The Spanish magazine Huellas has published an interview with Sylvie Menard, one of the most renowned oncologists in Europe who for many years was a supporter of euthanasia but several months ago changed her views after she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
Menard told the magazine that she always believed that each person should decide his own fate, but ‘when I became ill, I changed my position radically.”
“When you get sick, death ceases to be something virtual and becomes something that is with you every day,” she said. “So you say to yourself: ‘I am going to do everything possible to live as long as possible.”
Menard, who is married and has one son, acknowledged, “Today anything that means a new chance at life is valuable to me.”
Despite her illness, she continues as head of the Experimental Oncology Department at the Institute of Cancer in Milan.
She said that those who promote euthanasia do so for two reasons: they don’t want to suffer and they don’t want to lose self-sufficiency, thus becoming a burden for others.
She agreed that people who are ill “do not want to experience pain” and that “they have a right to alleviate it”. She also emphasized that “pain therapy has advanced considerably in recent years.”
“Even if you do not have complete use of your faculties and you cannot get up because you are confined to bed, but you still have the affection of your family members, in my opinion, even in those conditions, it’s worth it to keep living,” she said.
[11 April 08, Madrid, Sylvie Menard, CNA, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12314]; Cheryl Eckstein, Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN) www.chninternational.com/default.html; 28Apr08, N Valko RN]