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LETTER: Langley doctor offended by Tory candidate’s ‘death camps’ dig

Local woman said it’s an honour to work with patients at the end of their lives

Dear Editor,

Regarding your recent article on CPC’s federal candidate, Tamara Jansen, comparing medical assistance in dying to death camps. I write this as a physician who provides palliative care to patients on a daily basis, as a physician who works alongside MAiD providers, and as a physician who has worked in hospice and has a dedication to patient-centred palliative care.

Decisions around goals of care, and care for dying patients are the most intensely personal, gut-wrenching decisions a patient will face. I am fortunate, through my work in Surrey Memorial Hospital, to work with a group of physicians who place a patient’s well-being and personal wishes above all else.

The idea that patients are “encouraged by activist health care professionals” to pursue MAiD is a complete insult to the care providers who work with dying patients day-in and day-out. It is a privilege to be a part of a dying patient’s end-of-life care.

To characterize me as an “activist health care professional” with an agenda that is anything other than honouring the wishes of a dying patient, is offensive. The whole comparison of MAiD in hospice to ‘death camps’ is a demonstration of profound ignorance of the care provided by health care professionals.

It also dishonours the memory of the millions of victims of actual death camps.

Jansen’s statement that she “used a poor choice of words” is a bit like “I’m sorry if you were offended by…”. Sorry, not sorry. I know a lot of people who were offended by this video, most of those offended are too busy caring for patients to write their response.

Elaine St. John, MD, Walnut Grove

• Liberal MP slams Conservative opponent over assisted dying views in Cloverdale-Langley City

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