Physician-Assisted Dying: Most Patients Have Cancer
Roxanne Nelson, BSN, RN
Last year, Canada joined a small but growing number of countries and US states in legalizing physician-assisted dying.
A new paper, reporting on the experience to date at a large healthcare system in Toronto, Ontario, found that three quarters of patients inquiring about the program had cancer, and for various reasons, only 26% actually received the intervention.
The paper is published online May 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The degree to which physician-assisted dying has become “normalized,” both in their network and throughout Canada, “was unexpected,” especially considering the degree of controversy that preceded passage of the law, note the authors. . . [Full text]
A year since assisted suicide became legal, only a small number of physicians are willing to perform the procedure, and their numbers are shrinking. Taking a life is harder than they thought
The first thing April Poelstra noticed was the hitch in her father’s shoulder. Jack’s left arm was drooping, hanging limply at his side, as if he didn’t have the muscle to cinch it into alignment. It was the fall of 2015, and Jack was living in Frankville, Ontario, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to plow roads and work odd jobs for a construction company. . . Jack tried to downplay his shoulder problems. He visited his doctor for a battery of tests, but always changed the subject when April pressed for details. . . .In early 2016, her fears were validated: Jack was diagnosed with ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease . . .On June 17, Bill C-14 became law, making medical assistance in dying, or MAID, legal for mentally competent Canadians. Jack Poelstra was overjoyed. . . [Full text]