The head of one of the largest church groups in Barbados is calling for a national discussion on the controversial issue of euthanasia.
Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI) Reverend Gerry Seale said while he was “extremely uncomfortable” with euthanasia, it was a matter he believed ought to be addressed, without emotionalism.
“If it is time to have this discussion, then let’s have the discussion without the emotion so that we can arrive together at where we would like to go as a society,” Reverend Seale told Barbados TODAY.
He was responding to a recent suggestion by chief executive officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Dr Dexter James that Barbados needed to discuss the issue of pulling the plug on terminally ill patients under specific circumstances.
Dr James last week delivered a lecture in which he argued that policymakers needed to address the issue of whether a patient on life support, who would not benefit from further treatment, should continue getting medical care while disadvantaging another person whose life could significantly be improved by similar intervention.
Reverend Seale said: “We have a very high value on human life . . . so we are not going to be running to say ‘turn off machines’ and so on, but let us hear the pros and the cons; let’s have the discussion.”
“If there are things [Dr James] would like discussed by the society, then let’s have it. Let’s listen to each other, let’s put forward how we view the situation and understand the situation and let’s come to a common understanding as to how we go forward as a society,” added the prominent church leader.
Seale said while PAWI did not have an official position on the matter, it would come to one after a national debate.