Re: Medical assistance in dying: Living with dignity

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59 , No. 3 , April 2017 , Pages 146 Letters

I do not believe this is only an issue of us providing better care for the dying [“Medical assistance in dying: Living with dignity until life naturally ends,” BCMJ 2016;59:49]. Although I agree that we need to study how to do this better. What I firmly believe is that what is at issue is both how and when a dying person chooses to die. In deciding how to die, is it any different than choosing how to live (i.e., with or without treatments offered)? These dying people are making an active choice in how they want to feel in their final moments. Who are we to say they are wrong?

And in choosing when, they can be sure to have the setting as they choose also. That is, their loved ones can arrange to be with them, in a room or place they like, with special music playing to send them off, or special visual effects or other scenarios. If they die naturally, their loved ones may be at work, in another city, or sleeping.

The issue of autonomy is what I value about the new law.

Also, just because some patients choose to die naturally does not mean that others should not be able to die when and how they wish.
—Mary Donlevy, MD
West Kelowna

Mary Donlevy, MD. Re: Medical assistance in dying: Living with dignity. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 3, April, 2017, Page(s) 146 - Letters.

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