“Baby M”, End of Life Policy, and the Stollery Children’s Hospital

Some of you may be aware of the matter of “Baby M”, involving a 2-year-old child who was admitted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, on May 25, 2012. She required a ventilator for life support. Despite the parents’ opposition to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, which incorporated their religious beliefs, the Court of Queen’s Bench found that it was in the child’s best interests to terminate life support and, on September 14, 2012, ordered the withdrawal of the ventilator. The Court held that there is a general notion in society that a life dependent upon machines and without awareness is not in the best interests of any patient. On September 19, 2012, a three member panel of the Court of Appeal held that there was no error in principle in the Queen’s Bench decision and the appeal was dismissed. On September 20, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the parents’ application for a further stay. “Baby M’s” ventilator was removed, she suffocated, and died.

 
The parents are appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada to have Canada’s highest court decide important issues regarding termination of life-sustaining medical treatment. This decision of the lower courts and, if leave is granted, the ultimate decision of the Supreme Court of Canada will decide the process that will be used and who will make decisions to terminate life support.

These decisions of the Alberta Courts and how they will be followed in the future may ultimately affect individuals in your organization or your community. Should you believe that you, your organization, or community have a position on these life and death issues that should be heard and considered Continue reading

Aktion T4 installation and film project

Some of you may know this already, so apologies for cross-posting. Liz Crow, a British filmmaker, has been engaged in putting together a commemorative and interactive installation chronicling Aktion Tiergartenstrasse 4, an extermination plan enacted in 1939 by the Nazi’s with the goal of eliminating people with disabilities from a society that sought Aryan perfection. Aktion T4 became the ‘successful’ blueprint for extermination camps with a broader mandate as the war progressed. In this clip–which is captioned in English, with spoken English as well–Liz Crow outlines the project and the film she’s working on.

You can also see more at the Roaring Girl Productions website, including a 3-D tour of what the installation will look like.

Body Worlds — A Visitor’s Tale

Body Worlds 1 banner

I enjoyed my visit to Body Worlds 1 at the Telus World of Science in Edmonton thoroughly.  The whole experience was exciting and interesting.  A comment made by my girlfriend when we talked about the exhibit a few hours later over dinner captured an experience that I think many people will share–”I went in looking forward to being at least a little offended, but I spent the whole time being amazed!”  It was only a day or so later that a point of contention even crept into my mind.

Continue reading