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I never thought I would need to warn the community about Chapman House, Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce. After all, my Dad had used hospice in the States and we were very happy that it was available. My wife Terri and I were very pleased to support the Grey/Bruce Chapman House and gave a very large (for us) donation to help in their early formation.

So what is my concern? While Chapman House's mission is to provide compassionate care, they have decided to exclude the right to allow Medical Aid-In-Dying (MAID) be made available to their patients. This seems a contradiction in terms. Chapman House features the phrase, "Dying with Dignity" in their literature, which is also the name of a Canadian organization that for years has promoted the legal right to choose death over continued suffering.

I do understand that many religions consider MAID to be a form of suicide and to be a sin within their culture. The motivation to exclude MAID from Chapman house may be one of convenience, since I never considered Chapman House to support a religious position over a Canadian Charter Right. Fortunately, our hospital in Owen Sound does provide MAID. A friend recently needed this support and it was kindly offered with great compassion. Thank you to the Owen Sound Hospital.

While many other Hospices in Ontario do provide MAID, Chapman House does inform potential patients before admittance, that if they ever reached a decision and felt they may need MAID, they should go elsewhere. Personally, if I were dying and needed appropriate care, I would not want to be forced to make a care decision that made difficult an important end-of-life option.

While I consider our hospice to be a very important service to the community, I would suggest that Chapman House re-evaluate their position on MAID. The Supreme Court of Canada granted a citizen's right to MAID because a dying person should have the right to die the way they choose. Granting this right shows "true" compassion for the dying. MAID may be difficult for Chapman House to manage, but we know death doesn't arrive as well packaged as we would all like.

Robert Hope

Owen Sound

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