When pro-life people hear of crisis calls we often think of a pregnant teenage girl who is in need of help or counselling. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition receives a different type of crisis call.

Lately we have been regularly receiving calls from family members and friends of people who are either in long term care or who have recently died. These calls seem to follow a similar pattern: the family member or friend enters a health care institution, that person is deemed to be nearing death and the health care institution opposes further treatment, even basic treatment, etc.

A recent case is that of Maria K, a 77-year-old Holocaust survivor who has Parkinson’s symptoms and late onset asthma. Her condition is not life threatening, but she requires good care.

Maria is a ward of the province of Ontario (Public Guardian and Trustee) not because she doesn’t have family members who care about her but because the medical institution has been in a dispute with her daughter over her care. Maria had given her daughter power of attorney for her when she was still competent. The medical institution was upset because the daughter was insisting on further medical treatment for her mother and better care.

Since the province has taken over medical and care decisions for Maria, the daughter has been limited to two hours per week of visitation, under supervision, most of Maria’s friends are denied access to visit her and Maria has not been allowed out of her bed. This is a problem because Maria has social and emotional needs due to being a Holocaust survivor.

The dispute between the medical institution, the Public Guardian and Trustee, and the daughter is even over her basic care. At one point Maria was deemed to be dying by the medical institution and her nutrition was removed for several weeks, even though her previously expressed wishes were to receive full medical treatment and care.

The Friends of Maria K are asking for an end to the year-long dispute and isolation of Maria. They want her moved to another hospital as soon as possible. Arbitration on the issue has been scheduled. Please send letters of support to the Friends of Maria K at: 148 Combe Ave., Toronto Ont. M3H 4K3.

This issue outlines the importance of having a “Power of Attorney for Personal Care” (living will) that protects you. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition devised the Life-Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care to protect you when you are unable to speak for yourself. It protects you from the Public Guardian and Trustee removing the power of attorney from your appointed person and it protects you from being denied necessary treatment or basic care.