Complex issues deserve more research

Columnist Tom Fletcher seems to revel in declaiming emotional opinions that rest on a limited base of knowledge or experience

Columnist Tom Fletcher seems to revel in declaiming emotional opinions that rest on a limited base of knowledge or experience, or on unshakable ideology.

He recently described the Supreme Court of Canada as “activist” because it upheld an individual’s right to grow cannabis plants for his or her own medical purposes (stating that it “promotes eating chips and watching TV”), characterized chronic fatigue syndrome as “laziness,” and spent half his column disparaging and trivializing the concept of doctor-assisted death.

I began my medical career in the late 1970s in palliative care. I still believe it is the bedrock of good end-of-life care. Yet after reviewing the changes since then with respect to both how and why people die in industrial societies, I would side today with allowing people a choice. I applaud the careful thought and deliberation that has gone into creating a new set of options for people at the end of their lives.

Further, I have patients who use cannabis (it has actually been studied quite a lot; go to Google Scholar or Pubmed for more research findings) for chronic pain relief, anxiety, nausea and insomnia, among other things, but who cannot readily afford to purchase it from a licensed grower, and other patients who have chronic fatigue syndrome who are not lazy, do not use cannabis, and are not delusional.

I think Tom Fletcher might be better served by doing more research, seeking greater understanding of the complexities of the human condition, and showing at least token acknowledgement of the fact that most people are of good will, take their own lives and the lives of others seriously, and take action on important matters that affect others only after due reflection and consultation.

Warren Bell