If hospital staff were trained for earlier recognition of when death is inevitable, patients could be spared such aggressive treatments.
If hospital staff were trained for earlier recognition of when death is inevitable, patients could be spared such aggressive treatments. KatarzynaBialasiewicz

OUR SAY: Improved palliative care vital to euthanasia debate

THE idea of euthanasia is inextricably linked to the quality of end of life care.

The provision of good palliative care is an issue that too often gets overlooked in the debate - the fear of a bad death because of ongoing suffering is understandable.

Almost everyone has a story to tell about a loved one navigating the end of their lives.

That could include a debilitating disease that left the person crippled and in pain, a cancer diagnosis that stole all quality of life or a loved one whose palliative care was well-managed and caring, with an emphasis on reducing pain and suffering.

The question of improved palliative care and quality of life should be debated alongside euthanasia.

Even with debilitating or terminal diseases, if suffering can be reduced, people can live longer lives and have more time with their families.

That is not to exclude the option of euthanasia.

It is encouraging to see open and transparent conversations being had about people's experiences watching loved ones as they come to the end of their lives.

It has long been the subject of debate and those on either side feel strongly about the issue.

In the end it boils down to what benefits the individual.

It shouldn't mean extending life at any cost, but an assessment of their pain, suffering and the available options.