Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, was right when he wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I recently planned to attend a recent health meeting in Vancouver, traveling there by train. But the trip ended abruptly when protesters blocked the rail lines.

What is the relevance, you might ask? I’ve given considerable thought to what happened. To me, it is a matter of societal complacency – and it is affecting our health. So, here’s a question for readers. Why are family members so damn polite and so silent when they see loved ones suffering? Why do medical support organizations react the same way? And, why do civilians continue to be so passive when elected politicians delay and delay in ending pain when there are options available?

During my medical career I’ve seen terrible injustices. Needless pain tops the list. Years ago, I became aware that heroin had been available for 90 years in Great Britain to ease the agony of terminal cancer pain. I wrote a column to urge that heroin be available in North America for patients dying in agony.

What happened? I was criticized by the medical profession for being “a headline seeking medical journalist.” It took five years of battle to legalize heroin. But today it’s far easier for drug addicts to get heroin to kill their pain than for a dying cancer patient! Why?

In part, it’s because family members are being so damn polite when they see a loved one in pain. Why don’t they erect barriers, stop trains from running, and bring commerce to a halt? Or why don’t they say, “None of the painkillers are easing the agony, so why not try heroin? If you don’t, my lawyer will sue the doctor and hospital.”

Currently there’s another major injustice, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). I had the perfect answer for those who worry that doctors will end lives without their permission. I proposed these opponents wear a bracelet stating that under no circumstances did they wish to use MAID. This idea was sent to 443 Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators.

What happened? Only one Senator replied! This means patients with Alzheimer’s disease, while still competent, cannot sign an “Advanced Directive” stating they wish their lives ended when their brain is comatose and they’re incontinent of urine and feces.

While the government dithers with more surveys and debates, why don’t family members block rail tracks to end this suffering? Or why doesn’t the organization Dying with Dignity, of which I’m a member, block the railroad? It would get attention and a solution.

Another injustice. I’ve written that decades ago a doctor cured polio and other viral diseases with intravenous vitamin C (IVC). Recently I reported that several international researchers, university professors, and viral experts, have verified this fact. Yet health authorities aren’t treating coronavirus patients with IVC. So, patients continue to die while more research about IVC is conducted in China. This is akin to medical murder when proven treatment is available.

What’s my point here? Indigenous peoples are arguing their case by causing national chaos. Some charge it’s anarchy. But you can bet your last dollar they will be rewarded in some way and no one will go to jail.

I’m not suggesting families should cause the same chaos while caring for loved ones. But if a family member of mine died from pneumonia, or the coronavirus, and IVC were refused by the doctor or hospital, I’d consider the death as medical neglect and murder. I believe there’s overwhelming evidence to win in a court of law. We have all been too polite and too silent about these injustices much too long.

What do you think?

(Advice provided in this column is the opinion of the author; for comments:

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