed “precedent setting.”  Mercy cries out once again as citizens around the globe fight for the rights inherent in self-determination and end-of-life care. The need for physician’s orders that matches the expressed wishes covering the scope, all the details surrounding delivery and assistance with the acceptable level of care revolving around “activities of daily living [ADL],” worked out prior to admission into care, diagnosed with end stage disease and deemed incompetent.

“Quality of life” is an ideal strived for to the end-of-life care, final breath - death” that is currently NOT a universally accepted right, privilege or freedom.  Anticipating and providing one’s wishes in form to be viewed as “acceptable” care directives that satisfy all the players involved in end-of-life care legalities and technicalities of conflicting Acts, ethics, morals and codes of human being and professional conduct including power-of-attorneys and guardianship rules of any compromised human being deemed incompetent within their operational system, community and culture.

There are defined levels of care in most care facilities to cope and deal with the host of significant end-of-life care issues inherent in life/death trajectories.  The sheer number of seniors within the “Baby-Boomer” generation is changing the landscape, perceptions and the governance of care of the aging.  Front-line health care issues manifest throughout an individual’s lifespan that accelerates with the passage of time and typically becomes a hot, debated subject matter topic for seniors – our elders. 

Acute, long-term and auxiliary care facilities are inundated and plagued with an array of conflicting moral codes and acts that overwhelm staff who work in care facilities – the daily moral and ethical dilemmas in the health care and “dying machine” businesses around the globe.

There are the business policies and procedures inherent in the ethics, law, guardians, health and professional care/Acts and reforms needed. Moral codes of behavior conduct and matter of conscience within systems that deliver and provide care to the elderly and terminally ill [“the dying businesses”] of care facilities around the world is “Big” business now far removed from intimate family care and life. 

This is the gist of a true story, the pure angst and medical moral dilemma of Margaret Bentley.  Margaret is an 83 year old, retired nurse who is unresponsive, ‘locked in’ her diseased Alzheimer mind. The plight for her daughter, Katherine Hammond is full of excruciating trials and tribulations, to honor and see through, her mother’s 1991, advanced personal directive, living will and right for self-determination, particularly specified end-of-life, palliative or appropriate and compassionate care including euthanasia.

Mercy cries out once again as the need for physician assisted, quality end-of-life to death care for the mentally + physically terminal cases continue to be brought to light.  Force-feeding adults with swallow + gag reflexes alongside high risk for “choking” incidents is painful to observe and an uncomfortable “duty” performed on so many elderly citizens in care facilities around the globe who do “open their mouth in the presence of a spoon.”  Inevitably many die from aspiration pneumonia and septicemia.

“In the presence of a spoon” is at question in the courts for does “an open mouth” imply consent to be fed or is it simply an unconscious reflex?  Who makes this determination?

The devil is in the details and Margaret’s due care and attention concerning her last will and testament regarding future care once deemed unresponsive and incompetent secondary to end-stage Dementia is at the bottom of the matter for the argument posited at the last court hearing inferred:

The staff at the Maple House in Abbotsford are to feed her and placed a “police order” in place with the care facility to ensure as a default position to ensure “food + water” are given to her for the main witness stated he was “not sure what they [people with end-stage dementia] want regarding eating in her own demented world.”

A guest speaker, representative for “The Canadian Centre for Elder Law” stated on that the upholding of a person’s last, living’ will details can be disavowed as evidenced in the cases of Margaret Bentley.  She states the current status of legal law of wills in our Canadian courts; the honoring of legal “living” wills is a myth!  That despite astute will and estate planning, Margaret [and her assigned agent] are impotent, her expressed wishes are disregarded of, both are impotent because of “the systems” with no legal rights for self-determination regarding end-of-life care once deemed incompetent and unresponsive, except for the opening of her mouth in the presence of a spoon.

The professional moral dilemma/ethics remain: to follow her wishes could result in professional charges of neglect [Guardian legislature] and the opposing argument is “spoon feeding is not a health care act but a matter of personal care.”  Medical decisions verses personal directives unresolved conflict that leaves this woman in a “degrading – a horrible place’ as stated by her daughter/advocate.  The final comment to this news release was “in the dying business, we have no control.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_health_care_directive

Food for thought for the DPA Community [no spoon feeding]: What kind of shape are you in and how safe do you feel in regards to the status of your Living and Last Will + Testaments?                                                                                Peace + Love Linda

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Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on August 25, 2018 at 2:36pm

Good afternoon - lots has transpired since my last post.

Tom + I celebrated our 50th Anniversary and I celebrated my 70th birthday!  I have been on a lifetime healing journey, in-depth work to heal my core for the past 35 years.  I do believe I am experiencing a miraculous healing of my footling breech trauma birth experience/imprint.  

In hindsight, this past 4 years now makes sense for I remain in a very interesting, phenomenal  and sacred space and way.  My focus has two possible healing path outcomes:  I will be going home or I will have a miraculous healing.

Hope all are happy and well.  Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on May 7, 2018 at 9:49am

Margaret Bentley's story came to mind and it has been over a year since I last posted, so I completed a Goggle search and this is what came up:

"I wanted to share a story with you from Vancouver Sun:  Margot Bentley dies, a finality that couldn't come too soon for anguished family"

http://vancouversun.com/health/seniors/margot-bentley-dies-a-finali...

I am not sure what is happening in Canadian courts regarding advanced personal directives, debilitating, vegetative states, and the right-to-die...with dignity and respect...Margot's directives were denied, and all I can do is hope my personal directives will be followed.

God Bless Margot and her family for allowing her story, plight to be shared with the public press.  Her dilemma motivated me to update my personal directive with my lawyer and my wishes are clearly defined and very specific...here's hoping!

Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on March 3, 2017 at 5:04am

March 3, 2017 Update - I was listening to a guest speaker on a radio talk show discuss how over 500 people have now received physician-assisted deaths and she commented on just how deplorable our laws, politicians are for not dealing to resolve the "Carter" ruling and Bill C14.

Now we have explosive politics - lots of unrest, protests, and the hot topic is illegal immigration for all of North America.  So far this year, Canada has detained 500 from our US neighbours who are fleeing as both our governments struggle with a now novel concept - restore some semblance of law + order in the lands.  

Interesting the numbers are equal for both dying and asylum seeker...the dying...left in the hands of those who care for them...asylum seekers all over the world know these times are crazy making...who can stand?  I stand fast in sweet hope...God help us all. I can still shall my peace + love.  Linda

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on November 12, 2016 at 9:15am

November 2016 Update - our National news released statistics that approximately 200 persons have had physician- assisted deaths and I am still waiting to hear the latest developments regarding the "Carter" ruling and Bill C14 which have probably fallen to the wayside due to the recent and explosive USA Presidential Election...so, I will assume my Personal Directive remains a bonafide and legal document, and both anticipate and expect my wishes will be respected.  After all, we still have respect in the North American continent - in God I trust!

Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on June 17, 2016 at 10:45pm

Update June 17, 2016 - the Supreme Court “Carter” Ruling granted Canadians the right to enlist the support of physician’s to assist individuals in their dying, death trajectories within our Publicly Funded Health Care System.  A ruling and right on paper only!

Our Federal Government asked for more time to allow a committee enough time to consider the "how to" grant this right and the Feds scribed a “law” with safeguards acceptable across the provinces of our country named Bill C14. 

The requirements to implement the rights of the dying required that the House of Commons [parliament] approval.  The Supreme Court granted the government more time, however, the Senate and Federal Government were unable to reach a consensus, so Bill C14 was passed with “limitations on the rights of the terminally ill” and is contrary to the Supreme Court “Carter” Ruling.  Parliament is now closed until September – the fall!

What does this mean for me?  I have a Personal Directive, but according to the way C14 currently stands, my agent will most likely have to go to court for my end-of-life, terminal care wishes to be heard by a judge as my agent [power of attorney] is now rendered powerless by the passing of Bill C14.  My informed competent wishes regarding end-of-life care become “a case” and the judiciary will make the final ruling.  OMG the government and courts are getting into our death-bed vigils and trajectories

Why am I not surprised?  There is a constant and progressively increasing pattern in contemporary culture “ruling” on more of our really important, personal and private, deep matters - near and dear to my heart and soul, particularly matters surrounding my due care and attention as expressed in my well documented and informed Personal Directive.

I am being denied follow-through with my last competent wishes  - my say on how I will be treated and regarded – my choices regarding the kind of care I can accept regarding my activities of daily living, participation in and exit from my body, family life and community lifestyle - my death.  No government or court ought to have the right to infringe and block my end-of-life, terminal care wishes as scribed and notarized in my Personal Directive.

I do believe I heard a faint whisper that the Province of Alberta was in agreement with the Supreme Court “Carter” ruling...however, our Federal Government today passed Bill C14 with limitations!

For me, there appears to be two really big problems in contemporary culture - “drugs” and “litigation.”  Our lives are impacted by compounded by some phenomenal medico-legal “nightmare” experiences.  Can God [whatever that may be for you] help us at all when we are so full of our own righteousness?  Today, I am not a happy camper at my current station in life knowing my adult rights regarding competent, informed choices establishing self-determination to and including end-of-life consent regarding terminal care wishes is no longer my God given, free-will, legal or agent right.

Awe but alas, the need and purpose of providing on-going work for our Senators when parliament returns in the fall - is kept alive too.  Somehow it is just not right that the government and courts can rule when I have a bona fide Personal Directive. 

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on April 14, 2016 at 7:29pm

April 14, 2016 - Update News Release of Justice + Health Ministers:  asked for the Supreme Court Bill to be tabled until June to give them more time to work with the "mature minor" and "competent mentally ill" who may meet criteria and request medical assistance in dying.  there is much debate going on!

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on February 26, 2016 at 4:56am

FEB 26, 2016 - MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IN DYING: A PATIENT-CENTERED APPROACH

 

Last evening while listening to the CBC evening news, it was reported that the “Report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying” was submitted to the House of Commons.  I have not had time to look through all the details of this document, however, it does address many import care matters that will affect the care of all Canadians, including Margaret Bentley.

https://cna-aiic.ca/.../physician-assisted-dying-brief-for-the-special-joint-c...

If you are interested, have a Personal Directive and concerned about end-of-life care, I encourage you to read the document and stay informed.  Peace + Love Linda   

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on December 3, 2015 at 10:56am

DEC 3, 2015 Quebec Law Postponed:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/superior-court-grants-injunction-that-...

A good news release regarding the latest lega-politicall delay in the physician, medical care of the dying law.   Disappointing and let us see what Sweetheart month shall reveal.               Peace + Love Linda

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on November 24, 2015 at 2:38pm

NOV 24, 2015 REASONABLE WILL + LEGITIMATE INTEREST

The subject title ‘words’ are at the heart of my inquiry regarding the plight of Margaret Bentley, who is also a retired Canadian sister-in-nursing, who [with medical knowledge while competent], scribed the terms of her Personal Directive at the onset, early stages and diagnosis of a chronic illness – Alzheimer’s Disease that results is an inevitable permanent and terminal condition of living loss, death of self-state.   I do not profess to understand the complex nature [creation/formation] of the multitude of all the factors: laws of the lands, variations across the globe and research that will spread across the sands of time; however, I do care about my lifetime, God’s laws, the power of love and people being cared for respectfully and properly, especially when they are in life- death trajectories.  Dignity with dying is the right imperative.

I continue to struggle with the catch phrase used today,Physician-Assisted Suicide’ being brought into discussions regarding end-stage illnesses and end-of-life care for the terminally ill and dying, which more likely than not, while competent, have expressed and/or scribed their wishes regarding Personal Directives.  

My personal view is experiential and substantiated by 7 NDE’s plus 50+ years of service [critical, acute, long-term, palliative + hospice care].  I am a firm believer that a person’s ‘Last Will + Testament plus Personal Directive’ made while competent, free of undue influence and with informed consent: prepared with a lawyer, witnessed and signed in the presence of a Notary Republic demonstrates not only competency, but reasonable will + legitimate interests for self-care that ought not be questioned, attacked, challenged nor judged by any future caregiving circumstance, stranger agents inherent in care facilities or courts of law, and definitely not to the depth and degree that an individual’s human dignity, rights for self-determination and powers of their assigned agency can be overturned. 

This simply feels so dangerously wrong to me, brings me to my knees with worry and concern even though my lawyer has confirmed my Last Will + Testament plus Personal Directive are legal and binding].  Margaret Bentley’s story raises questions and raises red flags about whose wishes will be honored during end-of-life care?

Deeper Inquiry Into God’s Grace + Dying With Dignity:

Back to the article published in the Catholic Exchange on October 17/15 that discusses “Death With Dignity” by Catholic Answers [an Apostolic to Christ publication] for the following, additional information was helpful for me to reconcile myself with my Personal Directive, the relevant CCC’s regarding suicide, euthanasia and death with dignity in accordance to my understanding within the context of my living faith:

1. CCC 2280-8: Suicide, in and of itself, is always gravely sinful:

“Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.  Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.  Thus, to commit suicide is to take an innocent life that is not any human person’s to take. Even though the life taken is a person’s “own;” a human person is a “steward” of that life, not the “owner,” in a strict sense. “

2. CCC 2283: But having said the above, we should also consider:

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.  In other words, we leave the judging of these to God, but we never fail to say that suicide is grave matter for both the one who commits suicide and the one who would assist. Both commit a gravely disordered act on the objective level. We leave the matter of culpability to God.

3. CCC 2277: Declares:

Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.  Thus an act or omission which, of itself, or by intention causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God his creator.  Opposition to euthanasia does not mean one has to use every possible means available to keep people alive at all times.

4. CCC 2278: Says:

Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s ability to impede it is merely accepted. The patient should make the decisions, if competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, who’s reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.  We should also note here that one can give palliative care to someone who is in terrible pain, even if that medicine may well shorten their lifespan, as long as one is not willing death as either an end or means. If one is simply trying to alleviate pain in the context of having accepted that death is unavoidable, this can be an act of charity.  Scripture tells us besides faith and hope; acts of charity are the greatest blessings/gifts of all.

 

The Essence of the Matter When Considering Physician-Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia:

The key here is to note that any act or omission that of it or by intention causes death is murder. Period. Thus, we must conclude as Catholics that every human person has a right to nutrition and hydration as long as the food and fluids effectively provide nourishment and preserve life. When the body permanently loses its ability to metabolize food and use water to hydrate itself, the food and fluids can actually become a cause of harm to the person rather than a cause of health and vitality. This seems to be a built-in way of the body to say it is time to move on to eternity.

What is Critical Here + How to Distinguish Between Ordinary + Extraordinary Means:

 “Extraordinary means would be keeping people alive, for example, using a ventilator and other means of sustaining the bodily functions of someone who is clinically dead. In this case, you are simply keeping a body functioning when the person has already died. If it is determined that you have the irreversible cessation of all the vital activity of the brain, for example, meaning both the cerebral hemispheres and the brain stem are no longer functioning and you have the loss of the function of the brain cells, the person is dead. The body of this person does not have to be kept alive.

Or, we could consider the case of resuscitating someone who is terminally ill and in terrible pain. The decision “not to resuscitate” in these cases or to refuse “over-zealous treatment” as the Catechism said it, should be made by the person or if they cannot do so, the family of the person who is dying, in consultation with orthodox experts in medical bioethics. We are very blessed today to be able to make a phone call and get such an expert on the other end of the phone with the advent or an organization like “The National Bioethics Center,” in Philadelphia, PA. But again, any act that directly wills or causes the death of the person is euthanasia (murder). If one removes the artificial means that is keeping the body alive of one who is dead, the act of removing the artificial means is obviously not the cause of death.

I do believe my Last Will + Testament plus Personal Directive, as scribed by me this year, is in order with the laws of the land, but most important for me – God’s commandments in light of my service history and deep abiding, living faith in the love of God regarding all matters of my life and story to the time of my final breath – death.

And what about Margaret Bentley and her family – only God knows and time may reveal what goodness can be gleamed from her trials, tribulations and very sad story.  From her story, I learned and now pray that there will be no “in the presence of a spoon” argument nor case brought forth to any provincial or supreme court in Canada on my behalf by strangers [caregivers, facilities], as God, my lawyer, a notary republic and my two named agents are my witnesses and can rightly testify on my behalf that I am truly informed, competent with reasonable will and legitimate interests as expressed in both my documents and this blog, hence, ought to be honoured.  Perhaps, I will be fortunate, blessed like my mother who 11 years ago and laid down for a nap and simply died in a restful, peaceful place and state.  

Only God truly knows about my first and my last breath - sacred, God’s business despite all our medical and technological advances.  Therefore, no one else [especially strangers] need be concerned nor attempt to intervene or overturn my implicit and explicitly expressed end-of-life - care wishes.  With God all things are possible! 

Are you comfortable with your health care directives?  Have a good day.  Peace + Love Linda 

Comment by Linda AK Thompson, PhD on November 21, 2015 at 10:14am

NOV 21, 2015 More On God’s Grace + Dying With Dignity:

There is nothing quite like those moments…when your whole [triune] being is standing in a particular place, with space and time is irrelevant, where your internal/external fields feel alive, akin, gravitated, integrated with the other…and you know not why, but do not doubt...this familiar feeling at the very depths of the essential core of your being [pristine soul state]…and isn’t it fortunate [a miracle] that you even got to know, sense this state!

Another one of those precious and unforgettable photopoetic megamomentaries I have been trying to share since February 2015.  That is how I felt during one sojourn, accompanying a teen client…in absolute silence…from my home to Death Valley and over Funeral Mountains [her much needed ‘match’ space as her first love, boyfriend, committed suicide].  Bloody awful!  Then onward to that place, where Opals are mined [my needed space].  Standing on that ground, in that place, where long ago fire met ice…touched me so deeply… I felt outside, beyond myself, and amazingly peaceful…at one with creation and the omnipresence of the love of Almighty God.

And the sinner aspect of myself, that has fallen from God’s grace a few times in my lifespan, knows without doubt, and since I began this Blog, that there are aspects of the last revisions to my Personal Directive that may be contravention to God’s commandments.  And now that I am aware of this fact, I do fear and do not want to ever offend Almighty God and willfully breech any of His commandments.

Therefore, this is a good time to admit that my retirement from both nursing and counselling was primarily due to fact that I was too distressed by all the moral dilemmas manifesting in the workplace and the knowing that “no one would have my back” when I challenged the team or the workplace with these dilemmas.  These were grievous times indeed being faced with the truth that sank deeply into my heart and soul; I could no longer work within the ethical guidelines established in my practice and unable to engage in projects or work settings where bottom-lines are at risk of being crossed.  Being unable to tolerate, accept the distress: being at odds [health care system changes] conflicting with the professional pledge said so long ago, financially sustain my established private practice guidelines, plus be true to myself and my moral compass that has guided and sustained me for the past 50 years…no longer comforted or protected in my work…left me with one option…to retired from the helping professions.   

Blurred lines, as the name of the song that was provocatively performed, creating quite the sensation; however, blurred lines regarding professional ethics and capital sin as viewed by God’s lens -- is a totally different story that no song ought dare sing.  And now that I am here…aware we are in a great danger zone…I know I am standing in fringe moments again…and I simply hear God asking, “Who can stand?”   

I am no longer standing in the professions with all their blurred lines, and I remain committed to my promise…and so, I will continue to serve and go into the depths of dying matters. 

This is now the time for me to attempt to delve into the depths…aim for a personal, crystal clear focus of my attention set within the context of this blog post…In the Presence of a Spoon This is our time, cultural climate, norms and civil liberties in which politicians and governments from around the globe are amending, passing 21st century laws of the land…that appear to be at odds, controversial and contrary to God’s law, commandments and teachings.  The age-old controversies remain: nature vs. nurture and fact vs. fiction.  And the 5 Non-Negotiables Moral Issues: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning, and same-sex marriage are in the mix...as stated by Tim Staples in his “groundbreaking audio presentation…an expansion of Catholic Answers…an acclaimed guide…to help you vote in an informed manner consistent with Catholic moral teaching and fundamental human rights…have been definitively declared by the Church to be objectively and absolutely immoral.”   And Staples asks us, “And you, as a faithful Catholic, are required to vote against all five and—with only rare exceptions—to vote against politicians who support any of them.”  We boast that we have separated the church from the state, but have we really?   The moral bottom-lines, my moral compass I have adhered to, that guided me in family life and 50 years of service…once held ground with great meaning, value and purpose…are now, in a great danger as evident by this list of the 5 non-Negotiables, specifically my focus of attention in this blog…the dying…and the juxtaposition presented by the Catholic Answers regarding capital sins.

How will we communicate… walk, talk, breath and work [serve together] while coping amongst the excrement?  How do we uphold some semblance of a moral fibre at our core, specific to the trials and tribulations – the noteworthy in family living and dying schemas and trajectories…within a culture climate where the fantastical [heroes of old] dominates much of popular industry…big business…the creative arts…where super heroes and villains remain…. and I am thrust backward… once again in time…to my 1989 research project:  Parental and Young Adolescents’ Views on Fantasy Role-Playing Games [FRPGs]…where the frameworks of the supernatural, reality and fantasy -  the light, dark and grey roads of what truly matters…cross over…boundaries are blurred… and new [??] mores, standards, scruples…new laws are brought forth in the land[s]. 

Scripture tells us that since the times of the Corinthians that there is “nothing new under the sun,” and so, I dare ask – whose planet, land is it anyways and what power, dominion or force is behind [the rules/laws] in the playing fields of…more importantly we operating from a logical and rational mind-set, stance and from what dimension of our being - supernatural, reality or fantasy?  Are we but simple pawns on a game board acting out just another excursion, script in the realm of a universal fantasy game? 

How will we bear witness to the changes in our moral fiber we will be required, confronted with and must face?  Many called into the human service industries will be forced to re-examine and re-evaluate their own moral compass…bottom-line values…such as I am attempting to do with myself…with hopefully help from all of you…who are reading this blog site…right now…in this space…and at this time in our cultures and world views.  What ground are the 21st century professionals going to stand and walk upon?

I agree...the amount of individuality and diversity that exists and is expressed within the world is phenomena – and in conjunction with the laws of the land...also agree we ought to protect the public-at-large, especially within the human service industries.  An individual practitioner now is accountable and responsible to define their specific scope of practice that is regulated by Health Care Acts [Alberta] along with membership into their particular professional associations secure with ethics and restricted activities.  Some simply leave the helping professions [public/privately funded services], as they are no longer able to juggle, try to uphold any semblance of the initiate words they vowed upon entry into their ‘chosen’ field/profession…words spoken out load in a public forum…in the presence of family, friends and colleagues…repeating original words of old creeds, oaths and/or pledges - to serve...to the best of their ability...and to do no harm.     

And who has your back [the caregivers] when harm manifests…to whom can they speak to…where shall they seek guidance and comfort to address, work through their current level of work-related moral distress that attacks the very fibre of their core being – operational systems - morals, values and principles that used to guide their conduct and duties to serve in the past, but no longer relevant in the present state of affairs?  As we come closer to the new terms of engagement and service delivery...which acts, laws and or practices professionals are mandated to operate from these days…sad to say, but without conscience presents as a cultural norm and this is a frightening prospect to me.

No doubt, we will continue to struggle, wrestle with who gets what services and when…for there is always a wait list, a greater demand than supply and the cost factor, for after all -- politics, government and all the human services industries remains -- Big Business where the almighty dollar rules.  What I am interested in is probing deeper… to go beyond the almighty dollar [greed] factor.  As we continue to elevate the ‘individual’ [selfie times]; human rights for all kinds of specialty services alongside professionals who operate private practices or businesses [the majority of regulated health care providers in the 21st century, for which the disabled, infirm, homeless and working class poor simply can not afford to pay for; what happens to the invisible others and their close family members,  friends and children - more angst, death and dying on inexpressible substrate levels.  And who cares about the simple and the small…the common good…the moral fibre…love…during times of major cultural shifts when our personal moral compasses and professional code of ethical guidelines clash or crash…and we find ourselves in the midst of moments...flooded by the distress inherent in all moral dilemmas…and go into the depths of our personal soul matters…take a good look at the state of our current human condition…and ponder the monumental issues inherent in a secular society that participates in global issues and world views…in another time of great and major exodus and migration…people seeking asylum, safety from their war-torn homelands ruled by unholy dictators, terrorists  and yes, proponents of strict communist regimes, powerful dictators and atheists most definitely will disagree with much, if not all of the above statements.

Ah, such is the realms of possibilities in life and the human condition…the gist of one’s narrative…so unique, so diverse, but so familiar at some fundamental core of what really matters.  And so, I pause... to return to the bedside of Margaret Bentley and contemplate my own Personal Directive within the focus, context and content of ‘Capital Sin - Euthanasia.’ According to Catholic Answers -- physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia falls under the fifth commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”  The major categories in this commandment are murder, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide.  The writings of St. Therese of Lisieux may be helpful for she experienced ‘temptation’ toward suicide on her own deathbed and urged her sister-nurses never to “leave near them [patients] any medicines that are poisonous…I assure you, it needs only a second when one suffers intensely to lose one’s reason.  Then, one could easily poison oneself.” 

Please do watch this short video captures narrated by a versed Jungian, now priest regarding his discovery of the essence of this young woman, saint:

https://youtu.be/y9MLtO8jAe0

How will helping professionals [agents of life and healing] in the 21st century act small, accordingly and ethically while in the midst and control of Big Business – while living within a secular, litigious and drug-cultured society where individuals from diverse backgrounds assert their individual rights [above the common good], which eventually does shift the cultural norms, laws of the land, the ways of the world – impinging upon, to alter…our personal moral compasses… provoking our code of ethics ,challenging our conduct where service will be at odds with the laws of the land, plus be contrary to the God-given commandments –“thou shalt not kill” and focus of this Blog – euthanasia.

There is much more to contemplate, delve deeper regarding dignity in dying and grace!

To be continued…Peace + Love Linda


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