I think therefore I am? – Clarification

Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

The following are my own personal professional views and do not represent those of my employer or of Palliverse in general.

I’m not interested in debating the pros and cons of assisted dying, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. In Nov 2020, 82% of eligible voters voted in the referendum, 65% of the voters supported the End Of Life Choice Act 2019. Aotearoa/NZ clearly stated it’s opinion last year, and in two days’ time it will become law.

I do not want my patients to be caught in the middle of two warring ideologies.

I am not here to argue, I am here to listen to my patient, I am here to learn from them. They are the expert when it comes to what they are going through and their suffering is defined by them, not by me.

I think that we in Hospice/Palliative Care need to build a bridge and get over ourselves. Our focus should be on our patients, not on ourselves.

Please treat patients with respect, they weren’t born yesterday, but they might die tomorrow.

Their time is limited and is so, so precious, do not waste their time. It’s time that will run out far too soon.

I am here to try to understand what my patient is going through and what they need. If am able to help them, I will try my best to do so. If they need something that I cannot provide, such as an alternative therapy, then I will not obstruct them from doing what they need to.

I might not always agree with their choices,  but I will advocate for and support their right to make their own choices, for them to exert control of their own lives. We are talking about a person’s dying wishes after all, and when my patients speak about what is important to them, I actively listen.

They are the person going through the illness, not me. It is not about me, it is about the person that I am serving. The patient and their family will have to do what is right for them, and I will not obstruct them.

At no time will I abandon them, I will have their backs, doing so by utilising the full scope of my best professional self.

I will help you and your family to get through this.

It doesn’t matter what choices you have made in your life, I am not here to judge you, I am here to help, in whatever way I can.

If you disagree with any plan that I propose, please tell me and I will adjust it to suit your preferences.

I will provide you with patient-centred care that will be guided by you.

I will help you navigate through your final journey and will check in with you regularly. That is the commitment that I make to you.

Can we work together?

What would you like me to call you?

Please, call me James.

P.S. Check out Palliverse friend Jonathon Ramachenderan’s post for a faith-based perspective on the same topic: https://thehealthygp.com/2021/02/23/voluntary-assisted-dying-and-palliative-care%e2%80%8a-%e2%80%8aa-personal-reflection-on-faith-doctoring-and-a-path-forward/comment-page-1/#comment-18897

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