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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

October Meeting - Advance Directives

The October meeting was held on Friday, the 23rd instead of our usual 'third Tuesday of the month' due to non-availability of the Acorn Grill at the Oakville Town Hall for that day.

It was well attended by the public as a result of the announcement in the Oakville Beaver and a last minute reprieve by Ruth von Fuchs, President of the Right to Die Society and the editor of their newsletter 'Free To Go'. This public meeting was to be a workshop on creating your living will by a representative of Dying with Dignity but due to adminstrative changes at the organization, they were unable to provide us with a speaker. Edgar Coxeter, a long time supporter and co-founder of the Oakville Humanist Community used his charm to help us out. Ruth braved a blustery evening to make the GO train ride out to the Oakville station from where I picked her up.

Driving in to the venue, I was concerned that due to the adverse weather, we may not have anyone show up for the event and was pleasantly surprised at the turnout, mostly of members of the public who were interested in the topic for personal reasons. As it turned out, most of them had first hand experience with the prevailing medical dictat of preserving life regardless of the quality that they wanted to make sure that their own wishes would be honoured.

Ruth spoke about her own experiences and how she got involved with the Society, eventually becoming it's president. In her own soft-spoken way, she explained how an advance directive document needs to be personalized, using her own as an example of what she meant. She also handed out some material on appropriate books and websites to access for guidance. One link from the Right to Die website will take you to a comprehensive guide to creating a living will from the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics. To access the pdf documents, you will have to register and agree to the terms of their disclaimer.

We all left a little more enlightened into the workings of our wonderful medical system and how to ensure that our wishes would be at least be acknowledged if not honoured.