Death with Dignity
October 8, 2012
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Micheal Vonn is a lawyer and the Policy Director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. She describes her work in civil liberties, says what ‘death with dignity’ means to her and why she become involved with it as a legal and social matter. She explains the case the Association filed to change law on medically-assisted dying. She discusses the outcome and its significance for patients and family caregivers. She says what ‘death with dignity’ means and doesn’t mean, explains why the association focused on medically-assisted dying, and what the people who participated in the case wanted the Court to understand. She explains when medically-assisted dying should be considered, by whom it should be considered, and the chief objections to it. She says what she would like to see done to advance dignity in death. She shares her message for family caregivers with family members whose health conditions are causing them anguish as they face dying of serious and incurable illness.
Family Caregivers Unite!
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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.
Dr. Gordon Atherley
Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.
Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.