Cheers! According to Pallimed.org, today is World Hospice & Palliative Care Day: a day to call on all governments to declare “palliative care” (hospice and symptom treatment) a “human right.”
It’s a special day of awareness, to be celebrated this one day, and throughout the year. A day to take action by signing a petition in support of the Prague Charter.
So for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day … I encourage you to increase your awareness about global palliative care issues the whole year through. But since awareness is real[ly] only the first step, I would also ask that you sign The Prague Charter in an effort to make governments recognize palliative care as a human right. It is already sponsored by:
– European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
– International Association for Palliative Care (IAHPC)
-Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) and
-Human Rights Watch (HRW)
(Incidentally, one common bond uniting the four sponsors is the support of George Soros’s Open Society Foundations.)
Continuing from the Pallimed blog post:
Basically [the Prague Charter] asks government to support access to medications, palliative care training, public health policies . . . [and] integration of palliative care into the healthcare system continuum. [emphasis added]
In other words, the Charter wants government to move hospice and palliative care into all aspects of medicine and the individual patient’s medical treatment, from the moment of diagnosis, if not before. Presumably this would be done by funding and/or regulation.
To put the commentary in context, a word about Pallimed is in order.
Pallimed is a blog that likes to err on the side of withholding and/or withdrawing treatment. When government-funded advance care planning was up for debate as a section of HR 3200 several years ago, Dr. Drew Rosielle — founder of Pallimed — dismissed opponents as “wingnuts.” More recently, Dr. Rosielle won financial support from the Hastings Center — a bioethics think tank that churns out guidelines on when to withhold treatment. (In an unrelated issue, Hastings Center was also involved in the formation of the Earth Charter.)
And the blog has been critical of Catholic teachings in support of life. When the bishops spoke out in 2009, emphasizing that nutrition and hydration are ordinary treatment, Dr. Christian Sinclair of Pallimed critiqued the revised directives, noting
If you think having members of the [Catholic] church directly becoming involved in health care matters seems theoretical or indirect at best, consider the case of Mr. Welby in Italy in 2006, or Steven Becker in St. Louis in 2000.
Dr. Sinclair urged readers to learn more about the Catholic directives by visiting the website of Compassion & Choices – a radical death-with-dignity group,
Now Dr. Sinclair wants us to sign a petition in support of the Prague Charter. Thanks, but I think I’ll take a pass.